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Shane Tripucka continues tradition

ALLEN, Texas -- The name Tripucka holds respectable weight in the sports world. And on Thursday morning, Shane Tripucka of Allen (Texas) High School added to the family's long-standing legacy of accolades.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder senior punter was honored with his 2013 Under Armour All-America Game jersey as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour.

"It's just awesome. I can't imagine anything better," Tripucka said. "It was a total surprise when I found out. My dad knew about a week before, but he wanted the guys from ESPN to tell me first. It's just a huge honor."

Tripucka's athletic resume is just starting, and he's hoping to have one similar to those in his family who came before him.

His grandfather is Frank Tripucka, the very first Denver Broncos quarterback and a recognizable name in NFL circles. Frank, considered a pioneer of the AFL, wore Denver's No. 18 more than 50 years before Peyton Manning donned it this season.

His father is Chris Tripucka, who played football at Boston College and spent 10 years working in the NBA. He now runs a sports apparel shop for Allen merchandise next door to the high school's stadium -- a $60 million stadium that fit 22,000-plus in the first game of the year.

Basketball fans will also recognize Shane's uncle Kelly Tripucka, who played 10 seasons in the NBA.

Meanwhile, his cousin Jake is a standout lacrosse player at Duke, and his cousin Travis is a long snapper who has seen spent some time in NFL camps.

"It's pretty cool that we're a little different than the normal family," Shane said, "but it's humbling to see all the things they've done. Hopefully, I'll get to see some of the same results one day."

"This has all been real exciting for all of us," added Chris. "I know Shane's watched that [Under Armour] game since it's been in existence. I remember him sitting down and watching last year, and he looked at me and said, 'I'm going to work so hard to be in that game.' When he was chosen, it blew him away. It was a proud moment for me."

Shane is averaging 40 yards a punt, and he's had a couple of punts go 60 yards or more. Against ESPN 25 Power Rankings opponent Coppell (Texas) High School, he boomed a 65-yarder with 4.3-second hang time, and he also had a 50-yarder with 4.6-second hang time, impressive numbers for a high school senior.

The numbers are even more impressive considering the team Shane plays for.

Allen's offense is very productive, and punting opportunities are minimal. There are few opportunities where he gets to punt more than twice in a 48-minute game.

"As long as we keep scoring TDs, I'm totally fine with it," Shane said. "I'm still really into the game."

"The truth is," Chris added, "is that I think he could start at wide receiver for 90 percent of the schools in Texas. There's just so much talent here at Allen. I think he's getting used to the fact that he's just being used as a punter. For me, I think it's a good thing because gets to work on his kicking all week long."

Recruiting wise, Shane's heard from Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Rutgers, North Texas, Bowling Green, among others. With his family growing up in New Jersey, he's attended multiple camps at Rutgers. Shane also attended the Texas-Baylor game in Austin, Texas, a couple weeks ago.

Currently, he has no offers, but he's waiting patiently for one of the schools to extend a scholarship. He understands that the linemen and skill-position players usually are more of a priority for recruiters.

"It's tough for a punter," he said. "You're kind of the last guy for a scholarship. It's a big waiting game for kickers and punters, but I get it."

If punting is Shane's avenue in Allen's efforts for a state championship, then he's OK with that. If it also means a ticket to the Under Armour game and possibly helping his team win the game, he's fine with that, too.

Most importantly, it helps him continue the legacy that Tripuckas before him have set.

"You'll run into people and tell them your last name is Tripucka, and they'll know the name," Shane said. "They'll ask if you're related to this person or that person. It's kind of cool to me. I'm hoping I'm keeping in the footsteps. There are big shoes to fill, but I think it's cool."