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September 26, 2012
The jersey presentation tour for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl kicked off this week and one of the first prospects to be recognized was Pickerington (Ohio) North tight end Jake Butt.
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Michigan commit was presented his jersey shortly after practice on Wednesday evening at his school.
"This experience just gets me hyped," said Butt. "Usually coming off the practice field I'm tired but I'm really energized, it's just a great experience overall."
For Butt, the official presentation is a culmination of years of hard work, both on and off the football field, that has led him to being recognized as one of the top high school football players in America.
"Growing up you dream of this kind of stuff," he said. "You dream of playing at the next level, now I'm getting a chance to make that dream a reality and it's just a humbling experience."
While Butt certainly views the game as a reward for the hard work he has put in, he also sees an opportunity to prove himself among the nation's top prospects.
"I'm sure I've played with some of the guys before from The Opening," he said. "It's different now though because the pads are on and that's when your real personality comes out and when you start really playing football."
Having watched the Army Bowl growing up, Butt is ready to add his name to the long list of big-time players that have put their talents on display in this prestigious event.
"I've watched the game the last few years and I definitely remember some of the big hits and the playmakers that played in this game," he said. "Now I'm ready to make my own plays out there."
Butt will also use the opportunity to represent his future school, the University of Michigan. Representing the Michigan program is not a task that he is taking lightly.
"I think as a Michigan man you always try and represent yourself well," he said. "I'm going to try and go out there and perform to my best ability."
The Army Bowl takes pride in selecting high caliber athletes that are also quality students and quality people off the field. According to Pickerington North head coach Tom Phillips, that is exactly what the game is getting with the addition of Jake Butt.
"He's one of those athletes that deserves this opportunity," Phillips said. "You've got a quality kid. He's a kid that excels in the classroom as a 4.0 student, he excels in any activity that he takes part in. He's very exciting to watch."
Butt's contributions at Pickerington North High School may be highlighted the most on Friday nights but his leadership throughout the week is what Phillips loves the most about his star player.
"What's special about Jake is he knows how to compete in practice," Phillips said. "In 25 years of coaching I've never had a kid that practices like Jake Butt. I've coached a lot of good kids in 25 years but he is number one for me."
Butt is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals.com, the No. 131 overall player in the nation, and the No. 5 rated tight end in the nation.