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The wide receiver is also selected to U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Inglewood wide receiver Shaquelle Evans had two reasons to feel proud before his team's game against Santa Monica last week.
First, he was selected as the school's first-ever participant in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Then, he announced that he would attend Notre Dame, joining fellow Army All-American Cierre Wood from Santa Clara (Oxnard).
"It's the best place for me and it fit me the most," Evans said, adding that a lot of prayer and thought went into his decision.
Accompanied by his mother, Kalisha Wright, his younger brother Kyle, a sophomore at Inglewood, Evans received his All-American jersey and cap to a standing ovation from teammates, coaches and his family.
"It couldn't have happened to a better person," Inglewood head coach Charles Mincy said, "He exemplifies being a good student, citizen and a teammate who just happened to be a really good football player."
Mincy also showed his good nature by giving his ticket to the game to one of his assistants who had mentored Evans since he was a freshman.
It was a dream come true for Wright, who remembered watching her son playing basketball as a kid wearing Michael Jordan's gear. As she and Evans' father, Kendrick, watched him with pride, they both expressed pride in just not his athletic talent but his growth as a person and a student who carries a 3.5 grade point average.
Evans only took one visit to South Bend, Indiana, but he was immediately sold on what he saw from not just the program and its coaching staff, but its fans.
"They were very passionate about their team and it's a diff. feel to what I'm used to out here," he said.
Wright said that the fans chanted his name and at one point, some asked him to be hoisted in the air for pushups after the Irish scored. He refused but it was all a part of the experience that she said "knocked him off his feet."
As far as his selection to the All-American Bowl, he remembered watching great players that suited up in the past such as current NFL players Reggie Bush, Vince Young and Adrian Peterson.
"It's a great honor to play in this game, I never dreamed I'd play in it," he said.
He joked afterwards that his teammates would now be able to watch him on NBC, with the Army All-American Bowl being televised at the Alamodome in San Antonio on January 3 as well as Notre Dame's games on the network during the fall.