Highland High senior offensive tackle Tanner Farmer has been selected to play in the seventh annual Under Armour All-American High School Football Game on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound lineman will be formally recognized Friday at Highland High with a jersey presentation and news conference.
"It was kind of surreal, I didn't think I'd be invited or anything like that," said Farmer, who will sign with Nebraska in February. "I got the call and I was really excited to hear about it. It's an amazing feeling."
The game will be held at 3 p.m. Jan. 2 and televised nationally on ESPN.
"He's extremely excited about it and as a program we're definitely excited about it," Highland coach Jimmy Warnecke said. "He had his sights set on what he wanted to do from the start and was willing to put in the work."
Farmer is the second metro-east football All-American this season, following O'Fallon High senior defensive end Dewayne Hendrix. Hendrix, who committed to Tennessee, was chosen to play in the U.S. Army All-American Game Jan. 4 in San Antonio, Texas.
Farmer also won a state wrestling championship as a junior. Warnecke said his size, strength and drive made him a huge force for the Bulldogs, who were state-ranked all season and won 11 straight before losing to Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
"I think it's a testament to Tanner and his parents, Brian and Connie, who have been very supportive of him throughout his athletics career," Warnecke said. "He just seems like the kind of kid that was never really too caught up in the social aspect of things. It was just all about what he wanted to do with his future."
Farmer was a four-year starter at left tackle for the Bulldogs and a tough matchup for anyone faced.
"It was just his overall strength," Warnecke said. "I thought that Tanner improved each year on his technique. He started going to a lot of the camps in the summer and picking up his technique and really worked hard in practice.
"He's a guy that never backed down from any challenge. He was never afraid to fail -- and that's what sticks out in my mind. That's what helps make him the young man that he is."
Farmer is the top football recruit at Highland since Billy Greenwald in 1989. Greenwald was an all-state running back who played at Northwestern.
"I thought I had a pretty decent season," Farmer said. "I wish we wouldn't have went out like that, but all seasons have to come to an end one way or another. Either you win the entire thing or you get knocked out."
Farmer is also Highland's first athletic All-American since former Highland baseball star Jake Odorizzi was named USA Today's National Player of the Year.
Odorizzi was a first-round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers right out of high school and now pitches for the Tampa Bay Rays.
While the current 2014 All-America Game roster is incomplete, the only other Illinois player on the list is Ohio State recruit Jamarco Jones, a 6-4, 300-pound offensive lineman from DeLaSalle.
Also chosen was University of Missouri recruit Andy Bauer, an offensive tackle from DeSmet High in St. Louis.
Among the players who have played in previous games are Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones, Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J Green, Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson and Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel.
Among the current college standouts that played are University of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.