BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- Athletes from across the nation are entering into their final year. A select few received invitations and are slated to participate in the 2015 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
Jaycee D. Pummill, a 17-year-old senior Blue Springs High School Wildcats starting long snapper, is one of those few.
“I’m really excited,” said Pummill. “It’s a big deal, being televised and with a live audience. My parents were really excited.”
Pummill was ranked 11th overall in snapping by Kohl’s Professional Camps for the 2015 class. He also is a part of a Blue Springs High School football team that won back-to-back Missouri Class 6 state championships in 2012 and 2013.The Semper Fidelis Bowl, which is in its fifth year, takes approximately 100 of the best and nationally ranked players from across the country to participate in the game. A player’s athletic abilities are only part of the requirements for selection to the bowl. The player’s character on and off the field, community involvement, and academic abilities are also contributing factors.
His coach voiced his enthusiasm for one of his player’s selection to such an event.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Kelly Donohoe, the Wildcats head football coach. “I think any time a high school kid gets selected to do something like that (is) exciting.”
Pummill hopes the bowl will also serve as a springboard for more exposure from college football teams around the country.
“(I’m hoping) to get my name on the radar or at least come up more, because most long snappers don’t get talked to until (around) June,” said Pummill. “I’m hoping to at least get something. I’ve only heard of one (long snapper) over the last ten years (receiving a scholarship).”
But Pummill is not deterred and hopes to one day pay it forward to future generations at his high school.
“Hopefully, the bowl game will help me not only find a good college football team to play for but also somewhere I can get my degree,” said Pummill. “If college ball isn’t going well, maybe right back here at Blue Springs, teaching history, coaching football, or coaching wrestling.”
The Semper-Fidelis Bowl, much like the Marine Corps is not just about individual accomplishments but rather reinforcing camaraderie, working toward a common goal, mental and physical endurance, and durability. It’s these qualities, along with a few others, Pummill can contribute to the bowl as well.
“Jaycee’s going to bring great character (to the bowl),” said Donohoe. “That’s probably his biggest thing. All the time we’ve had him, Jaycee has done everything we’ve asked him to do and he does it well. So, we’ve been really proud of Jaycee. He’s been a great representative of our football team.”
Pummill’s character isn’t just apparent on the field but off the field as well.
“Jaycee’s just like the rest of our guys,” said Donohoe. “Who walk these halls that people respect, they treat classmates well, and they treat people in the hall well. That’s our expectation and a lot of work goes into that. We talk to our guys about that but he’s been raised by two good parents. So, it hasn’t been hard with him. He’s got that background just from what he’s learned at home.”
The Semper Fidelis Bowl’s legacy consists of not only the most academically and athletically gifted, but those who represent the values of honor, courage, and commitment found in the Marine Corps. If Pummill’s selection is any indication, he will continue that legacy as he has in his community when in the bowl.
Pummill is slated to receive his jersey in an official ceremony later this season.
The 2015 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl is slated to take place Jan. 4, 2015, at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., on Fox 1 at 6 p.m. Central time.