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January 1, 2013
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl features 90 of the top players in the country; among the select group of prospects there were several who had record-setting seasons.
Here is a look at some of the best moments of the recently completed high school football season.
TOP HIGH SCHOOL MOMENTS
QB Max Browne, Sammamish (Wash.) Skyline
The top quarterback prospect in the country cemented his status nationally with a stellar senior season and capped his career as Washington's all-time leader in passing yards with 12,951 and third in touchdowns with 146.
Browne, who has drawn comparisons to Denver Broncos quarterback and future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, led Skyline to its second consecutive state championship in Class 4A.
The 6-foot-5 pro-style quarterback threw for 4,526 yards and 49 touchdowns with just five intereceptions in 377 attempts.
He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for his efforts and said the personal attention was appreciated but his teammates deserved to be recognized as well.
"I had a big season," he said. "Coming off of my sophomore and junior years when I was able to put up good numbers, I think there were a lot of expectations on me this year.
"I was fortunate that we played a lot of games and that helped me put up a lot of stats. I had a great supporting cast too, and this wouldn't have happened without them."
Browne has already graduated from high school and is going from San Antonio to Los Angeles where he will be ready to compete for playing time at USC.
RB Thomas Tyner, Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha
Identified early as a future star, Tyner's play and potential has never been in question.
Whether he could stay on the field has been.
Tyner was one of the first players in the Class of 2013 to be awarded a five-star ranking when Rivals.com unveiled its initial rankings in December of 2011. After a rash of injuries, he was the first to lose that ranking when the updated list came after the earliest evaluation period.
Four games into his senior season, Tyner answered a lot of questions in an explosive display.
He piled up 644 yards in a mid-September game, in which his team won 84-63 against Lake Oswego (Ore.) Lakeridge. It was a signature moment that even impressed Tyner.
"I was tired," he said. "We lost to that team last year so we all were playing with a chip on our shoulder."
The game happened to be on his 18th birthday.
He was too tired to enjoy the moment.
"I went home and went right to bed," he said. "I don't think the game ended until 11:30 and I was really tired so I didn't get to celebrate the game."
From coast-to-coast his accomplishment was celebrated. Rivals.com national analyst Mike Farrell took notice of the individual performance.
"If you had to run for 644 yards against 11 trees in your backyard it would be tough to do," he said. "Showing he can break big runs and grind out tough yards was an important step.
"If he can show he is healthy, then he is probably our top-rated back."
Tyner enters the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as the No. 4 player at his position and No. 21 nationally.
WR Tyler Boyd, Clairton (Pa.) High
The uncommitted Boyd has been soaring since the summer, when he went from a three-star player to the Rivals250 after a great showing at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta. After a stellar season, his ranking was boosted to No. 60 from No. 205.
This season Boyd played all over the field for Clairton and extended the program's winning streak to a nation's best 63 games.
He rushed for 2,567 yards on 215 carries and caught 12 passes for 218 yards. He totaled 50 touchdowns this season.
Boyd said his trip to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl was fueled by his performance this summer.
"That was a real jumping off point for me," he said. "Once I went out and saw that I could compete with that level of competition I wanted more and more."
He was named the Post Gazette Player of the Year in Pittsburgh and finished his career with 5,755 yards rushing -- which was good for fifth all-time in the WPIAL.
He set the WPIAL record with 117 touchdowns in his career.
"It is a great accomplishment for me," he said. "Of all the guys that have come through Clairton to have my name on top of that list is amazing.
"I couldn't have done it without my team; this year was the best thing that ever happened to me."
Boyd's recruiting has follow his season trajectory. He has yet to commit on which school will receive his services in the future.
He said if he had to pick this week it would be Pittsburgh, but added that Tennessee and West Virginia were heavily in the mix. Rutgers has been recruiting him hard and Penn State was mentioned as well.
He said not knowing anyone at Rutgers limited the program's chances and bowl sanctions at Penn State may eliminate the Nittany Lions.
ATH Derrick Henry, Yulee (Fla.) High
After gaining 2,465 yards as a freshman, Henry had the attention of football followers in Florida.
His follow-up campaign went for 2,689 yards and he was a national phenomenon.
With another 2,610 yards as a junior and 4,260 as a senior he was a national record-holder, besting Ken Hall, who held the mark for 59 years.
Henry, who isn't even listed as a running back in the Rivals.com database, has always passed credit to those around him.
"It was great to get the record but it was better to celebrate it with my teammates and help put Yulee football on the map," he said. "It was something everyone will always remember."
Now playing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Henry said he still has more to prove.
"It is the end of my senior year now," he said. "I want to play well and I want to have fun. I want to show everyone what I can do on this stage."
Henry scored 150 touchdowns in his career and has nearly every state record, including most yards in a single game when he rushed for 502 this season, surpassing Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith's record by one yard.
"It was a great year and a lot of great things happened for me," he said. "But it wasn't all about me. This was about Yulee."