You could probably tell Omaha Central lineman Harlan Gunn he’s an All-American and he’d just shrug and say ‘thanks’. It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate the award. It has more to do with him not wanting to make more of it than what it is. It comes down to ego and Harlan, while confident, looks at being named to the U.S. Army All-American game as a gift more than a reward. “It’s a blessing and it’s an honor to represent my school and my state in that game,” he said.
Ranked as the top senior lineman in the state, Gunn has been a target for any team that faces off against the Eagles of Omaha Central. He’s thinking now, though, that the already huge target might just get a bit bigger. In fact, of what the award has done for him in regard to how he views it, he says that’s going to be the only real change.
“It’s an honor for me, but it won’t change me at all. I’m still going to be the same as I always am,” Gunn said. “But I think it will probably put a bigger target on me. I’ll probably hear about it for the rest of the season.”
There’s little doubt there, many players on many teams still to face Central, probably wanting a piece of one of the 80 best players in the country as chosen by the U.S. Army, Scout.com and Tom Lemming. They’ll no doubt go at him as if he’s the only player on the field. That’s fine with Gunn, because if he’s excited about going to San Antonio, it’s for one overriding reason:
He wants the best FROM the best
“Everyone wants to face the best and if you want to do that, this is the game you have to be in,” Harland said. “I have only watched a little of one game, but I know that’s where the best go to play.”
As to how he thinks he’d measure up, Gunn is humble in saying that he’s just going to do his best, but his head coach, who would be making the trip down there as well, didn’t mind speaking for the prep star. “I have a lot of confidence in Harlan,” Jay Ball said. “He’s earned this award and nobody could be more deserving. He’s a humble kid and he looks at this award like we do; as a team award, which is an honor for him, his parents, this school and this state.”
“Harland is going to represent the entire state well. I know that.”
Like Paul, Harlan is already committed to a major Division 1-A program. The difference ends there as Paul is staying home to be a Husker, while Gunn is heading to Florida to be a ‘Cane. It’s a commit that Gunn has had out of the way for sometime now, and for Husker fans thinking that maybe time has dulled his pledge to Miami, they might want to think again. “I’m going to Miami. That’s where I committed,” he said.
For Omaha Central, this is just one of many honors, which have been won by members of the football team. Dating all the way back to Gayle Sayers, who is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, to Ahman Green, who spent two years at Central after transferring from Omaha North, where ironically enough, his nephew Niles Paul, will be the other attendee for the All-American game.
So, it’s nothing new for an Eagle to get recognized and Harlan is the second to become a U.S. Army All-American. And Gunn’s “lengthy” speech to the Omaha Central fan base in attendance for the Central/Omaha South contest this evening, was indicative of just who he is.
“Thanks a lot,” he said.