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October 24, 2012
On Wednesday, outside linebacker Daniel McMillian received his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey from Staff Sgt. Dennis Nieves, and added the title of All-American next to his name.
"At first it feel the same as any other award," McMillian said, "but once I put the jersey on I felt honored. Everyone in the community is behind me 100 percent and wants me to succeed."
After a breakout junior season that saw him lead his team to the Class 7A state championship game runner-up finish, McMillian racked up more than 40 offers. The hard-hitting 'backer made an early pledge to Florida because they had everything to offer.
"Location, the coaching staff, and the opportunity to get me to the next level is why I chose the Gators," he said.
Playing in college football's most dominating conference, the SEC, and playing professionally is something that intrigued the four-star athlete when decided to commit to Florida.
When asked who is his favorite NFL player, his reply may surprise you. "I really like Steven Jackson of the St. Louis Rams. He plays on the opposite side of the ball as me, but he is still my guy."
McMillian knows he wouldn't be in this position without the help of his family, teammates, and coaches. One person in particular is defensive coach, Fred Culver.
He noted, "Coach C is not like any coach I've ever had. He trained mentally as well as physically."
The early graduate is anxious to get to Texas before heading off to Gainesville for the spring semester.
"I want to have fun, compete, and get to know some of the players better. One of my goals is to take home the MVP trophy," he joked.
Even though he had a good laugh when talking about being MVP, McMillian knows this is a special opportunity to play in front of the men and women of the U.S Army.
"Like I said it's a great honor to be an All-American. That's why I chose this game. Why not go out there and showcase your talent on television for the people that sacrifice their time away from their families to serve our country," he said.