Oswego High School Senior Chosen for Marine Corps All-American Bowl
Dec 04, 2015 11:46PM
● By Shannon Antinori
Austin Warner (left) receives his jersey for next month's Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, where he'll play for the West. (Photo provided by Matt Warner)
At 6’4” and 275 pounds, Oswego High School senior Austin Warner is a force to be reckoned with on the football field.
But it was his actions off the field that helped land the 18-year-old offensive lineman a spot in the U.S. Marine Corps’ Semper Fidelis All-AmericanBowl. Warner, who has committed to Northern Illinois University, will head to Carson, California, to play for the West in the Jan. 3, 2016 game.
Representatives from Marine Corps presented Warner with his jersey during a ceremony Friday at OHS.
“It was like something you see in a movie,” said Warner, who was nominated for a spot in the game by an ESPN staffer after Tweeting a highlight reel of his football career at OHS. “I didn’t think I was actually going to get it,"
Named for the Marine Corps’ motto of “Semper Fidelis,” Latin for always faithful,” the all-American bowl features some of the best and brightest high school athletes in the U.S. Those who are tapped for the honor must also embody another Marine Corps motto — “Ductus Exemplo,” or “to lead by example.”
Warner has done just that, according to Oswegoland Park District Special Events Supervisor Kristie Vest. She has seen Warner’s leadership in action not only as a volunteer with the park district, but also as a big brother of sorts to the kids in her neighborhood.
“As the big kid in my neighborhood he has been letting kids follow him around for over a decade,” Vest said. “His kindness to those he could step on with ease has been noted by all the parents.”
A day before representatives of the Marine Corps presented Warner with his red team jersey, Vest was already cheering him on.
“As a local mom who has watched him grow up in this community, I am terribly proud and dangerously close to painting my face in his newest team color,” she said.
Warner said he tries to live by the Golden Rule and give back to the community when he can.
“I play a violent sport, but I like to be a kind person,” he said. “I think it’s gotten me in some pretty good relationships in my life.”
His good deeds will also get him a trip to the StubHub Center for the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. Warner will fly out five days before the game to start practice and meet his teammates.The OHS senior is one of four Illinois players on the roster.
“It’s just going to be cool to meet all the players and bond with them,” Warner said.
The game will air at 8 p.m. CST Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, on Fox Sports 1.