PUBLISHED: 5:20 PM on Wednesday, May 7, 2008
JDHS junior nominated for All-American Bowl
Fagerstrom one of 400 football players selected nation-wide
JUNEAU - Alex Fagerstrom's bright yellow shorts make him easy to pick out at football practice. But it's the Juneau Douglas High School junior's skills and leadership on the field that are now attracting national attention.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lane Goldfarb, an Juneau-based recruiter, announced the nomination of Fagerstrom to play in the 2009 U.S. Army All-American Bowl during the Crimson Bears practice on May 4.

Katie Spielberger photo
  JDHS junior Alex Fagerstrom, center, is presented a certificate by Army Sgt. 1st Class Lane Goldfarb announcing Fagerstrom's nomination to play in the All-American Bowl.
"This is awesome. I feel really good," said Fagerstrom, who played wide receiver last season and will be the Crimson Bear's quarterback in 2008.

And he should feel good. For a high school football player it doesn't get much better than this. The All-American Bowl is a tradition that helped start the careers of such NFL stars such as Reggie Bush, Vince Young, and Brady Quinn.

"I don't think there's any higher accolade than what this young man is going to possibly get a chance to do," Goldfarb said.

Out of approximately 400,000 high school football players nation-wide only 400 are nominated to play in the All-American Bowl, played at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas in early January.

Fagerstrom is the only Alaskan nominated to play in the bowl. According to JDHS defensive coordinator Eddie Brakes only four Alaskans have ever been nominated, and only one, Casey Flair from Anchorage, was selected to play in the Bowl.

It may be more difficult for Alaskans to attract this kind of attention than for players in the lower 48 states, Brakes said.

"(Fagerstrom) is a top-notch athlete, and a lot of times Alaskan athletes don't get the recognition they deserve," he said.

Three independent recruiting parties worked together to select nominees for the All-American Bowl, including recruiting expert Tom Lemming with and the sports marketing company SportsLink.

Nominated players and their coaches will submit applications during the next few months to be selected for the 90 spots to compete in the bowl. Coaches will accompany selected players to the Bowl and attend the U.S. Army Coaches Academy.

Neither Fagerstrom, his coaches, or even his parents, saw the nomination coming. When Goldfarb first asked to speak to Erika Fagerstrom about her son she figured it had to be about the army.

"I said, 'Are you trying to recruit my son?'" she recalled.

Fagerstrom's coaches are still trying to figure out who nominated him since coaches are not allowed to nominate players and very few scouts make it to Juneau.

"No recruiters come here," Brakes said. "It's word of mouth."

The U.S. Army has sponsored the All-American Bowl since 2000. It's about showcasing accomplished athletes and leaders, Goldfarb said.

"If you have strong leadership, you're going to take your troops a long way," Goldfarb said.

Fagerstrom's goal is to play professionally and he hopes to play Division I college football and then "see what happens."

The future looks promising, but right now Fagerstrom is focused on the next season with the Crimson Bears.

"I'm going to work really hard in the off-season and hopefully go win a state championship," he said.

After the certificate of nomination was presented and congratulations were said, Fagerstrom and his team went back to the gridiron to resume practice. There's only three months left until game day.