In November, Jacksonville Indian Steven Westbrook ended his high school career, hoping to play at the next level. One school offered the all-district tackle more than just football. He signed with West Point Military Academy.
"It's a great honor," Steven says. "You can't get another education like that. Maybe an Ivy League school, but you can't get that around here. Texas and Texas A & M are great education, but when you say that you graduated from West Point, I mean that's pretty high up there."
It's a major decision for the seventeen year-old. With college and military service, Steven is making a ten year commitment that stretches far beyond the line of scrimmage. Unlike other athletic scholarships, which are one-year arrangements, West Point is offering a full ride.
"Even if I got hurt and something were to happen," Steven says, "I could still go to school there and still graduate."
He'll become more than just a student athlete. If he completes his training, Steven will enter the Army a 2nd Lieutenant.
"I look at it as a huge honor," his mother, Jody Westbrook-Harris says. "I think he will come out a better man. I think he would make an outstanding officer, whether peacetime or wartime, whatever time."
Even with the threat of war, his family supports his decision.
"I think everybody takes for granted sometimes all the privileges we have as Americans," Jody says. "We each have a responsibility to defend those beliefs, and Steven is willing to do that."
"I'm proud of him."