Ethan Pocic, the lumbering Lemont graduate and LSU-bound football recruit, was lauded by his coach for his toughness and willingness "to play through pain and sickness."
That toughness is what helped the 6-foot-6, 290-pound left tackle land at LSU, one of the most consistently great college football teams in the country.
At the Under Armour All-American Game earlier this month, that toughness was on display: Pocic fought through a virus he had and then dislocated his finger on the second play, though decided to sit out the rest of the time.
"They told me, 'It's just an All-Star game, stay healthy,'" Pocic said, recalling his experience.
Although he didn't get to play the rest of the game, Pocic said he had a fantastic time in Florida. He was one of 97 high school players invited to the Under Armour game, which highlights the best talent in the country. Lemont football coach Eric Michaelsen was also invited to serve as the linebackers coach on Team Highlight, which won the game 16-3.
"It was very humbling for me to be a part of something like that," said Michaelsen, who has led the Indians to a 103-27 record in 11 seasons. "It was a special thing made even more special that Ethan was down there, too."
For Pocic, it was a chance to play with some of the biggest and fastest athletes in the country—a small taste of college football. But Michaelsen also said he learned from former NFL player and coach Herm Edwards, who led Team Highlight.
"The time that I was there, I was trying to learn as much as I possibly could from those guys," Michaelsen said of Herm Edwards and other coaches (both high school and NFL level). "I got to hear about other parts of the country, talk Xs and Os. Being able to take that back to Lemont will be beneficial."
Pocic, who graduated early in December, moved to campus in January and started training with the team this week. He said he had fun hanging out with other LSU recruits who were on his team at the Under Armour game. During the game, top recruit Kendall Beckwith also announced his intention to commit to LSU.
"It was a lot of fun, and practice was good with those great players," Pocic said.
Besides a week of practices and the game, the players and coaches were treated to a week of entertainment. They stayed in suites and visited Disney World, practicing at ESPN's Wide World of Sports facilities. They also participated in a charity outing, attended an Orlando Magic game, visited EA Sports and did lots more.
"We got treated really well," Pocic said. "It’s a great honor, especially coming from a small town like Lemont."
A four-star recruit, Pocic ranks among the Class of 2013’s top 50 players, and rates among the top five offensive tackles in the country, according to several recruiting services. He twice has been named an IHSA Class 6A All-State selection.
From Around the Web
Lemont Student-Athletes Sign National Letters of Intent (Patch)
Lemont offensive tackle has massive potential for LSU (Sports Illustrated)
Q&A with Ethan Pocic, Lemont football (Sun-Times Media)
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