Wesolak to play in All-American Bowl

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville junior D.J. Wesolak has accepted an invitation to play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas.

Boonville junior defensive end D.J. Wesolak has accepted an invitation to play in 2022 All-American Bowl on Saturday, January 8 at the alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Wesolak, a two-year starter on the Boonville Pirates football team, is listed as a four-star defensive lineman from Missouri.

The Bowl will be nationally televised, live on NBC at 12 noon central time, and will feature the nation’s top 100 high school football players.

Wesolak said it’s a big accomplishment with only 100 players getting selected to play in the United State. “That’s been a dream growing up as a kid to be an All-American,” Wesolak said. “I just want to play as an All-American next year and bring the same energy and same hype and not let anybody down.”

With over 40 offers from Power 5 schools, Wesolak said he has narrowed his field of teams down to Notre Dame, Clemson, Alabama, Mizzou, Oklahoma, Oregon and Auburn.

Wesolak said he will probably wait until after the game to name the school he will be attending, but if not it will probably be before then. 

“It’s definitely a big deal for me and my family,” Wesolak said. “Right now, I’m just looking forward to the game and playing on national television.”

Boonville Pirates football coach Greg Hough said obviously it’s a huge honor on the national level to be invited to the “All-American Bowl” and the “Under Armour All-American Game. 

“Around Christmas time, DJ and I both started researching both in case he was presented with the opportunity to play in them,” Hough said. “I felt like it was a realistic opportunity with the attention and offers he was receiving from Power 5 schools and National Powerhouses but didn’t really know.

“As more kids were invited we both kind of moved on and put it behind us thinking he wouldn’t be invited, but this week it all changed with two phone calls. DJ has committed to play in the “All-American” game in San Antonio and that will give him an opportunity to play close to family in Texas, in front of 20,000 fans and be on national television along with 100 of the best players selected in the nation.”

Hough added that Wesolak is going through a “life changing” experience with over 40 offers now.

“D.J. and I communicate with people we both never though we would probably talk to in our life,” Hough said. “Needless to say, a lot has happened for the positive over the last 365 days and we hope to continue to build on success for him and our team. There is still a lot of work to be done for D.J. in the coming months and our goal is to prepare him as a student player, teammate and man for wherever he may go.

‘Again, we both are entering unchartered territory as a coach and player, but through hard work and commitment to doing things the right way, we find a “home” that sets him up for success as a student athlete. We’ve learned through this, the skies the limit and people that know more and get paid a lot more than me see big things in his future. I hope what I know, what he knows and what he can learn from all his coaches and teammates he leaves Boonville High School prepared to “Be Great”, what we are witnessing is simply step 1 of his process to set him up for greatness.”

Hough said he has been quoted before that: “DJ has the football world in his hands” which is very true, but Coach Hough isn’t satisfied and to be honest never will be. Heck of a ride and I’m glad he’s allowed me to be part of it through the ups and downs.”

Wesolak was selected by the All-American Bowl Selection Committee, consisting of the All-American Bowl and 247Sports. All-Americans are eligible for the All-American Bowl Player of the Year Award, the Anthony Munoz Lineman of the Year Award, the Defensive Player of the Year Award, the All-American Bowl Man of the Year, and the All-American Bowl MVP Award.

Only the top 100 football players receive the honor of putting on the All-American Bowl jersey each year. Each player selected to participate will culminate their high school careers at the All-American Bowl.

The All-American Bowl has produced 174 athletes who have participated in the Pro Bowl along with 450 NFL Draft picks-100 first round-74 Super Bowl Champions and 11 Rookies of the Year.

Notable players who have participated in the All-American Bowl are Odell Beckham, Eziekel Elliott, Trevor Lawrence, Tim Tebow and Joe Thomas.

As an NBC Sports-owned property, the All-American Bowl is part of a marquee lineup of elite events that includes the Olympics, the NHL, the Premier League, and the number one primetime show since 2011: Sunday Night Football. 

The All-American Bowl is annually the most-watched, most talked about, and most prestigious high school all-star event with more than 4,500,000 unique television viewers and over 25,000 in attendance. 

The All-American Bowl is a year-round celebration of high school excellence both on and off the field. The All-American Bowl was originally created and owned by All American Games, led by Douglas Berman, and was the first national high school football all-star game to ever be played when it kicked off at Highlander Stadium in Dallas, Texas on December 30, 2000. The event relocated to San Antonio the following year, and has been played inside the Alamodome since 2003. In 2019, NBC Sports acquired the event from All American Games and now fully owns and operates the All-American Bowl.