One of just 78 players recognized across the country, Eddins will join the distinguished list of players playing at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2006 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. The 6-3, 260 defensive tackle says that it's something he still can't believe is happening to him.
"It's huge for me," Eddins says. "This is pretty much what all high school athletes strive for. I was very, very honored to be in the (Alabama) North-South Game in Troy, but this is huge for me. To be able to travel to Texas will be real neat. That in itself will be fun, but it's just a huge honor for myself, my teammates and my school."
A game that has featured some of the top collegiate players in the country in past seasons such as Adrian Peterson and Tommie Harris from Oklahoma, Chris Leak from Florida, Shaun Cody from USC and Marcus Spears and Michael Clayton from LSU, the All-American Bowl is recognized as the premier all-star game in the country for high school football players. Eddins says that has him excited about participating in the game following his senior season.
"Me and Mr. Vilt were up there talking and he was talking about Tommie Harris and all these great athletes," Eddins says. "They're awesome, just awesome. It's really hard to place myself with people like that. I'm just honored to be in this situation."
Eddins stands with Trinity coach Randy Ragsdale as they hold the Herman Boone Trophy, given to the winning team in the game.
A dominant defender for Trinity who has 39 tackles and nine sacks in six games from his defensive tackle spot, Eddins is coached by Randy Ragsdale, who was in attendance at the ceremony on Thursday. He also receives an invitation to come to San Antonio for the event as well as to take part in the U.S. Army Coaches Convention. He says it's an honor to get to take part in the event as well as coach someone like Bart Eddins.
"The biggest thing is he has role models to look at and watch and emulate," Ragsdale says. "I think of his two brothers first Blake and Bret. He saw them and watched how they handled things well and things they didn't do well. Then he's been in an environment since he's been little, which wasn't much because I think he was big when he was born, where Bart understands the fun of the game and the passion of the game, too.
"He also understands that ‘if I don't allow myself to allow other people to come in and help me then I'm not going to be successful.' The ‘I've done all this myself' mentality is not Bart."
The son of former Auburn standout Liston Eddins and his wife, Nancy Eddins, Bart's older brothers were also successful athletes on the collegiate level. Oldest brother Blake played basketball at Arkansas while brother Bret was a defensive end for the Auburn Tigers the last five years and is now on the practice squad for the New York Giants. His father says that the honor bestowed upon his youngest son is one that everyone involved in can cherish and enjoy.
"I can't really put it into words, but I'll try," Liston Eddins says. "I know how hard Bart has worked, like a lot of players do. It's so wonderful when you get recognized for your hard work and sacrifice. This is kind of a cumulative effect of all the boys and their accomplishments. Tommy Trott's (former Trinity and current Auburn player) accomplishments last year builds up to this.
"The school has a good reputation for outstanding players and you can't thank enough people when you come to something like this. It's just a big honor for Bart and we look forward to him going out there and having a good time. An organization like the Army, especially in this day and time, to be associated with them. That can only make you better."
A person who tries to be a friend to everyone he meets, Eddins had plenty of supporters in the room on Thursday when the award was given to him. That speaks highly of the kind of player Auburn is getting and the kind of person his parents have raised. Nothing says more about that than his closing statements at the official announcement.
"I would like to thank the Army for giving me this opportunity to play in the Army All-American Bowl," Eddins says. "I consider this as huge a honor as any high school athlete can receive. Thank you. I will try to represent my school, my family and the State of Alabama to the best of my ability. Go Army, Go Wildcats and War Eagle!"