Each January, 100 of the top high school football seniors get the chance to play in the prestigious U.S. Army All-American Bowl, played at the Alamo dome in San Antonio, Texas.
This coming January, there will be a Umatilla County native among the exclusive group. Draco Bynum was selected to play in the game earlier in the year and received his game jersey at a ceremony on Wednesday at Wilsonville High School, part of the Army All-American Selection Tour Presented by American Family Insurance. Bynum was born at St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton and was raised by his parents Rob and Sue Bynum until 2014, when the family moved to Wilsonville.
In his four years playing for the Wilsonville Wildcats football program, Bynum has developed into one of the top defensive linemen recruits in the nation checking in at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds. He is a four-star prospect according to the national recruiting site 247 Sports, ranking No. 15 among all strongside defensive ends and No. 7 overall in the state of Oregon. He verbally committed to the University of Washington on April 22, choosing the Huskies from more than 15 Division I offers including schools such as Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA and USC.
Bynum is one of four Oregon prep stars that were selected for the game, joining South Medford wide receiver Chase Cota, Crescent Valley five-star athlete Talanoa Hufanga, and Jesuit four-star running back and Washington commit Trey Lowe.
Bynum finished his four-year career with the Wildcats with 152 total tackles, 27 tackles-for-loss and 15 sacks. His best year came as a junior, where he had 82 tackles, 19 tackles-for-loss and 10 sacks as he burst onto the national recruiting scene.
As a senior, Bynum often faced doubleteam blocks from the opponents, which limited him to just 41 total tackles but he still helped his team to a 10-2 record and a trip to the state semifinal. In the semifinal loss to Hermiston, Bynum was the team’s top tackler with nine total.
In an email to the East Oregonian on Wednesday, Draco and his family wanted to mention all of Draco’s coaches from his youth days in Pendleton that helped shape his path to becoming a prep star, including Jason Villers, Jim Malcom, Mark Kirsch, Matt Liscom, Rick Keilm, Jon Cortazar, Devin Correa, Mitch Sanders, Randy Crawford, John Summerfield, Michael Blanc, Aaron Schmidt and Coach Reeser.
The 2018 All-American Bowl will be broadcast nationally on Jan. 6 NBC at 10 a.m.