- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
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CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Plenty of work went into Scott Quessenberry (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) becoming an ESPN 300 prospect, the No. 2 center in the nation, one of the more highly recruited players in the state and now, an Under Armour All-American. On the other hand, he didn't have much choice in taking that path.
He has become something of an expert at fending off wild rushes from opponents on the football field largely because that's what constituted family time at the Quessenberry house. The third of three boys, Quessenberry learned about protecting himself at an early age. His older brothers, David -- now a senior offensive tackle at San Jose State -- and Paul -- a defensive end at the Naval Academy -- made sure he learned quickly.
"It was kind of like the Gronkowski brothers," Quessenberry said, referring to New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and his brother Dan, who played for the Patriots and Denver Broncos. "I can't really put us in the same league as them, but it was like that in a way. We were always roughhousing. They're only a year apart and I'm three years down the road, so they were always tough on me."
But Quessenberry said that because he was forced to toughen up more quickly than many of his peers, it helped him immensely on and off the field.
"I'm not going to back down from anyone now," he said. "I'm going to go toe-to-toe with everybody."
That mentality, combined with plenty of natural talent and hard work, earned Quessenberry a place in front of his teammates and fellow students on Wednesday, when the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game made its way to La Costa Canyon.
"It means a lot," Quessenberry said of being selected to the game. "You look at the guys who have played in this game -- [Atlanta Falcons receiver] Julio Jones, [Cincinnati Bengals receiver] A.J. Green [USC quarterback] Matt Barkley -- it's crazy. You look at what they're doing now and to be in the same game as them, and to get it in front of my school, means a lot."
Quessenberry highlighted several skill players who have taken part in the game, but if the lineman had little choice about learning to absorb hits and deliver his own, he had even less of a say in what position he'd play. From 5 years old, when he began playing football, Quessenberry was locked in as an offensive lineman. In fact, it was determined well before that.
"We were bred to be linemen in my family," he said. "When we were coming out at 10.5 pounds, 10.6 pounds, everyone knew right away what we were going to be."
With so much of the offseason exhibitions geared toward showcasing receivers and other skill position players, Quessenberry said he is looking forward to an opportunity to mix it up with some of the most talented defensive linemen in the country in the UA All-America Game. He had a chance to see them at The Opening, but things will ramp up even more at the Under Armour Game.
"I've played against some of those guys, but there's nothing like this," he said. "At The Opening, they were going after a dummy. Now they'll be trying to tackle my teammates. It's going to be fun."
But while Quessenberry was able to think about his future while discussing January's game, family circumstances forced him to delay announcing perhaps the most important decision regarding his future.
He was ready to make a verbal commitment during his presentation but decided to postpone the announcement because his parents couldn't be there. They are in Maryland this week, preparing to watch David and Paul take their childhood wrestling matches onto the football field on Saturday, as Navy hosts San Jose State.
With offers from schools such as Arkansas, California, Nebraska, Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Wisconsin, Quessenberry is one of the more sought-after players in the West region. But one of those coaching staffs is already very happy, as Quessenberry already informed that team of his decision.
"They were really stoked because I'm one of the only guys they're recruiting at the position I play," Quessenberry said. "They were excited to hear it, and I'm excited to know where I'm going and kind of get the monkey off my back."