It's safe to say that Warren quarterback and defensive back Austin Jerman received some nice presents Thursday, on his 18th birthday.
One of the best - and, by his own admission, unexpected - was his inclusion on The Associated Press Class AAA All-State Football Team for the recently completed 2012 season.
"It's a great gift, one that I wasn't expecting at all," said Jerman. "It's truly an honor. I haven't seen the other names on the list, but Pennsylvania is rich in football talent so to be named one of the best in Pennsylvania really is an honor."
Jerman admitted that he had "no idea something like this was coming." He first found out when former teammate Andrew Morrison sent him a text message congratulating him on the honor.
"The text from Andrew read 'happy birthday...you made the all-state team," said Jerman. "It really caught me by surprise but I'm truly blessed to receive such an honor."
Slightly less surprised was his head coach at Warren, Brad Wright.
"First of all I'd like to issue a heartfelt congratulations to Austin. I'm very proud of his accomplishments," said Wright. "His stats at defensive back would show that he is very deserving of the honor, but his contributions go far beyond stats. In a lot of ways, he was the heart and soul of this football team. His ball-hawking skills were incredible. When the ball was in the air, it was almost like we had a 50-50 shot of coming down with it."
Jerman is the first Dragon to make the all-state team since the 2010 season when Matt Stapleford was included for his season as a punter. Stapleford went on to punt at Lehigh University.
As for Jerman, he remains undecided about his football future.
"I'm still thinking and making decisions about the next level," he said. "But I dont think it'd be for a defensive back (position)."
Jerman finished his final season for Warren with a team-high eight interceptions along with one fumble recovery and one blocked field goal. He compiled 122 return yards. In addition, Jerman was second on the team with 89 tackles.
At quarterback, Jerman was second in most major District 10 statistical categories behind Cathedral Prep quarterback - and Michigan State recruit Damien Terry, one of the AP's three all-state quarterback selections. Jerman was 146-of-246 for 2,088 yards with 28 TD and eight picks. He finished his career as the most prolific passer in Warren history and was only the second quarterback in D-10 history to throw for over 2,000 yards in a season.
For good measure, he also led the team in rushing with 713 yards and seven touchdowns and punted 25 times for 902 yards (an average of 36.1 yards per kick) with a long punt of 60 and 10 punts downed inside the opponent's 20 yard-line.
NOTE: As can be expected, PIAA Class AAA champion Cathedral Prep had a large impact on the all-state team. In addition to Terry, the Ramblers had kicker John Chereson, defensive lineman Erik Swanson, linebacker Jake Plonski and athlete Delton Williams named to the team. Terry was named player of the year and Mike Mischler was named coach of the year. Another District 10 inclusion was General McLane's Quinn Thompson at defensive lineman.
The District 10 all-region teams, selected by coaches, had not been released as of Thursday.