Sportswriter Steve Eubanks had a great idea: write a book that follows one player each from the Army and Navy football teams who participated in the 2001 game through their military careers. With some help from the Army and Navy SIDs, he chose Army QB Chad Jenkins and Navy LB Brian Stann and uses their stories as the basis for All American: Two Young Men, the 2001 Army-Navy Game and the War They Fought in Iraq.
As the first Army-Navy game played after 9/11, that game holds a special significance. It's one of the most-watched college football games of the decade and it's also the last time Army beat Navy. Eubanks also points out that it was a game played by young men who entered the academies in a time of peace and the senior classes now faced wartime service within a matter of months.
Stann tackled Jenkins in the second quarter for no gain; otherwise these two players' lives don't really intersect. Where Eubanks excels is telling the individual stories of their service in Iraq and detailing their civilian careers after they left the military: Jenkins was an FBI agent and now runs his own security firm and UFC fans will recognize Stann from his career as an mixed martial artist.
Eubanks makes it clear that he never served. He approaches the two men from the perspective of a sports guy who writes about "heroes" who wanted to write about their transformation from athletes to heroes who served their country. This one offers great perspective for anyone who follows Army or Navy football and definitely for anyone who remembers that 2001 game.