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January 1, 2004
Stage is set for major announcements
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Not only is the U.S. Army All-American Game an opportunity for 78 of the nation's top players to show how talented they are, it's also a stage for many of those prospects to announce their college intentions and the list of players set to announce continues to evolve as the practices grind on toward the game on Saturday.
Many names were already known to be announcing but a few that weren't scheduled to announce have now stepped up and decided Saturday will be the day and then there are others that have decided that it's just too soon to pull the trigger.
At the top of the list of players that have decided to go ahead and make their college announcement is Rivals.com's top player, Adrian Peterson, the talented running back from Palestine, Texas. Peterson, who has been the star of the West practices so far this week, said he's made up his mind and knows what school he will commit to and he'll let the rest of the college football world know of his pick on Saturday.
"I'm thinking about calling the school that I'm going to commit to and tell them that I'm going somewhere else," Peterson said with a smile. "Then when I announce it'll be like a huge surprise for them. Ok, I'm just kidding about that. I wouldn't want to do that to the coaches that I'll be playing for next year. But I've already made up my mind."
Peterson came into the All-American Game leaning toward Oklahoma. He's also visited Arkansas, Miami, USC, UCLA and was also looking at Texas, LSU and Texas A&M.
There's little doubt that whoever gets Peterson, they'll be getting a heck of player and he's been creating the biggest buzz in the West camp.
"Adrian Peterson is the man," said West receiver and fellow five-star selection Cameron Colvin. "He's big, fast and quick. That's the kind of guy you look to have on your team on the next level to carry the load."
The nation's No. 2 player, Ted Ginn Jr., is also scheduled to announce his decision between Ohio State, Michigan and USC. Ginn confirmed to Rivals100.com on Wednesday that he's already made his decision and will notify the coaches of his choice shortly before he announces on Saturday. Ohio State came into the week as Ginn's leader, ahead of Michigan and USC.
One player that had been scheduled to announce was Toledo (Ohio) Rogers five-star receiver Fred Davis. But both Davis and his head coach Rich Rios confirmed that the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder has decided to hold off on his commitment for now.
"I'm not quite ready," Davis said. "I might still take one more visit in January, but I've not been able to figure out what school is the best fit for me at this point."
Davis has visited Miami, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC. He had been talking primarily about Miami, Ohio State and USC for the past few weeks at the top of his list.
Also widely rumored to announce this week is New Brunswick, N.J., four-star receiver Dwayne Jarrett. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Jarrett said he's not sure where he exactly stands right now. Just a few weeks ago, he was talking highly about USC.
"I'm not going to announce here," he said. "I'm not even sure at this point."
After narrowing his list to two teams - USC and Oklahoma - five-star defensive end Jeff Schweiger has gone ahead and decided to announce his pick at Saturday's game.
"Both schools have a bright future," Schweiger said. "They are doing a good job getting the best talent."
"I also like both coaching staffs," Schweiger said. "And both teams do a great job developing defensive linemen."
Schweiger has been probably the most impressive defensive end on both rosters. Whichever team lands his commitment will have an NFL caliber player that's only going to get better when he adds more weight.
Schweiger will be joined by Albuquerque (N.M.) Cibola lineman Alan Branch. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound two-way lineman is thought to be leaning toward Michigan over Arizona State.
A few players that are also scheduled to announce on Saturday couldn't wait to let people know of their college destinations.
Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison Central wide receiver Tony Burks has committed to Ole Miss.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Gulfport, Miss. native is a big, physical receiver and has made an excellent showing so far in practices for the game.
"Yes, it is true I have committed to Ole Miss," said Burks. "I called them up in Dallas to let the coaches know. I'm excited about the commitment. Ole Miss is the perfect fit for me."
LSU, Mississippi State and Southern Miss had also offered Burks a scholarship.
Another player that let the cat out of the bag earlier in the week was Winfield, Kan., dual-threat quarterback Nick Patton. Patton, a Rivals100 selection, announced that he's heading to Kansas State.
JACKSON PUMPED ABOUT NEWEST GATOR
Florida received great news a few weeks back when Neptune Beach (Fla.) Fletcher four-star safety Kyle Jackson committed to the Florida Gators.
However, Jackson wasn't aware of the Gators' newest major commitment while he was in San Antonio.
So when he was notified about the commitment of five-star receiver Lance Leggett of Arlington (Texas) Grace Prep, Jackson was ecstatic.
"He really did," Jackson asked in disbelief.
"That's awesome. I know from reading about him on the Internet that he's one of the best receivers in the nation.
"That's what Chris (Leak) and we need. We just need a few more weapons for the offense."
WHO'S THE BEST OL ON EAST?
An informal poll of the East defensive linemen revealed that Chicago Harper offensive lineman Roland Martin gets the vote as the top offensive line prospect on the East roster.
"He's really good," said defensive tackle DeMario Pressley. "Once he gets that big body of his into you, it's over. You can use your quickness to get around him a little bit, but that's a rare thing. He has those long arms and he can use his hips to really get underneath you and drive you to the ground. He's impressive."
Also getting high marks from the defensive linemen was Erie (Pa.) McDowell offensive lineman Kyle Mitchum.
"He's going fill out and be something special," one lineman said. "But his footwork is the best out of all of the guys."
Sarasota (Fla.) Riverview standout Drew Miller also was commented on by several d-linemen as looking impressive throughout the week of practices.
The biggest question mark about Virginia Tech commitment George Bell of Fayetteville (N.C.) Jack Britt was how his left knee has been since he returned to the field midway through his senior season after tearing his ACL and ripping his LCL as a junior.
Bell has looked quite good in practices throughout the week for the East.
"The knee's fine," Bell, who is wearing a brace on the knee for stabilization, said.
"I've not felt any of the effects of it at all, and I'm still able to run away from some of these fast guys out here, so that means I'm plenty fast enough."
Bell should fit the Hokie offense to a T, and after seeing him in person, he's a Lee Suggs clone.
And if he produces half as good of results as Suggs did for Tech, then he'll be a star for the Hokies.
He's hoping to use Saturday's game as a statement to prove that he's back to full strength.
"I hope to put on a show," Bell said. "That's what this game is all about."