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December 29, 2003

All-American game full of tasty news

[ Monday Photo Gallery I ] [ Monday Photo Gallery II ]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Beef, it's what's for dinner. At least that's what was for dinner for eight players that competed in a McRib eating contest Monday night at McDonalds after the first day of practices for the U.S. Army All-America game wrapped up.

Paired off into two teams of four, the East won the eating contest when Dwayne Hendricks, Nick Hayden, Drew Miller and Aaron Jones polished off 20 McRib sandwiches in less than 5 minutes.

"We couldn't lose," Hendricks said shortly after the contest was over. "We knew we had a bunch of big eaters. We just kept shoving them in there over and over."

Was there a specific method to putting away the sandwiches? All of the players agreed that pacing themselves was the key - and having a good drink at hand also helped.

"This was a fun event," Hayden said.

"I got to a point where I didn't think I could eat anymore, but they kept yelling out loud how the other guys were doing, so we couldn't stop. Everything we do is a competition here this week. We couldn't let our teammates down.

"It was really cool also because we took over the entire restaurant and there were people standing out on the street watching us pig out."

The victory by the East is somewhat of an upset as the West brought out its big eaters with Jeff Byers, Darryl Richard, Herman Johnson and Aaron Klovas all weighing more than 285 pounds and Johnson tipping the scales at 6-foot-8 and 395 pounds. Johnson did win the event overall championship when he polished off more than six McRibs all by himself.

GOOD NEWS FOR HUSKERS
Two weeks ago, the Husker Nation was a little shaken up when one of its significant commitments, linebacker Michael Keenan of Kansas City (Mo.) Oak Park, took an official visit to rival Kansas State. Keenan came back from the visit and said he was still thinking hard about both the Huskers and the Wildcats.

But after seeing San Antonio swamped with Husker red for the Alamo Bowl and even more time to reflect on his decision, Keenan has elected to remain a solid Nebraska commitment.

"Of course Kansas State is a great school and one of the nation's best programs," Keenan said. "But I'm going to Nebraska. I know they're still trying to find a head coach, but I know they're going to be bringing in one of the nation's best coaches. I also gave them my commitment originally, and I want to keep my word."

With the Huskers in San Antonio, Keenan said he's heard plenty of talk from fans and in the media about who might be Nebraska's new coach. If he has a vote, Keenan would hire defensive coordinator Bo Pelini.

"I've heard a lot of names, and I know that they want to hire a big name guy from the NFL," he said. "But I think coach Pelini would be a great hire."

RECRUITING ALREADY STARTED
Jeff Byers of Loveland, Colo., is one of USC's early major commitments and one of the big reasons why the Trojans are ranked No. 2 at this point in the Rivals.com national team rankings. However, Byers is doing his best to help USC move up to No. 1.

With East receiver Fred Davis of Toledo Rogers scheduled to announce his decision between Ohio State, USC and Miami, Byers did his best job to give another pitch on the Trojans this evening while lounging around in the official team hotel.

Byers and Davis talked for about five minutes and they departed with Byers telling Davis that he better call coach (Pete) Carroll and give him good news.

EARLY READY TO PROVE POINT
Ranked as the nation's No. 1 receiver by Rivals.com, West receiver Early Doucet still feels like he has to prove himself to his peers. That's mainly because he played this season at quarterback, and he knows he's going to have to work on some of the little things to prove that he's one of the best of the best.

"I have to prove that I can play receiver," Doucet said. "I know a lot of people are concerned that I can come in at receiver and not be rusty. This game is a great opportunity for me to show that I deserve all of those stars by my name."

Doucet said it's been really fun to work out with all of the guys that he's been reading about for months.

"I've been reading about all of these guys on Rivals for a year now," Doucet said.

"So this is going to be really exciting to get out here and play with all the guys that coaches tell me about and what I read about on the Internet. I just hope that they are excited to play with me, too. They're all great guys, and I think it's going to be really tough to stop us on offense."

WILLIAMS NO LONGER MIA
Cleveland Benedictine three-star all-purpose running back Raymond Williams has been the most single difficult recruit to reach for interviews in the state of Ohio. But with him playing for the East squad, Williams was finally able to be caught.

"My top choice is still Ohio State," Williams said. "I'm just taking everything one step at a time, but I've been high on the Bucks for a while now, and I still am."

Williams said he's always been close with fellow Cleveland star Ted Ginn Jr. and if he selects Ohio State on Saturday when he announces, it might be tough for him not to also end up in Columbus.

"He's a close friend," Williams said. "I've known him since we played pee-wee football together."

Williams also mentioned Iowa, Nebraska, Pittsburgh, Florida and West Virginia as potential visit destinations. However, he didn't know when he was going to take visits in January.

SPEAKING OF GINN…
There have been rumors and thoughts for weeks on who is in the final two for Ginn, the five-star cornerback that is playing on the East squad. Some reports said USC and Ohio State. Another report said Michigan and USC. Another report said its Michigan and Ohio State. For the record, Ginn said his decision will come between all three teams.

"You'll see on Saturday," Ginn said with a sly smile.

MCDANIEL SET TO ANNOUNCE
Add San Antonio Taft receiver Otis McDaniel to the list of players that are expected to announce his college decision Saturday on NBC.

"That's the plan," McDaniel said. "I've not decided yet or committed to anybody. I've been misquoted by a few other reporters the last few weeks, saying that I'm leaning here or leaning there. TCU and Purdue are my top two teams, and I'll pick between those two."

McDaniel said he's ready to represent his hometown and show the nation that San Antonio football is right up there with all the other big cities in Texas.

"This is a great opportunity to show the nation what we're all about here in San Antonio," McDaniel said. "We play great football down here, and it's now a good opportunity to show the nation on TV what we're all about."

ALL-AMERICAN TIDBITS
-Seattle O'Dea and West safety Chancellor Young has been battling an elbow injury for the past few months, but he's not going to let something like a little injury keep him from getting on the field Saturday. "Oh yeah, I'm going to play," Young said. "You can't keep me out of this game. You'd have to cut my arm off for me to not get out there on the field."

-Waco, Texas, cornerback Marcus Walker was seen wearing a Texas basketball jersey, but rest easy Sooner and Seminole fans. Walker said he's still leaning that way and is expected to announce his decision in January on Fox Sport's Inside Southwest Recruiting, which is hosted by Rivals100.com's own Bobby Burton.

-The nation's No. 1 player, Adrian Peterson, was seen playing with Texas with NCAA Gamebreaker 2004 on PlayStation 2. Peterson said he enjoys using Texas quarterback Vince Young as a dual-threat quarterback. However, Peterson didn't use Young in the game enough to beat out defensive tackle Marlon Favorite. Favorite's Nebraska Cornhuskers won the game 34-16.

-Rumors going around the East camp is that Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison Central receiver Antoine Burks has committed to Ole Miss. Burks didn't want to comment after practice because of time constraints, but Rivals100.com will check in with him on Tuesday at media day for confirmation. Burks is a 6-foot-4, 200-pound sleeper prospect from the Magnolia State.


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