Pugh Earns Respect at National All-Star Game

Ryan Pugh discusses his week in San Antonio and the U.S. Army All-Star football game.

San Antonio, Tex.--Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl didn't turn out quite the way Auburn commitment Ryan Pugh had hoped, but the week turned out to be very much a surprise for Pugh and everyone in attendance who saw him in action.

The starting center for the East team who played every offensive snap for his team, Pugh says that the week was a time for growth for him that continued throughout Saturday's game.

"It's just a learning experience really," Pugh tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It was a bowl-type atmosphere. It was a lot like it's going to be once you get in college as far as traveling on the road.

"I played with a lot of great players," Pugh says. "I'll remember these guys for a long time. Just to savor the experience and being able to come out here with the best players in the country is unreal. I'm honored just to be out here."

While Pugh and the East squad didn't come away with a victory, losing 24-7 to the West, Pugh left with something even more important to him and that is the respect of his teammates and coaching staff. Voted the main team captain by the East squad, Pugh says that means the world to him and he hopes it's just the first time that happens in his football career.

"That's really special to me," Pugh says. "It's kind of satisfaction for all the hard work you put into your high school career. To be the captain of the entire East squad of the best players in the country and to be named the top captain is really an honor. It kind of lets me know my hard work has paid off.

"I also know there is a lot more hard work out there to be done because I want to be a captain at Auburn one day. There's a lot of things I have left to do but this was just great."

Ryan Pugh signs an autograph on Saturday in San Antonio.

Ranked as the number three center in the country by Scout.com coming into the week but just a three star player overall, Pugh was one of the lowest rated prospects in San Antonio for the week. Because of that he says that he had a lot to prove this week and he feels like he did just that with his play on the field that helped his rating move up to four stars.

"You have to prove something to yourself every time you step on the field to show that you're a man and you're going to rise to the occasion," Pugh says. "I came out here and no one knew about me. I decided that before I leave someone is going to know who I am whether I hit someone or whatever happens people were going to know who I was before I left this week. I feel like I accomplished that. Hopefully, that will help me down the road."

Inside The AU Tigers Top Stories