US ARMY BOWL: Media Day Ramblings

SAN ANTONIO, Texas-Thursday's media opportunity provided an opportunity to get up close and personal with every recruit participating in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Game which will be played Saturday at the Alamo Dome. Here's a look at what Fred Rouse had to say on where he stands, why Martellus Bennett isn't scared to line up against any reporter, Alex Boone's future career as a punter and how Josh McNeil could be known as the Big Dipper.

Fred Rouse of Tallahassee Lincoln continues to recover from the ankle sprain that he suffered earlier this week while practicing with the East squad. With just a little more than a day remaining until the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Rouse says he's nearly at 90 percent from the low sprain in his right ankle.

"If it was a high ankle sprain, I probably wouldn't be playing right now," Rouse said. "It's a little bit tender, but I'll be alright."

Rouse has narrowed down his list to a solid four: Miami, Texas, Florida State and Alabama, but that didn't stop Tallahassee Lincoln alum and current Gator Gavin Dickey from making a call.

"He tried to talk to me a little bit about [Florida]," Rouse said. "But when I was picking my final four, they were still dealing with a lot of adversity."

Rouse said Dickey was a heck of a quarterback and probably would succeed at professional baseball if he worked hard enough. On the recruiting front, though, Rouse played a little word association with each of his final teams:

Miami: A dominant program

FSU: Hometown

Texas: Mack Brown and the guys are a great group to be around

Alabama: Tradition.

When asked what he was looking for in a program, Rouse was quick to reply that academics, playing time and comfort level were all key as he is looking to major in sports management.

Rouse isn't one for comparisons, and he was quit to assert what he wanted to establish upon joining the collegiate ranks.

"I want to be the first Fred Rouse," Rouse said when asked about how he compared to NFL star Randy Moss. "A lot of guys probably compare to a lot of other guys, but you just got to roll with it."

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Martellus Bennett, ranked the number two tight end in the nation by Scout.com, was out in full force during the Alamo Dome Media Day. From shaking hands with an adoring female crowd to juking out Scout.com reporters on fly routes, "Young Money" showed why many of the athletes participating labeled him as the biggest trash talker.

"Everyone is just out here having fun," said Bennett. "I don't talk trash and when I do, I back it up with my play."

While Bennett is quick to dish it out, he doesn't hesitate to give credit where credit is due.

"The linebackers, and the defensive line, and the safeties and heck, everybody in the west has impressed me," he added. "We are going to beat the east by at least 17."

Bennett listed his current final four as Texas, Texas A&M, Southern California, and Duke.

"I'm going to be looking at playing early and wherever I am most comfortable and then I'll make my decision."

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Alex Boone, an Ohio State commitment, checks in as the number one rated prospect from the Midwest. One look at the 6-8, 305-pound offensive lineman confirms that. Boone would like to be a triple threat, but you would never give him that title if you saw him punt. At Media Day, he boomed a couple of 20-yarders.

"I'm bad…very bad," Boone said. "If you see me back there thinking I'm going to pull a fake punt just get the hell out of the way, because something is wrong."

Boone was making the best of his time in San Antonio by getting to know many of the new faces on the field.

"It's really great out here and I'm out here to meet new people and also to win a football game," Boone said. "It's a great experience and not everyone has a chance to come out here and do it."

The mammoth offensive lineman has had a chance to block some of his team's defenders and even dished out a pet name or two on his teammates.

"Cushing is good, and Nicholson is great out there," he said. "I like Rico [McCoy] and call him Rico Suave. That is a personal thing and you can ask me about it later [laughing]."

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Josh McNeill, a Tennessee commitment, might come to be known as the Big Dipper in his future days and while he is big in stature at 6-4, 270 pounds, his love of chewing tobacco is what the big dip is all about.

"If you ask anybody in the hotel or anybody who has seen me this week, they will tell you that it is true," McNeil said. "I'm a big southern boy from Mississippi who likes to take a dip every now and then."

McNeil's love of the dip remains to his leisure time as he said he refrains from dipping when in class, or on the field.

His strong relationship with the Tennessee staff begins with his respect for offensive line coach Jimmy Ray Stephens, a former Gator player and assistant coach.

"Coach Stephens is a straight shooter, and he tells you the truth and is a genuine person," McNeil said. "Center, linebacker, and tight end is where he made All-SEC during his playing days."

The southern boy has had a blast meeting all the different types of personalities that have been put together during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl week. While a solid Volunteer commitment, the offensive lineman did have an enjoyable trip to Gainesville.

"I had a blast when I visited Gainesville," he said. "By the time they had changed coaches, I already had my heart set on Tennessee."


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