US ARMY GAME: It's All Business For Hobbs

SAN ANTONIO --- Just because some of these guys are future college teammates, don't expect Oviedo's Corey Hobbs to take it easy on them when the East team lines up for practice this week. Hobbs (6-5, 310) is the only Florida commitment on the defensive side of the ball and his four future teammates on the East offense have to understand that once the whistle blows, it's not personal. It's business. Once the whistle blows, he goes full speed every play.

The US Army All-American Game (sponsored by Scout.com) brings the top 78 players in the country together for what is recognized as the best high school all-star football game. Over the next few days leading up to Saturday's nationally televised (NBC) game, Hobbs will probably have a few chances to tackle his future teammates but don't expect him to take it easy. He wants to start for the East team and that means going all out every play in practice.

One of those future teammates at Florida is Tim Tebow of Ponte Vedra Beach Nease. Hobbs gets to see a lot of Tebow on the other side of the line at practice.

"I almost got Tebow today," he said with a wry grin. "I tripped over the center's foot and fell. I almost got him, and I would have."

Hobbs is living it up out in San Antonio. He is holding his own on the field against one of the best all-star lineups of offensive linemen in the history of this classic game. On the East O-Line are studs like Carl Johnson of Durham, NC (future Gator teammate), Andre Smith of Birmingham Huffington, and the two-some from Fort Lauderdale's St. Thomas Aquinas, Sam Young and Dan Wenger.

"It was awesome," Hobbs said. "We really got after it. It was definitely a wake up call going up against all those guys as big as me and skill level as good as me. It was a challenge but something I welcomed. They are all big."

There must have been a lot of jawing going on between offense and defense. They were ready to knock heads by the time the first whistle blew on the practice field.

"The practice went really well … we were tearing it up out there," he said. "We were all beating each other up. We all wanted to hit really bad."

Something that is very apparent is the talent on hand at the running back position. The east squad is loaded with power and speed with Ohio State commitment Chris Wells, Notre Dame commitment James Aldridge, and non-committed C.J. Spiller of Lake Butler Union County. Hobbs is getting a workout against those guys too.

"It is ridiculous," he said. "I count myself lucky if I get to even see a back at the end of the play. If you aren't right there (to get them), then they are 15 yards down the field before you can blink. You have to still pursue after them, but It's just a whole new level."

This is also a time for Hobbs to get himself prepared for what lies ahead as Florida Gator. Hobbs feels that the experience and coaching he gets this week will only help him get ready for the next level.

"I definitely feel like I am doing better out here," he said. "I can see my weakest areas coming out more prominently by going against all the competition out here. I am really excited about getting better and realizing what I need to improve on before going to Florida."

It's not all work. For the players named to the All-American team, the week in San Antonio is a reward for years of hard work. There are plenty of off the field activities including a visit to the military hospital where many injured or wounded veterans of war in Iraq and Afghanistan are recuperating.

"I am looking forward to everything," he said. "I really want to go to the hospital visit. I have wanted to do that as soon as I found out about that. We do that tomorrow."

Hobbs got a small reward during Monday's practice when he discovered that the Florida Gators had defeated Iowa in the Outback Bowl.

"I didn't get to see anything," he said. "I was hoping to watch Sports Center by the morning to see some highlights. I am really proud of them and heard a few key players did well. It's another stepping stone going into next season."

The US Army All-American Game is a reward for deserving kids who have proven themselves on the football field. Corey Hobbs is sure to represent the University of Florida well this week. He's already shown that he will go hard every play in practice and that bodes well for his future as a Gator.


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