Christensen Gets Call from US Army; All Star

<P>Only the best players in America are selected to play in the US Army All Star Bowl held annually in San Antonio, Texas, and one Iowa commit, Trey Stross, received the call earlier this week that he had been invited to play in the game. Late Tuesday night, quarterback Jake Christensen of Lockport, Illinois got his call. We spoke with Jake's father and former NFL quarterback Jeff Christensen about the honor bestowed on his son and more.

Tom (Lemming, who selects the team) had told us last Friday (Spetember 3rd) that Jake should be getting a call, and he told the same to (Wheaton tight end Anthony) Moeaki, " said Jeff Christensen, Jake's father and former NFL quarterback for the Bengals, Browns and Eagles.

"So Tuesday night around at 7:30, one of the Colonel's called Jake and officially extended the invitation, and Jake accepted. They are going to set up an event at Jake's school on October 14th or 15th."

It's just another honor for the highly touted Christensen, rated the #8 quarterback in the country by as well as being pegged at #5 in the nation by Lemming. This will be the Christensen's second trip to a US Army All Star event.

"We went down there for it last year, and they had a camp. Jake performed real well at the camp and Lemming asked him if playing in the game was one of his goals and Jake said yes, that he would love to play in that game." Jeff said.

Though Jake is not letting such things go to his head, his father said that his son certainly understands and appreciates the accolades coming his way.

"It's how the kids measure themselves as to where they stand with their peers. And I think when he went out to the Elite 11 camp and validated to everybody that he was legit…everyone wants to hammer on the 6-foot-1 thing, and that drives him extra hard to prove that it has no bearing on how he plays," said Jeff. Jake is listed at 6-foot-1, 205-pounds.

"Then when he got 2nd in the MVP voting at the the Elite 11, that validated in everybody's mind that he is a pretty good player."

In addition to Jake Christensen and Anthony Moeaki, Jeff said that several other Chicago area players were likely to hear from the US Army and receive an invitation to the game, if they had not gotten the call already.

"Dan Doering will likely be hearing from them soon, too. Dace Richardson is going to be there, as is Moeaki. I am pretty sure Ryan Bain will be there, I had talked with Tom about that months ago. But I don't know if those other guys have been called yet. Six out of the 40 players on the east team will be from Chicago." Christensen said.

Those of you who closely follow Iowa recruiting should already be familiar with those names, as all of those players are main targets for the Hawkeye coaching staff as they try and put together their recruiting class of 2005.

Does Christensen think Iowa could pull off the clean sweep?

"I think that could happen. If they are smart, that is where they will go," Jeff said, half joking and half serious, while adding that each player needs to find the right school that fits him best.

"I have been around coaches for 35 years and I have seen good ones and great ones. But I don't think that I have ever seen a staff put together as well as the one at Iowa. They have the perfect blend of intellect, teachers, people skills, caring for the kids, blending them, setting their standards in conjunction with the fan base and the people of Iowa. I just think it's a perfect place for Chicago kids. It's two and a half hours from his home." Jeff said.

"After being out there seven or eight times, I appreciate all aspects of their program more and more; one of the most important being (Strength and Conditioning coach) Chris Doyle. Quite frankly, what he does with those kids is incredible."

You don't think of body builders when you think of the quarterback position, but Jeff feels that Doyle can work his magic on his son, too.

"Whether its quarterback or defensive back…Bob Sanders is a great example. He comes in there as a scrawny kid, and leaves there with 5.5 percent body fat, 40-inch vertical jump who is now in the NFL. Chris is big on building the right program for the right kid." Jeff said.

"I think he will work on certain muscle groups for Jake, his flexibility, lower back strength. He is already strong in the legs, but I think they will work on his hip flexors. Jake ran an unofficial 3.97 20-yard shuttle last year. If Doyle can get him down to 3.88, Jake will be one of the quickest quarterbacks in the country. So they will build his quickness, mobility under 20 yards."

"With a quarterback like Jake, you are never going to put bulk on him, but you want to increase strength. If I am going to send my son anywhere, I am going to send him to a guy that understands that philosophy and that is how Chris does it; one program for each player."

"Look what they did for Robert Gallery. He put on 80-pounds and his body fat is low for a man his size, and he is strong as an ox. It's incredible what he has done. Kudos to Kirk for recognizing that and doing all that he can to keep Chris there."

The US Army All Star Bowl will take place on January 15th, and will be televised by ESPN.

The Christensen's plan to be in Iowa City for this weekend's contest against Iowa State.

Christensen also added that he thinks Iowa commit Tyler Blum may also be hearing from the US Army in the coming days about being selected for the team.

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