U.S. Army All-American Bowl taps Roark

Another of Nebraska's commits has received his nomination for the U.S. Army All-American Game that will be in San Antonio this January. This game has no parallel like it in high school football and it's just another goal down for Craig Roark.

Craig Roark has know about it for a while now. The 6-foot-3 and 290 pound offensive guard from Ada, Okla. said that today has been a long time coming. An invitation that he has known about this entire season.

"It was awesome, I was excited," Roark said. "Tom Lemming told me a little before the year. Two weeks before I actually got the letter, before the season. It was after our first scrimmage. He told me to call him and talk recruiting and then he told me that I was invited to play in the All-American game."

The U.S. Army All-American game is still relatively a new bowl game assembled of the nation's top talent. But for Roark, he has been watching it for "years" and getting the invite was a goal for him this season.

"I've wanted to play in it since the first time I saw it. I've seen every one of them. It's been a dream of mine."

Although there wasn't as many media there as Craig expected, it was a production that was a bit overwhelming to him. "It started out with our principal talking about the band and the two guys that made state in cross-country."

"He then said that every once in a while there is a big honor that needs recognition. He brought Coach Dean to the front and he talked about it and what it was equivalent to. He talked about the McDonald's basketball team. He announced Mr. Davenport from the U.S. Army and he brought me up on stage and he gave me my jersey and I made my speech."

What Craig wasn't expecting was the pom squad altering a cheer in his honor. "They got up there and did a little dance for me. They do a chant that goes 'we love Ada' and they said 'we love Craig'. It was funny. The cheerleaders did a dance to the school fight song. It was pretty exciting."

Through the line of questioning by the media there wasn't any questions involving his direct commitment to Nebraska. However, a question or a comment did come up about Phillip Dillard and Craig now both being nominated to represent the state of Oklahoma and both being Nebraska commits.

The team as whole seem to be coming together and getting stronger and the year goes along. Craig mentioned playing the best team in their district, other than Ada, that his coach felt like would be a challenge. "They were 4-5. We were pumped up for the game and came out and beat them 47-0. We had 530 yards of offense. They brought in six down lineman."

In the game Craig went up against a division I prospect in Brad Hickline. "He was the best prospect that I have gone up against all year. He has offers from New Mexico State, Colorado State and SMU. He was 6-foot-5 and 320. I dominated him all night. He started talking smack. There was one play, the second play of the game, I drove him ten yards down the field and knocked him on his butt. It was bad. One of the best ones I've had all year."

"I let him know about it. The very next play Chad (Craig's brother) was going after the linebacker and the nose guard went for his legs and he fell into my legs and I fell down. Brad thought that I just missed him and he made the tackle. He let me know about it. Everyone on my team was telling him 'that's a big mistake 74'. He didn't make a play the rest of the night. It was awesome."

Craig's brother, Chad Roark, has made a name so far for himself this season as well. Although he has primarily been playing defense, he has been playing center for Ada since the regular center went down with a knee injury. "It's not serious, he'll be back in two to three weeks. He has been playing right next to me."

Craig believes that Clinton, Okla. remains the toughest obstacle in their future. At this point there may not be a bigger obstacle in their future than themselves. They feel like they are peaking and they need to stay on top of their game.

As for his future at Nebraska, it was investigated if that could start sooner before later. After talking to his guidance counselor and Nebraska, Craig found out that he couldn't CLEP out of the remaining classes he had to enroll this spring at Nebraska. That being said, Craig was somewhat happy about that just because he will have a chance to finish out his senior year and report as early as possible to Lincoln this summer.

This past weekend Roark caught Nebraska on television against Missouri. It's probably his third or fourth time he's seen them on television this year, but this week was special. "This is the first year that I have never watched the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State game. Nebraska played awesome. The defense stepped up. A big one. I felt like the offensive line played real well and only allowed two sacks. Missouri has some good defensive tackles. I am definitely looking forward to being part of that."

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