Boone Looking Forward To A Fun Week In San Antonio

It won't all be fun and games during Alex Boone's week-long stay in San Antonio but he hopes to have a great time and get to know a lot of good high school football players in the process. Boone is one of the top 78 players in the country that get to play in the East vs. West All-American match up in front of a live NBC television audience on Saturday.

After a stellar prep career at St. Edward High School, Alex Boone is set to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl game on Saturday, Jan. 15, in front of a nationally televised NBC audience. The all-star players officially report for duty in San Antonio on Sunday.

Boone is the most highly-anticipated offensive lineman to come out of Ohio since Orlando Pace, who had an auspicious beginning to his college career as an Ohio State freshman in 1994, and the expectations are nearly as great for Boone.

Since losing to Glenville in the second round of the OHSAA playoffs, Boone, who has been hard at work trying to heal-up that high ankle sprain he suffered in that game, has been vigorously training for his future career as a Buckeye.

"Everything is going real good right now. I'm having a lot of fun," Boone said. "I train as much as I can and the ankle is real good."

The expectations that Boone has for game and the entire week ahead will continue to grow and evolve as he finds out what exactly the game is all about once he gets there. But for now they're pretty basic.

"I'm just hoping to start and have fun," he said. "I just want to meet as many kids as I can and have a good time."

Boone likes to have a good time all the time but he said he'll be ready to strap it up for real by the end of the week.

"It's going to be the best of the best going against each other and I think it will be a lot of fun," he said. "I'm sure they take it pretty seriously down there so I'll be ready to play."

He's looking forward to spending some time with guys like Maurice Wells and Jason Gwaltney, two highly-touted running backs who he'll blocking for in the game, and other top-rated offensive linemen like Michael Oher, Reginald Youngblood, Eugene Monroe and Dan Doering. Boone didn't get to meet Doering when the Barrington, Illinois product made an unofficial visit to Ohio State early in the season but he's looking forward to establishing a "casual friendship" with him during the week.

"I'm out there to have a good time and I hope he is too," Boone said. "So hopefully we'll become good friends."

Boone intends to honor one of his good friends from home who was killed in an automobile accident last May during the prestigious all-star contest. For the very first time, Boone will don the number 61 in the memory of Jamie McManamon, a former St. Edward student and teammate of Boone on the gridiron.

At Ohio State, Boone could have inherited Pace's same number worn by Simon Fraser the last four years, the number he wore at St. Ed's, but he's asked for 61 to keep McManamon's memory alive.

"I'm going to change my number to that number in college so it'll be the first time that I'm wearing it," Boone said. "Hopefully I'll make his family proud and everyone back here proud of me."

Ohio State fans in general could use a new infusion of pride after being deluged with negativity after the Troy Smith incident and the subsequent resignation of athletic director Andy Geiger. Boone obviously looks very unfavorably upon a lot of the disparaging comments that have been made in the national media.

"I think it's a bunch of rubbish and I don't listen to any of it," Boone said. "I stay away from it as much as I can and it really hasn't changed me."

Of course there's a bit of a concern to the family about the possible ramifications that could come because of it, but their concerns have been assuaged by the Ohio State staff.

"My grandma and my mom have been asking them what's going to happen and they said not to worry because nothing is going to happen and everything should remain the same," Boone said. "There was a little concern but now there's none left and I feel good about everything."

However Boone and his family are still lobbying the administration at St. Edward to change their position and allow him to graduate early and enroll at Ohio State in time for the spring quarter.

"From what I hear right now, I guess that could possibly change as well," Boone said. "It's the biggest drama thing I've ever been involved in."

He once had high hopes of participating in spring drills at Ohio State but, barring a change of heart by the administration at St. Edward, he'll have to delay his official arrival in Columbus until the summer.

"It's just kind of a little favor and I don't really think I'm asking for too much," Boone said. "But if it doesn't happen then I'll just have to work my (butt) off in the summer time even harder to prove that I want to play as a freshman."

One way or another, Boone will be down at Ohio State when spring football is in session. If he's not a student in one of the dorms by that time, then he has an uncle that lives in Columbus and Boone would stay with him if he's not permitted to graduate early from St. Edward.

"For my senior project you get to shadow somebody and I'm going to shadow Coach Bollman so I will be down there," he said. "But if I don't graduate early, I won't be playing and I won't enroll early. I'll just be shadowing Coach Bollman and learning some stuff from him. So even if I don't graduate early, somehow it will benefit me by being down there."

And ultimately Boone will benefit from playing it the U.S. All-American Bowl as well.

"I'd like to make an impact playing on the offensive line. I think I'll be playing right tackle," he said. "It should be a lot of fun."

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