Wells Not About To Rest On Laurels

At 6-2 and 235 pounds, Chris Wells is about as good looking of a running back prospect that you'll ever see in person or on paper for that matter. At the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Wells will get his first real chance to play both with and against some of the best possible players there are at the high school level. He's ready for the challenge and he's prepared himself accordingly. Now all that's left for Wells to do is prove that he's the best on the field. He can't wait to do it.

He's already a U.S.A. Today First-Team All-American and he's Scout.com's number-one ranked prep football prospect in the entire country but Chris Wells of Akron Garfield High School is out to prove that he's worthy of such lofty status when he performs in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7, 2006.

"I'm excited just to be invited to go down there and play and I'm ready to go down there and have fun with everybody that's there," Wells said. "But I want to go down there and dominate and show everybody that I am that person that all of the people say that I am, all of the recruiting analyst and everybody that says that I am. I want to go down there and separate myself from everybody else down there."

Wells clearly understands how serious that the expectations are of him and he's been preparing like never before for this opportunity.

"I've just been mainly looking forward to going down there and showing everyone that I am that great athlete and I am that guy that's going to play for Ohio State and take care of business," said Wells who doesn't want anyone to misinterpret his confidence for cockiness. "You know if I would have been doing this training that I'm doing right now then I would have been untouchable during the season."

In just 10 regular-season games, Wells was pretty much untouchable, rushing for 2,134 yards and 27 touchdowns. And immediately after his senior season came to an end, Wells got together with Ted Ginn Sr., the head coach of the East squad for the All-American game, and Ginn told him about the people to go see about working out.

"I went to see these guys in Euclid, at the Euclid Sports Plant, and it's crazy up there," Wells said. "I've just been going down there and taking care of business to get in shape for this game and get ready to go."

Speed Strength Systems at the Euclid Sports Plant is the off-season workout choice for many professional athletes in all sports in Northeast Ohio. Professional football players like Nate Clements, LeCharles Bentley and Antonio Gates and a host of former and current Ohio State football players work out at the renowned training facility.

"It's just crazy and a lot of top guys go there," Wells said. "It's just real serious and intense training to get your speed and strength all the way up to get me in condition. The training is just crazy."

Typical sessions for Wells lasted two-and-a-half hours but in the final week before leaving for San Antonio, Wells underwent intense four-hour sessions with rubber bands and other similar type of work out paraphernalia.

"This week we just turned it on even more to gradually get ready for this game," he said. "But I've been doing this for about three or four weeks now. It's just crazy. It's unexplainable."

If Wells, incredibly sculpted at 6-2 and 235 pounds, isn't a huge success in the All-American game it won't be because he didn't prepare himself accordingly to succeed.

"I know that I'm ready physically. Right now I'm probably in the best shape that I've ever been in my life," said Wells who has routinely worked out in the past with Ohio State's current speed and training coach, Butch Reynolds before the one-time Gold Medalist was hired to his current post. "Just going there for the past three or four weeks was sick because of the workouts that we did there."

Wells knows that so many eyes will be on him with each and every carry that he gets in the game and that has helped to motivate him even further.

"I just want to show everybody that ‘yes, he is the man,' and I want to separate myself from all of the other high school players there," Wells said. "And it makes me even more hungry to know that I'll be playing against the best defense in the country. But, then again, I know that I'll also have the best offensive line in the country and that's something that I've never experienced before."

It may indeed be just an all-star contest but Wells, a rather quiet and unassuming young man with a smile that can light up a dim room, couldn't be more serious and confident about his mission when he arrives in San Antonio on Sunday.

"I know it's suppose to be 90 percent fun and 10 percent about the game but it's the other way around for me," he said. "I'm only going down there for 10 percent fun and the other 90 percent is going to handle my business to prove myself to the country. Not just to the other guys in the game but to the whole country that is going to be watching the game."

Ideally Wells would like to become the football player that Maurice Clarett could have been at Ohio State. Clarett, who played just one year for the Buckeyes, was chosen to play in the 2002 contest but during the week he opted out from the game, for what was reported to have be injury-related reasons.

"I just want to go out there and show all of the Buckeye fans that this game is only the beginning," said Wells, who will enroll at Ohio State in time to play spring ball just as Clarett did four years ago. "The rest is yet to come but this is only the beginning."

In addition to having Wells, the East team is fortunate to have a number of top notch running backs on their squad like James Aldridge, LeSean McCoy and C.J. Spiller and so the actual carries could be few and far between for any of the four. So Wells just wants to make each attempt that he does get in the game noteworthy.

"I can't really set any goals for myself because I don't know how much I'm going to play since it's an all-star game," Wells said. "But every time I touch the ball I'm going to try to make a big play."

In case you can't tell by now, Wells can't wait for the actual game to arrive.

"I'm most excited about the game but I am looking forward to going through the practices and bumping heads with all of the other guys and the contact and everything," Wells said. "But I'm really looking forward to the whole trip overall."

And he's looking forward to giving Ohio State fans a whole lot to smile about.

Gary Housteau will be in San Antonio on Jan. 3 and will file reports from there during the week leading up to the All-American Bowl on Saturday.

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