Riva on the River: Freedom at Last

SAN ANTONIO — Today, the East team did not practice with pads, but ran through some of its kickoff schemes. All-in-all, it was a pretty uneventful day in terms of on-field action. But there was still some interesting news coming out of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Finally Some Freedom

All week, the members of the East and West teams followed a strict itinerary that included practices, clinics and media events. Players were not allowed to leave the team hotel, the Westin, at any time except with a chaperone. Even with a chaperon, the players were only allowed to leave the premises for a short time.

That all changes this evening, as the players are given the night off and can enjoy the sights of San Antonio. As a result, there will not be any media access to any of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl participants tonight.

Just for Kicks (and Punts too)

About the only thing newsworthy to report from the East's practice this morning was that, in all likelihood, on every kick return, kick coverage, punt return or punt coverage, a current and/or potential Penn State commitment will be on the field.

The first-team kick return squad included Percy Harvin and Chris Bell as the return men. The second-team kick return squad included Percy Harvin and A.J. Wallace. All three will also return punts for the East.

In addition, the first-team kick and punt coverage includes Maurice Evans and A.J. Wallace.

Forever Young

The Floridian-man-of-mystery, five-star offensive lineman Sam Young, who at one point seemed a long shot for Penn State, has actually been in the picture for the Nittany Lions for quite some time. As Young indicated a couple of days ago, he has been on an unofficial visit to Penn State, the Nittany Lions have been his favorite team to watch since he was small (I'm guessing Young was 6-foot-2 out of the womb), and he will take an official visit to Penn State shortly.

At this point, after speaking with Young and others, I think the facts indicate that the race for Young is between Penn State and Michigan, with Notre Dame and USC on the outside looking in. However, his recruitment is far from over, and would be very premature to attempt to make an accurate prediction.

Current Penn State commitment Jared Odrick said he wants Young to commit “badly” and has been in Young's ear about Penn State all week.

Table for Two

Last evening at the Westin Hotel, the media had access to all of the players from 5:00 until 6:00 p.m. Of note, both Maurice Evans and A.J. Wallace spent the entire time at the same table, doing interviews for various media outlets.

The consensus down here seems to be both that both Evans and Wallace will announce for Penn State tomorrow.

Who Does Chris Bell Remind You Of, Chris Bell?

Everyone wants to know about Chris Bell. But who is Chris Bell really? I asked the man himself about which NFL receiver he reminds himself of.

“I'd say Terrell Owens, with Chad Johnson's speed,” Bell said with a slight smirk. “That's about it.”

Odrick, as was the case with every topic that evening, gave his two cents.

“I think the attitude is more like Chad Johnson,” Odrick said. “[Bell] has more fun, and has fun with it, on and off the field. He doesn't cause problems or anything like that like T.O. would, but like Chad Johnson, it's all positive fun.”


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