Instead of introducing themselves for the first time, the recruits were high-fiving one another, playing practical jokes on each other and seemingly picking up where many of them left off several months ago at the signing-day event. In a way, they are one step ahead of many other elite programs' incoming freshmen. Maybe two steps ahead.
The weekend went real good, defensive lineman Tom McEowen said. Saturday, my dad picked me up, and we went to the recruiting lounge in the stadium. We went to the game. The whole day was good because our whole recruiting class gets along real well. We all click.
All of the incoming freshmen signed autographs. For McEowen, it was not just an experience to feed his ego. It was an experience, he said, that really showed how tied into the program many fans are, and how he is honored to be a part of.
So how many autographs did McEowen actually sign?
A lot, McEowen laughed. Me and Pat [Devlin] were walking around and we went downstairs [from the recruiting lounge]. At the end, everyone was trying real hard to get away from the fans because we had to go to the game, but you see the little kids and people walking by and little kids are crying because they want us to sign their stuff, it's just crazy.
Every response McEowen gave included some mention of his teammates. He was quick to point out that it wasn't just at the game that the players meshed. After the game, the players remained together and enjoyed the weekend, despite the less than perfect weather conditions.
After the game, me, [Jared] Odrick, [Andrew] Quarless, and Maurice Evans played some basketball, McEowen said. It was real cool meshing with your teammates. The whole weekend went real smoothly. I wish it was nice out, but it doesn't really matter.
McEowen pointed out that Quarless was the best basketball player of the entire group.
All of the happenings of the weekend were really a result of proacivity. Proactivity has been a hallmark of the incoming freshman class. Recruits like Aaron Maybin were proactive in developing the idea to have a signing-day event. Many of the recruits were proactive in securing commitments from fellow incoming freshmen by talking to them on the phone.
McEowen treated the weekend no differently, and was proactive in sizing up his future teammates - ultimately his competition to crack the depth chart as a true freshman, a goal McEowen places paramount.
The game was awesome, McEowen said. When you're at the game, you watch your position. You kid of size up your teammates. You're always wanting to compete, and I think that's how we all feel. I love the competition.
When asked whether there was one highlight of the weekend, McEowen went silent for a few seconds. He was genuinely thinking of an answer. Instead of giving one event in particular that would have capped off the weekend, he made the statement that the best part was just being with his teammates.
I liked the game, I liked the whole thing, McEowen said. I just love the whole feeling of being together in the recruiting lounge. Before the game, during the game, and after the game it was great being with my teammates.
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