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January 10, 2005

All-American Diary: Bonding process begins

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Long Island (N.Y.) North Babylon running back Jason Gwaltney will be doing a daily diary from San Antonio for Rivals.com all week. The 6-foot-0, 234-pounder talks about the early bonding process for the East team and his impression of Texas.

When I first really started thinking about coming down here to San Antonio as the date of the game got closer, I was hoping I'd be able to have some fun and see the city. I was a bit worried that they'd have us so busy that we wouldn't be able to enjoy some stuff, but that hasn't been the case. I've had a lot of fun already and they're treating us like kings here. That's a great feeling.

The other part that is great is getting to meet the players you've read about all year long. Most of us have checked Rivals.com for the last year seeing where everyone ranks and who is among the top players in the nation. Now to hang out with them is kind of cool because we've all got a lot in common. Most of us hit it off right away, but the guys I hang with the most are Patrick Turner, Brian Cushing and Nyan Boateng - at least so far. But everyone has been cool and the guys who are committed recruit us to their school and those of us who haven't committed all talk about going to the same place.

I had Eugene Monroe talk to me about going to Virginia and running behind him and Mark Sanchez talking to me about USC. The guys on the East squad have been bonding together pretty good so far so I think this will help us as the week goes on.

The players I've been most impressed with so far athletically have been Patrick Turner, Cush, Justin King, Toney Baker and Melvin Alaeze. When you run at Melvin, you have to make sure you know where he is because he gets down the line so well. He's got to be the best defensive end in the country I would think.

Tuesday we get to play a little more physical and hit a little more, which is what I'm looking forward to. We'll also have refs I hear so we can simulate game situations. We also get more down time Tuesday so we can see the city some more and relax.






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