January 2, 2008

Gray Diary: Stacking up the skill players

Four-star running back Jonas Gray of Detroit Country Day has agreed to do a diary for Rivals.com about his experiences leading up to and during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The game will be played at 1 p.m. EST on Jan. 5 and broadcast live on NBC. Players reported to San Antonio on Sunday and practices began on Monday. Gray will share his thoughts from San Antonio with Rivals.com each day.

SAN ANTONIO - I'm looking forward to Saturday's game. So far this week you can see how badly the East wants it because the West keeps winning. Some of the guys on the West already think that they have won the game because of the past years, so we're letting them know it's a different game. I think the East team is just ready.

In high school, Tuesday was our slow practices and those were the hardest days because everyone was thinking about the game. I think yesterday showed me a lot because we came out of practice better than we did on Monday. Everyone has learned the plays very quickly. We're just all prepared for the game.

Everything that is going on with the Army is great. They had guys who won the Silver Star here and that's pretty incredible. We all are matched up with our own Army heroes and just getting the chance to hear their stories is going to be a good thing for me.

This morning we started kind of early because of the skills challenge. When I first woke up, I went to see the trainer. They said things are getting better, but wanted to see how I am halfway through the day and maybe I'll have to get X-rays just to see how everything is going. I talked to my mom yesterday and she told me to just stay positive about the ankle thing. I'm going to keep doing everything I can to get back healthy and be ready for Saturday's game.

In the skills challenge, I got to see some guys do some things who I had just seen from Rivals.com and hadn't really looked at their film. Some guys impressed me like John Goodman. I thought he did pretty well. DeVier Posey had the fastest time of the receivers, so he did some good things. I was able to see Terrelle Pryor and Dayne Crist go head-to-head and I think Dayne got the best of him. Everybody was egging it on, so that was good.

I saw Andrew Luck for the first time and he is a big guy. I thought he did a good job too of throwing. Sam McGuffie did a good job too. What he does, he's probably the best at it. Ryan Williams is good at what he does too. He has great cutback ability.

People were asking about Pryor and how he stacks up with the other players. I think what he does, like I said about McGuffie, he's the best at it. But I think Star Jackson is also pretty good too at everything that Pryor does, so they are neck and neck I think. Star is the biggest sleeper out here.

The guys on the West, because they are from hotter areas, they play around a little bit more than we do. They joke around all the time. Matt Kalil and those guys joke around a lot.

We have three guys from our team who are coming down for the Junior Combine, O'Neil Swanson, Mose Hogan and Bennie Fowler. I talked to them and they are coming in today. I had a chance to talk to my uncle too and he wanted the inside scoop on everything that was going on with everybody, like who looks good and who stands out. The main thing he wanted to know was are the guys cool and if there were some guys who are cocky or thought they were better than everybody, but I think that everybody overall is pretty cool.

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