senior Shane Cockerille
soaked in the sun,
basked in the moment and thought there was no place he'd rather be than
Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex in Austin, Texas.
This was his introduction to the Lone Star State, with a bright shimmering sun, 65-degree temperatures and
surrounded by 45 of the top high school football players in the country.
"It feels absolutely great," said the 6-foot-2, 205-pound
quarterback who will lead the under-19 USA national team in a Tuesday
showdown with a World Team in the fourth-annual International Bowl.
"I've never been to Texas but this beats the freeze of Maryland."
See our MaxPreps 2013 National Signing Day page
and his teammates arrived from throughout the country Wednesday, and
Thursday was their first day of practice and getting to know one
another. The International Bowl is a competition that unites 64 nations
that comprise the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). The World Team
includes players ages 19 and under from outside the United States.
Maryland-bound lefthander, who has drawn comparisons to a young Tim
Tebow, said he was a little sore following USA's second workout of the
"Just my feet and legs a little bit," he said. "This is
great being around so many fantastic athletes. It's what
it will be like in college. Everything was a little faster, a little
Cockerille led his team to a second-straight Maryland
Class A title with a 35-7 win over rival Calvert Hall in the fall. In the title game
he rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns and also threw for a score.
On the season, he rushed for 1,300 yards, threw for 1,100 and accounted
for 26 touchdowns.
And he doesn't exactly want to be the next Tebow.
Tim Tebow is a great person and I take it as a great compliment,"
Cockerille said. "But I think everyone wants to be their own person."
looking forward very much to National Signing Day on Wednesday, when all
USA players will partake in a breakfast ceremony at the Austin
Renaissance Hotel. Of the 46 USA players, all but
Lakewood (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
receiver Rodney Adams
, Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.)
defensive back Marco Delvecchio
, and Gulf Breeze (Fla.)
offensive lineman Austin Droogsma
will announc their college commitments.
As of Thursday, 33 programs spanning 10 conferences including the Big Ten, SEC, Big 12, Pac 12 and ACC were represented.
will be a giant relief once I sign," Cockerille said. "It's been an
emotional burden and it will be lifted right off my back."
the only Maryland recruit at the International Bowl and he immediately became a Terrapin recruiter
once he committed. He helped recruit four-star cornerback Will Likely
from Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.)
. With 19 recruits, Maryland likely won't be landing
any more top recruits but Cockerille said he'll keep looking.
Perhaps he'll have time to pin down Adams, Delvecchio and Droogsma. If not, he's just going to soak up the experience.
"Being here and representing my country is a fantastic thing," Cockerille said. "I'm totally honored." Ravens' fever
Cockerille grew up a Redskins fans but since attending Gilman in the heart of Baltimore, he has certainly aligned with the Ravens. Especially since Gilman defensive coordinator and former NFL linebacker Stan White is the Ravens' radio analyst.
There's no question who he'll be rooting for in Sunday's Super Bowl. The team will attend a Super Bowl Party with Team Canada at Dave & Buster's in Austin.
"That should be a lot of fun," Cockerille said. "I think there will be a lot of chatter both ways."Block
There are less college blocks at this International
Bowl than the previous three. Other than Michigan and Oklahoma State, which each boast four
recruits, only Central Florida, Iowa State and Iowa have more than one
Michigan, which currently ranks the fifth-best class in the CBS rankings, is represented by Cass Tech (Detroit)
back Jourdan Lewis
and offensive lineman David Dawson
, East English Village Prep (Detroit)
tight end Khalid Hill
and Hudson (Mich.)
linebacker Ben Gedeon. Single focus
Six members of the USA team played in
the 2012 IFAF U-19 World Championship last summer in Austin, where
Team USA lost to Canada in the gold medal game 23-17. None of them want
to take that feeling home with them again.
"I'm here for one
reason, and that's to get our gold medal," said defensive lineman Jacob Hyde
of Clay County (Manchester, Ky.)
., who has committed to Kentucky.
and the others will stress to their teammates the importance of not
overlooking the talent on the IFAF World Team. Many of Canada's
gold-medal winning players will suit up Tuesday, including World
Championship MVP Kevin McGee, a defensive back.Early riser
Notre Dame-bound USA wide receiver Devin Butler
of Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
was all smiles during the welcome dinner Wednesday with World Team players.
However, the senior, who woke at 5 a.m. to catch a flight for Austin, knows the pleasantries won't last long.
"This (the welcome
dinner) was laid-back where it's not so tense," he said. "Yet everybody
knows that we have something to accomplish by winning this game."Play ball
Team USA's Taurean Ferguson
of Jonesboro (Ga.)
referees and umpires youth football and baseball games. Does that make
the 5-9 cornerback empathetic toward game officials when they throw
a flag on him?
"Yes, here and there," the Vanderbilt commit
said unconvincingly with a wince. "I'll get mad for being flagged, but I
understand – that's how it is. If you make a mistake, you make a
mistake. It's going to happen."More of the same
linebacker Howard Tatua of American Samoa traveled more than 24 hours
door-to-door from Pago Pago to Austin, leaving home Monday evening and
arriving just before midnight Tuesday. The high school senior also
played for the 2012 World Team that defeated the U.S., 35-29. Despite
his tired and bloodshot eyes Wednesday night, he is intent on
"We beat the USA last year, and we need to
do it again this year," he said. "I know that it's very hard, but there
is one thing that we're here for — it's football."USA football contributed to this report. See the USA team roster and more on the International Bowl and USA Football.