WPIAL stars will remember the Alamodome
An admitted follower of high school football recruiting, Sto-Rox quarterback Paul Jones said he now can put faces to the names of the top national prospects he's read about in magazines and on the Internet.
Thing is, Jones has one of those names, too. So do Canon-McMillan linebacker Mike Hull and Penn Hills cornerback Cullen Christian.
The three WPIAL stars will play in Saturday's annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio's Alamodome. The game, regarded as the top national all-star event for high school seniors, will be televised live by NBC.
Jones and Hull, both Penn State recruits, and Christian, who is committed to Michigan, have been in San Antonio all week, practicing twice a day against a collection of the top players in the country.
Current NFL stars Adrian Peterson, Vince Young and DeSean Jackson are among the players who have competed in the All-American Bowl.
"I started watching (the game) three or four years ago," said Hull, who made 97 tackles last season. "So it's pretty cool to be down here."
Christian, who attended the game's scouting combine for underclassmen last year, noticed an increase in the competition with this group of players.
"Everybody's gotten better, stronger, faster," Christian said. "Everybody here is good."
Christian and Jones, who know each other from AAU basketball, are rooming together at the Hyatt, where all the players are staying. Hull is sharing a room with Cole Marcoux, the quarterback from the Bronx who won the reality show "The Ride" to earn his spot on the East roster.
All three WPIAL players have been rotating in practice and expect to do the same in the game, although none were sure who would start.
Jones, however, said he and West Virginia recruit Barry Brunetti have been taking the most reps at quarterback. Christian said he's been working with the first group of the East's four cornerbacks, and Hull said he's one of six rotating linebackers.
"You have to stand out and perform when it's your time," Hull said. "I hope that I just do my responsibility and don't let the team down."
A look at past U.S. Army All-Americans from the WPIAL:
2009: Dorian Bell, Corey Brown
2008: Terrelle Pryor*, Jonathan Baldwin, Shayne Hale, Lucas Nix
2007: Chris Jacobson, Stefan Wisniewski
2006: Dorin Dickerson, Darrin Walls
2005: Justin King
2003: Ryan Mundy, Travis Thomas
2002: Tyler Palko, Mark Farris
*—Named game MVP