As far as football factors were concerned, there really weren't many reasons for Beatrice wide receiver Daniel Davie and Lincoln Southeast tight end David Sutton to play in the 2011 Shrine Bowl.
With both already having scholarships from Nebraska in hand, there wasn't much left to prove for either player in terms of trying to raise their stock in one final high school game. Football, however, was far from the only factor in their decision to play in the annual all-star game.
For both Davie and Sutton, the experience of playing with and against some of the best prep players in the state and also helping support a charity like the Shriners Hospital were more than enough to play one more week of high school football.
"I'm glad I did it," Sutton said. "It's sort of a different experience than I thought it would be. We've had a lot of practices, and it's definitely been time consuming. I thought we were going to do some more activity type stuff, but it's definitely been a fun time. Going to the hospital really showed me a lot. It's been a great time, and it's all for the kids."
Because of previous injuries and scheduling conflicts, Nebraska's two other in-state commits - Ryne Reeves of Crete and Zach Sterup of Hastings St. Cecilia - opted not to play in the Shrine Bowl.
Davie and Sutton said they weighed the pros and cons of sitting out the game or playing and risking the chance of injury. In the end, both agreed the game was an experience they couldn't pass up.
"Me and Daniel talked with the other two - Reeves and Sterup - about playing in this," Sutton said. "They had some conflicts, but Daniel and I thought it would be a fun time to come out here and play our last high school football game. We're looking forward to the experience."
Davie said getting hurt wasn't even an issue for him in deciding whether to play in the game.
"If figure, you're playing football," Davie said. If you're going to get hurt, you're going to get hurt. I love this game, so I figured it would be an extra game to play in my senior year, so I just went ahead and made the decision to do it.
"I'm going to redshirt (at Nebraska), so this is going to be my last game for a year. I just want to go into it with a positive attitude. I knew the whole Shrine Bowl thing was a great experience, and my coach kind of told me it was going to be a good time, so I was pretty excited to play in it."
- Robin Washut
Shrine Bowl smack talk heating up
It may just be an all-star game intended to help a good cause, but when it comes down to it, players on both the North and South teams are coming into Saturday's Shrine Bowl with every intention of winning.
The ante was raised quite a bit during the South team's Shrine Bowl media day on Thursday, as Davie became the first player to publicly get the competitive juices going.
"I feel like we have a ton of talented guys on the roster, and I feel like we can go in and dominate the game," Davie said. "Hopefully we do that so I don't look like a bad person or whatever."
Asked to predict a score for the game, Davie didn't back down in confidence.
"I think we win by two touchdowns easily," he said.
It didn't take long for Davie's smack talk to reach the players on the North squad during their portion of the media day. North receiver/defensive back Devin Bass of Millard North, who committed to Ohio, even took things to an individual level against Davie.
"If I'm covering him, he won't score," Bass said. "You can print that."
- Robin Washut
Vinson hopes to be diamond in the rough
After a week of terrorizing the South team's offense in practice, it's hard to believe Omaha Central defensive end Eddie Vinson went almost completely ignored in the recruiting process.
Despite being praised by South team and Aurora head coach Randy Huebert for his play against some of the best linemen in the state, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Vinson only received one official offer from Iowa Western Community College, where he'll play this fall.
His biggest impact this week has been as a speed rusher off the edge, as he's been a mainstay in the South's backfield on nearly every play. It's easy to see why when you look at his 4.60 time in the 40-yard dash.
"I'm just too fast for everybody," Vinson said. "That fits my style. I like rushing off the tackle and just blowing right past him. I know I'm faster, so I just try and do what I can."
Vinson said he plans to play at Iowa Western for two seasons and then try to transfer to a Division-I school. For now, he plans on showing schools what they missed out on in Saturday's Shrine Bowl.
"I'm going to go out there and prove myself, show everybody I can play with the best," Vinson said. "I'll just have to be that diamond in the rough."
- Robin Washut
Forsythe ok with D-I snubbing
One would think that being the leading rusher in the state of Nebraska would be enough to garner some sort of interest from a Division-I team, but that wasn't the case for Omaha Burke running back Jimmie Forsythe.
Despite rushing for 1,771 yards and 23 touchdowns along with 1,133 receiving yards for the Bulldogs last season, the 6-foot, 185-pound Forsythe only received four offers from FCS (I-AA) schools. He ended up accepting a full ride to South Dakota State.
Forsythe said he was more than happy with where he ended up at SDSU, but admitted part of him was upset over the lack of attention from larger programs.
"I felt a little slighted, but that's just the way it goes," Forsythe said. "I couldn't be happier with my decision to go to South Dakota State. I'm really excited to go there."
He added that he thought about walking on at Nebraska like many of his Shrine Bowl teammates, but said he couldn't pass up the opportunity for a free college education.
"I considered walking on at Nebraska," he said. "It's always a Nebraska kid's dream to play for the Huskers and run out there in Memorial Stadium, but South Dakota State was the right choice for me."
"I talked about it with my dad and my high school coaches, and I just felt like I deserved to be on scholarship. I felt like I've worked hard enough in my high school years that I deserved to be on scholarship somewhere. That's the route that I wanted to take."
Forsythe said he will play either cornerback or safety at SDSU, and also he hopes to eventually return punts and kicks for the Jackrabbits.
- Robin Washut
Broekemeier nearly went to IWCC
Four days before national signing day, Aurora quarterback and Nebraska walk-on recruit Tyson Broekemeier said he highly considered accepting a scholarship offer from Iowa Western.
The Reivers placed nine players to Division I schools in 2011 on scholarship and Broekemeier said that nearly drew him to the upstart program in Council Bluffs.
Broekemeier took an official visit to IWCC, but at the end of the day he followed where his heart was telling him to go.
"My dream was to go to Nebraska, and after thinking about it I couldn't pass that up," Broekemeier said.
***Event organizers are expecting a bigger crowd than normal for this year's game with the earlier kickoff date and ideal weather conditions. Pre-sale tickets to the game are already as high as they've been in a long time.
***Omaha Benson running back Cleo Miller said he'll also play his college ball at Iowa Western next year.
***Davie, who was recruited by former NU receivers coach Ted Gilmore, said he's been in contact with his new future position coach Rich Fisher.
"He's a really cool guy," Davie said. "I feel like I can do well under his coaching."
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