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Monday afternoon marked the official report time for the 80 players who will compete on Saturday in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic. While neither team will hit the practice field until Tuesday morning, there was plenty of news and notes from the initial check-in involving both teams.
Rivers unaffected by Mettenberger decision
Early on Monday, news broke that El Dorado (Kansas) Butler Community College quarterback Zach Mettenberger had pledged his services to LSU. He marked the second quarterback commitment for the Tigers' 2011 class, joining Athens (Ala.) signal-caller Stephen Rivers.
For Rivers, who is one of two quarterbacks on the Alabama squad, the news wasn't unexpected.
"I actually heard it on the radio on the way down here," Rivers said. "I expected it to happen. They had been talking about it. It wasn't really much of a surprise."
For the 6-foot-7, 210-pound Rivers, the latest development for the Bayou Bengals will not lead to him having any second thoughts.
"They had told me they were going to take two so it doesn't really change anything," Rivers said. "I am going to go in there and compete and do everything I can to be the starter. I am definitely going to compete and do everything I can to earn the job."
Commitments and decommitments
When dozens of college prospects gather two months before National Signing Day, some news will emerge. Such is the situation with Demopolis (Ala.) running back Damarcus James. James had committed to Washington State in early September, but says that the Cougars are no longer his future destination.
"I decommitted like two weeks ago," James said. "I was kind of on and off about it. I realized I didn't want to go that far from here for college. I want to find a home closer to here."
At this point, James says he is undecided. He mentioned UAB, Troy, South Alabama, Georgia State and Auburn as being in the picture. All have offered except Auburn. He hasn't yet taken any officials.
While James is looking around, one of his blockers - Jasper (Ala.) Walker offensive tackle C.H. Scruggs - recently found his home. Prior to taking an official visit, Scruggs pledged to Samford about a month ago.
"I really feel like I fit in at Samford," Scruggs said. "I really enjoy the coaching staff. It is a great experience. That is where I feel I need to be."
Scruggs said he has built a good relationship with offensive line coach Brandon Herring at Samford. He took an official visit to Samford recently and came away impressed with his future home.
There was a pair of roster changes for the Alabama squad in recent days.
Adamsville Minor safety Chris Jones, an Alabama commitment, will not be playing as he recovers from plantar fasciitis. He has been replaced by Mobile McGill Toolen cornerback E.J. May. May, who pledged his services to Kentucky in early October, still intends to attend Kentucky but is not considered a commitment to the Wildcats at this time.
Another addition for the Alabama squad is Millbrook Stanhope Elmore defensive end Kyreek Brown. Brown holds an offer from Southern Miss at this time.
Laurel (Miss.) West Jones running back Devontay Barnett holds an offer from Arkansas State.
Brookhaven (Miss.) offensive lineman Stone Underwood holds an offer from Southeastern Louisiana.
Birmingham (Ala.) Briarwood Christian kicker Wilson Whorton holds an offer from Air Force.
Decatur (Ala.) offensive lineman Hayden Naumann holds offers from Samford, Jacksonville State and Tennessee-Martin.
Foley (Ala.) offensive tackle Nick Lawhorn holds an offer from Arkansas State.
Opelika (Ala.) defensive tackle Caleb Lawrence holds an offer from Wofford.