San Antonio - Sunday was travel day for participants in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl (Saturday, 1 pm EST on NBC), but whereas most prospects came via the San Antonio International Airport, Kerrville (Tex.) Tivy linebacker Kyle Prater took an easy hour and a half stroll down I-10 from his home to the team hotel.
Being a local product playing in the Army All-American game has its advantages, but it also has some drawbacks. One of the problems that has come about for Prater is finding enough tickets to appease all his family, friends and supporters who want to see him play live in the national showcase.
"My coach handed me 50 tickets to hand out and I had to get 50 more. People were calling me all week," Prater said. "It's right here in San Antonio, so it's really easy for everyone to come out and watch the game."
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Prater has been around this event before - participating in the U.S. Army National Junior Combine two years ago - but he still was not expecting the spectacle he saw walking into the official team hotel on Sunday.
"It's a pretty big event. I wasn't quite expecting all of this," Prater said. "All kinds of things are running through my head in getting ready for the game and practice. It's going to be a big game, I'll get to meet all the speakers and it will be a lot of fun."
Prater decided to attend LSU this past summer after mulling over offers from the likes of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Purdue and others. Surprisingly, even though the Tigers will be playing for the National Title on Jan. 7, Prater is one of just two prospects committed to LSU participating in the game.
"I know there is one other guy that is going to LSU here (Chancey Aghayere). He's a d-end from the Dallas area," Prater noted. "Hopefully I'll get to meet him and just make the most of the situation. This is a big game and I want to show that I am the type of player that can play in the SEC and at LSU."
For many of the prospects participating in the game, Saturday will be the final, significant recruiting event in their process before Signing Day. For Prater, Saturday's game will be the culmination of a recruiting process that has finally come full circle.
"It started out kind of slow in my junior year," he recalled. "I got an offer on Sept. 1 from Nebraska and right after Signing Day this past year all the schools started going after me. I went on a couple unofficial visits and decided LSU was the place for me."
Prater is rated three stars and ranked as the No. 28 outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com. He is expected to be donning the No. 43 jersey for the West team in the Army Bowl.