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October 27, 2011
Alex Balducci said playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl is an extraordinary accomplishment and whether he plays defensive end or defensive tackle the Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic four-star prospect is thrilled to be a part of the game.
"I feel like this is the greatest honor I could get as a high school football player," Balducci said. "It's really amazing to be a part of it.
"I'm looking forward to proving myself against all the competition down there. I feel like I could do really well."
Rivals.com rates Balducci, who was presented with his Army game jersey Wednesday during a ceremony at his high school, as the eighth-best strong-side defensive end and No. 99 prospect in the 2012 class and second in the Oregon state rankings behind only Oregon State commit and four-star offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo.
Since he plays both defensive end and defensive tackle in high school, Balducci said he's not certain where he'll fit best during the week in San Antonio but he wants to dominate wherever he lines up.
"I'm open to anything," Balducci said. "I'll probably be used along the defensive line whether it's at defensive end or defensive tackle I'm not really sure yet."
Being selected to the Army Bowl is also big for Balducci, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound prospect who also plays on the offensive line, because he's the second Portland Central Catholic standout in two years and the third overall to play in the game.
It's a big deal to Balducci to continue that vaunted tradition.
"I'm the third guy, Myles Wade played in it and Brennan Scarlett played in it, so it's a great honor to keep the legacy going," Balducci said. "I feel like we started a tradition here with those two guys and it feels great being added to that list."
Unlike many other prospects playing in the Army game, recruiting excitement will probably be kept to a minimum with Balducci, who committed to Oregon in June and said he doesn't plan to sway from that decision.
"I'm a Duck," Balducci said. "That's what it's going to be."
Other schools like Oregon State, Washington from the Pac-12 and even Boise State were involved in Balducci's recruitment but Oregon was always considered a favorite and he decided to make his pledge early in the summer.
What also reinforced his decision that the Ducks were the right team for him was watching them play in the national championship last season. Seeing them back in contention a season later, Balducci said he's excited to one day soon become a part of that tradition.
"It's great because they're a great team and I want to be a part of that change and that new era at Oregon," Balducci said.
"It's just great because the population isn't very big here so to be considered among the nation's best teams is a great honor. It's something I really cherish and honor."
Just like his admittance into the Army All-American Bowl.
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