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PHILADELPHIA - The nation's No. 1 defensive tackle, Sharrif Floyd from Philadelphia (Pa.) George Washington, has come a long way in a short period of time. The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder went from a relative unknown who was invited to the U.S. Army Combine in January of last year to the nation's No. 8 prospect overall and one of the first selections to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
For Floyd, it's been a great ride so far but it's far from over.
"It's a great honor and the Army presentation was great," said Floyd, who got his jersey on Monday. "It was a big deal for me, my family, friends, teammates and for the whole school. We had a lot of people come out for it and it was great to share it with them. It's also great motivation to keep doing what I'm doing and trying to show that Philly football is the real thing and keep earning recognition for the area and the school."
Floyd helped earn his spot on the East squad with a dominating performance down at the combine.
"There were some guys there who were bigger names and I kind of came in as an unknown," he said. "But that's the way I like it. I am always working hard and busting my butt to get better and prove myself so that was a good situation for me. I think I turned some heads there and once I saw the game itself last year for the first time, I wanted to play in it. Now my goal is to go down there and show that I deserve it."
Even though he has five stars next to his name, a lofty top-10 ranking and offers from nearly every major program in the country, something still motivated Floyd.
"Being where I am ranked is good, but I keep looking up and seeing an offensive lineman (Seantrel Henderson) as the No. 1 player in the country," Floyd said. "That motivates me. No way an offensive lineman should be on top. My goal is always to be at the top and be the best."
Floyd almost didn't get a chance to show what he can do at the combine or make the game itself due to financial reasons.
"Everyone knows the story by now," he said. "But the short version is that there was no way I could afford to go down to San Antonio for the combine after I got invited. So my Guidance Counselor told me one day that we were going to hold a bake sale and sell brownies and get me down there. Then the class of 1996 football team at GW donated $1,000 towards the cause and everything got rolling."
Floyd has a tremendous relationship with Dawn Seeger, the Guidance Counselor that helped make his trip down to Texas a reality.
"She's like a mother to me, a second mother," he said. "There's nothing I wouldn't do for her and I'm blessed to have her in my life."
Did Floyd feel any pressure to do well at the combine after everyone worked so hard to make his dream come true?
"Not at all," he said. "I knew what I was capable of and I had so many people who believed in me that I was confident I wouldn't let anyone down."
Floyd is in the middle of his senior season and has led his team to a 5-2 record so far this year. And he's also in the middle of a serious recruiting battle with schools like Florida, USC, Penn State, South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio State and Rutgers all in the mix. Floyd has already visited Florida and USC and was supposed to visit South Carolina this weekend, but has had a change in plans.
"I'm going to Ohio State on an official this weekend when they host Minnesota," he said. "And I have North Carolina still set up for Nov. 6. I plan on taking an official visit to South Carolina still and that will be it. There have been rumors about Michigan, but I'm not interested. I'll take my five officials to Florida, Southern Cal, Ohio State, UNC and South Carolina and take an unofficial to Penn State and figure things out from there."
Is there a favorite?
"No, not at all," he said. "Everyone thinks I favor one school or another but that's not the case. I'm keeping an open mind on all of these visits and then I'll sit down with people who are important to me and make a decision. I want to play early if I can, I want to fit into the defense and fit with the players and I want an opportunity to get a good education. Big school, program prestige, all of that doesn't matter. It's all about fit."