Coming into the week, St. Paul (MN) Cretin-Derham Hall wide receiver Michael Floyd wanted to make a statement that the state of Minnesota has talent and deserves more recognition. Floyd signed his statement with an all-star caliber performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, catching four balls for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound wide receiver said the land of 10,000 lakes had now become known as the place to find linemen and quarterbacks. He hoped to remedy that with a big performance on the nation's biggest high school stage.
"I think I did real well," Floyd said. "I was hoping to do something good, to come out here and play well. I wanted to show everybody else out here that Minnesota isn't just for big linemen and quarterbacks, but also skill position talent. I felt like I did that.
"The talent out there was amazing, just crazy. There are not too many big-time guys in Minnesota. Speed and size were a big difference. As a receiver, you had to come up to the ball fast and make up different moves."
Floyd, who gave cornerback Boubacar Cissoko fits throughout the day, said that the time spent with a pair of California defensive backs gave him a distinct opportunity to prepare for what he would face in the pair of Rivals100 corners.
"Robert Golden and Rahim Moore are from California, and they are real aggressive and they like to bump," he said. "Today you didn't see too much of that, they kind of played off and made sure we didn't beat them on the deep ball. They are all great players, it was just two different styles through the week."
Floyd said that both Golden and Moore had become friends from the experience, even if they wouldn't be playing their college football together. With 14 future Notre Dame players taking part in the game, it's clear that Floyd will have plenty of friends from the game to talk to through the years.
Even without the Notre Dame connection, Floyd said some lifelong friendships have been made this week.
"There are guys like Dan Buckner that I've known for like four years now. Actually we met at Notre Dame when we both were offered," he said. "These guys, you see them on the Internet, it's a great experience to see what kind of personality they have. You just want to keep the relationships you have with them."
Floyd's new friends were also among those trying to take off his head and slow him down all week. While the human side of things was special for Floyd, he said he now feels much more prepared for his trek to South Bend, Ind. and the speed that comes with Division I-A college football.
"I think it's just a change, coming from Minnesota," Floyd said. "The chance to play with these guys was wonderful. I think the speed is a big difference out here, guys coming to the ball. You have to make different moves. You can't use the same ones you'd use in your hometown."
Throughout the game, onlookers were inundated with knowledge about the Army and any number of the soldiers having served and continuing to serve in operation Enduring Freedom. During game week, the All-Americans had a chance to meet their own U.S. Army heroes and it was clear that the real impression was made upon Floyd.
"Meeting my Army Hero was one of the highlights of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl," Floyd said. "Listening to his stories and hearing about his tours of duty, it was just amazing. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Army. We are out there playing football, and these guys are risking their lives for us."