FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Even though he's ranked as the top player in Washington and a four-star prospect, Kirkland (Wash.) Lake Washington tight end Chris Izbicki feels a little bit like an underdog heading into the start of practices for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.
"Even everybody here doesn't show the Northwest a lot of respect for its players," Izbicki said. "I told a few guys I was from Washington, and they asked if we even played football up there. I'm just ready to show people what I can do and what the Northwest is all about.
"I mainly want to satisfy myself and reach some of my goals and expectations. I feel like I'm an underdog. I want to prove I can play with anybody. This would be a perfect opportunity to showcase my skills. I want to show them I can run good routes. With this type of offense, I can show people what type of player I can be."
The West under the direction of Lufkin, Texas, coach John Outlaw will run a wide-open passing attack. It's quite different than what Izbicki ran when he was at Lake Washington in his career. He spent most of his time blocking for his team, but now he's going to get a chance to showcase his hands.
And what a showcase the game will be for him. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. EST on ESPNU and Izbicki said he'll have a large cheering section rooting in front of their televisions in Washington.
"I'm just telling everybody I can to watch the game," he said.
There will also likely be a large group of Washington Husky fans watching, too. Izbicki turned down early scholarship offers from Arizona State, Oregon State and other schools to commit to UDub back in May. It's a decision he has no regrets about at all.
"We have a great class," Izbicki said. "It really shows what the coaches are doing. It shows the type of coaches they are. Kids see the direction the program is heading in. I knew that in May, that's why I committed. I think kids are finally starting to see that. I think we have a top 25 class right now. We're looking really good."
Izbicki said despite the ups and downs on the field, the Huskies still showed enough signs of progress to impress a lot of recruits. He's also excited about playing with highly-regarded quarterback Jake Locker.
"I think you could tell the turn-around curve is in process," he said. "You could tell in the Cal and USC game that they were right there to the last few plays of the games. They beat some good teams. They weren't young, they weren't old, but they have a lot of talent coming back.
"They have a good quarterback (Locker) coming back. He's already got his jersey out, and he's not even played a down. That's how good he's going to be. I can't wait to catch passes from him. There's a ton of opportunity for him."