ANAHEIM, Calif. - Playing in all-star games like the seventh annual Air 7 CaliFlorida Bowl taking place this week gives players a chance to strengthen bonds with fellow players. Tallahassee Rivals250 linebacker Craig Stevens is doing just that with his teammates.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound four-star prospect took several official visits in December before showing up at the CaliFlorida Bowl practices. When he was down there he got to know fellow linebacker A.J. Jones on their trip to Alabama. The bond continues to grow and the two are definitely quite a duo out on the field.
"A.J. and I have been talking ever since we got back from Alabama," Stevens said. "We got here and it was cool because we already knew each other. We've been real tight since then and it's great being out here with top players like him who I already have a bond with."
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Whether or not it will affect their recruiting decision remains to be seen. However, Stevens has a few schools he holds above the rest.
"Alabama and Auburn are at the top," Stevens said. "I don't know what it is, but I just like those two a lot. On the Alabama visit I really liked the facilities there and all the players seemed real close to each other. Auburn I also felt real good around the players because they just came right up to me without even being asked."
Two official trips remain for the No. 16 rated outside linebacker to UCLA and Clemson which will take place in January. His decision will come after those trips.
As for Stevens' play this week, he says that even though an injury has slowed him down, he's fighting through it with a very intense defensive unit for the Florida squad.
"I had a hamstring pull at the end of the year, so I'm doing okay in side-to-side movement, but running straight on has been tough," Stevens said. "Our defensive line is real good and has just been killing people out there. Hopefully they do that in the game and linebackers won't have to do much."
Stevens is rated as the No. 36 outside linebacker in the country.