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Montel McBride may not have been the fastest or strongest player at the recent Under Armour All-America combine at Tropicana Field, but he was enough of both to have drawn the attention of a handful of recruiting analysts at the event.
One thing McBride certainly was: the most animated, gregarious interview in the dome.
Smiling and laughing, McBride, a 2014 lineman from Plant City, talked about being relatively unknown because he plays in the land of strawberries and weeds, about running around the house excitedly after just being nominated for the UA combine, going ballistic when he found out he had been officially invited, and feeling sorry for the FedEx delivery guy -- "It might be like the dog and the mailman" -- the day his first offer comes along.
Which may not be much longer.
"I have a couple of schools talking to me,'' he said, naming USF, UCF, Auburn, Missouri, Mississippi State, Indiana State, Michigan and Michigan State.
McBride, who is 6-4, 305 pounds, said he isn't shy when coaches talk to him on Twitter and mention coming to see him play.
"I just pull out the question, 'Does that mean that's an offer?' '' McBride said, chuckling.
McBride's size makes him instantly attractive as a recruit, but it's his feet and athleticism that make him more than your ordinary big guy. In one-on-one drills, he was matched up against Ainuu Taua, a four-star recruit from California who already has offers from schools like Arizona, UCLA and Vanderbilt, to name a few. Taua got the best of him, but McBride didn't embarrass himself.
The Raiders guard is coming off a very good season, one in which he said he did some crazy things. Once, he said he blocked three guys. Another time, he blocked someone with one arm. He joked that another time, he blocked someone with one arm and one leg.
"I think I had a good season,'' he said. "Obviously they thought I was good enough to be here."
"I'm kind of a fast dude; I've been playing hoops since I was 4,'' he said. "I didn't even care about football until I got to high school. That's when I figured football is where I had the best chance of getting a scholarship.''
McBride may be a late bloomer, but there's plenty of time to impress the right school.
"This offseason, I just plan on getting noticed,'' he said.