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January 3, 2012
Players from non-power states look to show their stuff
He had 172 tackles and 21 sacks during his senior season. And at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, he's built like a prototypical linebacker.
But that doesn't mean anything at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
"There are no duds here," Biegel said. "Everyone is a stud."
The All-American Bowl is the place where the nation's best players annually see how they compare against other studs. But for players from non-traditional football states - players such as Biegel of Wisconsin, Cyler Miles of Colorado and Jarron Jones of New York - it's a time to find out if they even match up at all.
For them, this game will represent the toughest competition they've faced.
"It's an honor to be here," Biegel said. "I'm humbled to have the opportunity, but it is also a time to see how you match up with the other players."
A Wisconsin commit from Wisconsin Rapids (Wis.) Lincoln, Biegel will compete for playing time in the West linebacker group against James Ross (Michigan), Royce Jenkins-Stone (Michigan), Brian Nance (undecided), Timothy Cole (Texas), Jabari Ruffin (USC), and Torisho Davis (LSU).
After two days of practice, he fully appreciates what he's up against.
"It is way different," he said. "More than I thought."
Simply put, it's a preview of what college ball will be like.
"Being here is and seeing these guys is for the best," he said. "I am learning a lot."
Like Biegel, Denver (Colo.) Mullen quarterback Cyler Miles is the lone representative of his home state.
"Colorado isn't Texas, California or Florida," Miles said. "There is some pressure to perform and show everyone what I can do being from Colorado."
Miles knows if has a bad week, his state will be looked down upon. Other players have a much higher margin of error. California has 16 players on the West roster; Texas has 15. Florida paces the East squad with nine.
"Our state is getting better," Miles said. "Our teams are getting better and so are the individual players."
"I am ready to play," he said. "I can handle my business and perform under the pressure."
After two days of practice, Miles is doing just that and appears to have the early edge in the competition.
The 6-foot-6, 305-pound Notre Dame commit rarely has seen players of his skill level in his area of the country.
"This is completely different," he said. "All these guys are my height, my size, my skill level."
The East defensive line is loaded.
Jones doesn't need to take the field to know he's playing on a higher level.
"Where I am from, I am the only one that looks like this," he said.