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October 1, 2012

Webb continues family's Army tradition

MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl roster

For Sicklerville (N.J.) Timber Creek defensive tackle Greg Webb, changing his mind has led to two of the best decisions of his young life in his opinion. The first one was a bit easier than the second, especially with his family ties to the U.S. Army All American Bowl, but neither can be overlooked during an up-and-down eight month stretch.

"It's been up and down a lot since my junior year, but this is a great honor something I have dreamed about for awhile," said the 6-foot-2, 290-pounder of receiving his U.S. Army Bowl jersey at a ceremony at his high school on Monday. "My mom is in the Army, active duty and is in her 20th year. When I got offered by the Under Armour Game, I didn't think the Army Bowl was interested so I was all set for that. But when Army called, to me it was a choice I had to make. I chose the Army Bowl for what it stands for coming from an Army family."

Despite the connection to the Army, Webb's family was supportive of whatever choice he made. In the end, it came down to the tackle's desire to stick with tradition.

"The Army Bowl is the grand daddy of the all-star games, the one that started them all," he said. "There's a great tradition there and most of the top players out of high school have played in it. It has a real bowl game feel to it; I saw that first-hand last year down at the combine. The place is packed, the crowd gets into it and it felt like a college game watching it."

Timber Creek head coach Rob Hinson has wanted a player in the U.S. Army Bowl for many of the same reasons his player describes.

"In regards to what this honor does for our program, I think it's great," Hinson said. "Greg is obviously a special, special player, but the fact that he comes from our school brings a sense of pride in our school and community and puts our program in positive light nationally."

As for what kind of player and person the Army Bowl is getting, Hinson has no doubt.

"Greg is probably the most dominant player I've been fortunate enough to coach. Teams would do a lot of things to try to neutralize guys I've been fortunate enough to coach in the past but they seldom had ways to avoid and neutralize Greg," he explained. "As a kid, he is well liked and gets along well with just about everyone. I think the fact that he was raised as a military kid and had to move quite a bit explains his ability to get along so well with different people."

Webb participated in the Army Combine back in January and earned his offer from the Army Bowl off of that performance. A little more than a month later Webb was having surgery to repair an ACL tear suffered during wrestling. Two months later, Webb gave a verbal commitment to Bill O'Brien at Penn State, becoming the fifth four-star recruit to commit to the Nittany Lions despite the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Then on July 21, just two days before the NCAA hammered Penn State with historical penalties, Webb and flipped to North Carolina where he remains committed.

"I have no regrets about any of it," he said. "It has been a lot of ups and downs, but I wouldn't change much except maybe the injury. I'm happy to be a U.S. Army All American, I felt I made the right choice to commit to Penn State at the time but when I saw what was going to happen to them with the NCAA, I decided that I wanted to spend my future at North Carolina. It wasn't the scandal at Penn State for me. While that was terrible, I knew about it before I committed. But I didn't want to start my college career off under those kind of penalties, that really hurt. So I made the best decision for me and I feel like I fit in as well at UNC as I did at Penn State."

Now it's all about continued rehab of that knee injury and getting back on the field.

"I'm about 80-percent right now about nine months post-op," said Webb, whose team is 2-2 without him. "I hope to be back in early November and if we make a playoff run I can get in five games before the Army Bowl. I'm working hard to get back."

And hoping to finish off a roller coaster year back in San Antonio on a high note.



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