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June 15, 2008With a 31-9 lead secured in the fourth quarter of the 63rd Annual Ohio North-South All-Star Classic at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Kent State signee Sal Battles couldn't help but dance in the huddle to a Soulja Boy tune playing over the loudspeakers before taking one last knee to end the game.
After all the Kent State recruit had just finished his high school career, so why wouldn't dancing be appropriate?
"After the whole week- waking up in the morning with two-days, and being so sore, and getting up every morning and getting after it. It was a big adjustment for me, not really doing anything like that," Battles said. "But we came through and made it happen."
To list Battles' stats in the game is a difficult task. The Youngstown East graduate is listed as a running back, but he played quarterback, safety, cornerback, returned punts and kickoffs and even took snaps from his running back position. In fact Battles wasn't even sure what position he would call himself if people asked.
"I tell them anything," Battles said with a smile. "I tell them running back, quarterback, what ever. I can just play it."
Battles scored one touchdown in the first quarter after taking a direct snap on the goal line. In just the second drive of the game, Battles had been playing running back the whole series until Bowling Green recruit, quarterback Aaron Pankratz, headed to sideline. Battles easily walked into the end zone.
But now his high school career is over, and Battles will now focus on his future at Kent State.
Coaches see him as a possible defensive back, because the depth at running back this year and the next several seasons. Eugene Jarvis, the Mid-American Conference's leading rusher (not to mention the nation's leading returning rusher from last season) is a junior. Meanwhile, power back Andre Flowers is a true sophomore, and another 2008 recruit, Jacquise Terry, also plays the position.
Battles obviously doesn't care where the coaches put him, but one thing is clear, he's ready for the position of Division I college football player.
"Hopefully I can just get in there, and start working so hard, so I can be on the field up there at Kent," Battles said.
Before the North -South game, Battles said Kent State coaches told him to close out his high school career by playing quality football on Saturday.
"They just told me to go out there and play hard, and get what I can get, and see what happens," Battles said.
Battles wasn't the only player headed to the MAC in the game, he wasn't even the only guy in the backfield going to the conference. MVP quarterback Ryan Radcliff, from Sherwood Fairview High School, is headed to Central Michigan. If Battles turns out to be a running back, then both players would be stepping behind two of the MAC's most talented players, in Jarvis and Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour.
Radcliff said the rivalry had already started through out the week, with 10 future MAC players on the North roster, but most were just happy to meet each other.
"We were always digging on each other, and stuff like that, but it was fun to be together for this game," Radcliff said.