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January 30, 2006

Young wonders where he's headed

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MIAMI - Vince Young was back in his Texas Longhorns' No. 10 jersey Monday, competing in a made-for-TV event and wondering whose uniform he'll wear next.

Still savoring Texas' victory over Southern Cal in the Rose Bowl for the national championship, Young took a break in his offseason training routine and flew to Miami to join 11 other players in the college football all-star challenge, which will be shown Saturday on ESPN.

Missing from the event were Southern Cal's Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, Young's chief competition to become the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. Young declined to predict which team will take him.

"I don't know," he said. "It's kind of crazy right now. You hear that a lot of teams are trying to trade, a lot of different things. You never know what's going on."

Young's hometown Houston Texans draft first, unless they trade down. Then come the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans.

In the three weeks since his Rose Bowl heroics, Young has spent a lot of time at home working out, enjoying his mom's cooking and relishing the Longhorns' first outright national title since 1969.

"I'm enjoying the moment," he said. "To show the whole world that we can play football down in Texas meant a lot to me."

No scouts were evident at Dolphins Stadium as Young competed with quarterbacks Brodie Croyle of Alabama, Drew Olson of UCLA and Charlie Whitehurst of Clemson in accuracy, distance and scrambling contests.

But there will be plenty of talent evaluators present when Young takes part in the NFL combine Feb. 22-28 in Indianapolis. Young will throw and meet with teams but won't lift weights or run.

"I just feel they know I can run," said Young, who rushed for 200 yards and three scores in the Rose Bowl. "They've seen my speed. I want to showcase my arm and let them get to know me as a person in interviews. I want them to ask any question they have for me."

Skeptics say an odd throwing motion hurts his prospects. But Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams - another all-star challenge participant and likely first-round pick - said Young has a shot at being drafted No. 1.

"It'll come down to the combine," Williams said. "If he has a good combine, he can take it. He has a funky throwing motion, but he gets it done."

Young said he plans to travel to Tennessee next week to visit friend Steve McNair, the Titans' quarterback. He heard recently from another NFL star, Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, who won the 1998 Heisman Trophy at Texas.

"I got a letter from him," Young said. "He just said he enjoyed watching me play. That was big coming from a great alum and a great guy."

Williams, who did not graduate from Texas, went fifth in the 1999 draft. Young is almost certain to go higher than that - and he'd love to join the Texans, even though they went 2-14 last season and changed coaches this month.

"They're trying to build a franchise team," he said. "If they need me to come down to help out, I'll be happy to do it.

"It would be a great accomplishment going as the No. 1 pick in the nation. It would show how much a team wants you and wants to build around you. That's real sweet."

For more coverage of the Texas Longhorns, check out Orangebloods.com.

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