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January 10, 2010
SAN ANTONIO - Kyle Bosch tells people he's a freshman in high school and hardly anyone believes him. After all, he's 6 feet 4 and 260 pounds and fits in perfectly at the U.S. Army National Combine registration.
Everything seems to fit, except Bosch cannot provide a driver's license because the St. Charles (Ill.) St. Francis prospect is not old enough to get one.
"I have a driver's permit," Bosch said.
When someone asked if he shaved, Bosch pointed to his upper lip.
"Just the mustache," he said.
Bosch, a tight end who could easily grow into an offensive lineman, finds himself in two realities this week - a 15-year-old kid who's going to compete with some of the nation's best rising seniors in Friday's combine, and, well, still just a 15-year-old kid.
Talented and powerful, Bosch, also a standout on the defensive line during his freshman season, probably won't get dominated but he's also facing the facts that he's never played against such stiff competition probably ever.
That's why Bosch, born on Nov. 11, 1994, is approaching the combine as a big learning experience.
"It's truly an honor," Bosch said. "These guys have been working their butts off to get here. As a freshman to be here, it's mind blowing.
"People stare at me for 10 seconds, look at the ground, look at me, look back up, they ask me, 'Are you sure? How many years have you been held back?' Some people think I've been held back."
But Bosch is legitimate. When he was in eighth grade two seasons ago, Bosch dominated his age group and finished with ridiculous numbers - he estimated 100 tackles and 26 receiving touchdowns.
As a freshman, he moved up to varsity in the middle of the season - when he was 14 years old - and held his own.
"At first I was nervous but I learned I was up there with the talent and so it wasn't as intimidating," said Bosch, who finished with 59 tackles, nine sacks and three punt blocks in his freshman year. He also had five forced fumbles and two recoveries.
"I can hold my own against most of the people here. Some of them will be stronger than me but I have three more years to develop."
Kansas, Iowa and Penn State have already shown some interest in Bosch, who said he'd like to hear from Texas, Alabama and Southern Cal. He has already taken an unofficial visit to see the Jayhawks.
He grew up a Notre Dame fan but has not yet heard from the Irish. It's so early in his recruitment that it's hard to tell exactly where everything is headed.
Knowing that recruiting is destined to pick up, Bosch said he has already purchased an address book to keep names and numbers of coaches so he knows who he's talking to when they inevitably call.
For now, Bosch is just focused on the Army Combine, the exposure it can provide and the opportunity to compete against some of the nation's best players.
"It's exciting," Bosch said. "You can get a little nervous but you came here to compete with them so you have to get it out of your head that you're a freshman and just play your game.
"It's kind of funny to see, to look around. It's a good feeling in the moment to know you're here and everyone is older than you. It's really an honor.
"Since I'm the only freshman here and I'm going against the defensive linemen and offensive linemen, it's going to be me getting my butt kicked. But I'm excited to get out there for the opportunity to get better."