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December 19, 2012

Muhammad carries Don Bosco lineage


MORE: U.S. Army All-American Bowl

Al-Quadin Muhammad is next in a line of Don Bosco (N.J.) Prep players to make their way to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

When Muhammad, a defensive end, arrives in San Antonio later this month to begin the week of practice he will follow in the footsteps of former teammate Elijah Shumate, who did so last year before taking his talents to Notre Dame.

Other Don Bosco products to play in the game in its 12 years of existence are Justin Trattou, Matt Simms, Michael Ray Garvin and Brian Toal. Muhammad hopes to again show the nation what Don Bosco football is about.

"It feels good," said Muhammad, who formally accepted an invitation to the game Wednesday during a ceremony at school. "It's a great honor I'm looking forward to it. I'm looking forward to playing in front of a big crowd and showing what I can do, bringing that Jersey swag out there."

Muhammad is fresh off a season in which Don Bosco finished 8-3, falling short of a state championship with a loss to Bergen Catholic in the semifinals.

Along the way, Muhammad cemented himself as one of the top pass-rushers in the country. Rivals.com rates the 6-foot-4, 225-pound prospect at No. 97 in its latest Rivals100 and fourth on its list of weak side defensive ends.

Muhammad wants nothing more than to show those skills on a national stage.

"We have a couple practices," he said. "I guess the practices are based on who is going to start. I'm going to make sure I do my thing in the practices and work hard like we work at Don Bosco Prep. Basically, just get sacks. Sacks on sacks on sacks. That's it."

Getting to the quarterback on a consistent basis has made Muhammad one of the most sought-after defenders in the country.

Earlier this month he took an official visit to Miami. Alabama played host over the summer. Those two along with Notre Dame and Ohio State comprise a group from which Muhammad plans to choose when making an announcement during the telecast of the Army Bowl.

Miami did well for itself on the visit but Muhammad isn't giving away anything in terms of possible leaders.

"I feel as though I could be (at Miami)," Muhammad said. "You know, comfortable. If I was to go to that school I could be comfortable for four years. That's also with Alabama and Notre Dame, even though I didn't get to visit Notre Dame yet. Academics come first and they all have great academic programs for student-athletes."

Notre Dame has positioned itself in the lead pack on the strength of Muhammad's relationship with Shumate and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, who recruits New Jersey. Muhammad and the Irish are "working on it" in terms of putting together a visit for after the Army Bowl.

"(Shumate) loves the place," Muhammad said. "He got some playing time as a freshman, which is awesome. He just loves the coaches and stuff and they treat him good. There's a great relationship between me and Bob Diaco, who is recruiting me. That's what it's about, building relationships. I'm just extremely comfortable and having a good time."

Other scholarship offers on the table include Boston College, Colorado, Connecticut, Ole Miss, Rutgers, South Carolina and Tennessee.

But before an announcement comes to pass Muhammad plans to soak in the Army Bowl experience has many other Don Bosco products have before, starting at registration and ending Jan. 5 with the game itself.

"I do know it'll definitely be a great event," Muhammad said. "It's an All-American bowl and people will have different things for us to do. It's a good schedule. I'll basically be doing different things every day. I don't know too much about it but I'm looking forward to a good time."



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