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December 30, 2012
SAN ANTONIO -- After winning the MVP award at the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta this past summer, Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy five-star Jalen Ramsey felt he made a statement.
Apparently Ramsey feels not enough respect was earned, because he arrived at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl with a chip on his shoulder.
"I feel like I felt this summer -- like I am an underdog right now," Ramsey said. "I read the articles that say Jalen Ramsey hasn't played competition, Jalen Ramsey can't do this or is not good. I am going to go out here like I did this summer and show people what Jalen Ramsey can do and that I am not just a summer circuit player."
The 6-foot, 185-pound Ramsey also arrives in San Antonio in the midst of a string of official visits. He has been committed to USC since July, but is still taking all five official visits, with the blessing of the Trojans' coaching staff.
"To be honest, I was going to take my visits," Ramsey said. "I feel like as an athlete, that is something you earn. This is your college life, so you should be 100 percent sure where you're going.
"I really like how USC goes about it. They let us take the visits, but they ask to be our last visit and I have no problem with that at all."
Although official visits have been taken, and more are set, Ramsey said he is 99 percent on his commitment to USC and anticipates his official visit to Los Angeles on Jan. 18.
"I'm still, of course, committed to USC," Ramsey said. "I feel real good about it, but I'm still waiting to see who the new defensive coordinator will be. That's going to be important to me. I want to make sure that I can fit into the team's playing style and everything, so that's going to be important."
Ramsey took his first official visit of the process to Florida in September and officially visited Mississippi State in November. Those schools provide a closer proximity to his Nashville-area home, but location is not a factor that concerns him.
"I'm just going to do what's best for me," Ramsey said. "A lot of people say I'm going to stay close so my family can see me, but really, nothing is changing for me right now and nothing will ? I don't think."
Ramsey's most recent official visit went to another Pac-12 school when he visited Washington the weekend of Dec. 7.
"That was a great visit," Ramsey said. "Everybody says it rains a lot in Washington. I guess their rain is a drizzle because it was just drizzling the whole time, not really pouring. It was a nice place and I liked it out there. I got to see practices for their bowl and got to be around some players."
With one official visit left, Ramsey is considering three schools. One is the in-state Tennessee Volunteers, but they are not a lock to secure that trip yet.
The competitor in Ramsey, however, is keeping his focus trained on Saturday's Army Bowl and making the most of another opportunity to prove himself against the nation's elite.