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Elite running backs out to prove themselves at Army All-American game

Photo: John Albright/Icon SMI

Thomas Tyner is one of several elite running backs at the Army All-American game that will be played on Saturday.

SAN ANTONIO -- Greg Bryant repeated plenty of the cliches about the excitement of playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He's anticipating a big week, he hopes to perform well and he wants to win.

Then he cracked a wry smile.

Bryant, a Notre Dame commit, is ranked as the second-best running back by Rivals.com. But the Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage School standout is out for the top spot, currently held by East squad teammate Derrick Green of Richmond (Va.) Hermitage.

Greg Bryant is clear about what he thinks of his talent.

"I can't wait to compete and show them why I'm the best," Bryant said. "It will be a great competition to go up against the top backs. I'm confident. I'll never be down. I know I'm the best."

Running back is one of the most loaded positions at the Army game and they're all out to prove their ranking -- and sometimes more.

Thomas Tyner has bounced back-and-forth between five- and four-star status throughout his senior season and the Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha standout is at the Army game to prove he's one of the top backs in the country.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Oregon commit posted amazing statistics his senior season -- he totaled 2,325 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns -- but being injury-prone has always been an issue for him.

Tyner said he realizes that accusation has some validity and he's changed his preparation, training and mental approach heading into this season. It paid off. Tyner didn't miss time as a senior and intends to prove he should be considered among the best backs.

Green, Bryant and USC commit Ty Isaac from Joliet (Ill.) Joliet Catholic are ahead of Tyner but a good week at Army can influence the rankings.

"I feel like I have a lot to prove," Tyner said. "The big thing is staying healthy. I showed that this year and I had my best season in my whole high school career. The last couple seasons I didn't really train that hard but this season I saw where I could take my abilities and it paid off.

"Over the years I went through all the injuries and I got a wake-up call on what I needed to do. Obviously that showed this season. I iced more, I stretched more and it paid off."

Bryant, Green and Alabama commit Derrick Henry lead the East squad and Tyner, Alabama pledge Altee Tenpenny, Ohio State commit Ezekiel Elliott and USC pledge Justin Davis round out the West squad.

Both teams are loaded at the position and everyone is out to prove they're good, better than the rest.

"I get to go against some of the top guys in the country and that's very exciting," Tyner said. "It's a good way to prepare for college and I'm going to take this as an opportunity to see what else is out there and to get ready for college."

Even Elliott, a respectably ranked ninth-best at the position in the 2013 class, is here to show off his game against many other top prospects.

Everybody at every position is at the Army game to compete on the highest level, but running back is so loaded it's intense. No. 1 is in sight and many talented players are going after the top billing.

"It's fun just to be able to come out here and compete with the best," Elliott said. "I already know a lot of these guys because I met them at The Opening and some different camps. This is another chance to come out here and compete.

"Rankings are important. You want to get the credit for what you do. I want to come out and compete and go out and prove what I want to prove."

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