PASADENA, Calif. — They expected to be here.
When junior RB James Wilder Jr. (Plant High), senior DL Demonte McAllister (Alonso) and junior WR Christian Green (Tampa Catholic) signed with Florida State, they had realistic dreams of playing for a national title. And they were fulfilled Monday night when the Seminoles faced the Auburn Tigers in the BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.
“Playing in this game is great, the culmination of my career,” said McAllister, who was haunted by a season-long shoulder injury. “It’s what every player dreams about. For us, it came true. It has been a blast being here in California.”
McAllister, hopeful of a shot at the NFL, will play in the Jan. 18 East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.
Green, meanwhile, is hopeful of an increased role next season. He had 13 receptions for 157 yards, while largely serving as a backup for Kelvin Benjamin.
“I think I’ve matured on and off the field,” Green said. “Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to show even more.”
“He’s unselfish, he helps on special teams and he doesn’t everything we ask,” FSU passing game coordinator Lawrence Dawsey said. “We wouldn’t be in this position without players like Christian Green. He’s first-class.”
Auburn’s Tampa connection
When sophomore OG Devonte Danzey (Tampa Bay Tech) signed with Auburn out of junior college, the Tigers were 3-9 and winless in the SEC. He was pleasantly surprised to make it to Pasadena.
“It has been crazy,” said Danzey, who attended Hutchinson Community College in Kansas. “I could not have imagined this.”
When Auburn faced fourth-and-18 against Georgia on Nov. 16, Danzey said he got down on his knees, said a prayer and had his back to the play. “I just heard the crowd roar,” Danzey said. It was a 73-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Nick Marshall to Ricardo Louis.
“None of this seems real to me,” Danzey said. “But I’m just going with it.”
Tebow in the house
Former Florida Gators QB Tim Tebow arrived to work on ESPN’s broadcast. Before the pregame show, there was a curious sight. Several FSU Seminoles lined up to take photographs with Tebow, the former Gator.
“I’m looking forward to (working with EPSN),” he said. “The guys who are running on the field tonight, I remember that feeling. It’s a great moment for a college player.”