Last week, Montel McBride was playing the “NCAA 14” video game on Playstation 3, in Oregon.
It was a full week before the game was released to the public (Tuesday).
“It was a ball,” he says.
But playing a new video game wasn’t the only thing McBride was doing in Beaverton, Ore., the home of Nike. The Plant City High School offensive/defensive lineman was one of about 160 of the best high school prospects in the country at Nike’s “The Opening,” an annual combine held at the Nike world headquarters.
There, the 6-4, 330-pound Class of 2014 prospect participated in various drills and workouts, along with a lineman challenge.
“The whole experience was just so much fun,” he said.
McBride and the other camp participants received a VIP treatment at the prestigious camp, receiving some Nike swag, having access to the players lounge (complete with PS3 and XBox 360 consoles) and the opportunity to meet NFL stars such as Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Clay Matthews.
“How they treated us was like we were in the pros,” he said. “The best thing for me was the teaching that went on.”
McBride is no stranger to performing well at — he was the offensive line MVP at the Nike Football Training camp in Orlando in March and won the same award in February at MVP Camp in Valdosta, Ga. — but the experience in Oregon will be one he will never forget.
In addition to working out for prestigious coaches and with other talented prospects on national TV (the three-day camp was aired on the ESPN networks), McBride made his college choice official by committing to the University of Alabama while he was in Oregon.
“At first, I wasn’t going to commit while I was there,” he said. “I was just going to go up there and enjoy the experience, but it just came down to what felt like the best thing for me. It just felt like the right thing to do.”
McBride, who had been offered by the Crimson Tide less than a month before “The Opening,” said he has stayed in constant contact with Alabama coaches since defensive line coach Chris Rumph attended one of his summer practices at PCHS.
“Before he left that day, he said, ‘Don’t be surprised if I come back with some good news,’” McBride said.
His long list of suitors were looking at him as either an offensive or defensive lineman at the next level. McBride will play defensive tackle and offensive guard for the Raiders this fall.
McBride went on a college tour earlier this summer that included stops at Clemson, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee and Vanderbilt. He will head to Tuscaloosa this weekend for the very first time.
“I haven’t been able to make it up there until now, but I’m so happy to be going this weekend,” he said.
Alabama was a dream school for McBride, and with his verbal commitment out in the open, he now can focus on the task at hand — preparing for his senior season at PCHS.
“That’s the most important thing for me right now,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m the best player I can be for my last season at Plant City.”
McBride’s success and commitment to a national power like the Crimson Tide only helps to propel the football program at PCHS. The Raiders are no strangers to sending players to the next level, but this year could prove to be one of the most successful in that sense, with a handful of rising seniors already with Division I offers. Defensive end Sedrick King and tight end Landon Galloway also have already made verbals, both committing to Central Florida.