Berry's debut at cornerback is Berry good

SAN ANTONIO -- Tennessee football commitments Gerald Jones and Eric Berry didn't let their UT future hold them back at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.

"It got to the point where everybody was talking trash to each other," Jones said after the high school all-star event. "I know I got blindsided a couple of times. It was intense."

Jones and Berry found themselves locked up for the majority of the first half. Berry, who is from Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga., started at cornerback for the East. Jones, who is from Millwood High in Oklahoma City, was a starting receiver for the West.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Jones was a factor on the game's first play when he received a handoff and gained 16 yards. After that, it was tough going. Jones had one catch -- good for two yards and a two-point conversion.

"It looked like he had been doing it for years," Jones said of Berry's debut at cornerback. "He's a great corner. Tennessee's got a lot to look forward to."

The 6-foot, 194-pound Berry, a safety and quarterback in high school, is projected to play cornerback in college.

"It was pretty cool," Berry said. "I just tried to focus on my technique that I learned throughout the week. I just have to work on the technical side of the game. But as far as getting to the ball, I'm pretty much there."

Berry had five tackles and one pass defended as he excelled in man coverage. Berry, though, admitted he was a bit nervous when he stepped on the field in front of 35,151 fans in the Alamodome.

"After the first play I was straight," he said.

While Berry seemed to win the battle between the two future Vols, Jones and the West squad defeated the East 24-7.

"It was fun," he said. "We just went back and forth at it. It's something I'm looking forward to. It was tough but it was fun."

As for hard feelings, the intensity ended with the game.

"We're back to buddy-buddy," Jones said.

Said Berry, "We were going at it quite a bit. I love having him on my team (in college)."

Disappointed Donald: Chris Donald, who committed to UT in the fourth quarter, wasn't pleased with his playing time, or lack thereof.

"The coach said we were going to rotate every series but he kind of went against his word," the 6-3, 220-pound linebacker from Huntingdon said. "But the time I was out there I tried my best. I had loads of fun."

Donald estimated he played 15 plays at strongside linebacker.

Awesome Austin: Defensive tackle Marvin Austin from Ballou High in Washington, D.C., looked every bit the part of one of the top prospects in the nation midway through the third quarter. Austin leaped over an offensive lineman before forcing West quarterback Jimmy Clausen into a quick pass, which was completed to tailback Joe McKnight in the flats.

Austin, who lost his helmet while tackling Clausen, wasn't done. With dreadlocks flying, Austin dove at McKnight and nearly made the tackle when McKnight cut back.

"I've got a pretty big head," the 6-3, 300-pound Austin said after the game. "I ain't too worried about getting hurt. I saw an opportunity to make a play and threw my body at him."

Austin finished the game with two tackles and two quarterback hurries.

Turn The Paige: Ahmad Paige from Sterlington (La.) High said it's time to focus on his college decision now that the all-star festivities have come to a close.

Paige, who is considering UT, said he will take official visits to Florida, Florida State and Southern Cal. He took an official visit to Knoxville last November.

Paige, who had two receptions for 47 yards on Saturday, admitted it was tough to get in a flow with frequent substitutions and limited playing time.

"In high school you get the majority of all the plays," the 6-2, 165-pound Paige said. "Here you're not going to get that. Everybody's good. So you have to wait and be patient."

Apparently, Paige's hope to play alongside his best friend, Luther Davis, is gone. Davis, a 6-4, 255-pound defensive tackle from West Monroe (La.) High committed to LSU on Saturday.

"Ah, man," Paige said. "That's his decision. He wants to stay home. I don't blame him. That's his decision and he has to live with it."

Paige is not considering LSU.

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