Trent Steelman is use to crossing the goal line.
Steelman scored an academy-record 45 rushing touchdowns in his four-year Army career.
On Saturday, Steelman’s touchdown was unique at the East-West Shrine Game.
Steelman gave his trademark salute after a 7-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and then headed to the line. He snapped for Caleb Sturgis’ successful extra point.
How many college football players have done that in a game?
Steelman, who was the captain of the East team, showcased his versatility in the senior all-star game. He lined up to 16 offensive plays (13 as a wide receiver and three as a wildcat) and snapped on four punts and three extra points. Steelman scored the East’s only touchdown out of wildcat-like formation.
NFL Network sideline reporter Rebecca Harlow caught up with Steelman after his touchdown and asked him about taking on many roles for the East team.
“It’s one of things I wanted to bring to this game,” Steelman told Harlow. “Playing quarterback all four years at Army, the switch was going to be to receiver or some wildcat or really anything on the field. I came down with the mind-set just to work hard and be a team player and play wherever they needed me to.”
Harlow asked Steelman about his balance to his military commitment and NFL dream. He said, ” I just want to go out there and have fun, no matter what it is on or off the field, I’m going to go out there and give it 110 percent whether it’s the military or on the field and I’m going to go from there. ”
NFL Network analysts Charles Davis and Mike Mayock were both impressed with Steelman during East-West Shrine week.
Mayock compared Steelman to Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman twice.
“He’s quick,” Mayock said. “He’s tough. He’s smart. He’s got really good hands. He’s kind of raw for a receiver but I talked to several coaches before the game and they are all saying that he has a feel for it. He may have a commitment to the United States Army but he’s going to have an opportunity in somebody’s camp.”
Davis went one step further. “What really impressed me about him this week were his hands as a receiver,” Davis said. “I had someone say he’s a quarterback, he touches it all of the time. But quarterbacks are not use to catching it coming at them at that speed. That’s different. That’s not just taking a snap under center or s shotgun snap that’s going to be softer. I’m talking about guys throwing bullets and I didn’t see him drop a whole lot. He’s go out and runs the route. It might break off at 12 (yards) instead of 14. But still the hands, this kid is going to make someone’s roster. He’s going to make someone’s roster.”
Davis compared Steelman to former Army quarterback Nate Sassaman. Sassaman led Army to a Cherry Bowl win over Michigan State in 1984 and received a Bronze Star as a commander in Iraq in 2003. Davis played cornerback for Tennessee against Sassaman.
Steelman was targeted twice as a receiver. He had a pass knocked away before he completed the reception in the first half . It looked like he was interfered with on a pass to the end zone in the second half.
For more on Army football, follow me on Twitter @salinterdonato