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January 5, 2011

Quite a trip for Rigsbee

SAN ANTONIO- Jordan Rigsbee was looking forward to his trip to play in the Alamodome in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

A trip to the local hospital? Well, that wasn't part of the plan. But that's where Rigsbee was Monday night, getting fluids to help him fight a fever and the nausea he's been battling since his trip to the game.

Whether it will keep him off the field Saturday remains to be seen, but Rigsbee - who practiced Monday but not Tuesday - insists he'll be back on the field when practice resumes Thursday.

And he insists on keeping his good-natured, free-spirited personality.

"I'm going to show up Thursday on fire," he joked when he asked about his return.

Rigsbee, an offensive lineman headed to Cal, actually has been a little hot since the end of the last week. The flight certainly was no fun: He was sweating profusely with a temperature around 102.

Despite it, he gave it a go at the beginning of the week.

"I came all the way out here, so I wasn't going to just sit here and mope," he said after Monday's practice for the West squad. "I got really mad. I'm still sick, having trouble sleeping still a little bit, so I get all shivering and stuff. I'm trying to make the best out of it, playing well, playing mad, playing the best that I can."

Playing out of position, too.

The 6-4, 275-pounder from Pleasant Valley High in Chico, Calif., is a natural guard. He is ranked as the No. 4 recruit at his position (No. 136 overall) but this week he's playing center.

He stood his ground impressively against one of the toughest, strongest and fastest defensive linemen in the country in Todd Peat Jr. on Monday, but he was felled that night by the fever yet again.

On Monday night and through into Tuesday morning, Rigsbee's fever spiked to 103, accompanied by vomiting, and he had to be taken to the emergency room for a couple hours of intravenous fluids.

Whether or not he gets back on the field, Rigsbee already has proven he can play with the best.

At the Palo Alto (Calif.) Nike Combine this past summer - a pad-less event - he dominated the defensive linemen in attendance. He battled fellow West All-American and four-star nose tackle Viliami Moala to a standstill, and ferociously forearmed the other defenders to the ground, burying their faces in the turf. Then, he'd pop right back up and flash that lopsided, goofy smile, as if to say, 'What? Did I do something?'"

That's just his nature: Vicious on the field, vivacious off it.

This week he's rooming with Cody Kessler - the West quarterback who's on his way to USC next season.

"He's a good guy," Rigsbee said. "I really like him."

The same goes for two potential college teammates - the already-committed Jason Gibson and the heavily-leaning Moala.

"I was hanging with Gibson for a little while, and Moala, he's a funny guy," he said. "He's not like you would expect, talking to him. You'd think he'd be very serious, but he's a goofball. It's been fun. I'm having a good time."

Except for that trip to the hospital.



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