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August 30, 2003

First Game for Nation's No. 1 Player

Adrian "All Day" Peterson had been impressive in Palestine's first two scrimmages of the 2003 campaign, but it was designed to specifically be in limited work.

The nation's no. 1 overall prospect, according to Rivals.com, carried the ball five times against Carthage high school for 100 yards in preseason work and scored two touchdowns on seven carries versus Palestine Westwood.

But tonight would be different.

"We're going to turn him loose," Palestine coach Jefff Harrell said of Peterson before the game Friday night between his squad and Cleveland high school. "We're going to give it to him a bunch of times and see what happens."

What happened was what was expected.

Peterson got the call 21 times and rushed for 218 yards and four touchdowns. His highlights for the night included a bobbing-and-weaving 30-yard touchdown run in the first half and a 72-yard dash that dropped the jaws of onlookers on the way to the end zone in the second half.

"I didn't start like I wanted, I just didn't feel it," Peterson said. "But I think I came out in the second half a little more determined, and started to kind of show what I can do."

After a performance like that, the sweepstakes for Peterson's signature on National Signing Day should only increase.

Peterson says Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, Oklahoma, Miami and LSU are all possibilities.

While he doesn't expect to go to any college games this week, he says he'll be at A&M two of the next four weekends to watch the Aggies take on Utah and Pittsburgh, and then be in Baton Rouge, La., to see the Bengal Tigers host Auburn.

He's also in the process of scheduling an official visit with UCLA for the Oct. 25 weekend.

Palestine defeated Cleveland 33-0.

Peterson is 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and placed second in the state 4A 100- and 200-meters. He rushed for 2,051 yards and 22 touchdowns on 246 carries as a junior.

Some have called him the next Eric Dickerson because of his Texas roots, his high-running style and explosive speed.

On Friday night, the young running back did nothing to dispel that flattering comparison.

For video footage of Peterson, please click here.

For a list of the nation's top 100 prospects, with Peterson no. 1 on the list, please click here.


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