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December 15, 2010

Army POY finalists on tour

MORE : Army All-American POY tour | Army Bowl selection tour | Army Bowl Rosters

Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Phillips all-purpose back Demetrius Hart and Thomasville (Ga.) Thomas County Central defensive end Ray Drew perhaps caught of glimpse of their future over the weekend.

The U.S. Army All-Americans were in New York for a media tour as finalists for the U.S. Army Player of the Year Award, which will be announced Jan. 7. From Sunday through Tuesday, the duo visited the NBC Sports studios to meet the Sunday Night Football crew, had an appearance on ESPN, attended the Heisman Trophy dinner and toured the New York Jets' facility, along with other outings.

At NBC Sports on Sunday, they talked football with Tony Dungy, Peter King, Dan Patrick and the rest of the cast. The talkative Drew even inquired about a possible internship there.

"Man, you just talk too much," Hart joked with Drew.

The following night at the Heisman dinner, the duo met winner Cam Newton of Auburn and some of the former recipients, including Bo Jackson, Tony Dorsett, Doug Flutie, Pete Dawkins, for whom the player of the year award is named.

On Tuesday, the players taped a segment for ESPN's First Take and toured the Jets' facility.

"This was a real cool experience - my first trip to New York City," said Hart, who added that he still is committed to Michigan but keeping his options open. "Meeting the soldiers was really great. A highlight was the Heisman dinner. People were asking us for our autographs and photos with them. It was weird but really cool.

"... (I) also saw snow, rode in a cab and on the subway - all firsts for me."

Drew, who has a final list of Georgia, Auburn and LSU with Tennessee and Clemson hanging in the mix, echoed Hart's enthusiasm.

"This trip is the best thing I've ever done," Drew said. "The city is amazing. I hailed my first cab, rode in the subway, met Tony Dungy, saw amazing sights and met so many Heisman Trophy winners. I told the bowl game I want to come again next year. I really don't want to leave."

New York may not have wanted to see Drew leave, either. At one point during his trip, Drew witnessed a man digging through the trash. Drew asked him if he was hungry, to which the man replied yes. So Drew took him inside a sandwich shop and bought him a sub and chips.

"I couldn't just pass him by. He was a human being who was digging through trash for his dinner," Drew said. "He just wanted to eat so I was happy to help him. I might be broke if I lived here because I'd want to help them all."

Meanwhile, Bakersfield (Calif.) Centennial QB Cody Kessler and Richmond (Va.) Hermitage linebacker Curtis Grant, also finalists for the player of the year award, spent the past three days in Washington, D.C., for their portion of the media tour.

The U.S. Army All-Americans received VIP treatment at the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery and USA Today.

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