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Bowl Bites: Rebels plan for gift suite the way they would an opponent

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV quarterback Caleb Herring points to a receiver after not being able to reach him with a pass during their Mountain West Conference game against San Diego State Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium. UNLV won 45-19.

The methods differed from person to person, but like they would for a game, the Rebels entered Saturday’s gift suite with a game plan. You never want to be unprepared, even when the opponent is a room full of tables holding free stuff.

“It’s great feeling like you’ve earned something and feeling like you’re getting rewarded for what you did this year,” quarterback Caleb Herring said.

The senior got a little overwhelmed when he stepped into the room at Eddie Deen’s Ranch, where the team had a welcome reception with North Texas for Wednesday’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.

“It was tough at first, but when I got to the table with the big stuff, it got kind of easy,” Herring said. “I knew I wanted to go big or go home.”

Players were given five points to spend on items valued from one to five. So while some may have gone with five one-point gifts, Herring and others stuck to the five-pointers. Among those bigger-ticket items were a flat-screen TV and a reclining movie chair.

Players could also spend all five points on one Diesel watch, and once Herring saw that, his search was over.

“It’s huge,” said Herring, who has a small watch collection at home. “You’ve got to see it, man.”

Junior Devante Davis was among many who went another direction.

“The watch was nice; I’m not going to sit up here and tell you it wasn’t,” Davis said. “I just didn’t want to spend all my points on one thing.”

Davis opted for an Apple TV and a speaker system. Bowl gifts are one of the main highlights for football players, as evidenced by this video of Missouri seeing its Cotton Bowl swag. The NCAA allows gifts valued up to $550 for each participant, and the gifts vary by bowl game, with a gift suite available for nearly half the games.

Whatever their game plan, the Rebels were appreciative of their new toys and gear.

“It’s a wide variety of things that you might not be able to get in any other situation on a college kid’s budget,” Herring said.

Or, put more simply by Davis, “Free gifts. That’s always good.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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