About five years ago, when Pat Angerer was attending Bettendorf High School basketball games on a regular basis, his Friday nights were a little different than this one.

They generally consisted of him standing there amongst his buddies, screaming and yelling at officials and opponents, hoping that they wouldn't get kicked out of the place. Sometimes they succeeded.

When Angerer stopped in at another Bulldogs game Friday, nobody wanted him to leave.

The Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker made his triumphant return to the alma mater on Pat Angerer Night, and his presence pretty much overshadowed the basketball game that was taking place about 100 feet away.

Angerer signed autographs for fans and well-wishers before the game, during the game and very nearly had to stay around after the game as he received rock star treatment from the old hometown.

"I kind of thought they wouldn't let me back in at all," he joked while signing autographs in the third quarter. "Me and my friends would have been kicked out of here by now."

Angerer started signing

autographs at 6:15 p.m. and took only two breaks - one to watch the first 30 seconds of the game and another for halftime ceremonies in which he was showered with applause.

He signed shirts, footballs, helmets, oranges (they sold them at the concession stand in honor of Iowa's Orange Bowl win), student IDs, cell phones. One group of five kids asked him to sign their foreheads.

Bettendorf athletic director Mark Brooks, who pitched the idea of having a night like this to Angerer two days after the Orange Bowl, had 700 photos printed up to be autographed. That stack was dwindling by the second half. And Angerer was struggling to find a Sharpie among the dozen or so in front of him that had any ink left in it.

Many of the autograph-seekers were wide-eyed kids, almost all of them wearing black and gold, some with No. 43 jerseys.

Angerer was a little wide-eyed himself.

"This is crazy," he said. "I never could have envisioned anything like this. This community has just been so supportive of me."

It's support that's well-deserved. During his years at Bettendorf, Angerer set school records for tackles in a game, season and career and led the school to state titles in both football and soccer.

He had comparable success the past two seasons at Iowa, registering 252 more tackles while earning All-Big Ten and All-American honors.

And the future is equally bright. He is working hard to prepare for a pro career and has signed with San Diego agent Jack Bechta, who represented former Iowa players Tim Dwight and Matt Bowen, and who also will be representing teammates A.J. Edds and Tony Moeaki.

"He was the most normal guy I met," Angerer said.

The early NFL mock drafts have him going anywhere from the third round to not at all.

"That just shows that those things really don't matter," he said. "Those aren't the guys who are doing the picking. It doesn't matter to me anyway. Whether I get drafted high or not, I'm going to give it my all."

Angerer's personal life is blooming, too. After the Hawkeyes hammered Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, he went back to his hotel room and proposed to Mary Porter of Bettendorf, who has been his steady girl for six years.

"He did it at 2 o'clock in the morning," Mary said as she watched him interact with fans Friday. "He planned to do it the next day, but he was just so super excited from the game he did it right then and there."

There was plenty of love flowing at halftime Friday, too. As Angerer stood at center court with Mary, his parents and Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker, the public address announcer spent about five minutes detailing the high points of his career.

He was given a plaque and a banner was unveiled that says: "Pat Angerer ... born to wear black and gold." It will hang in the Bettendorf Fitness Center.

Parker said a few words about Angerer's toughness and work ethic.

"Bettendorf should be proud of him," he told the crowd. "And he should be proud of Bettendorf."

Strangely, they never handed the microphone to Angerer for him to say a few words, even after the Bulldogs' student section chanted "speech, speech."

Angerer said it was just as well. He said he didn't want to break down and cry in front of that many of his friends.

"These people have just been so supportive of me," he said. "I should be thanking them."