Friday, February 15, 2013
Recruiting notes: LB Whitley in no hurry
By Sam Khan Jr.
In the last three weeks, ESPN Watch List linebacker Zach Whitley Jr. (Houston/North Shore) has attended a pair of junior days and picked up a notable SEC offer.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound inside linebacker attended Texas A&M's first junior day of the year on Jan. 27 then went to Austin for Texas' first junior day on Sunday.
Linebacker Zach Whitley says Texas and Texas A&M are even right now.
In between those two trips, reigning BCS champion Alabama extended an offer to Whitley.
All of the recent activity has been positive for Whitley, but he's in no rush to decide on his future.
"Honestly, I decided that I wanted to wait until after my senior year," Whitley said. "I want to focus on football and my goals here. I'm committed to my team."
After his junior day visits, he said the Aggies and Longhorns are even in his mind.
"Overall, right now, I like the fact that both schools are in Texas for one," Whitley said. "And the comparisons, no school is higher. I like both schools, I like the programs, I like the coaches. They both have a family vibe in both schools. Academic-wise they both carry what I'm trying to major in, which is aerospace engineering. Really, I like both schools so far. I would also like to go to some more junior days."
Whitley expressed interest in Alabama and hopes to make a trip to Tuscaloosa whenever he gets an invite. He was invited to a junior day there but couldn't make it, but he said he'll definitely travel there when the next invitation comes.
When it comes to the Aggies, Whitley said they could see him playing a couple of different roles if he were to wind up there.
"They said they could keep me on the outside or they could have me up near the line [to rush the quarterback]," he said. "But I'd rather be in the back, like a linebacker."
Aggies receiving visit from 2014 center
Terrell Cuney figures to be hearing from Texas A&M coaches more frequently in the near future. At least, based on his Facebook account activity, that could be the case.
I think [offensive line] coach [B.J.] Anderson added me as a friend on Facebook," Cuney said. "So I guess I'm going to here from him soon."
He'll get an in-person introduction to Anderson and the rest of the Aggies' coaching staff on Saturday.
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound center from Jasper (Texas) High School will be taking an unofficial visit to Texas A&M on Saturday to check out the campus, the athletics facilities and to meet with the coaching staff.
It'll be the start of what figures to be a busy spring semester for Cuney, who also is scheduled to be at Texas junior day on Feb. 23.
Cuney, who has started every season he has been on Jasper's varsity squad, is looking forward to the trip to Aggieland.
"I've never been down there, so I want to see something different," Cuney said. "I want the campus to just blow me away. I've never been so I'm hoping for a good experience."
Cuney has received interest from several quality programs, including Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech in addition to the Aggies and Longhorns.
"I think they did a good job for the first year under [Kevin Sumlin]," Cuney said. "That's a nice system to play in."
Cuney admits he's learning more about A&M, but Texas was his favorite school as a child.
"Texas was my favorite team growing up," he said. "I loved the 'Hook 'em' thing. Something about that that I love. My town loves Texas."
The Aggies will get their chance this weekend to see what they can do about that.
New 2014 offer out
One 2014 prospect that has heated up quickly lately is Katy (Texas) Seven Lakes defensive end Jarrett Johnson.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound prospect added two new offers to his list on Thursday: Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
Johnson was in attendance at Texas' junior day on Sunday and picked up an offer from the Longhorns while he was there. He now holds offers from Missouri, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.
He told HornsNation earlier this week that he's in no rush to decide on his future.
“I’ve talked about it with my mom and we’ve decided to take the process slow,” Johnson said.
Johnson was a first-team all-district selection as a junior in 2012.
Every recruit has their reasons for choosing the school they do. For ESPN 150 receiver Sebastian LaRue, there were several from his relationship with secondary coach Marcel Yates, the experience he had on his official visit to Texas A&M as well as the offense and how he could fit in it with his dynamic playmaking ability.
But one thing that the 2013 signee didn't really think about until the latter part of his recruitment were some unique things that linked him to Texas A&M already.
LaRue's position coach at Santa Monica (Calif.) High School was former Texas A&M cornerback Sean Weston. Also, LaRue has worked out with one of Weston's friends, former Texas A&M receiver Sirr Parker. Also a California native, Parker is best known for his game-winning touchdown reception against then-undefeated Kansas State in the 1998 Big 12 championship game.
Also, LaRue's grandmother has the first name 'Aggie.'
"I didn't initially look at all of those things as signs," said LaRue, who signed with the Aggies on Feb. 6. "I didn't really pay attention to them I guess. It was very unique for me in particular because it was all right there in my face from day one of this recruiting process. Everything just came back full circle. I'm glad that I finally realized it and that I ended up making the best decision for my life.
"When I think back about it, it was all right there in my face all along."
Coming from California to play in Texas, LaRue feels like he has something to prove when he gets on the A&M campus.
"Definitely," LaRue said. "Not only that, I just feel like I have something to prove just from how I was looked at as a player in high school and things like that. I'm just coming in with something to prove on the field, off the field in the classroom and I'll be sure to keep my grades right and get a degree.
"High school is ending now and we're all making our next steps to the college level and we'll see who makes the jump quicker. I really hope that I'm one of those guys to make the jump quicker."