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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Springs a surprise part of top DB class

By Max Olson

SAN ANTONIO -- You knew about Tony Brown, Jamal Adams and Ed Paris. Those three have been talked up, written about and recruited for more than a year.

But admit it: You know decidedly less about Arrion Springs, the San Antonio Roosevelt corner who’s suddenly one of the state’s hottest recruits.

Arrion Springs
Arrion Springs, who is No. 44 in the ESPN 150, says Miami and Oregon are his two favorite schools.
While those other three big-name guys enjoyed the limelight as the faces of the state’s bountiful crop of 2014 defensive backs, Springs devoted his efforts to proving he was on their level.

He might've been one of the big surprises of the initial ESPN 150 released last week, but that’s been an honor he’s worked hard to obtain. With 20 offers and more coming seemingly every day, Springs can stop feeling overlooked.

“A year ago, things were going pretty slow,” he said. “I was looking at Tony and all those guys, they were getting offers and offers. I was like, ‘Oh, I guess I’ll just be under the radar.’ I thought I’d just get one or two offers.”

Springs was stunned to see the ESPN rankings drop last week. He’s ranked No. 44 in the ESPN 150, sixth-best in the state of Texas and -- as important than anything else, at least to him -- Springs is rated right behind Adams and Brown as the third-best defensive back prospect in Texas.

Those rankings aren’t the reason why Springs plays football, of course, but he’s no doubt excited to get some recognition after taking a backseat to those other top DBs for far too long.

“I looked at them and I wanted to get there,” Springs said. “I wanted to show people that I can play with those guys and I’m just as good as them. They have offers from bigger schools, the SEC schools like Bama and LSU, and I don’t. I’m just going to working to show I’m on their level.”

He’s confident his junior film did his talents far more justice than any ratings from a recruiting website. Springs played all over the field -- corner, safety and linebacker -- for Roosevelt and finished with 63 tackles and four interceptions.

The motivation from feeling underappreciated had something to do with that performance, but working overtime last offseason also had a noticeable effect.

“I took on a lot of workouts,” he said. “I was training every day, going to two or three workouts a day. Anytime somebody wants to work out? Sure. I’m there.”

Matt Carroll has only been the head coach at Roosevelt for one month, but he’s already prepared to call Springs an elite player based solely on what he’s seen on film and in workouts.

Before Carroll even got the job, word was already traveling up to his previous school, University High in Waco, Texas, that he was about to inherit a special talent.

“I tell you, before I even got here I was getting phone calls already about this Arrion Springs kid,” Carroll said. “I’d tell them, ‘Man, I’m just trying to get hired by the school board first. But it is good to know you’re calling.’ I’m glad he’s on our side.”

When Carroll first arrived at the school, Springs was one of the first to stop by the coach’s office and ask for his cell number. He wanted to build a bond. They’ll rely heavily on one another this fall.

Carroll plans to keep playing Springs as a linebacker, a role that maximizes his ability to get to the ball and change games. The “jack of all trades,” as his new coach calls him, could even play some quarterback.

“We have him at outside linebacker right now because of his aggressiveness and he’s physical, but he can still cover,” Caroll said. “It helps us out defensively. As a corner, you can run away from him and eliminate him from your game plan. But when he’s in the box, he’s in the box. There’s just not a whole lot you can do.”

With so many offers on the table, Springs is playing this game his way. He has repeatedly called Oregon and Miami his two favorite schools. He finally landed an offer from the Hurricanes on Tuesday and wants Oregon to send coaches to Roosevelt this spring to evaluate and offer him.

Texas seems to be the clear No. 3 option for Springs behind the Ducks and Canes right now, thanks to the hard work of Duane Akina as well as his close friend and UT commit Trey Lealaimatafao.

“Me and him are pretty cool friends, we talk to each other all the time,” Springs said. "We have a little competition going to see who can get the most offers.”

Lealaimatafao says the competition ended when he committed to the Longhorns, and the San Antonio Warren defensive tackle insists Springs has to join him in Austin.

“He talks to me like, ‘You need to commit. You need to commit. Coach Akina wants you, we all want you, so come on,' " Springs said. “He texts me every other day. He brings that up often.”

Springs plan to narrow down his options soon and wants to take visits outside the state this summer before deciding.

Considering he didn’t expect to have many options a year ago, he’s content to slow things down and savor the experience of being one of the state’s best defensive backs.

“Now I’m kind of blowing up,” he said. “I have options.”