Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Texas on top for DE after junior day visit
By Max Olson
While a lot of people were surprised that Texas offered a scholarship to Jake McMillon (Abilene, Texas/Abilene) on Saturday, Steve Warren wasn’t among them.
He has been the head coach at Abilene for 17 years. In all those years, Warren never had a defensive end start on varsity as a freshman until McMillon came along.
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“He’s been a three-year starter for me," Warren said. "He’s a big ol' strong, physical kid with great speed for his size. He’s one of those guys who it’s going to take two people to block him. He’s got all the tools, no doubt.”
The coach has been talking about the 6-foot-3, 250-pound prospect to any college recruiter who will listen. Almost nobody had been biting. That is, until Saturday when Texas coaches extended an offer during McMillon’s junior day visit.
That offer was the third one McMillon landed, along with Texas State and SMU. It could be the offer that wraps up his recruiting process, too.
“I think he’s probably visited just about everywhere he has an interest in. He’s been to a lot of campuses,” Warren said. “I think right now he’s going to sit back and see where this offer leads. It may cause some other dominoes to fall, you never know.
“But Texas is on top of his list. He just wants to really make the right decision for him.”
Warren said McMillon decided he couldn’t commit during his UT visit without first going home and talking things over with his parents.
McMillon knew there was a possibility he could get offered during his visit, but he was still a bit surprised. Getting to spend time with fellow Abilene native Lorenzo Joe during the visit was another plus.
McMillon’s biggest motivation for going home uncommitted was getting a chance to talk with his mother, who was unable to make the long trip to Austin.
“This has been a learning experience for all of us,” Rebecca McMillon said Sunday. “I’m proud of the way he’s went through it all. I told him today your hard work has paid off. He really works hard.”
McMillon comes from a long line of college football players. His father played defensive tackle at Abilene Christian. His uncle played at Baylor. His great uncle played at TCU.
Now Jake is next in line, and Warren admits he’s Abilene’s best prospect since ESPN 150 running back Herschel Sims in 2011.
As a junior, McMillon earned district defensive MVP honors after racking up 14 sacks, 32 tackles and forcing two fumbles.
Why so few other schools have offered him is still a bit of a mystery to Warren.
“Oh I think it’s probably Abilene,” he said. “There’s hundreds of Division I schools that will fly into the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but they won’t take the two-hour drive west to see some of our players.”
The same can’t be said of Texas’ coaching staff.
“Coach [Mack] Brown and those guys at Texas have recruited us every single year since I’ve been here, whether we’ve got a great D-I player or not. I like that,” Warren said. “I think you build relationships that way and I have great respect for those guys because of it. I think Jake is flying under the radar just because we don’t have 10 D-I coaches coming in here every day to watch him work out.”
Will McMillon soon become Texas’ ninth verbal commit for 2014? Warren isn’t sure. He’s trying to give McMillon some time and space as he weighs his major decision.
But now that Texas has offered, that decision may have gotten much easier.
“He was still very thrilled,” Warren said. “He’s very excited about it and was pretty pumped up after he got that offer.”