- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
Auburn (Ala.) High School athlete Cameron Echols-Luper already had his chance to travel to College Station, Texas, to see his future team, Texas A&M play. Echols-Luper made his official visit the weekend of Sept. 8 when the Aggies hosted Florida.
Now, the Aggies are coming to Echols-Luper's neck of the woods to play Auburn University, and he couldn't be more excited to see them in person again.
"I'm extremely excited," Echols-Luper said. "Of course I'll be there. That's not even a question. I'll be there cheering my guys on."
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound three-star prospect, who is ranked 29th in his state and 117th among athletes nationally, has had a productive season for his Auburn High squad thus far. The Tigers are 7-1 on the season with their only loss coming to Montgomery (Ala.) Carver, a game that was nationally televised on ESPNU.
That 46-20 defeat added a chip to the shoulder of Echols-Luper and his teammates, who didn't put their best foot forward on a grand stage. It served as a wake-up call for the group.
"After that loss against Carver, we had to have some gut checks, really," Echols-Luper said. "We really just came together as a team. After that, we knew we had to do what we had to do every Friday night to keep climbing that ladder....Me personally, I think we've gotten a lot better since we lost. I think that loss helped us out a lot."
This weekend, Auburn will meet rival Opelika (Ala.) High School. Echols-Luper is excited that some Aggie coaches will have a chance to watch him compete live, then he'll head to Jordan-Hare Stadium the next day to see the Aggies.
So far, Echols-Luper has been impressed with what he's seen from the Aggies on the field.
"All I can say is that I can't wait," he said. "I really can't wait until June hits so I can get down there and get ready to go. That's all I can think about and talk about really. I can't wait to get down there with Johnny [Manziel], Mike [Evans], Coach [David] Beaty, Coach [Kevin] Sumlin, Coach [Kliff] Kingsbury, I can't wait to get down there period."
The Aggies offense was one of the reasons Echols-Luper chose Texas A&M. He studied what Kevin Sumlin and Kliff Kingsbury did at Houston and thought he would fit well. Now having seen it in action in the maroon and white, he likes what he sees.
"It's potent," he said. "If Johnny (Manziel's) over there putting up those types of stats, how could anybody not be excited about that offense? The offense is tremendous. Having a quarterback like Johnny who's that athletic and that incredible, the coaches could put me anywhere and it's still going to work. I think I'll fit in anywhere. I'll just be blessed to be a part of the team, honestly."
And there's not a school that can change Echols-Luper's mind when it comes to his commitment.
"No, Aggieland is where I want to be and that's where I'm going to be," he said.
Echols-Luper's stepfather, Curtis Luper, is an assistant on Auburn University's staff, so that raises a question: where will his allegiances lie on Saturday night when the game kicks off?
"Auburn's my first home, Texas A&M's my new home," Echols-Luper said. "I'll have to say...you'll just have to wait and see."