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West Headed East to Play for Navy
Congratulations on the commitment. Can you tell us what was behind committing to Navy?
It's just a great opportunity. I mean it's a top school with top football. All the coaches and players are great, and plus there's no where else you can go to be in the Marine Corps afterwards. It has big time tradition, and the big thing for me was the emphasis on your development outside athletics. I could have gone other places where I wouldn't have to be in the military, but I really got hooked on Navy because they work on your mind and everything and once you're done with sports, send you out into the world.
You mentioned the Marine Corps. Sounds like you have some family in the military…
I have several cousins and a few uncles, and both my grandparents were in the Army. My older brother is currently in the Marine Corps, so I've got some military background for sure.
Are you thinking about the Marine Corps for a post graduate service selection?
That's what I'm thinking right now. Something might change, but that or the Navy SEALS. I'm not sure.
Besides Navy, which other schools offered you scholarships?
The Air Force Academy was the only other D-1 one. There were some others in the Texas area that were I-AA and stuff like that, but I wasn't interested in that. I was recruited by the Texas areas schools but once I got offered by Air Force and Navy I was looking into those a lot. I actually talked to Miami (Fl), but the time I got talking to them their class was together pretty much, and I didn't get an offer from them. Other than Air Force and Navy I didn't have any official D-1 offers.
So what was it about Navy that made it stand out from Air Force?
Really just the Marine Corps and the military side. They're both top schools and they have a great program over there, but it's the Navy. You can't pass up on the opportunity to be in the Marine Corps or be a Navy SEAL or something like that. It was a tough decision, for sure. It was a great decision to be in being recruited but definitely one of my toughest decisions ever.
How much exposure do Texas high school players have towards Navy?
I think it's different for every person. With my family I heard a lot about the Academy. A lot of the kids that come from Houston go play there, so there are some kids who come back and say, ‘hey I played there,' or you'll here about a recruit that signs there. I actually went and saw the SMU game when they came down to Dallas, and now when they go to the Big East they'll play (Houston) and SMU.
Speaking of Houston and SMU, how excited are you about not only Navy joining the Big East, but having the chance to compete against Texas state schools?
I think it's going to be great to play in front of people from Texas. Whether it be in Houston or Dallas it's going to be a great opportunity to show them what I've got.
Was Navy recruiting you as a general offensive lineman, or specifically at a position like guard or center?
Well at my high school I was going to be a guard, but since we had so many injuries I moved to center then moved to tackle. We had a game this past year where I played all three different positions in one game, just because of things moving around. The Naval Academy looks at me at interior line, but then they said I could maybe even play tackle. I'm just looking to help the team however I can.
How excited are you to play in an offense that runs the ball so much?
I love it really. Pass blocking is great and I can do it, but I don't think there's anything better than just being one on one and fighting that guy right in front of you.
Tell me about the ‘The Brotherhood.'
It's great. We went on our visit and we got to hang out with the players currently there, and they all talk and act like they've known each other since they were little kids, and they were only sophomores and juniors. I don't know what it is yet because I haven't experienced it, but there's something there that makes these guys really tight and together. It's definitely appealing and I want to be a part of it.
How do you feel about going to NAPS?
The coaches said if I wanted to come in direct and it was going to be like a make-or-break thing for my decision then they could push for me direct, but NAPS is such a great opportunity. At first I was like, ‘prep school, there's nothing wrong with me, I'm not stupid!' But it's for football, it's for grades, and definitely that freshmen year it prepares you for someone coming from a public school into a military academy.
What were the top three things that attracted you to Navy?
Definitely the tradition. I was hit hard with that after I went to their summer camp. After we played I walked around with my dad and I was like overwhelmed with how many great people come through there. I'd say tradition is number one, and the ‘Brotherhood' was super huge for me. People use clichés like ‘we're going to war together,' in sports, but these guys you actually play sports and will go to war with. It's definitely something that brings you closer together, and when you're close together with your teammates you definitely play better. Also getting the chance to play (great competition.) They're independent right now but they play a huge national schedule, and them moving into the Big East was big too.
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