Maryland secured a commitment from South Carroll (Sykesville, Md.) offensive tackle Brian Plummer April 2. To gain more insight into the 6-foot-7, 300-pounder, we spoke to his head coach, Steve Luette. Here's what he had to say:
Terrapin Times:Coach, let's start with what Brian brings to the table as a tackle. What does he bring to the line for you guys?
Steve Luette: Well, for a big man he's got good feet, a football sense and he's very physical. This coming year he's going to be the anchor of my line and I wish I had a couple of him. He's a football guy through and through, and I expect to be able to run behind him and throw over him. We're real excited about Brian this year.
TT: How has Brian developed over the years? I know he's only been playing football for three years, but was he someone that took to the game naturally, or were there some road bumps along the way?
SL: First off, he's a natural to the game because he's got a football mentality. He's very good at studying the game and taking everything we teach him and trying to expand on it as quickly as possibly. Naturally, being as big as he was, it's been a detriment [growing up], because he was too big to play in the Rec leagues, and he didn't start playing until his freshman year.
So freshman year was his first year on the football field, but between his freshman year on jayvee to his sophomore and junior years on varsity, he has excelled tremendously and gotten to the point where he's got his technique down. I expect him to be a major force this year.
It's been fun watching him over the years, and he's done it quickly for someone who never played until his freshman year.
TT: Understood, but for someone who has only been playing football for three years, obviously there are areas he can improve on. What are some of those areas?
SL: Well, I'm always on him about living in the weight room and trying to get as strong as he can. His freshman year was his first year really lifting weights, and for his size, he's got a lot more muscle mass he can put on. He's fairly quick for a big man, but we need to keep his speed and agility up. He's done a fairly good job of that; for a big guy he's not the slowest guy I have.
But the main thing with Brian is just to be stronger and become that truly dominating force this year.
TT: I'm guessing his background in basketball helped with footwork some I would think?
SL: It was kind of a double-edged sword to tell you the truth. It kept him in shape in the offseason, but it never gave his legs a chance to rest. When he first came to South Carroll, he'd start with football, go to basketball and then go right into baseball season. So he was constantly moving all the time. I know he told me when he finally took a year off from basketball, his legs felt much better because he was fresher. So it's a double-edged sword; basketball keeps you in shape, but as a big guy you do need to rest your legs a little bit.
TT: I've actually known the South Carroll program for several years now and I can't recall them sending a recruit to the FBS or BCS levels. Is Brian the first?
SL: For our coaching staff, yes. I've been here since 1998, and he is the first for us. But I think many years ago there was a lineman who might have went to Georgia or Georgia Tech, but that was years before me.
TT: What's Brian been like to coach these last three years? Just having a high Division I guy anchoring your line?
SL: Well, Brian really loves football, and he's worked so hard to get to where he's at. When I was talking to him, one of the things he's really excited about is how he's seen other senior classes come through and how they took on a leadership role. What he realizes is now that he's going into his senior year, he's excited about being a leader on the team.
He plays well on the field, but he's excited about getting the team to go as far as we can this year and reach the goals we have. We want to get to the last game of the season, and Brian's fired up to get the guys ready to do that. I'm excited for him; he's ready to be a leader and add on that responsibility.
TT: Just from talking to Brian a few times he seems like a very honest, hard-working, humble and well-spoken individual. How does he strike you?
SL: He's a hard working kid who is going to give it his all. He's done everything I've ever asked of him; that's the way he is. He's going to do everything the best he can, all the time. I've had a couple kids come through here who have been as big as Brian, but they never had the willpower or work ethic Brian has. He's just really excited about playing the sport and learning as much as he can. That's really going to help him out now and in the future, because he really does want to do his best in this game.
TT: How did the recruiting process go down with Maryland? What were your conversations like with Coach [Randy] Edsall, Coach [Greg] Studrawa and Coach [John] Dunn?
SL: Well, I haven't spoken to Coach Edsall yet because I've been away on vacation. I know Brian saw some spring practices there, and Coach Edsall was trying to contact me, but I just haven't been able to talk to him yet.
Now, a couple of their coaches have come up here to see Brian. Coach Studrawa, Coach Dunn, they've kept tabs on him and have been through the school. They did a great job staying in touch with Brian and just making sure [Plummer] knew he was wanted at Maryland. They seem like upstanding, great coaches and recruiters, and I know Brian likes the entire staff there a lot.
TT: Having seen some Carroll County football, I know you guys don't play against the best competition every week. Do you think that might be a detriment to Brian's development in a way? Would he perhaps benefit from playing stiffer competition week in, week out so he can be better prepared for Big Ten play?
SL: I think the only way you can really get that kind of [stiff] competition is at a private school, but there are a lot of good players in the public schools. Granted, we don't get it [the competion] week in and week out, but I think Brian has the work ethic and attitude where when he is playing that top competition he's going to step up and be able to do it.
And, you know, actually I think it's a little harder for Brian here [at South Carroll]. With his size, he kind of stands out and everybody we go against is coming at him and wants to try and beat him to get to the quarterback. They make him work harder, actually, because they [the opposing defenders] want to be the guy that beat the big offensive tackle.
It's a little different, but I really think Brian is going to be able to handle things [in the Big Ten]. I think he's going to be just fine.
TT: Do you see Brian as a right tackle or left tackle at the next level?
SL: That's hard to say. And that's only because every line coach has a little different philosophy of who they want on the right and left based on footspeed and what they have going on. Not knowing the other players there, it's hard to say what the line coach is going to do with him. But Brian can play wherever. His sophomore year we had him at guard actually, because we were putting our bigger guys at guard and our smaller guys at tackle. We were seeing a lot of 4 fronts, and we needed him at guard.
So he's played both guard and tackle, and he's quick enough to take on a defensive end on a hard rush. It's all going to depend on what the line coach wants to do with him.
TT: Last question, Coach. Was there a coming out moment you can recall when you knew Brian could play at a high level of college football? Was there a block he made or a particular moment?
SL: To tell you the truth, I don't think it was a moment in a game, but what I saw in him was the intensity and preparation he had going into the game. He doesn't take time off, he works hard, he runs sprints like there's no tomorrow. When he practices, he practices hard to compete at the highest level in the games.
When I saw his work off the field, that's when I first thought he had the ability to do something special.
Coach Speak: Steve Luette On Brian Plummer
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