Recruiting: Is Habern next?

Argyle, Texas offensive lineman Ben Habern talks about his trip to Junior Day in Norman, his relationship with current Sooner commits from Texas and upcoming visit to Austin. Habern could potentially be the highest-rated guard/center prospect in the state of Texas.

BEN HABERN, OG/OC, 6'3, 265, 4.9, ARGYLE (LIBERTY CHRISTIAN), TEXAS:

It is always great to be known at the best at a position no matter what position you play, but with Ben Habern many say he is going to be the best center or guard in the state of Texas for 2008. So Habern is not only the best at one position, but he is by most accounts the best at two. He is certainly considered the best inside offensive linemen in Texas for 2008, and that is saying something.

Habern has been a starter since his freshman season when he broke into the starting line-up after recovering from an injury that cost him the first three games. And since then, he has been a fixture in the starting line-up.

"My junior season was my best year yet," said Habern. "We made it all the way to the state finals where we lost to lost to Midland Christian. I had a really good season. I thought, personally, I did better on defense than I did offense. But I had the best offensive season in all my three years, but my defensive season kind of exploded. That was really cool, but I pretty much had just a really good season on both sides of the ball.

The fact Habern is dominant on both sides of the ball is a testament to his ability. Last season he finished with 55 tackles, nine sacks and was named the Co-Defensive Player of the Year in his district. He also earned first-team all-state honors on defense.

College coaches love taking outstanding defensive players and making them into offensive lineman ,and the fact that Habern is an outstanding defensive player as well gets college coaches even more excited about his abilities.

"All the college coaches that talk to me talk to me about playing offense," said Habern. "All of them say that I have the perfect size for a center and they love how quick my feet, are and that is pretty much all they talk about. I can pretty much see myself playing center in college."

Habern hasn't maxed out in the bench, but the last time he did he benched 300 and posted a 500 squat. He also starts in hoops averaging eight points and eight rebounds a game. He is a rookie at throwing the shot, but can toss it out there at 45 feet.

Habern recently attended the University of Oklahoma Junior day and admits he was impressed with the Sooners.

"I loved it," said Habern. "I got to go up a little bit earlier with some of the other guys like Stephen Good, Justin Johnson and J.B. Shugarts. We all hung out for a while in the coaches office and I talked to Coach Bob Stoops for about 30 minutes. Then I talked to Coach James Patton, the OU offensive line coach, for a while. With Coach Stoops it was more like an interview he was giving for my parents because he was telling them about the school and what he and the program stands for.

"Coach Patton showed us the depth chart and showed us where I would be if I keep working hard. So that was real informative. I got to see the facilities and that was great because I had never seen the weight room. That was really cool. We got to see the academic center and the dorms, so the visit was real informative."

Habern, who has earned scholarship offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, says he is going to UT this weekend.

"The Texas coaches have told me that that they are pretty sure I am going to get an offer when we go up there this weekend," said Habern. "So, I will get interested in Texas this weekend if they offer."

Does Habern have a leader at this point?

"Oklahoma," said Habern. "They are just No. 1 with me. When I went up there for Junior Day I was impressed with all their coaches and I felt I really clicked with them. They talked to me and showed me if I kept working and do the things that I am supposed to do, then I am going to be a good player. They talked to me about continuing to gain weight and how to continue to keep getting quicker and faster. They showed me where on the depth chart that I could eventually be the starting center for Oklahoma.

"Coach Patton compared me to the other offensive linemen that they have had in the past and some of them are playing in the NFL right now. That was really cool and kind of got my hopes up and everything. I love Coach Stoops and I love how he coaches. The whole coaching staff impressed me and all their facilities are incredible."

Habern says he wants to think things over a little longer before he makes a decision.

"I came pretty close to committing to OU during Junior Day, but I want to go down to Texas to look at that stuff and see what they have to offer," said Habern. "I don't want to decide right now, I want to wait a couple of weeks. Right now Oklahoma is my favorite."

Oklahoma is off to great start in recruiting for 2008 with early commitments from running back Justin Johnson, R.J. Washington, Stephen Good and linebacker Daniel Franklin. So do OU's early commitments give them an edge at this point in recruiting?

"Yeah, that definitely is something that I will consider," said Habern. "Everybody wants to play on a really good team. After seeing some of the top prospects in 2008 class already commit to Oklahoma, that definitely pulls me in and helps me decide easier If I did end up committing to Oklahoma that would help pull in some other great players just like Justin, R.J. and Stephen have done. Maybe that would make that class really something special."

Habern also admits he is friends with the three Texans who recently committed to OU.

"I know them pretty well," said Habern. "I have talked to Justin and Stephen before on the phone. When we got up there for Junior Day we all met and talked all day and hung out with each other. Then we went to dinner together and to the OU/Texas Tech basketball game that night and talked so more. I wouldn't say we are great friends yet, but I do know them pretty well. I know them well enough to talk to them on the phone and give them a call."

Habern also admits that distance from Norman to Argyle is a factor as well.

"That is a big plus for OU," said Habern. "Oklahoma is just an hour and a half to two hours away from here, so it is real easy to get up there."


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