After a state quarterfinals appearance last season, expectations were sky-high heading into 2013 for Plano West. But a Zero Week loss to Flower Mound Marcus quickly humbled the Wolves.
Led by SMU commit Lance Cottrell, the Plano West defense forced three turnovers and the Wolves rebounded on Friday night with a wild 52-33 win over Lake Highlands.
"We came out there very strong. We had a lot of defensive pressure on them so we forced a bunch of three and outs," Cottrell said. "Unfortunately, we let our heads get the best of us and let them back in the game. But I think our team is on the rise and motivated after that loss from Marcus."
Cottrell believes Plano West can win out and make another deep run in the playoffs. Individually, he has goals to be an all-district player and ‘possibly all-state.'
In Plano West's 4-3 scheme, Cottrell starts at weak side linebacker, but he also saw time in the middle and started at defensive end as a junior. On the Hilltop, Cottrell will play outside linebacker in SMU's 3-4 defense.
But don't expect to see three-star prospect on the field as a freshman.
"I plan on redshirting. Right now, I'm at 195 so I know I need to bulk up. I want to be 215 by the time I go to SMU and continue to add weight when I get there," he said. "I think it can really benefit me.
"Coach (Tom) Mason says he really likes my pass rushing skills and as an outside linebacker, I feel I can use my speed to get around blockers. I also worked a lot on my coverage skills this offseason so I definitely feel like I improved a lot."
Since committing to SMU back in January, Cottrell hasn't heard much from other schools. Letters have been sent to his inbox and he's received his fair share of emails. But only Colorado has been actively recruiting the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder.
So for now, Cottrell remains firmly committed to SMU and hopes to make a visit soon.
"Anything can happen, but my commitment is pretty solid. I really like what SMU has to offer. I like the small classes and how I can stay connected with my family since it's right down the street," Cottrell said. "I'm really interested in their business school, and Mason Gentry is up there so he can help me out with everything.
"I also have a great relationship with Coach Mason. He's a really easy-going guy. He's kept in contact through e-mail here and there. He actually invited me to the Montana State game, but I wasn't able to make it. But I do hope to make it to the next home game."
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