Offensive Lineman: "I'm ready to go"

He grew up in the shadows of Kyle Field, and now he's ready to cast a shadow of his own in Aggieland. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp had a chance to catch up to his Bryan HS product to find out what he's doing to get ready for A&M and what it means to carry on his family tradition.

Growing up in the shadows of Kyle Field can sometimes serve as a reason not to attend Texas A&M for high school students in the Brazos Valley. They want to leave home, experience another place, and not be just minutes away from mom and dad.

That's not the case for Evan Eike, a Bryan high school offensive lineman and a member of the Texas A&M recruiting class of 2007. Eike's parents, in addition to two cousins an aunt and an uncle, all graduated from A&M, and the "brainwashing" began at a very early age.

"I've always been an Aggie," Eike said. "I did leave my options open when recruiting started and I looked at a bunch of other schools but I didn't see anything that compared to A&M. It's always been a dream of mine to play at A&M. It's a great place to play college football and get a great education. It was an easy decision for me. It (also) means a lot to carry on the (family) tradition. It's something I've always wanted to do and now that I have the chance to do it, I'm ready to go."

The 6-4, 305 pound offensive lineman started going to games at Kyle Field with his dad as a young boy, and remembers standing on the student side of the stadium. That experience is one reason why the 12th Man has always been his favorite tradition.

"The students and the atmosphere that the students bring to games is something that sets A&M apart from other schools," he said.

Eike has plenty of numbers that set him apart from other linemen in the state as well.

He was ranked as one of the top 50 linemen in the country by and was considered one of the most dominant offensive linemen in the state last year. He earned second team All-State honors in class 5A and anchored an offensive line for a 1900-yard rusher.

In addition, he recorded an incredible 147 knockdown blocks, and should be able to step in and play on an offensive line that will lose four seniors in 2008.

Eike was also selected to represent Texas in the Bayou Bowl (along with Harold Turnage, Daniel Baker, Billy Chavis and Derrick Stephens) against Louisiana all-stars on June 9 in Baytown and won't report to A&M until early July for the start of summer II classes.

"I kind of like (playing in the Bayou Bowl) to get a chance to play and get back into things before I get to A&M," Eike said. "I've also been selected to play in the Texas High School Coaches Association game in Fort Worth on July. I haven't decided if I'm going to play in that game for sure because I'll be in classes already."

While playing in the all-star games provides Eike with another chance to play in live action before reporting to A&M, he's also doing what he needs to do off the field in order to prepare.

"I've been doing workouts that I got from the coaching staff at A&M and been sticking to those to stay in shape," he said. "I haven't tested since we got out of football, but I can tell I've gotten a little stronger, I just don't know how much. I am down to about 305 pounds though. In August I played at around 320."

That size should cast a pretty big shadow of itself when Eike takes Kyle Field in the maroon and white for the first time.

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