One of Texas A&M's earliest and most highly-touted 2009 commitments came from Clear Lake lineman Stephen Barrera. The 6-foot-5, 282-pound recruit, who's mother graduated from Texas A&M and sister currently attends A&M, committed to the Aggies in February after a junior day event. The four-star prospect is considered one of the best linemen in the state, yet the message has gotten out to college coaches of his solid verbal which has slowed down the recruiting letters and visits.
"When schools called, my coach told them I was solid to A&M," Barrera said. "So the letters have slowed down. I get a few, but mainly junk mail. When college coaches come to our practice, they will congratulate me on my commitment to A&M. They know I'm going there."
The Falcons conclude spring workouts tonight with their spring game. Barrera is excited about what he's seen so far from his team and is looking forward to the 2008 season.
"We're looking really good. The offense has always been strong for us, but the defense especially looks great this spring," Barrera said. "We're so much faster as a unit. We have a linebacker who is incredibly fast to the ball and makes plays. I've gotten quicker this year along with some of the other guys."
The Clear Lake product has worked hard improving both his power and speed through the use of plyometrics training and other workouts with the team.
"My speed has definitely increased and has allowed me to be more aggressive this spring," Barrera said. "I've been doing a lot of plyometrics training, sprints, and a lot of work on my legs. My footwork is better and my change of direction is better. I'm getting good hand extension in practice. I'm pleased with my progress."
Texas A&M offensive line coach Jim Turner has been out to observe Barrera and Clear Lake's practice this spring, and the two talk on a regular basis. While Barrera plays primarily defensive line in high school, the Aggies want him as an offensive lineman at the next level. Is he apprehensive about the future move?
"I'd like to play defensive line. I enjoy it a lot, but I also know that my skill set at the next level is better suited for offensive line," Barrera said. "If I want to make it to the pros, I know it will be as an offensve lineman."
Barrera also received good news in the mail recently when he was nominated for next year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl held in San Antonio in January. He was pleasantly surprised when the application and invitation arrived recently.
"I think they send out nominations to 400 players and then they will pick the top 90 to be in the game," Barrera said. "It's an honor to be nominated and hopeful I'll have the kind of season that gets me an invite to play."
Barrera isn't sure about his plans this summer. Being firmly committed to Texas A&M, he has nothing to prove at the camps, but if Coach Turner feels it will be good to attend and get a head start on his career he'll consider it.
"Right now I don't know if I'm going to the A&M camp. I may go to the offensive/defensive line camp in July," Barrera said. "But that will depend on what Coach Turner thinks. If he wants me to be there, I'll go. If he doesn't think it's something I need, I may not. He told me I didn't need to prove anything to them. We'll see."
Barrera continues to improve
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