Garland Lakeview Centennial HS
NR: 49 SR: 59 Star Rating: ***
[Note: Duncan is not officially a member of the '05 class yet. His LOI signing has been temporarily delayed by mutual agreement between himself and the UT coaches. Click here for more.]
An Inside Texas conversation with Lakeview Centennial defensive coordinator Audie Jackson on Brandon Duncan:
IT: What are Brandon's strengths as a football player?
Jackson: The one thing that I'm most proud about Brandon is his ability to block out his environment. He's from a single-parent family and I believe just this year his mom remarried, so basically his whole life he's from a single-parent family. He makes great grades and that's saying a lot in today's society and on top of that he's got God-given athletic ability. He has a distinct ability to find the ball. He runs. He's around the ball, sideline to sideline. He's not one that talks a lot during the game, he just shows up -- 'I'm ready coach' -- and he learns the game and doesn't say much. Team meetings it's always funny, you'll go, 'Brandon, got it?' 'Got it coach.' That's about it when you're going over stuff. That's the type of kid he is.
IT: Where did he play for you?
Jackson: He played inside linebacker. He pulled his hamstring about the third game of the season and was kind of hindered by that for about four games and came back at the end and two of those games had over 20 tackles.
IT: Did he ever line up elsewhere?
Jackson: We run a 4-2-5 and he played inside linebacker, he played outside linebacker and he played defensive end. And the reason why we put him at end is just to put him up against someone that's not as athletic as he is just to take advantage of that. And before I got here, they played him at drop end. He played defensive end because they wanted to get his speed, strength and quickness on people.
IT: What position do you project him to play at Texas?
Jackson: I see him the first couple of years trying to find himself a place outside until he gets a little bit bigger, but he's going to mature. He's just a baby. He hasn't had a Texas year-round weight program. He's going to get big... You can just see it, 'If I just put some food in this kid and I get him in the weight room, he's going to get huge', and that's what Brandon Duncan looks like.
IT: How big is Brandon right now?
Jackson: Right now he's 6-2 1/2 or 6-3, probably around 195-200. He's a 4.5 kid and hits like a -- people explode around him. That's his trademark. If you're standing around a pile, it's going to be fun to watch.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about Brandon?
Jackson: His motor. That's the one thing they kept bragging on. It's non stop. If he's on the field, he's going 100 percent. He's the type of kid, he's gonna go till he can't go. When he says, 'Coach, I'm done', he's done because he's given everything.
IT: What are the areas of his game that Brandon needs to improve upon to be successful at the next level?
Jackson: Obviously the speed of the game is going to change so much... I think just learning a more complex scheme is something Brandon is going to have to get used to. We try to water things down as much as we can to not take the aggressiveness out of the kids, so probably just the speed of the game, getting used to it. But Brandon is the type of kid, he's going to sit in the back, and you're going to think, are you paying attention, then you're going to ask him a question and he's going to be able to answer it. He's just going to give you a 'Yes sir, no sir' and he's ready to go.
IT: So he's a quiet kid?
Jackson: Yes. He's gonna be around a bunch of guys and he's going to be the one sitting there laughing, not making the jokes, the one laughing. In meetings, he's real stoic, just sits there and soaks it all in. 'Brandon, you understand?' 'Yes sir, I understand.' And he backs it up. In class, he sits up front, takes care of business. The kid has a mission, he's got a goal in life and he doesn't let much bother him. If Brandon is in to something it's because Brandon wants to be in to something. He's his own man.
IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Brandon's ability as a football player?
Jackson: I think in our first game against Frisco and... even to take a step back in our scrimmage, we played him at tailback, we played him at linebacker, he played defensive end and he was just killing people at all three of those positions. You see the athletic ability that he has, you're like, 'OK, where do we put him that most benefits Brandon' and it could have been any position you put him at. Because of his athletic ability, he's going to be successful. And the other thing is, you have kids on your team that are vocal leaders, you have kids on your team that are good in the lockerroom, taking care of business, and Brandon is one of those type of kids that's going to show up and do things right and do his part on the team.
IT: What did Brandon mean to your football program?
Jackson: I'll tell you this, these kids look to Brandon. He was definitely the leader. How Brandon played is how we played. If Brandon was out there being successful and having a good game, kids fed off it. For a while, it took a lot out of our kids when he did get injured because everybody was ready for Brandon to make the play and Brandon wasn't there. The thing about Brandon, he steps into a new role. He was on the sideline for about three or four games, and he was in the huddle telling guys what they're doing wrong and talking to them and just being a team player. That most exemplifies Brandon. Whatever his role is, he's going to get into it and he's not a rah-rah guy, but if you said, 'Brandon, can you talk to these guys and just make sure they're doing things right', he's going to go over there, he's just that type of kid. You only get to coach so many kids like Brandon and he's a special kid. God came down and said, 'Brandon, you're going to be a football player and I'm going to give you the intelligence and the body to do it', and he takes advantage of it.
NEXT UP: JERMICHAEL FINLEY