Cougs mining Lone Star state again for 2006

IF YOU THOUGHT Washington State's recent recruiting foray into Texas was an aberration, think again. As attention now turns to building the 2006 class, WSU is making another strong push in the Lone Star State. The Cougars already have made scholarship offers to at least two Texas juniors. One of them, linebacker Anthony Lewis, is the most intense football player his prep coach has ever seen and the other, receiver Jeremy Brent, is a game breaker with uncommon height and a very high ceiling.

Both are from Haltom City, a suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and play for the Buffaloes of Haltom High.

Lewis is a 6-2 1/2, 220-pounder with a great motor, tremendous hitting ability and a 4.6 speed in the 40. Last year was his first playing defense. Brent is a 6-5, 200 pound multi-dimensional athlete who has played just one season of football period.

Besides the Cougars, Lewis has already received offers from many of the usual suspects who hunt among the Texas preps: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Arizona and New Mexico. Plus, Purdue and Wisconsin have both offered.

Brent has offers in hand from WSU, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Houston, with Wisconsin, New Mexico and others expected to join in any day now. Brent said it's way too early in the process to talk about favorites because he hasn't talked with anyone yet, he says, but knows academics will be a key factor in where he ends up.

LEWIS ALSO SAYS HE has no favorite right now, and notes that geography won't steer him one way or another. He told that his criteria for choosing a school is focused primarily on three things: a program with a reputation for playing solid defense, a program that possesses a strong family environment and one that graduates its players.

"A school that has a highly ranked graduating class is important....and then basically a place where they're going to take care of you," said Lewis.

Haltom High hasn't had a lot of wins over the past four years but head man Kenny Perry said the combination of word of mouth and video tape has created a big-time buzz surrounding Lewis. A first team all-district selection his first year at linebacker, Lewis had 110 tackles, 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and 2 INTs this past season.

"When they (recruiters) saw his tape it just floored them," said Perry. "When you see this kid on film, it's just ridiculous. You're almost asking, 'Does he really do this all the time?' and the answer is: Yes, he does.

"He's the most intense football player I've ever been around," said Perry. "He plays like Ray Lewis, honestly. He looks to really hit someone every time the ball is snapped. He's a great football player who plays full speed on every play -- on special teams, everything." Perry also praises him as being "such a good kid" off the field as well.

As far as his work ethic, Perry said Lewis is "phenomenal." He's not playing basketball this season, instead having joined the power lifting team in order to spend more time in the weight room getting ready for football. He's up to a 485-pound squat, 325-pound bench press, 265-pound power clean and a 515-pound dead lift.

"He'll get up early in the morning so he can get here and get some lifting in," said Perry. "And then he's on the power lifting team as well. And then he'll go and run track after that."

Academically, Lewis is in great shape, having already achieved a qualifying test score on the SAT.

BRENT TURNED OUT for football last season for the first time since sixth grade. And the results were eye-popping. He chalked up nearly 1,200 receiving yards on 61 catches and scored 10 TDs. He earned first-team all-district honors.

And get this -- he didn't start and had very limited playing time the first three games while he learned the offense. Those stats basically came from eight games.

Also a basketball standout, Brent is averaging more than 20 points a game this season. But his skill with the roundball isn't what has college recruiters buzzing.

"I think I should go somewhere where academics are important," said Brent. "And I'd like to make sure I like the coaching staff, that they're people I'll be comfortable with over my career."

Brent is a unique case -- he enrolled into an accelerated district school program and is potentially a mid-term qualifier out of high school.

"He'll be able to come out in December," said Perry. "He can enroll at a university in January and participate in spring ball. (Recruiters are excited) about that, that he'll be able to go someplace at mid-term."

After getting his proverbial feet wet this past season, Brent is still learning the game and his position. "His best years are going to down the line," said Perry. "He didn't go through our spring ball either."

With the basketball season now in the home stretch, the wideout will begin his off season football workouts tomorrow (Wednesday).

"I'm going to be mostly working on getting stronger -- and also working on my stride," said Brent.

Perry has set up a comprehensive program, including having him run track for the first time, to help his playmaker do just that.

"He's never lifted," said Perry. "He's already got good legs -- great calves, big quads. And he's never really been taught how to run -- he can glide a little bit. In track, we're going to run him in the quarter and the hurdles and get his stride to where it needs to be, because Jeremy has good feet. The thing is, I really can't wait to see him next year.

"He's got great hands, and he can jump," said Perry. "And the other thing that he's got that most high school players don't have -- he's 6-foot-5."

Jeremy Brent profile
Anthony Lewis profile

Cougfan Top Stories