Don’t feel sorry for Manvel, the state runner-ups return as much firepower as anyone in the state, as I will illustrate with the help of Kirk Martin, Manvel’s head coach.
Eric Nahlin: How’s it going Coach? Quite the juggernaut you have down there.
Kirk Martin: Thanks, we’re trying and we’re fortunate to have a great group of kids to work with.
EN: How about we start with those kids. In fact, let’s start with your son Koda. Tell me about him.
KM: Koda’s a 2014 kid that is being recruited as a tight end by some and as an offensive lineman by others. He’s 6’7” and 245 lbs so he has some filling out left to do. He could play either depending on who you talk to. He has above average hands and good speed (4.9 40). He can secure the edge and he’s a dominant run blocker. What he becomes is still kind of in the air. He’ll likely need to redshirt.
EN: That type of frame would definitely benefit from an extra year. Who is he hearing from at this point?
KM: We’ve had a lot of schools come through here and just about everyone is interested. At this point he has an offer from Colorado and Texas Tech offered today (Arkansas has since offered). Baylor has told him he looks like a definite offer.
EN: Has he expressed an interest in any specific school?
KM: He actually likes Baylor a lot. He has some friends that go there from church groups and camps.
EN: Tell me about the Tech offer. Are they someone he’d heavily consider?
KM: Without a doubt. I’m from Lubbock and still have family there so getting used to Lubbock wouldn’t be hard for Koda.
EN: I hear Major Applewhite’s been by and liked you son. What position did Major seem interested in Koda for?
KM: He likes him as an in-line tight end. Texas is going back to a run heavy offense and he likes Koda’s potential in the run/play action game.
EN: You said some schools like him as an offensive tackle?
KM: Yes, in fact Jeff Grimes is my old college roommate (UTEP) and my best friend. He likes Koda as a tackle prospect.
EN: Jeff Grimes, you don’t say? I’m familiar with him. Before Texas settled on Coach Searels they were very interested in Coach Grimes. You don’t have to answer this, but did Grimes not take the job because he thought the Texas culture was soft or he had philosophical differences with Mack Brown?
KM: No, I don’t think that’s the case at all. In fact he always told me he’d love to work at Texas. I think the timing with his family just wasn’t right and Auburn was doing a great job of taking care of him. He’s very happy at Auburn.
EN: Fair enough, thanks for answering that. I imagine you wouldn’t have a problem sending your kid to play for your best friend?
KM: No I wouldn’t, but I’d like to be able to attend Koda’s games. Jeff called me the other day and told me he Googled the distances from Manvel to both Lubbock and Auburn and Auburn was only an hour further.
EN: Ha, you can tell he has the hang of this recruiting thing. Let’s talk about some of your other players. I’m hearing great things about wide receiver Kyrion Parker and saw him at a recent 7 on 7. He sure looks the part. Tell me about him.
KM: Oh man, is that kid talented or what. The crazy thing about him is there’s just no film on him. He moved to Texas not long ago from Missouri and played at Lamar last year. I think the only film of him is like, one catch for nine yards or something like that. He broke his collarbone very early in the season and then came back too soon and then broke it again.
EN: What are some of his attributes?
KM: He’s a big kid, about 6’4” and 195lbs and runs in the low 4.5s but what makes him so special are his route running, hands and body control. The kid comes down with everything.
EN: I see LSU offered. That was a real attention getter. Who else has he heard from?
KM: Tech offered him today as well. He’s one of those kids that everyone that’s come by asks, “Who is that?” He also has offers from Utah, the Louisiana schools including LSU as you said, and some others (add A&M and Arkansas to the list since we talked). I’m sure Auburn will offer soon, as well.
EN: Do you think he might be a kid that has interest in the ‘horns if they have room for him?
KM: Yes I do, Applewhite seems to really like him, and Kyrion was excited when we told him that UT liked him.
EN: Parker’s not the only receiver you guys have. Tell me about Austin Bennett.
KM: He was committed to Arkansas and then decommitted once that whole Petrino mess happened. I know they’re still on him hard – the Arkansas AD was doing a bit of recruiting at their spring game from what I hear. He’s not the biggest kid, probably 5’11” and 170 lbs, but he can fly and he has great hands.
EN: What other schools is he hearing from?
KM: I know both Mississippi and Mississippi St. have offered. So have TCU and West Virginia.
EN: I’ve been seeing West Virgnia coaches all over and it sounds like they’re going to be here to stay.
KM: That’s what they’ve told me. They said if they want to compete in the Big 12 they’re going to have to get some Texas kids.
EN: With that attractive scheme they’ll start pulling some quality skill players I imagine. I have a friend that writes for a Texas Tech site, he’d kill me if I didn’t ask about Tavares Garner.
KM: He’s a stud and another guy Major really likes. Garner’s about 6’ 180lbs but he looks like a safety. He missed track season this year but he’s a 10.5 100 kid who’s very physical. He was kind of flying below the radar but now he’s starting to get a lot of attention.
EN: Texas wants another DB so maybe it will take another look at Garner down the road. His offer list is really starting to impress with West Virginia, Oklahoma St. and A&M getting in the mix. Who else do you want to talk about?
KM: Well, I think we have one of the best and most underrated quarterbacks around in Shane McCarley. He’s a great high school quarterback (Parker would later sing McCarley’s praises as well). He throws a nice accurate ball and he’s very smart. He corrects coach’s mistakes. The bottom line is he’s a winner, but he’s only 6’.
EN: I remember him some from last year. You played him part time, right?
KM: Yes I did. I like playing two quarterbacks because you can do so many different things without fearing an injury. We’re going to have to play a bit more conservatively with Shane this year to keep him healthy.
EN: Who’s he hearing from?
KM: He has a couple of small offers right now, but we’re hoping someone takes a chance on him. He reminds me of those Boise St. guys or Case Keenum.
EN: With all the other talent in Manvel and a presumably successful season he’ll hopefully get plenty of looks this year.
KM: That’s what we’re hoping for.
EN: Who else do you have that’s receiving interest.
KM: We have a guard that’s hearing from Colorado and some others; Travis Romero. He’s unbelievably strong and a power lifter with a 720lb squat, 420 lb bench and I don’t even know what he deadlifts but it’s around 600 lbs.
KM: Yeah and he’s not just some slow plodding guy either, he has thin ankles and moves well.
EN: Sounds like he should get some more attention. How big is he?
KM: 6’3” and 315 lbs.
EN: Huh, that’s good size for guard. I have to ask you about one more player; Jonathan London. He’s a kid I’ve known for a bit and I pull for. He’s bounced around a bit and I was happy to see him land at Manvel. How’s he doing?
KM: He’s fitting in great. He’ll be a linebacker in college. He’s a thick kid that runs well, but we need him at defensive end more than at linebacker so he’ll play there for us.
EN: Lastly, how do you feel about the move to 5A? Are you guys ready?
KM: We’ll find out early when we play North Shore in non-district. I think we’ll be fine; the kids are excited about the challenge. We have a chance to be real good.
EN: I think you’ll be ok too, not many schools have 2000 words of talent to write about. Coach I appreciate it and I can’t wait to check out a practice in August.
KM: Sure thing, come anytime and thanks!