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After a walk through during their athletic period, the La Marque (Texas) Cougar football team listens to music and checks their equipment before the lunch bell. The varsity in their khakis, white shirts and blue ties are fine-tuning for rival Galveston Ball.
Scanning the room, Division I athletes are scattered throughout. Michael Ray checks his helmet, while James Thomas is doing some last minute homework.
"Mike Ray could be our best player, and he likes Kansas right now," La Marque coach Bryan Irwin said. "He's going to be a great player."
Texas-commit Aundre McGaskey passes through the locker room and Irwin whispers "overrated" just loud enough for McGaskey to hear. McGaskey gives him the peace sign without turning back. McGaskey attended the Texas-Ohio State game Saturday.
"I'm just trying to get him mad," Irwin laughs. "I like our team this year because of our line. We are big and physical."
Thomas, the returning all-state defensive back, listens to head phones at his locker while rewriting some homework.
"If you want to know the truth, I haven't narrowed down my list yet because of my parents," Thomas said. "They want to get out and see some of these campuses first."
Thomas currently lists Missouri, Kansas State, Arizona and Michigan has his current favorites. He is waiting on an offer from Michigan.
"I talk with the Michigan coaches everyday it seems," he said. "I talked with Jared Perry Saturday night after he caught his touchdown for Missouri. I saw him on ESPN and everything."
Perry, a La Marque graduate, could help pull a few of his former teammates to Missouri.
Downstairs is sleeper receiver Joseph Florence (6-4, 190-pounds), who has recently transferred into basketball. Florence has basketball offers from TCU, North Texas, Oral Roberts and Nevada, but his future could be in football.
"Joseph is going to have a good year and I believe that he'll have a better offer in football than in basketball," Irwin said. "He's a diamond in the rough."
Florence is a member of the back-to-back Cougar playoff team as a post.
"I'd like to play football in college," Florence said. "I like basketball but I want to go where I have the best opportunity."
Dickinson transfer T.J Boyd is still receiving treatment for a knee injury and will be ready for the Cougars' upcoming game against Pearland.
"I've been getting some mail from TCU and Arkansas, but I've got to get on the field," Boyd said. "I'm happy to get back home and play for La Marque."
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