Amid the state-flower Bluebonnets and cow pastures, the Waller (Texas) Bulldogs rush through some non-contact drills as a Texas thunderstorm enters the area. Spring practice in Texas is straight out of a painting and on this day in the town of Waller the canvas comes to life.
"This is the bunch," Waller coach Jim Phillips said. "We play in a tough district, but we have some special kids this year."
Headlining a team that went 5-4 last season is Eddie Brown, a strong defensive lineman with a motor.
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"Eddie is a guy that you build around on defense," Phillips said. "He stands up for us on the edge, but in college he could be that nose guard like Casey Hampton of the Steelers. He's that good."
Brown has been offered by Ole Miss and Oklahoma State, but schools will be flocking to the country to see the Division I prospect this spring.
"I like Oklahoma State right now, but I'm going to see who else offers me," Brown said. "They want to move me around on the defensive line. A hybrid is what they call it."
Rice has already offered quarterback Jeremy Phillips and defensive end Trevor Barry, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end.
"Berry is a country-strong kid who continues to improve," Phillips said. "Kansas State is close to offering, but he's another guy that you have to see in person. He's impressive."
Phillips (6-4, 188 pounds) is the last of the coach's sons, who runs the triple-option to perfection. While he stars at quarterback in high school, Phillips could move positions due to his versatility.
"Rice is recruiting me as an athlete and I really enjoyed my time at their junior day," Jeremy said. "They like me at quarterback, but also see me playing safety. Their coaches are great and they are really improving their facilities. I've also been offered by Duke and would love to get recruited by Texas A&M."
Pushing the blocking sleds at practice were Isaac Watson and Mark Hunter. Waston could be one of the Greater Houston Area's biggest sleepers at tackle. The 6-7, 320-pound giant has basketball feet to go with his size.
"I just got out of basketball," Watson said. "Now I'm ready to get busy with football. I'm getting a lot of mail from Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State and Purdue.
Hunter (6-2, 280-pounds) moves from the defensive line to the offensive line, where his future lies.
"Mark is going to do great on offense," Phillips said. "If he wants to play at the next level, that's where he's going to play. He's another kid with great feet and has a defensive mentality on offense."
"No one has seen him yet," Phillips said. "He has quickness and great straight-ahead speed. He doesn't have any tape yet, but he will impress coaches this spring."
Other prospects include class of 2008 linebacker Jerrad Johnson and juniors-to-be Josh Dorsey and Frank Folger.
"Dorsey could be the next big thing here at running back and Folger could grow into a Division I tight end," he said.