August 19, 2011
Eguavoen is ahead of schedule
True freshman Sam Eguavoen has really impressed through the midway point of camp and head coach Tommy Tuberville already has said the freshman must play. You can only imagine how good Eguavoen would be if he had played more than two years of high school football.
That's right. Eguavoen is entering just his third year of organized football.
"I always wanted to go to school on a full ride but I didn't think it was going to be in football," Eguavoen said. "I thought it was going to be in basketball. I'm a basketball freak. I love basketball so much I would be playing basketball everyday, sunrise to sunset.
"But by the time my junior year hit I was thinking this basketball thing wasn't working for me so I'd try football. Actually my brother Andre told me, he's a grade above me. I went out there and didn't have a great season, got hurt. And then in spring football my junior year that's when things started picking up."
It turned out Eguavoen, a six-foot-one, 217-pounder with a decent basketball frame, was a natural linebacker at Garland (Texas) Centennial Lakeview High School. Schools like New Mexico, New Mexico State, Air Force, Texas-San Antonio and Louisiana-Monroe jumped on quickly.
Tech slow played Eguavoen through his senior football season and offered just after his final varsity football game. He committed the very next day and the Red Raiders got their hands on one of the rawest of raw talents.
Maybe it helped that Tech basketball shooting guard and fellow high school basketball teammate and friend Toddrick Gotcher signed on with Billy Gillispie's squad.
"It was kind of crazy how we both ended up being over here," Eguavoen said. "He stays a few blocks from me and we see each other a lot and we've got class together."
Eguavoen's love of basketball has translated on the football field.
"First off, basketball is a sports based way more off conditioning," he said. "I don't really get tired that quick. The footwork really translates to out here and my agility."
Eguavoen may very well be the most athletic linebacker on the Red Raider roster. If not, he falls just short of C'qulin Hubert, his primary mentor on the team, and Daniel Cobb.
He has to get better at gap control though if he wants to crack the starting lineup at Mike linebacker some point this season.
"They really want me to work on my gap control," Eguavoen said. "That's all new to me. In high school I had to fit in any gap but I just came off the edge."
Eguavoen also has to make a quick transition mentally if he wants to maximize his playing opportunities. The first part of that transition was completed by arriving on campus this summer and participating in strength and conditioning coach Joe Walker's offseason program.
Now he has to adjust to defensive coordinator Chad Glasgow's perfectionist style.
"Coach Glasgow is very intense," Eguavoen said. "I thought my high school coach linebacker coach was intense. When I met coach Glasgow, I was just like, 'ah man.' But yeah, he's an extremely good coach. And my position coach, Will Harriger, he's good too. They've been helping me out a lot and giving me reps."
It is clear, however, Eguavoen will be on the field this season and even though he's a natural he understands there's a lot of room to improve between now and the end of his collegiate career.
"I try to let that not get to my head," Eguavoen said. "There's never no stopping point, there's never no peak, you just keep rising."
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