The talent pool at the quarterback position is so much deeper in the 2009 class than 2008, especially within the state of Texas. In fact, the Lone Star State might be home to the two best quarterback prospects in the nation in Lake Travis’ Garrett Gilbert and Cypress Ridge’s Russell Shepard. Lake Travis head coach Jeff Dicus talked about what makes Gilbert and several of his teammates so special.
“I think the first thing that comes to mind is the calmness that he plays with. This is a (reflection of) his upbringing and his preparation through the off-season,” Dicus said of Garrett Gilbert. “He has a strong arm and has really improved over the off-season. He has grown a couple of inches. He is up to about 6-foot-4. He put on about 15 to 20 pounds during the off-season and now weighs about 190 pounds. He has really improved his strength and speed. He also has great leadership skills among his peers. This comes from having a great rapport with all of his teammates.”
It is still very early for the sophomore class, but several schools are already making plans to check out Gilbert and a number of his teammates during spring practice.
“There are several schools that have called and said that they are going to come to spring practice,” Dicus said. “Several are coming out during the spring to watch not only him (Gilbert), but some other guys as well.”
Are the Texas Longhorns one of the schools that have called and expressed interest in checking out what Lake Travis has to offer?
“Yes, they will be out,” Dicus said.
Every great quarterback needs an offensive line to protect him in the pocket, and Lake Travis has one of the best in Paden Kelley. Texas tends to look for smaller offensive linemen that have great feet and have potential to put on weight, and Kelley fits the bill.
“Number one is that he has great feet,” Dicus said. “He is 6-foot-6, pushing 270 pounds and can really run. He is a very athletic, imposing type of guy. He still has a lot of room to grow. We think that he could do some great things for us over the next two years.”
Lake Travis also has a sophomore wide receiver that has the potential to turn some heads next year. The 6-foot-3, 155-pound Cohl Walla is a two-sport athlete that could end up being a sleeper in the 2009 class.
“He is a 4.5 guy,” Dicus said. “He is our starting center fielder on the baseball team and is just a great athlete. He is probably going to be a sleeper type.”
Lake Travis is also home to the son of one the greatest place kickers/punters in college football history. Russell Erxleben still holds the NCAA field goal record with a 67 yard field goal for the Horns in 1977, and he appears to have passed his leg strength down to his son, Ryan Erxleben, who has the potential to be one of the top punters in the state over the next two years.
“He has the potential to be a major college recruit,” Dicus said. “He punts for us and also plays a little safety. Punting wise, he has a heck of a leg.”