"Coach's take" is a series which allows GigEmNation to offer readers a closer look at the incoming recruits in Texas A&M's 2013 class by visiting with someone who coached the player or coached against him. Today, we take a look at ESPN 150 receiver and Under Armour All-American Sebastian LaRue of Santa Monica (Calif.) High School by visiting with his head coach, Travis Clark.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound LaRue is the Aggies' newest commitment, giving his pledge late last week. He's the ninth-ranked receiver in the nation and the No. 74 player overall in the ESPN 150.
In addition to playing receiver at Santa Monica, LaRue also returned kicks and punts and played defensive back. Here's Clark's take on LaRue:
GigEmNation: What was your first impression of LaRue when he entered your program?
Travis Clark: "He was a program-changer. That was our nickname for him. Sebastian 'The program changer' LaRue. He changed my program and put it on the map, literally."
GEN: What are his biggest strengths?
TC: "Getting the ball in his hand and running with it. When that guy gets the ball in his hands, oh my God, he's special. The most dangerous thing about Sebastian is that when he has the ball, he's just so explosive."
GEN: What are the areas he needs work in as he transitions to the college level?
TC: "I think like all wide receivers that are young, he has to work on all of the intricacies of route running, making sure he catches every ball. These guys in high school, they're kind of lackluster and maybe they'll go through the motions in practice here or there or maybe Sebastian might run a sloppy route because the cornerback he's facing isn't as talented. So I think the consistency, that I tell him every day about, I think it's the consistency and intricacies of the position. If he works on those things, the sky's the limit for the kid."
GEN: How do you see him fitting into Texas A&M's offense?
TC: "I think it's perfect for him. There's a lot of programs around the country that have actually targeted Sebastian in that role that Texas A&M is going to bring him in. He's got Washington State, which is [Mike] Leach, [Kliff] Kingsbury obviously has been recruiting him all season and when he went to Texas Tech, continued that recruitment. People see him in that type of offense in that role in the slot, making people miss. Going to be really dangerous on the inside of the football field. He can also play outside receiver. He understands how to run good routes, and I think Sebastian's going to excel in that situation. They've got so much talent at Texas A&M. For him to be just a piece of the puzzle, that's amazing. I think for him to be the piece of the puzzle with so many talented players, I just can't wait to see the future of A&M football."
GEN: What is he like off the field?
TC: "Probably one of my favorite kids I've coached in all my life, in about 12 years now and five as a head coach. This kid is just one of my favorite kids to be around. A wonderful human being, very humble. For a kid with his ability and talent and opportunities, just one of the most humble kids that I've ever been around. That's so awesome because his teammates love him because of his humility. I think that spreads, the positive vibes, spread throughout the team. Just a wonderful kid."
GEN: What will be your lasting memory of him as a player?
TC: "The lasting memory for me isn't even a play, because he has made so many. I have those highlights and can always relive those. I think the things that you don't see, our last game, we played Serra. ... They won the state title this year and we lost in the second round to them. Very, very, very talented team. ... In the middle of the game, we're kind of getting killed, and this is basically my last game with this team, and he's standing on the sidelines and I'm going to give a play to take in and I was just so proud of the way he was playing, because he really showed why he was one of the top players in the country during the Serra game. He made so many sensational plays, and I said, 'You know Sebastian, I am just so, so proud to be your coach.' We were just having a moment with each other, because I knew it was over. And he looked at me and he had tears in his eyes. It's the middle of the game and he said, 'Coach I'm not crying because of this game, because I don't care about the wins and losses. I'm crying because it is over between you and I. I'm crying because I will never be able to see you on the football field through my helmet.' And this is in the middle of the football game. And that right there, the kind of kid he is, that's the kind of special, special kid that Sebastian LaRue is. Just a wonderful kid. I can't wait to see him play on the next level."