SAN ANTONIO - Arkeith Brown won't be writing any essays on what he did on his summer vacation because he didn't have a summer vacation.
Former Shiner running back Chris Baer (10) will be one of four area players participating in today's Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Football Game set for 7:30 p.m. in the Alamodome in San Antonio. He will be joined by El Campo's Arkeith Brown, Bay City's Terrance Flagg and Cuero's Ross Nigh. photo by Kerri Besio, Victoria Advocate
Brown left El Campo almost immediately after his high school graduation and traveled to College Station where he has been attending summer school and working out in preparation for his freshman season at Texas A&M.
Brown took advantage of a NCAA rule, which gives incoming freshman the option of being placed on scholarship during the summer and allows them to work out on campus under the direction of the strength and conditioning coach.
"I graduated and left for College Station the next day," Brown said. "I've been trying to get my GPA up and get used to the campus."
Brown has already noticed the benefits of his summer workouts, as he prepares to start at right cornerback for the South squad in today's Texas High School Coaches Association All-Star Football Game set for 7:30 p.m., in the Alamodome.
"I've just been lifting weights and running and getting used to college workouts," said Brown, who has grown from 167 to 174 pounds. "The biggest difference is the weights. I'm used to the running, but the weights are the big change. I can definitely feel it. I feel like I'm getting bigger."
Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione has been pleased by what he's seen from Brown and the other incoming freshmen, who have been on campus this summer.
"They're getting an understanding of what the expectations are in a less stressful situation," Franchione said. "It gives them a chance to physically get their feet on the ground. I'd say they're in much better shape than they have been in any other summer."
Brown is unsure if he'll remain at cornerback or move to safety at Texas A &M, or whether he'll play or redshirt in the upcoming season.
"I would prefer to play safety, but it really doesn't matter," Brown said. "I would like to play, but if I redshirt it will just give me a chance to get stronger for next year."
Brown shouldn't have to worry about playing time in the all-star game. He will not only stay busy covering the North's receivers, he'll also be returning punts, as he did at El Campo.
"The coaches told us our corners will be locked up," Brown said. "We're probably going to be in man coverage the whole night. It should be a good experience for me. I'll be playing against guys you'll probably be hearing about one day."
Brown's teammates have no doubts he can do the job, including Bay City linebacker Terrance Flagg, who is glad to get a chance to play alongside a former rival.
"He's a great player and he's got a good personality," Flagg said of Brown. "I like the way he plays the game. He can really run. We're always joking around and we've been talking about the past."
Brown is also looking forward to playing with instead of against Flagg, who will attend Blinn College.
"I remember him as a big guy coming at you," Brown said. "It was pretty intimidating for a while."
Flagg is thankful for the opportunity to continue his football career at Blinn, and hopes to get a chance to play at a Division I-A school.
"I know if I do what I need to do," Flagg said, "I'll be there and it will be there for me when it's time."
Shiner's Chris Baer has enjoyed the time he's spent preparing to play safety for the South team. Baer will play at Trinity University in the upcoming season. Baer and his teammates have been staying in the dorms at Trinity and using its facilities for practice sessions.
"I've gotten to practice on the same fields I'm going to be playing on and I've been eating the same food I'm going to be eating for the next four years," said Baer, who expects to play running back at Trinity. "It's given me a chance to get used to the atmosphere here."
Cuero offensive lineman Ross Nigh wasn't expecting to play football again until he reported to SMU. But he was added to the South squad when Cuero teammate Matt Schumacher dropped a dumbbell on his foot while lifting weights in Cuero last week and was unable to play in the game.
"Coach (Mark) Reeve asked me if I wanted to play and I said, 'Sure,'" Nigh said. "I haven't had much time to get ready. But I'm glad to get the chance to play. Our blocking schemes are pretty much just like what we did at Cuero."
NOTES: Charles Breithaupt, athletic director for the University Interscholastic League, said the UIL's biennial realignment and reclassification will be released on Thursday, Feb. 2. The realignment was originally scheduled to be released on Feb. 1, but Breithaupt agreed to change the date when informed Feb. 1 was National Signing Day, the day when high school football players sign letters on intent.
Breithaupt, who spoke during the UIL's annual THSCA coaching school, news conference, said Class 5A will include 245 schools, the same as the previous realignment. Breithaupt said 30 high schools have opened since the last realignment, including 12 Class 5A schools. Breithaupt also said with four teams making the playoffs in Class 5A beginning in the 2006-07 school year, the UIL will attempt to create as many 5A districts with eight or more teams as possible.
Breithaupt said there will be no Texas Cup game at the state basketball tournament for Class 1A schools. He said the teams would still play semi- state tournaments in the upcoming school year, but that those tournaments could be eliminated by the 2006-07 school year.
Breithaupt said the top three finishers at district track and field meets will continue to qualify for the regional meets, but only the top two finishers at the regional meets will qualify for the state meets.
Breithaupt said the UIL is attempting to get as much information as possible to schools about the dangers of using steroids. But he cited a recent Texas A&M study that stated 2 percent of high school athletes were using steroids.
"Kids taking steroids is cheating and we want to stamp it out," Breithaupt said. "Do I believe steroid use is rampant? I do not."