The contrast between the offensive strategies of East Central High School and Louisiana Tech is staggering.
The Hornets are a traditional ground-and-pound team that wore down opponents while racking up 328.8 rushing yards per game in 2015. On the other side, Louisiana Tech was one of Conference USA’s most dangerous passing attacks, averaging 323.2 yards.
Even with the differences, East Central senior offensive tackle Conner Estes is more excited than anything after having committed to Louisiana Tech over offers from Arkansas State, Southern Miss and Louisiana-Lafayette.
“I’m graduating in December. I knew in my head that’s where I wanted to go, so I wanted to go ahead and do it before the season rolled around,” said Estes, who committed to the Bulldogs in early July. “It was a natural fit over there. I know every coach (during recruiting) makes you feel like you’re wanted, but they did an excellent job.”
So what about the offensive fit? It’s a lot different charging forward to clear a lane for a running back instead of dropping into pass coverage.
“It’s very different from what I’m used to,” Estes laughed. “It excites me, though. I think it’s something I’ll pick up once I get into practice. It’ll be a new thing, that’s for sure.”
Admittedly, barreling off the line is what the 6-foot-5, 304-pound Estes enjoys.
“It's just full speed every play, getting on linebackers and safeties,” said Estes, who claims a 5.3-second 40-yard dash time. “I don't know anything different.”
Estes said Louisiana Tech has talked to him about the possibility of redshirting his freshman year, which he said he’s open to before adding: “I guess that's all up for speculation. Get out there and anything can happen.”
With other schools actively recruiting him, and more likely to come into the picture, Estes said he’ll likely end up taking his official visits in the fall.
“I don't guess I'd ever shut everything down, but I'm firm with Louisiana Tech,” he said.
As far as ECHS is concerned, Estes has high hopes for the Hornets coming off of a 7-5 campaign.
“I'm thinking this is our year,” he said. “I think we're better than we've ever been. The program is maturing and the players are set in. We have more depth at running back than we've ever had.”
Specifically, Estes said a player to watch is junior running back Tony Brown. Estes said he has the versatility and breakaway speed to be dangerous in the open field. He’ll have big shoes to fill, taking over for A.J. Davis, who rushed for 2,893 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.
Coming Monday: Sun Herald's 25 Teams in 25 Days
Each day leading up to the start of High School football season 2016, the Sun Herald will profile each of South Mississippi's High School football teams complete with game schedules, team rosters, projected leaders, pictures and more.