La Marque HS
National Position Ranking: 96 State Overall Ranking: 76 Star Rating: **
An Inside Texas conversation with La Marque head coach (and former UT grad assistant) Bryan Erwin on Rashad Bobino:
IT: What are Rashad's strengths as a football player?
Erwin: He's a very physical player, very tenacious, great competitor, but his greatest attribute is his explosion. He's just got a great ability to come out of the hips -- he's a great power cleaner in the weight room -- over the course of five yards, he's as quick and explosive as anybody and that's what it takes to become a great linebacker. Other attributes that make him a great football player are his leadership ability; he's got the ability to demand things from his teammates and get more production out of his teammates than other kids on the football team can. His expectations are high and therefore he raises the level of expectations for his teammates. He wants to be the best at everything he does. He's a great tackler. He's physical. He's explosive. If you're going to be a great defensive football player, you've got to be able to face people up and tackle them and he's just a tremendous tackler.
IT: What are the areas of his game that Rashad needs to improve upon to be successful at the next level?
Erwin: He's going to become a better football player just from getting older, wiser and more experienced. I can't think of anything that would make him a better football player. He's got a tremendous work ethic, he's got a tremendous competitive desire to win, and he's a very physical football player; you combine all three of those things together and you've got a heckuva football player. He's just going to get better with time.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about Rashad?
Erwin: They like his ability to be physical and his explosion. They like the fact that he's always around the football. He's a kid that doesn't stay blocked. He gets on and off blocks as well as anyone I've ever seen. When you don't stay blocked, you're physical and you tackle well, you're going to be a great defensive football player and that's what those guys see.
IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Rashad's ability as a football player?
Erwin: No. 1, early in the season, we played Booker T. Washington in the Astrodome, and he put a hit on the fullback on the dive option that I've never seen or heard before since I've been coaching. It was a shot -- I had my headsets on and we were in the Dome and I heard the lick. You could hear the crunch of the hit and it hurt me for the kid that got hit. The impact of that hit down on the field was unbelievable. That is his unique ability to come out of his hips and strike.
In a general sense, going back to the state championship game as I watched the replays, I knew he'd played well in the game, and I knew he played well right after the game, but when I went back and watched the replays of the game, I was astonished at the fact that every play he had a hand in the tackle. It might not have been a solo tackle -- he might have been first to the ball, he might have been third to the ball -- but he had a hand it seemed like in every single tackle. And all year long, we kidded him about the fact that he hadn't gotten an interception, and finally in the state championship game he got that interception and he felt really good about that.
IT: Is Rashad a leader, and if so, how does he lead?
Erwin: As a leader, he's one of those guys who can lead by example and lead through his words of encouragement. He's a vocal leader, he knows how to encourage his teammates, he knows how to pick them up and he knows how to get on them if they need to be gotten on to. He's a very charismatic person. He's going to be the spokesperson for our team, whether it's in the lockerroom or a team meeting or if it's at a funeral and he needs to give a speech on behalf of the football team. He's going to get up, he's going to say the right things, he's going to be eloquent in how he says it and his teammates look for him to be that person to go represent them.
IT: Is there anything you'd like to add about Rashad that we didn't already cover?
Erwin: He's the only football player I've ever coached, when the season was over, he got into off-season with the underclassmen. He participates in off-season every day. As a senior right now, he's in our off-season program, weight room, strength training and he's also doing our conditioning. He works extremely hard. He lifts weight during the period and he comes back and lifts weights after school. When he's done with that he goes to track practice and throws the shot and the disc. There have been times when I've left out of here at 6:30 or 7 at night and it's dark and he's out there throwing the discus or the shot, working on his technique and his form. Those are the things that are indicative of Rashad Bobino. He's going to work to be successful.
Note from Clendon: Although considered a very good high school football player -- he earned the Houston Chronicle's Houston-area defensive Player of the Year award -- the concern about Bobino's potential at the next level is his height. We have him listed at 5-9 (Erwin said 5-10). While meeting with coach Erwin, I met Bobino and whether 5-9, 5-10 or taller (and I'd vote 5-10), he is an impressive looking physical specimen who weighs in at between 220 and 230 pounds. The kid has a barrel chest and his body shape from the waste up is like an inverted pyramid. He looks the part of an old school middle linebacker, the position he will play on the Forty Acres. Although not as highly ranked as some other members of this class, Bobino is a player I can't wait to see in the Orange and White. He and Ramonce Taylor could be the "sleepers" (based on the rankings) from this class.
Note from Will: According to coach Erwin, Rashad asked that the sign in the picture above -- Success Is Spelled W-O-R-K -- be put up on the way to the practice field... I asked Rashad about what he liked best about football and his answer was, "Hitting people."... Rashad said he's very excited about going to Texas and that he's not afraid of the competition even though he wasn't a four- or five-star recruit. He has a lot of confidence in himself... You're going to hear this over and over during the next two weeks as we look at the Longhorn class, but Bobino's a very bright, personable, engaging guy.
*All photos by Will Gallagher/Inside Texas*
NEXT UP: JEREMY CAMPBELL