Hearne High School
NR (at WR): 23 SR: 35 Star Rating: ****
An Inside Texas conversation with (former) Hearne head coach Craig Slaughter on Montre Webber:
IT: What are Montres strengths as a football player?
Slaughter: His biggest strength is he's a 6-3, 195-pound kid that plays like he's 6-7. A lot of big kids don't seem to attack the ball and he plays even taller than he is, and he might be closer to 6-4 now. Montre's always had a good work ethic, he's always been a manageable kid. After he got offered, I was curious how he was going to react, because he'd already worked hard. Well, he just cranked it up a hundred notches, he just worked harder. A great example is our first game this year, our quarterback got hurt. Well, at halftime, Montre had like two catches for 20 yards. Gosh, going into the locker room I told the coaches -- and he's never been a hot head -- but I'm going to talk to Montre and you talk to whoever, and I went over there and said, Hey Montre, hang in there, we're going to get it to you, and he just said, Coach, I'll get my touches, the game will come to me, which was a very mature (response) in today's times. But he's always been levelheaded, has a great mom that has really done a great job.
IT: What did the Texas coaches tell you that they like about Montre?
Slaughter: The size and the speed. The kid is lightening. He's ran in Austin on a couple of different relays. He got third in regional a couple of years ago, I think he got fifth this year. He's just a big athletic kid that, God, he can run. He's just something else.
IT: Do you foresee an issue for Montre transitioning from 2A high school ball to high D-I college ball?
Slaughter: I was worried about that too, but when I watched Texas play, I know they start Quan Cosby from Mart, a 2A school from our district, Billy Pittman from Cameron, a school that used to be in our district, and Limas Sweed, but I was talking to coach Chambers -- this was a couple of months ago, he came to watch a game -- and I voiced some of those concerns, and Chambers said, Coach, one of the things that we've always noticed at Texas, a good skill kid is a good skill kid because if you can play in space, you can play in space on anybody. He said a guy in the trenches you may need to see him block against a guy who is 270, but if you can play in space, you can play in space on anybody... Some of things he'll have to work on, nobody ever dared jam him here because he's strong enough to get off and be by you... He's going to have to get better off of press coverage, that's one thing I know he'll have to get better at.
IT: What other areas of Montres game need improvement for him to be successful in college?
Slaughter: The one thing I told him, he could be 6-3, 215. He can put on some more weight. He's a very cut kid but he can put on some more growth. He's going to need to make sure he stays in the books. And that's one thing that appealed to me about Texas, because at a small school some of those kids probably get lost because there's probably two tutors for the 80 guys. At Texas, there's plenty of academic help and I know Chambers and Coach Kennedy and Coach Brown do a good job of staying on them. I know their academic setting is way different than this one and we tried to convey that to him and I'm sure it will sink in before long.
IT: Meeting Montre at Waco (at the Scout.com Combine) and again today, he seems to be a personable kid. How do you see his personality fitting in at Texas?
Slaughter: My wife loves him. Some of these kids are hard to get to know for her. He's just -- some of ours don't have the social skills, somehow, he does. He's one that you can walk up, shake his hand and conversate about the game last night or a test coming up. He has the social skills to fit in and that may be his biggest asset. Obviously, he was a mega-star here, but never does he come across like that. He kind of had an appeal for our kids kinda like he does [points to Vince Young's photo on the cover of the February edition of Inside Texas magazine] at Texas. The kids all respect him and like him. He has a lot of fun with them. That, I think, is one of his biggest assets.
IT: Was Montre a leader for you guys, and if so, how did he lead?
Slaughter: He was by far the best leader. We've always had a good group of athletes here and some have done better than others, and we've had Montre since eighth grade, and I don't know if we beat it into his head or what, but he did better than any kid we've ever had about speaking up when it's time to speak up. And he's not just talking to talk. When he chips something in, it was solid. He was very upbeat in practice. Ya know, he kinda took over my role at practice. Sometimes it's hot and nasty, and he would normally speak up before I would, Guys, we need to get things going. This is what we work for. He was a huge vocal leader and he made enough plays that the leading by example part was there anyway, but he way passed my expectations on leadership.
IT: Is there a particular route that Montre runs extremely well?
Slaughter: As a junior he was so good at attacking the ball, we threw him 20 fades. He was really good at that. But this year, he became a better receiver because people would line up 15 yards off of him. He'd dig that head like he's flying, at 10 yards he'd turn and snatch it and go. The post route has probably always been his favorite because he can run, he still has a chance to attack the ball, but it's really been very balanced. We threw him the hitch, curl, dig. He ran the full arsenal for us.
IT: Does he have the frame to fill out substantially, or is he close right now to his ideal size?
Slaughter: Actually, at the start of the summer (before his senior season), he weighed 197. Here he goes from football to basketball to track. Once he starts it's non-stop, so he's probably lost eight or nine pounds. When he's up there eating three steaks a day, and lifting, the kid I think will have an NFL frame because he will weigh 215 or more, in my opinion, in two years. I think he has a frame to be huge. He will definitely have the physical attributes that anybody would look for.
IT: Where did he line up for you?
Slaughter: I had two prototypicals. Montre was my outside receiver normally, big, physical. And my little slot guy was 5-7, quick as lightening. Montre's the real deal in my opinion. I've only coached 10 years but I know he's probably the best one I'll ever see, especially small school. My dad was a head coach for 32 years and never coached a D-I kid. He was in West Texas. A little different talent base. Ya know, I've enjoyed this experience as much as Montre. I got to take him to Texas, I got to visit with coach Brown. I've enjoyed it as much as he has
IT: Did he play both ways for you?
Slaughter: He did some, not a lot. Last year, he actually played both ways more than this year. Last year we were a little stronger up front defensively. Teams threw more. Obviously, they don't throw at him much. I think he had three interceptions in his two years and I don't know if they ever caught a ball on him.
IT: Where did he play in the defensive backfield?
Slaughter: He played corner. We looked at him at safety a little bit but he's just such a good athlete we decided to let him lock one guy down. When he was a sophomore, he didn't play defense, so when we looked at him at safety, he wasn't the type of downhill kid that was going to go blow somebody up, so we decided to leave him at corner and he did fine out there. But this year we weren't as strong up the middle so even when he was in there he was covering somebody and they we're just running at us for the most part.
IT: Is Texas considering giving him look on defense?
Slaughter: Just receiver. Part of that is probably our fault because we never really gave him a chance to work over there.
IT: What did Montre mean to your football program?
Slaughter: We need success stories in our program. And I mean big-time success stories. The one thing he did that so many of our kids haven't done, when he was in eighth grade, we knew he was going to very good just like so many other kids that came before him but he is one that truly maximizes his ability and potential. He turned it into (a Texas scholarship offer). So many of ours that could have gone other places didn't even turn theirs into (a small school offer). He's just a shining example of hard work, good family. He's never been in trouble, with the law, with drinking -- we drug test. He's a shining example for us of what we would like our athletes to aspire to become. It's maximizing your ability.
IT: What is Montre's family situation like?
Slaughter: His mom is a super lady. She's always been a great example for him. She works at a juvenile detention facility, she always has. His uncle is a county judge. I've never met his dad, don't know any history there whatsoever, but he grew up with a very big family base. When (Mack Brown) was here yesterday, his whole family was there watching... He understands his role. He's definitely their shining light. He accepts that and I think he enjoys it.
IT: Is there a defining moment for you that exemplifies Montre's ability as a football player?
Slaughter: He's one of those kids who always made a big catch when we needed it. There's not one play because he made so many, but I know on the headset our goal, on a Friday night if we were behind or off to a slow start or something, we'd say, Guys, we've got to get Webber the ball. Soon. He's an instant sparkplug. You turn him in and everything looks a little sweeter than it did before. I can't think of just one play in particular, but I can think of 50 that he just made a play that was freakish and you didn't expect to happen.
IT: Is there anything you'd like to add about Montre that we didn't already cover?
Slaughter: I think he is a really good, hard-working kid and I know at first he may be a little overwhelmed by the setting and the talent around him but I think it will push him to be even better.
Also see: More Exclusive Montre Webber Photos
UT's Signing Day bio: A two-time all-state selection who, according to his coaches, has displayed excellent body control and agility as a wide receiver
also played cornerback and returned kicks and punts until his senior season
finished his career with 108 receptions for 2,344 yards (21.7 ypc) and 33 TDs (one TD per every 3.3 receptions)
a three-time all-district (22-2A) selection
a two-time all-CenTex, all-Robertson County and all-Brazos Valley performer
earned Associated Press first-team 2A all-state honors as a senior
made 64 catches for 1,292 yards and 17 TDs while playing strictly wide receiver
led Hearne to their first playoff victory in 43 years
made 10 catches for 200 yards and four TDs against Thorndale
earned Associated Press honorable mention 2A all-state and Texas Sports Writers Association third-team all-state honors as a junior
caught 30 passes for 725 yards and 10 TDs
tallied 14 receptions for 327 yards and six TDs as a sophomore
was named first team all-district in basketball as a junior
averaged 18 points per game for one of the top-ranked teams in Texas 2A
competed in the 100m, sprint relay and 4x200 for the track and field team
has clocked a 10.5 personal best in the 100m
helped the 4x100 to the 21-2A championship as a sophomore
a member of the National Honor Society
was a consistent member of Hearne's Honor Roll
aided in school supplies and toy drives that were provided to needy children
helped sell quilts to benefit a local nursing home
enjoys playing video games
full name is AnJwel MonT-re Webber
born on Jan. 27, 1988 in Hearne, Texas.
"I've been a Longhorn fan my whole life, so it was a pretty easy decision. Texas has the whole package with academics and sports and I can't wait to get there. I like the way they treat you because they treat everybody the same. Everybody gets along and it just seems like a big family. It just feels like home to me."
STEVE MOORE (Tuesday)
ROY WATTS (Wednesday)
ROBERT JOSEPH (Thursday)
DEON BEASLEY (Friday)
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All photos: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas