National Rank at OT: 17
Overall State Rank: 23
STAR RATING: ****
An Inside Texas conversation with Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan on Kyle Hix:
Inside Texas: Kyle (Hix) was the first player in Texas’ 2007 recruiting class to commit. Why do you think that is?
Tim Buchanan: Well, probably being 6-foot-7, 315 pounds and a kid who has always wanted to go to the University of Texas. I mean he’s been a Longhorn fan. He’s been wearing those Texas shirts since he was a little kid. There were several schools that offered him, from TCU, Texas Tech, Miami, LSU. A lot of schools offered him early, but he held out because he wanted to find out if Texas would offer him. It’s something that he always wanted to do. That, and the fact that he was big enough and strong enough and good enough to go there. Combination.
IT: I imagine he was pretty excited when he found out he did get that offer.
Buchanan: Yeah, and it was a testing time for him, because he had some good friends that are big boosters out at Tech and they really wanted him to go to Texas Tech. They offered him really early. Oklahoma had offered him. I want to say LSU had offered him. He had a tremendous number of offers from good football schools and (Texas assistant) coach (Mike) Tolleson, I kept asking him, “Hey, are y’all going to offer?” and he said, “Mack Brown will offer him but if there’s going to be an offer made, he’s not going to receive it via fax. If we’re going to offer him, Coach Brown will offer him on Junior Day when he meets his family and meets Kyle, but not before then,” which was very impressive. You know? LSU sent a fax and we never saw them. I don’t know if they ever showed up on campus.
IT: When was the last time Coach Brown came up here?
Buchanan: He was up here last Wednesday (January, 17th). On a snow day. We didn’t have any school, but he still came over and a bunch of the coaches came up and kids came up and we had a chance to sit down with him and he spent two and a half, nearly three hours here. It was like our own little banquet or own little clinic.
IT: I bet that was treat for some of the kids.
Buchanan: I just wish it hadn’t of been a snow day, because we knew he was coming. We were planning on really making a show out of it. But it was one of those deals where it snowed that day so we didn’t have school. There’s about four or five footballs still sitting back there [points to the next room] that he signed for people. Signed for our booster club members, things of that nature. Very good day.
IT: Kyle’s got a very wide frame. How well does he use his body when he’s on the football field?
Buchanan: Kyle played basketball. He’s a shot and discus thrower, threw the discus. Very agile, very athletic kid to be 6-foot-7, 300 pounds. But to answer your question, “How does he use his body?”, he uses his leverage, as far as his reach, better than anybody. He’s by far the best offensive lineman I’ve ever coached or been around in 25 years and I’ve coached some good ones and been around some good ones at Killeen Elison and College Station at A&M Consolidated and then here. Been around some really good football players, but he’s by far the best and the thing he uses better than anyone I’ve been around are his feet and hands. For a 6-7 kid he’s got great feet. Great feet. The reach that he has, if you watch him on these highlight videos, he’ll be down field blocking on a linebacker and he’ll reach out from me to you [Buchanan is sitting on the other side of a fairly large desk] and just a get a hand on him and you just see the guy flying away from him because he’s got so much leverage in those arms that if he gets his hands on you, typically you’re going to the ground.
IT: What do you think he has to improve the most when he comes to Texas?
Buchanan: Strength. Especially lower body strength, because he did so many sports in high school, really the only true strength training he gets, because, it’s a good thing we play football in December every year. His freshman through senior year we played football in the December. So we would finish football and we would do our testing, our strength and conditioning testing and speed testing and he would be in basketball. He’d leave football, turn his stuff in on Monday. Tuesday he’s in the gym and then he’d play basketball through February. Come back in March, got spring break, then we come back in March and we start getting ready for spring football. So he gets about three weeks of really offseason-type lifting, and we’re in spring football. He goes from spring football into the summer and he’d do his six week strength session in the summer. But really, most offensive linemen are spending sixteen weeks in the weight room, he’s really only spending six. So he’s got to improve strength-wise, and I think he will do. He will make big gains in the weight room strength-wise. He’ll start doing it now, but once he gets to the University of Texas, he’s going to look like a different animal.
IT: Right. A good example of that is J’Marcus Webb who’s 6-foot-8. When he was coming out, he was thin. You look at him now, he’s just a sophomore, but he’s grown tremendously.
Buchanan: His [Hix’s] lower-body and upper-body strength will increase so much once he gets there. And the other thing, I know he’s 6-foot-7, weighs 300 pounds, but the kid’s just now going through puberty. The kid’s just now starting to get hair on his legs.
Buchanan: Yeah. Yeah. I mean a year ago you could look at him and not see any muscle or definition in his arms or in his legs. He’s just now starting to develop that. He’s really a late, it sounds crazy, 6-7, 300 pounds, but he’s really a late developing kid. You know, I coach his big brother and he was shaving in the 8th grade. Kyle still doesn’t have to shave. He’s really a late-bloomer and he’s going to be developing even a lot more between now and when he gets out to the University of Texas.
IT: Once he does, do you see him as a big-time contributor on the Division I level?
Buchanan: I think Kyle’s got a chance, not only to play at the Division I level, I think he’s one of those kids who could play at the next level too, because of his athleticism. He’s one of the best tight end, receiver-type kids you’ve ever seen. He can catch a football as good as anybody.
IT: Y’all use him frequently as a tight end?
Buchanan: Well, no, we didn’t, because we had so many other kids and without him blocking for us, we didn’t have time to throw it. If we put him out on a route, we’d have to throw it pretty quick. We would actually do 7-on-7 in the spring and the summer and stuff like that and he’s got as good of hands as anyone you’ll find. Very athletic.
IT: Is he much of a talker with the team in terms of leadership, or is he more of a quiet kind of guy?
Buchanan: He’s a very quiet kid. Very quiet. Now, if we’re not doing the right thing, he’s not afraid to tell ‘em what we should do and motivate them, but he was more of a lead by example kind of kid on the field as opposed to a ra-ra type guy.
IT: How quickly did he develop in high school in terms of his understanding of the game? Was it something that clicked, or could you clearly see the progression as he was going through high school?
Buchanan: Well, because of his size, he started for us as a sophomore at the varsity level. He’s always been a pretty football-savvy kid, he’s been around football all of his life. He’s got brothers and uncles and cousins that have played before him. So he’s been around it all his life. He was a ball boy growing up on our sideline. To answer that question, he’s always been a very football-savvy kid.
IT: At what age (of his) did you first find out about this athletic kid you’ve got coming up?
Buchanan: The most amazing thing is my first day in Aledo, I got here in 1993, and it was in the spring and we didn’t have all this then [motioning to his office we’re sitting in and out the window to the new stadium], matter of fact we didn’t have a practice football field then. We had to bus to the little league baseball fields up here where we played high school baseball and that’s where we practiced football that first year I was here. My first day on the job I’m at the little league baseball fields and I’m watching a high school baseball game and a ball hits me in the back of the leg and I turn around. I’m looking around. “Where the heck that baseball come from?” The T-ball field backs up to the baseball field and he [Hix] had hit a ball out of the park and I see this little red-headed…well, big red-headed kid running around the bases and it was Kyle Hix. And the comment I made was, “Well, I hope I’m still here when he’s in high school.” Sure enough, we were. So I’ve been watching him grow up since he was a five-year-old T-ball player, but he’s really a quiet kid. Really pretty shy, you’re not going to get a whole lot out of him. But he’s a heck of a football player, I know that.
[This is the first half of Inside Texas' conversation with Aledo head coach Tim Buchanan. We'll give the second half when we feature Aledo defensive Michael Wilcoxon.]
Also see: Deciding soon?
Horns pick up first commitment
Hix and his Aledo teammate Michael Wilcoxon (right) will suit up for Texas next season.
UT Signing Bio: Versatile three-sport all-district honoree and honor student … named a first- team all-state selection as a senior by The Associated Press and Texas Sports Writers Association … was a member of ESPN's top 150 national prospects … tallied 185 knockdown blocks during his career … named the district offensive MVP as a senior … earned academic all-district honors … did not allow any sacks his senior year and graded out at 95% as a senior with 91 knockdowns … helped his team average 372 yards of total offense (282p/90r) and 39 points a game … helped team to the state semi-finals and a 13-1 record … earned first team all- district honors as a junior … recorded 56 knockdowns and helped the team average 324 yards of total offense (210p/104r) … helped the team average 339 total yards per game (227p/112r) as a sophomore while recording 38 knockdowns … also played center in basketball and threw the shot put and discus in track and field … was named to the all-district team as a junior in basketball … went to the regional track meet for both shot put and discus as a junior … volunteers at the Special Olympics … enjoys video games and playing the guitar in his spare time … cousin, John Hix, played running back at New Mexico State … born 9/23/88 in Fort Worth, Texas.
NEXT UP: MICHAEL HUEY
All photos: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas