National Rank at OG: 8
Overall State Rank: 17
STAR RATING: ****
An Inside Texas: conversation with Kilgore head coach Mike Vallery on Michael Huey:
Inside Texas: I've watched his film, we've seen what he (Huey) can do as a football player, but how is he as a person?
Mike Vallery: Oh, that's probably one of the better characteristics about him. He's got the size and ability to make a good football player, but Michael Huey's a great person. Just a great kid, got a great attitude. He's been raised right. He's probably a better person than he is football player. And he's a pretty good football player.
IT: How well did he handle the recruiting process in terms of all the attention you get because of that?
Vallery: You know he handled it well. When the University of Texas offered him, he accepted right off the bat and that was just about the end of the recruiting. Right at the beginning of last year, in his junior year, Texas A&M offered him and he went to a junior day at Texas A&M and then followed it up with a junior day visit and Texas and when they offered him he committed up and he was solid with his commitment all the way through. He was excited about graduating early and getting on down there. His recruiting process, he ended early and was satisfied and happy with what he'd done.
IT: What was the main reason he decided to graduate early?
Vallery: Well, I think nowadays that kids get their credits and a young man like him that had finished up and could graduate, and we had one of our linemen that was one of his teammates the year before graduated and went to Louisiana Tech. He has seen this done and he just feels like for him to be a football player at the University of Texas and him graduating at getting in there and being able to go through off-season and spring football and in the summer program and through the season next year and another spring practice, by the time, if he redshirts, then it's like got two seasons before his clock starts up on his four years. I think it's a great opportunity for a young man that can handle it, that's mature enough to handle it and academically can handle it. It's a great opportunity for him to get a leg up.
IT: Do you think (former Kilgore players and current Longhorns) Eddie Jones and Britt Mitchell had any impact on his decision?
Vallery: I don't think that Eddie or Britt had any impact on him graduating early, but I think that, yes, it had a big impact on him choosing the University of Texas because he's got two of his friends and teammates already there. I think that had a big impact on him and plus, you know, I think the first time he visited down there with Mack Brown and Coach (Mac) McWhorter, his line coach, and Coach Ken Rucker that recruits our school here, I think he just fell in love with those guys right off the bat and from what I see and my relationship with those people down there, that would be easy for him to do.
IT: What are his biggest strengths as a football player?
Vallery: I think size is one thing, but you're talking about a kid that's, what, between 6-3 and 6-4 and is right at 300 pounds. I think when he reported he was a little heavier than that, about 310, 315, but the thing about him, most high school kids that are that size and are 300 pounds, a lot of time are carrying bad body weight. Well his is not bad body weight. He's a big kid and he's strong and he's solid from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. We think that he's going to have a chance to make 'em a good football player before he leaves the University of Texas.
IT: What does he need to improve the most as he makes the transition to the Division I level?
Vallery: I think the biggest thing for a big young kid is as he matures and develops is he gets quicker. His footwork gets better. He's got all the tools you want as a lineman, it's just going to be him learning the process and a kid of his size, he's a senior in high school and wearing a size 18 shoe, as he matures and develops more, he's going to get quicker and once he does that, he's got all the tools to be a great player for them.
Huey and fellow early enrollee Andre Jones (right) played together in the Army AA game.
IT: When did he first make that leap into becoming a special football player?
Vallery: We felt like when he was a sophomore and playing JV ball, with his size and his ability we watched him develop, you know I started telling people when he came into that junior year to play varsity football, I said this kid's going to have the ability to play big time at the next level and then once he played his junior year and people were able to see the big change in the development of him from his sophomore year to his junior year and that he was aggressive, it was a no-brainer that he was going to be a big time football player.
Huey and Jones (89) battled everyday at the Army AA practices.
Also see: Huey Biding His Time
Huey: Bonds with Teammates
Audio: Interview with Michael Huey
Spotlight on Michael Huey
Michael Huey: Getting Better by the Day
UT Signing Day Bio: Prep All-American and all-state performer … started in the 2007 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … was a member of ESPN's top 150 national prospects … a first-team member of Dave Campbell's Super Team … posted 164 knockdowns as a two-year starter … named first-team 4A all-state by The Associated Press and the Texas Sports Writers Association as a senior … also earned all-district (12-4A) and all-region … named the district 12-4A Lineman of the Year … registered 86 knockdowns … led the Bulldogs to an 11-2 record and a berth in the Division II regional semifinals as a junior … earned district 12-4A honors … posted 78 knockdowns … was a member of the 2004 Texas 4A State Championship team … also threw the shot put as a junior … two-time honor roll student … volunteered as a tee ball coach … painted kids faces at church fundraisers … served as one of the speakers at the 2006 Kilgore football banquet … enjoys bowling, golfing, fishing and hunting … full name is Michael Austin Huey … born 9/28/88 in Longview, Texas.
NEXT UP: CODY JOHNSON
All photos: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas