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July 18, 2005

Real Red Raider

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Growing up Abilene, Texas, quarterback Taylor Potts and his brother had a friendly rivalry between each other. Potts rooted for the Texas Longhorns and his brother was an A&M fan.

Potts said he always envisioned himself heading to Austin to play quarterback for the Longhorns, but that was before "something" came along and changed his way of thinking.

That "something" thing was Mike Leach's amazing aerial attack. As quickly as the wind whips through the South Plains and the Red Raiders whip through opposing defenses, Potts said his lifelong orange blood turned black and red. By the time things were done, Leach had landed his prized quarterback of the future.

"Growing up as a kid, I was a big Texas fan," Potts, who is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, said. "I was a really proud Texas fan, too. My brother liked A&M, and I liked Texas. We always had a good rivalry and we always ribbed each other back and forth.

"Once I realized I really could do something with football past high school, I started to back off telling everybody I liked Texas so much. That's when I started to watch a lot of tape and realized the Tech offense is just so much fun to watch. I thought to myself, who wouldn't want to be part of that."

The recruiting efforts of Leach himself helped in Potts' decision, but what sealed the deal was the offense. While Texas could offer him an opportunity to come in and play soon because of the lack of depth behind superstar quarterback Vince Young, the Longhorns couldn't offer Potts an opportunity to throw the ball 40 times a game.

"I think it's going to be a lot of fun trying to go in there and fit in," Potts said. "You have to be excited as a quarterback to know that you can do big things in that offense."

Potts, ranked as the No. 46 player in Texas by Rivals.com, showed he has all of the tools to make the transition to Leach's offense pretty quickly this past weekend at the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 State Tournament. With a strong arm and good decision making, Potts guided Abilene to a fourth-place finish.

At one point late in the third-place game it looked like Potts was going to guide his team to victory over Colleyville Heritage, but a strong second half by the Panthers erased an early Abilene lead. But still it was a great weekend for Potts, and he knew he had a lot of people watching him.

"People talk about guys like Matthew Stafford and all the other big-name guys and it's always fun to go out and watch them and see how they do," Potts sad. "But I like to hope people are out there watching me too. And I hope I give them something they like to see."

Potts, like any good quarterback, is also quick to deflect a lot of the credit to his teammates.

"I tell people all the time I'm not a very good quarterback and it's the people around me that make me look like a good quarterback," Potts said. "They make me do things right. They're a big reason why I'm going to get an opportunity to play on the next level."

An opportunity he always thought would be in Austin instead of Lubbock, but Potts said he is a fully covered Red Raider fan now.

"I wouldn't have it any other way," he said.


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