- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
HOUSTON -- Pearland (Texas) Dawson receiver Tony Upchurch enjoyed a productive 2012 season. And he has some top programs, such as LSU, Texas A&M and Texas keeping a close eye on him.
Playing myriad roles for Dawson, the No. 1 Class 4A team in the state that saw its season cut short early with a 22-19 loss to Nederland (Texas) High School in the third round of the Texas state playoffs, Upchurch was a true weapon as a junior for the Eagles.
In addition to the receiver spot, where he recorded 1,006 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 46 receptions, Upchurch lined up in the backfield as a running back and returned kickoffs for Dawson.
"Tony has the ability to go get a football unlike anyone I've ever been around," Dawson coach Eric Wells said. "It could be a 5-yard pass or a 60-yard pass. When the ball goes up, it's like his feet know where to run to in order to get him into the perfect position to make a play on it. Plus, people don't give credit on how fast he is. Tony is an extremely fast football player. He's fast in pads."
He likes having the football in his hands in different roles.
"It's pretty good," the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Upchurch said. "My ability to do either receiver, running back, all of that, it's just great to use all my athleticism to take care of everything."
It was just his second year of varsity football. He's also a varsity basketball player for Dawson, but as a freshman, played only basketball. It wasn't until it was suggested to him that he looked to the gridiron.
"Really, my freshman year in high school I came in and I chose to stick with basketball," he said. "A lot of people were telling me to try football. I had just finished my freshman year without playing football and came in my sophomore year and it just felt great. I've been sticking to it."
He had a good sophomore football season, building his confidence and paving the way for a big junior year. Now he considers his future to be on the gridiron instead of the hardwood.
Upchurch had early interest from LSU, Texas and Texas A&M, but said he hasn't been hearing from too many schools during the season. But he does have interest in the Aggies and Tigers and they're his two favorites at the moment.
"With A&M, we kind of run the same offense," Upchurch said. "With LSU, I like the fan base."
Upchurch said he has been impressed with what the Aggies have accomplished in their first SEC season.
"They've done an amazing job," Upchurch said. "I've been liking them since the beginning. They've been going hard after it."
As for the recruiting process, Upchurch said: "I'm just keeping me eyes open and seeing where it goes."
2dSam Khan Jr.
5dSam Khan Jr.