High-SchoolFootball: Jake Raulerson

A lot of players say they love playing football, but after you talk to Celina (Texas) junior Jake Raulerson, you get the sense he truly means it.

The 6-foot-5, 253-pound right tackle/nose guard has felt that ever since he took up the sport in the third grade. And his passion for the game clearly shows on the field, where his combination of strength, athleticism and aggression has helped make him one of the nation’s top recruits.

Rated a five-star recruit in the Class of 2013 by RecruitingNation, Raulerson earned Class 3A All-State second team honors as a junior. And on Feb. 3, he committed to Texas over 27 other offers.

Raulerson said UT told him he could play anywhere from left tackle, center, defensive end or tight end for the Longhorns when he gets to Austin. He doesn’t have a preference for what position he plays — whatever gets him on the field to play the game he loves.

Get Familiar with this future Longhorn.

ESPNHS: When did you receive your first offer and how many are you up to now?
Raulerson: I’m at 28 offers. It’s pretty crazy. It’s been a great process and a lot of fun. My first offer was the summer of my sophomore year and I got offered by SMU. It was an awesome feeling knowing I’d be able to play college ball. I didn’t really think I’d have this many offers. It was definitely a shock when those kept coming in.

ESPNHS: What led you to pick Texas so early in the process?
Raulerson: I really like the coaching staff and it’s close to home. Coach (Mack) Brown is a very trustworthy guy. He promised me if I got hurt, they’d honor my scholarship and that’s huge. Not having to think about college, it gets the stress off me. Now I can focus on helping my team win a state championship.

ESPNHS: Where did the Texas coaching staff say you’d play for them?
Raulerson: They’ve talked to me about playing defensive end, tight end, left tackle and center. They said I was smart enough to be able to handle those positions. It’s humbling to hear that. It all depends on how I fill out. I don’t have a preference. Whatever gets me on the field and helps my team win a championship.

ESPNHS: What do you like about playing on the line?
Raulerson: It gives you the chance to knock someone in the mouth. It’s a lot of fun to get your aggression out. You don’t get a lot of credit, but you’ve got to be a man to play on the line.

ESPNHS: Can you describe what playing football means to you?
Raulerson: Football turns boys into men. It makes you a mature person and teaches you life skills. It gives you a feeling you don’t ever really feel. Football is life. If you don’t play 100 percent all of the time, you’re going to have regrets, and I don’t want to have regrets. The one quote that sticks with me is from New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton when he said in the Kenny Chesney video for “The Boys of Fall,” “You’ve got plenty of time for tomorrow. But these tonights, they’re going by fast. You focus on tonight.”

School: Celina (Texas)
Class: 2013
Position: Right tackle/nose guard
HT: 6-5
WT: 253
College: Texas

TV Show: “How I Met Your Mother”
Movie: “Remember the Titans”
Athletes: Ray Lewis & Tim Tebow
School Subject: Physics
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Food: Hamburger

Launching Pad: Bower a top '13 DE

September, 29, 2011
Tashawn BowerTom Hauck/ESPNHSClass of 2013 defensive end Tashawn Bower made an impression at the Rutgers Nike Camp this past May
Each week ESPNHS will shine the light on a few non-seniors who are emerging as prospects to watch on the recruiting radar. Here is this week's Launching Pad.

RB Dontea Ayres, Wicomico (Salisbury, Md.)
It was two years ago the Dontea Ayres caught grabbed the attention of ESPNHS as just a freshman at the Baltimore Nike Combine where he posted the highest SPARQ Rating of his class at 74.25. This year the 5-9, 208 pound running back is off to a strong start leading Wicomico to a 4-0 record.

So far he has rushed for 511 yards and 12 touchdowns on just 36 carries. When breaking that down it amounts to 14.1 yards per rush and a touchdown on every third carry. What is most impressive is that he done this in playing in only eight quarters since he has yet to play in a game after halftime.

"My offensive line is amazing, they are the ones doing all the work and all I have to do is just hit the hole. Actually our entire team is pretty strong and this year could be very special,” Ayres told ESPNHS on Wednesday.

Barring any setbacks, the speedy back (ran a 4.66 at last year’s Nike Combine) will surely surpass his 1,156 yards rushing from last year and needs just one more touchdown. Just after his breakout performance in 2009, Wicomico coaches told ESPNHS they would not be surprised if he was the top back in the state as a senior.

What needs to be known is how strong this young man is, Ayres was proud to mention that he is benching 455 pounds and can rep 225 up to 30 times. Everything he does he excels at, including in the classroom where he is carrying a 4.1 GPA.

Just recently he picked up his first offer from Duke and has stirred up interest from Stanford, Maryland, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Virginia as well. - Michael White

DE Tashawn Bower, Immaculata (Somerville, N.J.)
Out in Jersey, Tashawn Bower made a name for himself as a sophomore and is doing it again this fall. The 6-5, 235 pounder had 52 tackles and eight sacks in 2010 to earn ESPNHS Sophomore All-American honors, and then earned all-combine honors at the Philadelphia Nike Combine, where he posted an 89.67 SPARQ Rating. In a big win against Union (Union, N.J.) this past Friday, the superstar DE was all over the place, accounting for over 10 tackles, including a sack for a safety.

“In the offseason, I really wanted to improve my speed off the ball and my ability to play better with my technique. I’m much quicker this season, and I am doing a better job at playing half a man, which is making pass rushing a lot easier.”

Bower has been no secret to college coaches and recruiting gurus alike, holding numerous scholarship offers for quite sometime. Bower talked recruiting with ESPNHS on Wednesday, stating, “Recruiting has finally been slowing down a bit because of the dead period. But I really feel that it is just the calm before the storm.”

“I don’t think I can name any favorites this early. But I can say that receiving scholarship offers from schools like Florida State, Tennessee, and Ohio State is an incredible experience. I am very grateful to be receiving the interest of schools of that caliber.” - Nick Ekbatani

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