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June 13, 2012Auburn (Ala.) High School 2013 athlete Cameron Echols-Luper was offered by Texas A&M after returning to his home state of Texas over the weekend. Luper was at the Aggies' satellite camp in DeSoto on Thursday and the TCU camp on Friday.
Luper ran in at the end of the A&M camp because of a plane delay, but still left enough of an impression on the A&M coaches that he went home with an offer.
"Friday following the A&M camp I got an offer from A&M," Luper said. "Coach (Kevin) Sumlin called my dad and my dad transferred that back to me. My dad and Coach Sumlin are good friends."
Luper's father, Curtis Luper, is the Auburn running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Family will play an interesting twist in Luper's decision because he does want to play close to family, which he has in Alabama and in Texas. Before calling Auburn home, Luper lived in Ennis, just outside of Dallas.
Luper now holds offers from Arkansas State, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Memphis, Mississippi, North Carolina, Southern Miss, TCU, Texas A&M, Toledo, UTEP and Wake Forest. Luper does have a few favorites, some of which he holds offers from and some that he does not.
"I was real happy to get the offer from the Aggies," Luper said. "I am a Texas boy and want to come back home and play. My favorites are A&M, TCU, Auburn, North Carolina and Ole Miss. All of the offers are tremendous. It is a blessing, really."
Luper has indeed been blessed athletically, having shown his abilities on both sides of the football as well as in track. The 5-foot-11, 185-lb. athlete was the Alabama state champion in the long jump and his relay team came in second place at the state meet. Luper also ran the 100 and 200-meter with his personal bests at 10.6 and 21.15. With his speed, it's not surprising most -- but not all -- schools after him see his future at the receiver position.
"The Aggies want me at slot receiver," Luper said. "TCU and Auburn are recruiting me at receiver; some are recruiting me at quarterback and some at DB."
If Luper had to choose right now what position he would like to play at the next the level, he said it would be receiver.
"I know the coaches from Houston," Luper said, "And they come from one of the best offenses in the nation, passing type offenses. Being a wide receiver, it means I am going to get the ball a lot. And I love the ball being in my hands; I am dangerous with it. So having the ball in my hands a lot is what any wide receiver would want. It is a great offense and it fits me very well."
When Luper has questions and concerns about the recruiting process, he turns to a man with a lot of experience on the subject: his dad.
"My dad is like my coach and father figure," Luper said, "He says wherever I choose, make sure it feels like home. The coach that is recruiting you, make sure he is like what I am to you daily, a father figure and will be there no matter what. He advises me on the recruiting process. And I have been in it long enough, I know how the process works and I can tell if a coach is being real with me."
Luper, unsurprisingly, has a close relationship with the Auburn coaches. Luper said that as a coach's son, he would love to play for his dad and a staff and environment that he is already familiar with, but he does share this feeling at two schools in Texas.
"I have that type of father figure relationship with Coach Beaty from A&M and with TCU," Luper said. "Those two I am the closest with. Coach Beaty he is an outstanding guy. He is real cool, real funny and down to earth and laid back. I talk to him daily. He is just real cool and someone I can relate to. He is the type of coach I can sit down with and share any problem with any time of the day."
Luper is not only studying the coaching staff's but also the depth chart.
"Early playing time is very important," he said. "I have never been the type of person to sit on the bench and watch. I always want to go in and help the team. I call myself the energizer bunny because I am always going. So early playing time is huge, I don't want to sit there and feel like I can't help my team out. I have studied the depth charts at TCU, A&M and of course Auburn."
Luper's depth chart investigation has led him to two schools where he feels confident in early playing time.
"A&M especially; coach Beaty and I have talked about it, and at TCU. If I choose one of those schools I know I will be playing wide receiver and they are loosing a couple of seniors from each. I know I can step in and play a major role on offense," he said.
Luper is fan of the Big 12 offense and the SEC's power defense and the Aggies combining it helps in their pursuit of Luper.
"I am really excited about A&M entering the SEC," Luper said. "SEC is mainly a defense type of conference and Big 12 is offense. And A&M coming from the Big 12 they have a really good offense, and that's what I want to play in college. If I decide A&M, I will get to play against the top defenses in the nation each week."
Luper is back at home in Alabama and does not plan to be leaving for a while.
"I think I am pretty much done with camps right now," he said. "I may take a couple more visits. On July 18 I will go to Texas A&M."
A visit to College Station, summer track and improving for his senior season as Auburn's quarterback is on Luper's agenda for the next couple of months.
"For this year I am trying to improve on calming down in the pocket and not rushing things," Luper said. "I am working on opening my eyes and not just zoning in on a receiver but looking at all of them. And at crunch time not panicking as much and not trying to rush and just calming down. I threw 72 for 144 for over 1400 yards, had 17 touchdowns, one interception and ran for 600 plus yards and had 5 rushing touchdowns."
Luper said he may make a decision mid-season, "but right now, you never know."
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