San Antonio Madison receiver Nate Askew had taken multiple unofficial visits to the Texas A&M campus this spring and summer. However, the 6-foot-4, 212-pound Aggie commit had not actually attended a game Kyle Field.
That changed with the 2009 season opener against New Mexico this past Saturday. The Aggies did not disappoint as they delighted the home crowd of 73,887 with a 41-6 win. They made a significant impression on Askew as well.
"I loved it," Askew said. "They played good. They played an easy team, but I liked the way they threw the ball. I liked the number of attempts. It's so different than what we are used to. At Madison, we run the ball. Jerrod (Johnson) had like 300 yards passing."
Askew says he paid attention to A&M's young receiving corps, which at times included a sophomore and three freshmen on the field in passing situations. In particular, he focused on how he would fit into the Aggie offense himself.
"I think I would fit in very well and put up great numbers," he said. "I can be the X or the Z or I can move inside. I can play anywhere. Sometimes I can move inside and play the slot. I like playing better inside. In high school, you can't get double-teamed inside. The linebacker can't cover me and the safety is too far down the field."
Most importantly for A&M, the game served as reinforcement for Askew that he had made the right decision in selecting the Aggies over a host of other programs. A&M's penchant for throwing the ball over 40 times made the biggest impression on him.
"I know seeing A&M play made me more comfortable about my decision," Askew said. "But you know people talk a lot like A&M doesn't throw the ball. I don't want to go through that again, running the ball like we do in high school. I'm not used to hearing A&M throwing that much."
Colleges could begin calling prospects this past Tuesday, Sept. 1. Members of the A&M staff have already contacted Askew and they have talked at length. He has spoken with head coach Mike Sherman, offensive coordinator and receivers coach Nolan Cromwell and area recruiter Tom Rossley.
"I've talked to coach Sherman, coach Cromwell and coach Rossley," Askew said. "They just said that their receiving corps is not complete. I see that I can help them.
"They run a pro-style offense and I want to get ready for the next level. That will help me instead of going to (Texas) Tech which runs an imaginary offense that can't even get a quarterback to the NFL. They have had one good receiver in the NFL and that's (Wes) Welker. (Michael) Crabtree hasn't even signed anywhere else. If I was a quarterback, I wouldn't want to go there."
Askew has also gotten phone calls from other schools attempting to continue to recruit him. They are using interesting tactics to do so.
"I got some calls from Oklahoma State and Tulsa," he said. "They said that they would keep recruiting me. They told me that the (Aggie) staff could be fired, but I said I was still going to A&M."
In fact, Askew's visit for a game makes him want to come back for more. He said that he three other contest this this fall including the Utah State, Oklahoma State and Texas games.
"I'm trying to get a feel for it. I'm going to be there for four years, hopefully just three," he said laughing. "Plus, I like the coaches and players. The fans were great. They saw me and they said 'That's Nate Askew.' That caught me off guard."
In the meantime, Askew's senior season will be more than enough to keep him busy. The Mavericks, ranked No. 44 nationally in the RivalsHigh100, are off to a 2-0 start this fall even though he isn't entirely satisfied with his team's progress.
"We are getting there," he said. "We still have some things to work on. We got up 40-0 in our first game and, after that, we got a little cocky. We are still young, but as the season goes along we'll pick it up and be better."
Askew has five receptions for 127 yards and a 52-yard punt return for a touchdown so far this season. despite playing less than a half of football in each of the Mavericks' first two games this season.