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July 16, 2012Pearland Dawson wide receiver Tony Upchurch hasn't seen a lot of press clippings with his name attached to them. It's not that Upchurch isn't immensely talented. He's ranked No. 34 on the 2014 Lone Star Recruiting Top 100.
Upchurch has been able to avoid the recruiting and media spotlight in large part because of his humility. He's not a player that likes to brag on his own talents, instead letting his play on the field to the talking. Upchurch did just that earlier this summer during his only camp visit, a stop at a Texas Longhorn mini-camp.
"I think I did pretty well. I could have done better but they had some good DBs there, good competition," Upchurch said. "You can always do better but I thought I did a good job overall."
At the event, Upchurch was often-times paired with top national defensive back prospect Tony Brown. During the camp, he received words of encouragement from the Texas coaches and Upchurch feels he has a good chance of picking up a Texas offer at some point.
"The coaches asked how things were going. I told them I love it. I was just trying to do my thing," Upchurch said. "They talked to my mom after the camp. They said they're probably going to offer me down the road. I don't know about that for sure but that's what they told my parents after the camp."
Dawson head coach Eric Wells said there's a lot to like about his star receiver, who measured in at 6-2 and 212 pounds at the end of the 2011 season.
"Obviously, being so athletic and so big stands out. He's still kind of raw as far as his skills. But he can get balls. He has an unbelievable vertical. His ball skills when the ball in the air, you can try to teach that, but he does it on his own," Wells said. "He tracks it like you see older, more experienced guys do. And his work ethic is outstanding. The guy works to get better every day, in the weight room, out there catching balls, whatever. He's definitely one of the best ones I've ever coached in 20 years."
As a sophomore, Upchurch hauled in 40 receptions for 789 yards and 7 touchdowns. He knows there's still room for improvement and he's expecting bigger and better things this fall.
"I think out of all things that I have as strengths it's my speed and the way I adjust to the ball. I just keep it simple, stay humble about it. I don't get too cocky about it and I just do my thing," Upchurch said. "I want to keep working on my speed. I want to get faster. I know I can get a littler faster and a little stronger. There's a lot of room to improve, always."
At the UT camp, Upchurch said he was clocked with a 4.5.
"That was really me running the 40 for first time. I didn't know what to expect or how to run it," Upchurch said. "The coaches said I could run a little faster than that but I didn't really know what I was doing and I could have started better."
Upchurch was also invited to camps by Texas A&M and LSU. He was hoping to make a camp in Baton Rouge, but to this point the stop at UT has been his only appearance. On the recruiting front, he has two that stand out.
"My top school right now is LSU. But I'm still keeping my eyes open. I'm not going to shut my eyes on others and focus on just one college," Upchurch said. "With LSU, I love the fan base, love their coach. I Love the offense and the way they gel as a team. I just like LSU. With Texas, I like their coaches too. They have good facilities there and it's a good college. We took a tour around and I like that. You could add A&M but those two (LSU and Texas) are really my top two."
Recruiting fans can expect to start hearing more of Upchurch in the coming months as his stock should continue to soar. Wells said colleges from around the country are showing a legitimate interest for one of the state's best program's most dynamic athletes.
"He's an extremely good basketball player as well. He started every game as a sophomore on our basketball team. He leads by example. He's not a real rah-rah guy," Wells said. "He's kind of quiet but he works his tail off when he's out there every day. He's a great kid. He's fun to coach because you can tell how much he loves it."