Seastrunk could be heading west
TEMPLE, Texas -- In front of an enthusiastic rivalry crowd, which began filling up the stands shortly after 5 p.m. on the visiting Belton side, and a television audience tuned in to ESPNU, Temple running back Lache Seastrunk's big-play ability was expected to take center stage Thursday night.
A fired-up Belton squad defended the perimeter very well for 48 minutes, keeping Seastrunk from making those big plays with his electric blend of quickness, acceleration and straight-line speed.
Instead of relying on the breathtaking play, Seastrunk was forced to earn tough yards between the hash marks -- grinding out 114 hard-fought yards on 23 carries, and scoring a touchdown. In the end, Belton walked away with a 17-6 victory that knocked Temple out of the playoff hunt.
"Tonight was a great experience," said an emotional and dejected Seastrunk. "I'm honored that ESPN came out to watch us play and I wish it had ended a little better. We came together as a team. There is nothing wrong; we just have a couple of kinks we had to get worked out. There is nothing else that I can really say. We gave it everything we had."
In the first quarter, the Belton defense smothered the No. 20 prospect in the ESPNU 150 to the tune of three carries for 5 yards. On two carries, the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder was brought down by an arm tackle in the hole.
Not one to shy away from talking about improvement, Seastrunk realizes Thursday night showed where he needs to make gains.
"I'm trying to be the best running back I can be," Seastrunk said. "I'm just trying to get better at shaking off first contact. Keep pushing through contact. I think that is what separates running backs."
Seastrunk was scheduled to attend Saturday night's contest between the USC Trojans and the Oregon Ducks. The matchup would be an up-close look at two of the favored programs to land the four-star prospect.
A third visit to the West Coast has many feeling Seastrunk will end up playing in the Pac-10.
"It's not really meaningful," Seastrunk said of the fact all his visits have been in Pac-10 country. "They do prepare you for the NFL on the West Coast. May as well get prepared for it if God blesses me to get to the next level,"
Seastrunk was scheduled to make the trip with close friend, and Thibodeaux (La.) receiver, Trovon Reed. The duo has been rumored to be headed to the same college for months.
"That's my brother," Seastrunk said. "We're family. What ever we decide is what we decide on. If we don't go to the same school, we're still brothers. If God blesses us to go to the same school, we'll get to play right next to each other. Either way, he's my brother."
Reed is considered to be leaning toward Auburn over Oregon and Tennessee and will announce his decision Nov. 13, while USC and Auburn are the favorites to receive the last two official visits for Seastrunk, with USC considered by many to be the favorite.
Auburn appears set to receive a commitment from Under Armour All-American running back Michael Dyer (Little Rock, Ark./Little Rock Christian) on Nov. 6. The Tigers are also hosting five-star running back Marcus Lattimore (Duncan, S.C./Byrnes) this weekend.
The Trojans' running back picture is more inviting with the lone commitment being Trajuan Briggs (Van Nuys, Calif./Birmingham).
Wherever the talented runner ends up, he's not concerned about the adjustment to the college game.
"To be honest with you, there shouldn't be an adjustment," he said. "I'm going to put the time in from now until June, so there shouldn't be an adjustment. I should be ready."
Gerry Hamilton has covered recruiting in Texas and the Southwest for more than a decade. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.