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April 10, 2002

Aggies off to early start

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With the commitments slowly beginning to mount across the country, Texas A&M has gotten off to one of the best starts in the country, securing three early verbal pledges.

It is often said the game of football is won in the trenches and the Aggies have begun their quest for stocking the cupboards for the future with one tackle on each side of the ball and a potential quarterback for the future.

Offensive tackle Cody Wallace of Cuero, Texas became one of the first in the Lone Star State to make a decision, when he committed to play for R.C. Slocum's troops.

"The offer from A&M was the first one he had received," Wallace's father, Chester said. "He called them up right away and let them know he was really interested in them."

That interest grew over the next few days.

"He committed to A&M," Cuero head coach Bill Littleton of his 6-foot-4, 290-pound star. "They offered him a few days ago and he called them up and committed to them last night."

Wallace will be one of the top linemen in Texas during his senior season. His versatility showed during his junior season when he moved from playing center as a sophomore to offensive tackle. He earned Class 3A All-State honors from the associated press as a junior.

He was credited with 40 pancake blocks as a junior. He chose the Aggies over Alabama, Iowa, Texas and Texas Tech.

On the other side of the ball for the Aggie teams of the future is Odessa (Texas) Permian defensive tackle Tate Pittman.
Pittman, a 6-foot-6, 276 pound defensive tackle was limited as a junior to only five games after a broken leg sidelined him.

Despite seeing the limited action, Pittman recorded 32 tackles, five quarterback sacks and one interception.

"Texas A&M is my dream school," Pittman said. "It's close to home and they have a great tradition there."

The decision to commit early was easy for Pittman.

"I like the school," he said. "The offer was there and I decided to make an early commitment to make sure I've got a scholarship. I called Coach Slocum up and accepted his offer to play at A&M."

Pittman had also received interest from Iowa, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma and UCLA.

The third of the commitments was actually the one who committed first. Baytown (Texas) Lee quarterback Drew Tate committed to the Aggies early last fall.

"I got a FedEx package before our season had even started," Tate said. "I thought it was going to be an invitation to one of their camps. But inside it was a letter offering me a scholarship."

The decision to go to A&M didn't take long.

"My dad (Baytown Lee head coach Dick Olin) and I called Coach Slocum a few days later and told him I was going to commit to A&M."

So how good is Tate?

"Drew is a very good quarterback," Olin said. "He'll continue to get better as he gets older and stronger."

Tate will be starting for the Ganders for the fourth straight season this year. His decision to go to Texas A&M makes him the fourth quarterback to move on to Division-I under Olin. The others are Jermaine Alfred of Baylor, Clint Stoerner of Arkansas and Ell Roberson III of Kansas State.

The battle for the top class in the Big 12 is far from over, but at this early stage in the game, Texas A&M leads all schools with three commitments.

The Aggie staff will look to several players in the state of Texas to help fill the remaining spots in the recruiting Class of 2003.


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