Van's Jermie Calhoun is the number one running back in the state.
He doesn't really care.
"Not really," Calhoun laughs, "I really don't care about being number one. Ratings don't mean anything to me, I'm just doing what I do, playing ball."
For the guy rated as the top running back in Texas and one of the top ten college prospects in the country by Rivals.com, Calhoun didn't care too much for the national attention.
"At first it was cool to have these coaches calling me," Calhoun said, "but when months went by and they were still doing it, it got annoying. I couldn't sleep at night, I couldn't focus in school, I had coaches texting me left and right. It was a hassle, you know. Every night, coaches from different places were calling."
" Now, they know I'm committed to one school, so I can focus on what's in front of me."
Van's head coach Brady Pennington describes Caloun as a complete team player, cheering on his offensive linemen and teammates. Calhoun's grown up in Van since the fourth grade, and as a freshman, was a part of the Vandals' 2005 State Basketball Championship.
"Yeah, I was just a puppy back then," Calhoun said, laughing.
Calhoun's career will continue after this season, he's already chosen to play for Oklahoma next year. He'll be following in the footsteps of Palestine's Adrian Peterson, and joining players like Gilmer's Justin Johnson. Calhoun says the football spotlight on East Texas is well deserved.
"It's my opinion, but I think we just work harder in East Texas. If you want to find some true athletes, you come to East Texas."
Watching him run, it's easy to see why Calhoun drew national attention. His blend of speed and power has drawn comparisons to another East Texas back, the great Earl Campbell. Calhoun appreciates being mentioned in the same breath, but wants to forge his own career.
"I'm glad people compare me to someone like that," Calhoun said, "but at the same time I don't want to be compared to anybody else. I don't want to be in anybody's shadows, I want to make my own."
Calhoun didn't really care for the attention. A small-town guy, he's only concerned with his teammates and enjoying a senior year to cap his all-too-brief high school career.
"It came pretty fast," Calhoun admits. "It feels like the other day I was just a freshman."
"All I can do is be who I can be. I told my team I wasn't coming out to set records, I just wanted to win games and get to the playoffs."
Reid Kerr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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