Loosening up is paying dividends for Nelson tackle

Posted Monday, Jun. 24, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Maybe Anders Huizenga is searching for inner peace. Or maybe the Byron Nelson starting right tackle is looking for an edge so Division I football programs will pursue him more aggressively.

Admittedly, Huizenga (6-6, 295) has the frame to play at the highest level. The film didn’t lie. But the film also showed how stiff he was with his knees and hips. That’s what has caused schools to be leery.

Through the suggestion of a recruiter, Huizenga has turned to yoga to release the stiffness and produce the flexibility. He’s been going to classes for about two months in hopes his third year to start will be his best.

“It’s really helps with balance and my core,” Huizenga said. “Just some of the work I’ve done on my hips and knees has been needed. It’s easier for me to explode. I have more control of my body. I do realize that if you’re looking at tape from my sophomore and junior year, you’re not going to see a lot of flexibility, and some hesitation.”

Nelson coach Brian Polk and Huizenga agree that he is a late bloomer who is only now beginning to understand his body. The problem was when he locked up, his muscles and joints would fatigue and cause him problems in dominating the opposing defensive lineman. That didn’t mean he was getting beat. He wasn’t. What college recruiters want to see is for that prospect to own the play.

Huizenga participated in summer camps at Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, TCU, UT-San Antonio and Tulsa. There are plans to travel to New Haven, Conn., on Saturday and camp at Yale. He believes Tulsa and Rice are close to offering. Huizenga does not hold a scholarship offer yet.

The work to turn more heads has been diligent during the summer. He attends the daily morning strength and conditioning sessions. Huizenga then recovers for several hours before returning for an afternoon to address a muscle group that wasn’t addressed in the morning.

“As big as he was for someone his age, those kids can be pretty stiff,” Polk said. “But he’s really become much more agile. It’s just now that he’s catching up with his size. I just think he’ll be more aggressive. He’ll finish more people. The way he’s been working on his pad level goes back to the yoga. That’s going to cause some people to bite on him late.”

A prospect like Huizenga is one of those where the BCS-type programs want to see more of him in the fall. By that, they likely will want to see what kind of progress he’s made in live action. So expect them to ask for his game film in the Bobcats’ three non-district games. Once those have been sent off, anything can happen. He’s heard that kind of talk from Oklahoma and Texas Tech coaches.

Yet his production should have a direct correlation to the kind of football season Nelson anticipates having. The Bobcats just missed the 2012 playoffs with a 7-3 record. A tough loss to Azle cost them. Huizenga said the incoming seniors have talked about doing everything on and off the field the right way and making the correct personal choices.

“This is the best I’ve felt in years,” Huizenga said. “I’ve always had the passion to play in college, and it’s close to becoming a reality. I feel like I everything I’m doing will help me get to the next level.”

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