Brad Davis never had to look too closely to see who the last two players on the field after practice were.
The Frenship football coach always knew it was Mason Walters and Seth Doege getting the most out of a few more minutes of West Texas daylight while the rest of the players called it a day.
“Those two kids were always the first ones on the field and the last ones to leave,” Davis said.
The extra hours have paid off for the former Frenship teammates. Doege, the Texas Tech senior quarterback who was only able to practice at Frenship because of injuries, has thrown an FBS-leading 30 touchdown passes in eight games this season. Walters, the Texas junior offensive guard whom Doege calls “a great player,” has developed into one of the country’s top linemen.
The two will reunite at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, when the No. 20 Red Raiders (6-2, 3-2 in Big 12 Conference play) host the Longhorns (6-2, 3-2) in a game with plenty on the line, including bragging rights between a couple of old pals.
“We’re not that close of friends this week,” Doege said with a sly smile during Tech’s news conference Monday.
Truth be told, Doege and Walters do remain buddies, often texting one another after games and occasionally during the week. Doege, a year ahead of Walters in school, said he “tried hard” to get the hulking lineman to stay in Lubbock, but to no avail.
“We felt like, going into his senior year, he was going to be a highly recruited offensive lineman,” Davis said of Walters. “He always had the size, strength and work ethic, but what separated him was his agility, how quick his feet were.”
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound Walters had no shortage of college suitors, including Tech, but he chose Texas. In Austin he has become a key cog in the team’s prolific ground attack.
“As we keep working toward having a dominating running game — having one of the better ones in the country is what we’re trying to get to with a power running game — he’s been a key to that,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “He’s one of the top, if not our top leader on offense.”
Though he chose the rival Longhorns, Walters said he still has a great fondness for his hometown. During his team’s bye week earlier this year, Walters returned to the South Plains to do some dove hunting outside of Littlefield.
“It’s always good to get back to Lubbock,” Walters said. “Just great people. I get a little bit nostalgic thinking about home. The environment they have out there makes for a really good college football game, and it’s a lot of fun to play out there.”
Walters said he has been proud of the success Doege has had in his two seasons under center at Tech, especially after seeing firsthand the resiliency the quarterback displayed in keeping with football despite missing his final two high school seasons because of knee injuries.
“He’s really just an inspiring story to see how much he’s worked,” Walters said.
Davis, a Tech grad, will be in the stands at Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday wearing red and black, just as he is at every home game. But Red Raider fans will have to forgive him if he celebrates a Texas play or two.
“It’s exciting to see those two play at that level,” said Davis, whose current Frenship team is 7-1. “They’re both excellent players and great kids. It will be fun to watch.”
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