T.C. Williams ATH Anthony Eaton, Jr. (Photo: Lance Hinton/recruit757)
Sprint speed has Anthony Eaton and James Longerbeam in the spotlight
by Jim McGrath, recruitNoVA
As the T.C. Williams Titans look to bounce back from last season’s 4-6 mark, they will depend on both Anthony Eaton Jr. and Robert Longerbeam to provide the speed needed to open up their offense and keep other teams from running away from their defense.
Both players were on hand at the recruit757/Sparta Science camp at Redskins Park, held on March 16. And from the looks of things, both will be ready to burn come August. In fact, they are both already putting in the extra hours with the track team.
It showed. Longerbeam posted the day’s fastest 40-yard dash with a blazing time of 4.39, while Eaton was close behind in 4.45.The closeness in times was no surprise as the two get to train together every day. In fact, their situation is unique. Longerbeam’s father, James, is the head coach of the Titans football team, while mother Alette is the sprint coach for indoor and outdoor track.
“I’m working on getting faster,” said Robert, who appears to have an edge on his teammate at the shorter events. “I have been working on my takeoffs and starts, and the (track) coaches work on us being explosive.”
Longerbeam will need to be evasive. In the middle of last season, he was moved from wide receiver to quarterback, in spite of carrying anywhere between 155 and 160 pounds on his six-foot frame.
“I have never focused on (running) technique until now, adds the junior, who had never run track until last year, when a familiar face directed him toward the sport. “Yeah, my Mom got me to come out,” said Longerbeam, who ran a best time of 6.54 in the 55-meters during the indoor season that concluded last month.
The balance between work and home is different when two of one’s coaches live there. “(My parents) expect me to work harder and they coach me harder, because we don’t want people to think that I’m getting any special treatment.” There is a flip side. “When I have a bad rep at practice, I hear about it at home.”Eaton, also a junior, outweighs his teammate by 20 pounds and will serve as the go-to guy in the Titan offense, playing running back and catching passes out of the backfield. Last year, Eaton averaged over 90 yards rushing per game and 22 yards per catch.
“We have a lot of explosive players that can make a big impact on offense and a running quarterback with receivers who can make big plays,” said Eaton, whose best track events include the 300 (36.49) and 400 (50.4). Speaking of the rivalry with his quarterback, he added, “Yeah, we are definitely competitive running against each other for fastest on the team. We compete at everything.”
It’s no surprise that both players enjoyed the same aspect of camp. “It was fun and a great competition,” said Longerbeam. “I liked the 1-on-1 drills.”
“The most beneficial part to me was 1-on-1’s, because I went to that camp to compete,” added Eaton.
Both players are happy with their off-season from football, especially when looking at their teammates. “We’re a freaky fast team,” said Longerbeam, also noting that the Titan weight room has as many as 60 football players working out on any given day after school.
Between the work in the weight room and the 7-on-7 team which competes with Mt. Vernon and other teams in a Sunday evening league (“we won both our games tonight!”), the Titans will be well prepared when formal practice starts this year, aiming to be both stronger and much faster.
– Jim McGrath