Late last season during a scrimmage between the University of Houston's freshmen and the varsity reserves, the ball was placed on the 30-yard line and Freshman Coach Carroll Schultz told his squad they could quit if they scored. "You mean that?" asked a 5-foot-9, 173-pound halfback named Warren McVea. Schultz nodded. And McVea, the most exciting runner in the history of Texas high school football, yelled across at the defense, "Look out, man, here I come." McVea promptly ran 30 yards for a touchdown in his humming-bird, spilled-ink, where-is-he-now fashion. The San Antonio Negro—first to play for a major Texas college—is expected to do the same thing for the Cougar varsity this season in Houston's domed stadium, and become the Sophomore of Any Year.
Because of the dome and Houston's proximity to San Antonio, the Cougars won the recruiting battle for McVea over 75 colleges. In high school he had scored 591 points in three years with his 9.5 speed and stop-and-start moves. So magic was his schoolboy fame, his very presence packed TCU Stadium with 46,000 for the 1964 Texas High School All-Star Game. Last spring in San Antonio, for a mere intrasquad game, McVea put 7,971 paid in the seats, then scored twice on runs of 11 and 33 yards. Though injured most of his freshman season, he did average 9.2 yards on 17 carries.
McVea, who has a bullet-shaped head, practically no neck, and big, sloping shoulders, has received more publicity than any schoolboy star since Bill DeCorrevont went to Northwestern. Typical are these words from Darrell Tully of Spring Branch High School. "He's the greatest broken-field runner in Texas history. He's the only guy I've ever seen sidestep a tackle without being touched on a dive play!"
There are other brilliant sophomores around Texas football this year—Greg Lott, the Texas quarterback, Jim Hagle, the SMU runner, P. D. Shabay, the TCU quarterback, and others. But Warren McVea is the one who will sell the most tickets.