Nation’s No. 1 player for 2016 has Aggies, SEC hoping for his signature

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Introducing O-line week at Saturday Down South. This week we’ll talk to some of the biggest offensive line recruits and commitments in the SEC, get their take on things … and we’ll rank ‘em.

Gregory Little is part family man, part comedian and part No. 1 overall prospect in America in his class.

He has a lot on his plate.

He’s not your typical big-time national prospect. While many sophomores are just coming off a year on junior varsity, Little is far from that. He takes pride in playing smart, not out of control. He cares about taking care of himself, and he loves his grandma and mom.

Ask him what he wants to be when he grows up and you get an interesting answer—and it doesn’t involve millions of dollars and the NFL.

“I’m still trying to decide what I want to be,” Little told Saturday Down South. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. Up until I was about 13 or 14 years old. I thought maybe being a pediatrician, because I like working with kids. Then somebody brought it to my attention that I was 6-foot-6, 285 pounds and that might be a bit intimidating to kids. It was one of my good friends who brought it up. He said, ‘Can you imagine you doing a physical, a check up … it might scare them’.”

While Little continues to mull over his potential career options—while most other sophomores mull over their ringtones—he won’t need to worry about being accepted to college on full scholarship. He has nearly two dozen football scholarship offers and hasn’t even finished his sophomore year yet.

Little is an offensive tackle out of Allen (Texas), and everybody in the nation would love to have him protect its future quarterback’s blindside. Little is rated the No. 1 overall prospect in the United States for the 2016 class by the 247Sports.com composite ranking, which averages all recruiting services. He’s the nation’s best tackle, nation’s top O-lineman, best player in talent-rich Texas … you name it, he tops every list.

Not surprisingly, the SEC’s Texas A&M wants him badly. At Allen H.S., he protects the blind side of big-time 2015 quarterback prospect Kyler Murray, an Aggies legacy who is expected to pick Texas A&M in a couple of weeks after his high school’s spring game. And yes, Murray and Little have talked once or twice—but Little emphasized not all the time—about playing for the same college program. The Aggies intrigue Little, but so do the dozens of other schools pursuing him.

RELATED: Quarterback situation about to get interesting for lots of SEC programs, including Texas A&M

Just this spring, from an SEC standpoint, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia and Auburn have offered—in only a few weeks’ time. Ole Miss and Texas A&M offered last fall. Obviously, Texas and Oklahoma would love to land him too, and Michigan and Notre Dame are also working on him. He is also the son of former NFL draft pick and South Carolina player Derrick Little, though he said his father’s alma mater will not factor into his decision.

So what does he love about the Aggies, who these days rule Texas recruiting?

“I like the offense because it’s the same offense we run in high school, the spread, and the spread is more simple, more like my playing style,” Little told SDS. “I’m athletic, I get downfield and get to the next level. In the pro-style you run the ball quite a few times, but in the spread you don’t run it as much. I think there is some preservation of your body in (the spread) offense too.”

And how about playing in the SEC and how the state has shifted from Longhorns dominance to Aggies dominance over the past few years?

“Honestly, Texas A&M has taken over Texas because 1) It is the SEC and 2) Because of the spread offense,” Little told SDS. “I just think the SEC factor is a major factor in Texas. Guys for the longest time had to go a long ways off to play in the SEC, but now you can live in Texas and play in the SEC. That’s a big upside. You have all the great coaches, the Sabans, the Miles, the Spurriers and they build all these great programs. And I’ve heard that the SEC makes you more prepared for the next level. Now I’m not saying you can’t go to the NFL from the Big Ten or Big 12 or Pac 12, because you can, but the SEC prepares you.”

So when Little isn’t thinking about his career—whether it will be in medicine or sending opposing defensive players to the doctor—he actually has a “chilled out” side he’d like people to know about.

“My Grandma (Rosetta Bullock), she lives a street over from me now, and we’re really close and I talk to her every day,” Little told SDS. “She’s at every game. She moved here in 2005. My mom (Terry Lacy-Little) tells me to get over there a lot, that my Grandma isn’t going to be here forever and ever and that I should cherish my time with her.”

Little is proud of his relationship with his mom and grandma, and said it helps him see the big picture in life more than most people.

“Being mean can cost you, because it’s being out of control,” Little told SDS. “I turn it on to a different level on the field, but I’m not over aggressive because you can draw a penalty or even hurt yourself. I’m a laid back tackle, but I’ll get the job done. I’ll get you some pancakes and still do it with good sportsmanship.”

It’ll be a busy bunch of months ahead for Little, but it appears he has the big picture figured out.

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