Leader of the Pack

Clear Creek’s Lindberg has become a national recruit

The 6-foot6, 300-pounder has pulled offers from virtually every high major program Vype

New Clear Creek coach Dwayne Lane has to be happy coming back to the district he called home for several years as an assistant at Clear Lake.

After heading to South Houston High School to get his first head coaching job, the powers that be brought him back home to Clear Creek ISD. The cupboard is not bare in the den.

The lead Wildcat is 2020 national recruit Chad Lindberg, who will anchor the offensive line the next two seasons. The 6-foot6, 300-pounder has pulled offers from virtually every high major program. His size is impressive, but something else has caught college recruiters’ eyes.

“Just watch the opening play of my highlight film,” Lindberg laughs. “It was a game against Friendswood. It was just a nasty, fun play where I finished off a block. After I took a look at my film and compared it to others, I figured I was going to get recruited.”

His first offer came from Colorado last December.

“It went quiet for a few months and then the floodgates opened,” he said. “Now I’m just working on all the facets of my game like speed, strength, flexibility and explosiveness during our conditioning camp this summer. I will try and get to some college campuses as well.”

Lindberg likes to hunt and fish, play a little Fortnite and cook. Cook?

“I’m pretty good,” he said. “My favorite meal is surf and turf.”

Lindberg reached the regional track meet throwing the shot put, but knows his future is on the gridiron.

“I love the Texans and J.J. Watt,” he said. “I really liked watching all the college bowl games over the holidays. Any college game I will virtually watch.”

Which begs the question, what are his thoughts on recruiting?

“I’m looking for a great mix of academics and athletics,” he said. “Also a college program’s history of getting offensive linemen to the NFL. Of course that’s the goal.”

This article appeared in the June edition of VYPE Houston Magazine. You can pick up your issue at THESE LOCATIONSYou can also read it online RIGHT HERE.

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Willson Contreras could give the Astros some extra pop in the lineup. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

“The Hot Stove League” is the nickname given to Major League Baseball's offseason. In particular, the free agent signing period in late November/early December. Trades are also made during this period. Now that Astros' owner Jim Crane has ousted all opposition to his idea of how things should be run, he's free to do things the way he sees fit.

He opened it by not hiring a general manager to replace James Click. Instead, he opted for a committee of assistant GMs. Those guys are assisted by some special advisors, like former Astros great Jeff Bagwell. Crane likes and wants to take a big swing at things. He'd probably hit about .250 with 30-plus home runs every season. Can't leave out his guaranteed 80-100 strikeouts. Typical power hitter. It's all or nothing, except Crane has been making great contact and knocking some things out of the park.

Signing Jose Abreu was an example. Yuli Gurriel looked as if he was losing the battle with “Father Time” during the regular season. This was an insurance policy at first, and designated hitter. Another prime example is their reported interest in C/DH/LF Willson Contreras. His bat would be a major upgrade over past Astro catchers. Although Martin Maldonado may not be going anywhere, having a quality bat to relieve him is key. Add the fact that he plays some outfield, and he's almost a “two birds with one stone” type of signing.

Abreu may be 35 years old, but he's coming off a year hitting .304 with 15 home runs. Contreras may be the younger of the two at 30, but his .243 average hurts the fact that he hit 22 home runs. Both sport an OPS above .800 for their careers. Bagwell said he wants Yordan Alvarez to play left field 45% of the time. The other 55% can be Contreras, Chas McCormick (assuming Jake Meyers is still in the mix for center field), and whoever else they sign or bring up from Sugar Land. When Contreras isn't in left, he needs to be behind the plate or hitting DH. I'd really love the idea of him sitting under Maldonado's learning tree for a year and taking over catcher long-term. Not many can be the catcher "Machete" is, but hitting 50 points better than him has its advantages.

Then there's the reported interest other teams have in Justin Verlander. Supposedly, the Mets have met with him via Zoom. The Dodgers are interested and are seemingly the leaders in the clubhouse to sign him. However, I wouldn't count Crane and crew out. He may come to JV last minute and offer him something comparable in order to keep him around. He strikes me as the type of guy who'll keep his plays close to the vest, then make a Godfather type of offer. He negotiated Verlander's last deal with the team himself. Coming off a World Series win, Cy Young win, and opting out of said deal, Verlander is most likely looking to get one final payday that'll also land him on a contender.

Having a winner is one thing. Having a winner committed to winning long-term is another. Crane wants to strike while the iron is hot. Sure, he wants his franchise to be sustainable. But he also wants to keep the World Series window open as long as possible. Kyle Tucker's next deal will be one to watch. Having an embarrassment of riches on the pitching staff means you have trade bait. Keep an eye on old Jimmy Crane. I think he might be the best thing to hit Houston sports in quite some time.

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