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Green Oaks' Torri Pierce adjusts to football


1:00 AM, Aug. 09, 2012 EDT

Tre'Davious White almost always knows where Torri Pierce will be on a basketball court.

After spending two varsity seasons together on the hardwood, White and Pierce are taking their chemistry outdoors as Pierce enters his first season as a wide receiver for the Giants football team.

"(The chemistry) seems to (have carried over) because he's one of my favorite targets early on," White said of the 6-foot-4 Pierce. "He's taking the spot of Quadre (Heath)." Heath, now a freshman receiver at Grambling State, was a basketball teammate of Pierce and White and Pierce credited Heath with helping him transition into football. "They've been helping me out a lot," Pierce said of Heath and White. "They've helped me in practice, telling me to stay focused and keep my head up." Given his size and athletic ability, Pierce should be busy this fall. Heath was one of White's top receivers a year ago. White already has demonstrated his faith in his two-sport teammate, expecting Pierce to be his favorite target in the red zone. "Just a jump ball," Pierce said. "It's going to be up there and I'm going to go get it." First-year Giants coach Spencer Heard had success with another two-sport standout in his previous job at Parkway. Thomas Moore was a receiving tight end in the Panthers' scheme while doubling as a rebound-hungry forward for the Parkway basketball team. Though they are different body types, Heard expects Pierce to be a productive receiver for Green Oaks. "He's got a lot of athletic ability," Heard said. "He can go up and get the ball like a rebound. Torri might be more of a receiver-type kid than a tight end. He's rangier, longer, but there are some similarities there (between Moore and Pierce). Both kids are good kids and work hard. Thomas made a lot of plays and Torri's going to make some plays this year." Making plays follows the pattern set forth by Pierce's football role model. Despite being a basketball player first, Pierce doesn't model his game after New Orleans' Jimmy Graham or San Diego's Antonio Gates -- former basketball players who have become two of the finest tight ends in the NFL. Instead, Pierce said he patterns his style after Houston Texans All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson. "I like his height and how he can jump," Pierce said. "He can really go up and get the ball." Johnson is a physical receiver and football is a more physical game than basketball. While Pierce has shown the ability to adjust to the more physical nature, he is still trying to shake off something inherent to preseason football workouts. "The heat, the heat, the heat," Pierce said. Connect with Jason Pugh on Twitter at @JasonSPugh.

 

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