February has not been kind to the Texas football program. It began with the public announcement of offensive coordinator Major Applewhite's infidelity and continued with quarterback Connor Brewer's arrest for public intoxication.
Less than 24 hours later, 5-star defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, a longtime Longhorns commit, flipped his pledge to Alabama. Texas ended up with just 15 signees on Wednesday's National Singing Day, good for only the No. 16 class according to 247Sports' 247Composite rankings.
Texas now must turn the page to the 2014 class, and received some good news on Sunday during the team's Junior Day. The 4-star linebacker Cameron Hampton (Dallas) committed to the Longhorns, the team's eighth commitment in the 2014 class. Hampton was also considering LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, among others.
Hampton attends David W. Carter High School in Dallas, a school perhaps most famously known for defeating Permian in the state championship game in the movie, Friday Night Lights. He is rated the No. 190 prospect in the nation and No. 24 in Texas according to 247Sports. He is the sixth Top 247 recruit to commit to Texas in this class.
The Texas defense was a major disappointment in 2012, and the Longhorns signed just six defensive players in the 2013 class. Hampton generally plays with his hand in the ground at Dallas Carter, but he projects as an outside linebacker at the collegiate level due to limited size at just 6'1 1/2".
While the word "soft" has been used far too often of late in reference to the Texas football program, it won't be used to describe Hampton's style of play (see highlights here). He's a big hitter who, once he gets his arms on a ball-carrier, will make the tackle, despite not having ideal size.
Hampton has good range, both vertically and horizontally. He rarely is forced to play in coverage in high school, which will be his biggest adjustment once he arrives in Austin. The Longhorns lose linebackers DeMarco Cobbs and Jordan Hicks after the 2013 season, so there should be an opportunity for Hampton to contribute early.
With just nine seniors, Texas had limited scholarships available for the 2013 class. That won't be the case in 2014, as the number of signees should climb back over 20. Hampton's may not be the only commitment to come out of Junior Day, generally one of the program's most productive recruiting weekends of the year.
Texas still has a long way to go to get back to what Texas should be and not long ago was, but Hampton's commitment makes the Longhorns' future a bit brighter. Of course, that's assuming he doesn't go the route of Robinson 52 weeks from now.