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Texas Football Recruiting: 9 Players to Watch in High School All-Star Games

Taylor GasparFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2014

Texas Football Recruiting: 9 Players to Watch in High School All-Star Games

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The high school football all-star games are about to kick off with Thursday's Under Armour All-America Game and Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl. These two games bring in the best high school prospects in the country and will feature a handful of the top targets making their college decisions live on TV.

    The University of Texas has offered more than 30 athletes competing in the two all-star games, but nine of those either plan to commit to Texas or are still in the mix to land on the 40 Acres.

    Here's a look at whom to watch in the high school all-star games.

Jerrod Heard, 4-Star Quarterback (Texas Commit)

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    247sports.com

    Texas Commit

    U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET NBC

    Jerrod Heard finished off a stellar high school career by winning his second straight 4-A State Championship. The dual-threat quarterback was 9-of-9 passing for 97 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He was named the Offensive MVP in the 2013 title game.

    The Texas quarterback position has been up in the air since Colt McCoy's departure following the 2009 season. Currently, the Longhorns have junior David Ash and freshman Tyrone Swoopes on campus.

    But with Ash battling a season-long head injury and Swoopes not given the chance to show what he can do for the Longhorns, the QB role appears to be up for grabs. With that said, a redshirt year always seems to be a wise choice for quarterbacks, but Texas hasn't redshirted a potential starter since McCoy in 2005, so don't expect Heard to get a redshirt season. 

    Heard will not enroll until the summer of 2014, but if he can make a quick transition into the college game, he could very well be an option to lead the Longhorns in the near future.

Leonard Fournette, 5-Star Running Back

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    Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

    Uncommitted

    Under Armour All-America Game, Jan. 2, 4 p.m. ET ESPN

    Leonard Fournette is the unanimous No. 1 running back in the 2014 recruiting class. The 6'1" 225-pound back has won multiple awards during his career at St. Augustine and has the speed and strength to run the ball down his opponents' throats.

    The Longhorns have depth at running back, but with Johnathan Gray recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, a spot may open up for Fournette.

    Fournette threw the recruiting world a curveball when he told Rivals.com (subscription required) that Texas is one of his top three schools. The Louisiana native had been speculated to be deciding between LSU and Alabama, according to the Rivals.com interview, but Fournette enjoyed his unofficial visit to Austin in November and has added the Longhorns to his list.

    It's a long shot that Forunette will pick Texas over LSU or Alabama, but he will make his official decision between the three schools Thursday during ESPN's broadcast of the Under Armour All-America Game.

Tony Brown, 5-Star Cornerback

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    247sports.com

    Uncommitted

    Under Armour All-America Game, Jan. 2, 4 p.m. ET ESPN

    Cornerback Tony Brown is the No. 1 prospect in the state of Texas, according to the Rivals.com 2014 recruit rankings. Brown suffered a shoulder injury during practice (subscription required) and will not compete in the Under Armour All-America Game, but he still plans to make his college announcement Thursday on ESPN.

    The Texas defensive backs have inspired the name "DBU" due to the tremendous success Longhorn defensive backs have had in the NFL. Brown could fit right in with the DBU brand.

    Brown has kept mum when asked about his future plans, but Alabama, LSU, Texas, USC and Texas A&M remain in his Top 5. However, the Crimson Tide and Tigers appear to have an edge over the competition, according to Rivals.com (subscription required).

Derick Roberson, 4-Star Defensive End

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    247sports.com

    Texas Commit

    Under Armour All-America Game, Jan. 2, 4 p.m. ET ESPN

    Derick Roberson was on the losing end of the 4-A State Championship against Jerrod Heard and Denton Guyer, but Roberson was a standout performer for Brennan in his senior season.

    But how strong is Roberson's commitment to Texas with the departure of Mack Brown? As of now, Roberson will remain committed, but that could change depending on whom the Longhorns bring in to replace Brown, according to Orangebloods.com (subscription required).

    If Roberson remains committed to Texas, he has the chance of making an early impact with the departure of consensus All-American defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat and the potential departure of defensive end Cedric Reed.

Terrell Cuney, 3-Star Center

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    247sports.com

    Texas Commit

    U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET NBC

    Jasper's Terrell Cuney is the only offensive lineman the Longhorns have received a verbal commitment from in the 2014 recruiting class. The 6'3" center is a tough player who has shown the ability to block down the field.

    Junior center Dominic Espinosa currently starts for the Longhorns, but it's never a bad thing to have depth on the offensive line. Similar to quarterbacks, it's a good idea to allow linemen to take a redshirt season, so Cuney probably will not make an immediate impact on the Texas two-deep.

Trey Lealaimatafao, 3-Star Defensive Tackle

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    247sports.com

    Texas "Commit"

    U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET NBC

    Trey Lealaimatafao verbally committed to Texas in March 2013 but has since taken visits to various D-I schools. The San Antonio defensive tackle considers himself a soft commitment to Texas. He was most recently impressed by Jim Mora Jr. and the UCLA Bruins when he took an official visit to Westwood in November, according to BruinSportsReport.com (subscription required).

    Lealaimatafao is a big-bodied defensive tackle who poses a threat to an opponent's ground attack. The 6', 300-pound tackle could be an asset for the Longhorns line, but do not be surprised if he makes a late switch to UCLA or even Arizona State, where he took official visits during the 2013 season.

Sione Teuhema, 3-Star Defensive End

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    247sports.com

    Texas Commit

    U.S. Army All-American Bowl, Jan. 4, 1 p.m. ET NBC

    Sione Teuhema still considers himself a strong verbal commit to Texas, even though he was sad to see Mack Brown leave, according to Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods.com (subscription required). The 6'3" defensive end has tremendous speed and showed the ability to disrupt the passing game throughout his high school career.

    The Longhorns will be losing consensus All-American defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat and possibly Cedric Reed, which could free up the opportunity for Teuhema to make an early impact in Austin.

Jermaine Roberts, 4-Star Cornerback

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    247sports.com

    Texas Commit

    Under Armour All-America Game, Jan. 2, 4 p.m. ET ESPN

    Cornerback Jermaine Roberts has been a solid commitment to Texas, but that may have changed. The Louisiana native said the uncertainty at Texas about the Longhorns' head-coaching position has caused him to take other visits, per Rivals.com (subscription required). 

    "I don't feel comfortable right now not knowing what's going on," Roberts told Rivals.com. "That's why I'm going to look around and take visits."

    If Roberts sticks with Texas, he could be a great fit in the DBU unit, with the Longhorns losing Carrington Byndom.

    Texas is still a leader for Roberts, but he has scheduled official visits with Ohio State and Oklahoma State, which makes it easy to consider him a wait-and-see type of commit.

Edwin Freeman, 4-Star Safety

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    Uncommitted

    Under Armour All-America Game, Jan. 2, 4 p.m. ET ESPN

    Texas has been one of the top schools for Edwin Freeman, but he does not plan to make a college decision until the Longhorns hire a new head coach. The Arlington, Texas safety has listed TCU and Texas A&M and his other two college choices, via Rivals.com (subscription required).

    He has tremendous speed and a solid ability to tackle in space. If the Longhorns' new head coach woos Freeman over, he could make an immediate impact for the Texas secondary, after senior Adrian Phillips' departure.

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