Texas Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Commits That Will Sign on NSD
As we bid farewell to the latest bunch of graduating seniors and early entrants into the NFL, we are days away from welcoming in the newest group of aspiring college football players.
Texas head coach Charlie Strong and his staff have been working the recruiting trail hard since coming together last week, and with less than 10 days until national signing day, the Texas staff is looking for the final pieces to add to its 2014 haul.
Make no mistake, plenty of the work done belongs to Mack Brown and his staff, but Strong seems to be pushing all of the right buttons early on to hold most of the Texas class together.
As the days dwindle until the signatures begin pouring in, let's take a look at what the Longhorns have in store for their 2014 additions.
Predicted decommits: DB John Bonney, WR Lorenzo Joe
Predicted new commits: DB Nick Harvey, DT Poona Ford
All recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
QB Jerrod Heard
WT: 190 lbs
HS: Denton, Texas; Guyer
Texas adds to its quarterback depth with Heard, a dual-threat QB that will compete heavily with Tyrone Swoopes in the coming seasons in Austin.
Heard was one of four players to commit to the Longhorns in August 2012. Heard is the No. 72-ranked overall player in the 2014 class.
There was concern around the fanbase that Heard would look elsewhere when Texas issued its first head coaching switch in 16 seasons, but Heard quelled those rumors instantly by reaffirming his pledge to Texas.
RB Donald Catalon
WT: 190 lbs
HS: Houston, Texas; Eisenhower
Texas will be thin at running back going into the season, and Catalon, one of two current pledges at the position, can immediately compete for the few carries left over from the returning players.
Catalon comes in ranked as the No. 10 running back in the country.
Catalon suffered from turf toe during his junior year at Eisenhower, but the long-time commit appears to be healthy as signing day looms.
RB Kevin Shorter
WT: 186 lbs
HS: Newton, Texas; Newton
Shorter is the definition of versatile, as he played both cornerback and running back in high school.
The Longhorns recruited Shorter as a running back, and Texas could use the bodies in the offensive backfield.
With Johnathan Gray recovering from an Achilles injury, Texas appears to be thinning at the position, with Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron entering their senior seasons.
OL Alex Anderson
WT: 300 lbs
HS: New Orleans, La.; O. Perry Walker
Anderson is the most recent commit for the Longhorns, and it comes at a position that is craving bodies.
The Longhorns now sit at two incoming players at offensive line, but that could easily change by February 5.
Nevertheless, new offensive line coach Joe Wickline has made his presence felt early on in his tenure.
OL Terrell Cuney
WT: 270 lbs
HS: Jasper, Texas; Jasper
Cuney was Texas' lone offensive line pledge before Anderson entered the fold.
Cuney has represented well with a U.S. Army All-America selection, and he will be a good addition to Texas' interior line.
WR Roderick Bernard
WT: 175 lbs
HS: Houston, Texas; Sharpstown
Bernard is a flat-out playmaker, and he has been committed to the Longhorns since late in January 2013.
Is he the next home run hitter that Texas can throw onto the field?
WR Armanti Foreman
WT: 176 lbs.
HS: Texas City, Texas; Texas City
Armanti, the more highly rated of the Foreman brothers, is a flashy kind of receiver.
Speedy in and out of his breaks, as well as off the line of scrimmage, Foreman is an open-field threat regardless of where he catches the ball.
The Foreman brothers had their visit to Missouri cancelled this past weekend because of inclement weather, but the two could still trip up to the former Big 12 representatives.
WR Garrett Gray
WT: 212 lbs
HS: Marble Falls, Texas; Marble Falls
At a lengthy 6'4.5", Gray figures to be a matchup problem no matter where he lines up on the field.
Gray could wind up as a tight end or a flex, but in either case, he will need to improve his strength and blocking abilities.
Hardly anyone questions his ability to catch the ball, but until the more powerful end of his game improves, his impact appears limited for the time being.
WR Dorian Leonard
WT: 200 lbs
HS: Longview, Texas; Longview
Leonard is but a piece that makes up what 247Sports claims is a top-five incoming receivers class.
The Longview product has great size and length, which contrasts considerably to what Texas currently has on campus.
But with the line getting longer at receiver, how much can Leonard stand out from the rest?
TE Blake Whiteley
WT: 240 lbs
HS: Yuma, Ariz.; Arizona Western C.C.
Texas has had trouble developing tight ends since the Jermichael Finley days, and for whatever reason, the Longhorns cannot produce a viable option at the position.
The 'Horns looked to the junior college ranks (yet again), and this time pulled Whiteley out of Arizona.
Geoff Swaim helped himself a boatload by starring in the tight end role with his blocking duties, but Texas still lacks the threat that can provide the best of both worlds on offense.
Is it Whiteley?
DE Derick Roberson
WT: 235 lbs
HS: San Antonio, Texas; Brennan
Roberson uses his speed, burst and athleticism to disrupt plays in the backfield, but he will need to add some strength before he is ready at the next level.
He has big-play ability in him, but a tune-up with his technique should equip him with a good start to a solid career in Austin.
DE Jake McMillon
WT: 240 lbs
HS: Abilene, Texas; Abilene
McMillon is a hard worker who uses his hands well, but he also has the speed and power to complement his game as a backfield disruptor.
If he can bring that same game to the college level, McMillon could be a gem of this class.
DE Sione Teuhema
WT: 217 lbs
HS: Keller, Texas; Keller
Teuhema adds some length to a Texas defensive end group that just said goodbye to another big-time producer in Jackson Jeffcoat.
While it might be a season or two before Teuhema really makes an impact, another athlete off the edge is never a bad thing.
LB Andrew Beck
WT: 227 lbs
HS: Tampa, Fla.; Plant
Beck committed to Texas in early April 2013 and has already enrolled for the spring 2014 semester.
The Tampa product brings good size to the fold, and with a linebacker corps that has been plagued by injuries over the last two seasons, Texas needs the able bodies.
LB Cameron Hampton
WT: 205 lbs
HS: Dallas, Texas; Carter
Hampton is the athletic linebacker who can make plays against the pass and the run, but he comes without the size that can make the pro scouts drool.
But in the Big 12, where fast defenses seem to be the best weapon to combat the spread offenses, Hampton may be the perfect fit.
247Sports ranks Hampton as the No. 66 overall player in the Lone Star State, and with the decommit from Otaro Alaka, Texas needs the numbers.
LB Kolin Hill
WT: 220 lbs
HS: Schertz, Texas; Clemens
Status: Committed to Notre Dame
With Otaro Alaka flipping his commitment from the Longhorns to the Aggies, it opens up room for Texas to conjure up a switch of its own.
Hill has been committed to the Irish since since mid-December, but with late interest coming from Texas, the 'Horns may find a replacement recruit soon enough.
DB Jason Hall
WT: 192 lbs
HS: Grand Prairie, Texas; South Grand Prairie
The one-time Nebraska commit switched his pledge last summer, adding to what could turn into a very formidable haul for Texas' secondary.
The Longhorns have missed their physical presence at the back, and maybe Freeman can bring what Kenny Vaccaro was able to bring in spades.
DB Edwin Freeman
WT: 212 lbs
HS: Arlington, Texas; Bowie
Texas landed a potential game-changer in the secondary when Freeman chose Texas over Texas A&M.
Freeman is arguably the most physical player in Texas' 2014 class, and he could fit into its plans at linebacker or in the defensive backfield.
DB Jermaine Roberts
WT: 175 lbs
HS: New Orleans, La.; St. Augustine
Roberts was thought to have been wavering after the new staff came on at Texas, but after meeting with Coach Strong, the cornerback out of New Orleans appears to be well on his way to Austin.
The Under Armour All-American is ranked as the No. 31 cornerback in the country.
ATH Dont'a Foreman
WT: 207 lbs
HS: Texas City, Texas; Texas City
Brother of fellow Texas commit Armanti Foreman, Dont'a will likely see time in Texas' offensive backfield.
There are spots to fill behind the Longhorns' returning tailbacks, but Foreman will make a strong addition to the mix.
DT Poona Ford
WT: 285 lbs.
HS: Hilton Head Island, S.C.; Hilton Head
The Longhorns didn't cash in on a defensive tackle commitment in last year's recruiting class.
Texas had a couple of pledges this time around, only to see them walk away following the coaching changes.
But Ford is a guy whom Coach Strong recruited while at Louisville, and Ford's interests have followed Strong to Texas.
Ford's physical tools match what Strong is trying to accomplish at Texas, and there is plenty of room for the powerful interior lineman.
DB Nick Harvey
WT: 175 lbs
HS: Richmond, Texas; Travis
Status: Committed to Texas A&M (I think he flips to UT)
Ranked as the No. 8 cornerback in the nation by 247Sports, Harvey has been a long-time Texas A&M commit. Harvey made his pledge to the Aggies around Thanksgiving 2012, but Texas has been consistently pursuing the talented defensive back.
The Longhorns may have lost Otaro Alaka to the Aggies, but let's predict Harvey ends up signing with Texas on February 5.
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