Texas Football Recruiting: Meet the Longhorns' 2014 Class

Taylor GasparFeatured ColumnistFebruary 5, 2014

Texas Football Recruiting: Meet the Longhorns' 2014 Class

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    Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

    After a month of mixed emotions, the Texas Longhorns have signed the first recruiting class under new head coach Charlie Strong.

    The 2014 class got off to a rocky start with four decommitments in January, but Strong and his new staff held the rest of the class together, signing 23 Longhorns on national signing day.

    "This has been a very intense couple of weeks," Strong said in his signing day press conference. "What we wanted to do was keep this class together. It was an outstanding class and we were able to add a few new players ourselves. 

    "What's key for us as coaches was to get in the state and to develop a relationship not only with the new recruits we were signing, but also with the high school coaches."

    Here's a look at the talent in the 2014 Texas Longhorns recruiting class.

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all of the following information and quotes were obtained firsthand.

Running Back Donald Catalon

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    Height/Weight: 6'0", 200 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star running back

    High School: Eisenhower

    Senior Year Stats: 765 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns; 311 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns

    Other Finalists: N/A 

    Commit Date: Aug. 3, 2012

     

    Donald Catalon is just one of two running backs in the 2014 class. The 6-footer ranks No. 27 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

    Catalon was an early verbal commit to the University of Texas and has not wavered from his commitment. Catalon adds a layer of depth to a position that may become thin following the 2014 season. The Longhorns currently have Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron, who will enter their senior season at Texas in 2014, and Johnathan Gray, who is recovering from a ruptured Achilles.

     

     

Wide Receiver Armanti Foreman

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    Height/Weight: 6'0", 174 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star wide receiver

    High School: Texas City

    Senior Year Stats: 750 receiving yards, nine receiving touchdowns; 390 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: June 27, 2013

     

    Texas City wide receiver Armanti Foreman was a surprise commit for the Longhorns, after being previously committed to rival Oklahoma since October 2012. Foreman adds depth to a position that needs it with the Longhorns losing wide receiver Mike Davis.

    Foreman ranks No. 14 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014.  

Defensive Back Edwin Freeman

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    Height/Weight: 6'1", 215 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star defensive back

    High School: Arlington Bowie

    Other Finalists: Texas A&M, TCU

    Commit Date: Jan. 16, 2014

     

    Defensive back Edwin Freeman is one of Charlie Strong's first commits in his short time as the Longhorns head coach. Freeman played defensive back throughout his career at Arlington Bowie, but mostly played linebacker in his senior season. 

    Freeman ranks No. 21 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Quarterback Jerrod Heard

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    Height/Weight: 6'1", 193 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star quarterback

    High School: Denton Guyer

    Senior Year Stats: 2,136 passing yards, 22 passing touchdowns; 2,161 rushing yards, 27 rushing touchdowns

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: Aug. 14, 2012

     

    Denton Guyer quarterback Jerrod Heard will fill a huge void for the Longhorns. Texas has been without a viable quarterback option since Colt McCoy in 2009, but Heard could be the solution to end the QB drought in Austin.

    Heard ranks No. 6 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014.  

Wide Receiver Lorenzo Joe

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    Height/Weight: 6'2", 192 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star wide receiver

    High School: Abilene Cooper

    Other Finalists: TCU

    Commit Date: Aug. 2, 2012

     

    Abilene Cooper wide receiver Lorenzo Joe was the first verbal commit of the 2014 Texas recruiting class. Joe was also the first Longhorn to send in his letter of intent Wednesday morning. Joe, who played quarterback his senior year, brings a lot of athleticism to the 40 acres and could make an immediate impact as a wide receiver for the Longhorns.

    Joe ranks No. 15 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014.  

Defensive End Derick Roberson

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    Height/Weight: 6'3", 225 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 4-star defensive end

    High School: Brennan

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: Aug. 2, 2012

     

    Brennan defensive end Derick Roberson was a key component of the 2014 recruiting class. After losing three defensive lineman commits in January, Roberson staying true to his commitment is a sigh of relief for Texas fans. His speed and athleticism will be welcomed with open arms in Austin.

    Roberson ranks No. 9 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014.  

Offensive Lineman Alex Anderson

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    Height/Weight: 6'5", 305 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star offensive guard

    High School: Landry-Walker

    Other Finalists: Arizona State, Oklahoma State

    Commit Date: Jan. 20, 2014 (Enrolled)

     

    Alex Anderson was a late surprise for the Longhorns, but it was a much-needed surprise. It looked as if Texas would only add one offensive lineman in the 2014 class, but Anderson changed that. The 6'5", 305-pound talent had offers all over the South Eastern Conference, but followed Wickline's guidance and enrolled at Texas.

Linebacker Andrew Beck

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    Height/Weight: 6'3", 230 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star linebacker

    High School: Plant

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: April 9, 2013 (Enrolled)

     

    Tampa, Fla. linebacker Andrew Beck is one of two linebackers in the 2014 recruiting class. Beck, who is already enrolled in classes at the University of Texas, expressed some concerns about Texas changing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz in September, but got the answers he needed to stick to his pledge, even with a new head coach.

Wide Receiver Roderick Bernard

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    Height/Weight: 5'10", 175 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star wide receiver

    High School: Sharpstown

    Senior Year Stats: 594 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns; 364 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: Jan. 30, 2013

     

    Sharpstown wide receiver Roderick Bernard was a highly sought-after recruit. Bernard had offers from Alabama, Houston and Oklahoma, but was 100 percent Texas from the day he committed. 

    Bernard ranks No. 62 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Defensive Back John Bonney

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    Height/Weight: 6'1", 183 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star safety

    High School: Lamar

    Other Finalists: Auburn, Baylor

    Commit Date: Sep. 5, 2013

     

    Longhorn fans breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday morning when Lamar safety John Bonney officially sent in his letter of intent. Bonney recently made headlines when he told KTRK that former head coach Mack Brown told recruits to visit other schools following his resignation. Bonney had since taken visits to Baylor and Auburn, but in the end, Texas was the winner.

    Bonney ranks No. 42 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Offensive Lineman Terrell Cuney

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    Height/Weight: 6'3", 260 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star center

    High School: Jasper

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: March 30, 2013

     

    Jasper offensive lineman Terrell Cuney adds a layer of depth to the Longhorns O-line. Cuney was an Army All-American and did not waiver from his commitment to the Longhorns following the coaching changes in Austin.

    Cuney ranks No. 81 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Defensive Tackle Poona Ford

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    Height/Weight: 6'1", 288 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star defensive tackle

    High School: Hilton Head

    Other Finalists: Missouri, Purdue

    Commit Date: Feb. 5, 2014

     

    Hilton Head, S.C. defensive tackle Poona Ford was the final signee in the 2014 Texas recruiting class. Ford was previously committed to Strong at Louisville, but opened his commitment when Strong came to Austin. Since then, Ford took visits to Texas, Missouri and Purdue, but in the end, the Longhorns were victorious. Ford is a huge addition to the Longhorns recruiting class, which suffered three defensive tackle decommitments in January.

     

Wide Receiver Garrett Gray

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    Height/Weight: 6'5", 205 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star wide receiver

    High School: Marble Falls

    Senior Year Stats: 75 receptions, 1,191 yards, 16 receiving touchdowns

    Other Finalists: Cal

    Commit Date: June 10, 2013

     

    Marble Falls wide receiver Garrett Gray took a visit to Cal in late January, but eventually signed with Texas. Gray first committed to Texas following the Longhorns summer camp in June 2013. Gray's size will be welcomed in Austin as a wide receiver. 

    Gray ranks No. 69 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Defensive Back Jason Hall

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    Height/Weight: 6'2", 190 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star safety

    High School: South Grand Prairie

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: July 27, 2013

     

    South Grand Prairie safety Jason Hall stayed true to his commitment even after the Longhorns replaced long-time defensive backs coach Duane Akina. In December, Hall told Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods.com (subscription required) that if Akina was replaced, he would have to think about what to do at that point. But even without Akina, Hall signed with the Longhorns. 

    Hall ranks No. 44 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Linebacker Cameron Hampton

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    Height/Weight: 6'0", 201 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star linebacker

    High School: Dallas Carter

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: Feb. 10, 2013

     

    Dallas Carter linebacker Cameron Hampton is one of two linebackers to sign with the Longhorns. Texas has suffered a lot of injuries at the linebacker position, so having added depth is absolutely needed for the Longhorns defense.

    Hampton ranks No. 58 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Wide Receiver Dorian Leonard

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    Height/Weight: 6'4", 200 lbs

    Position/Ranking: 3-star wide receiver

    High School: Longview

    Senior Year Stats: 34 receptions, 643 yards, 10 touchdowns

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: June 13, 2013

     

    The Longhorns wide receiver class of 2014 was the largest of all positions, and Longview's Dorian Leonard is a different talent to add to the list. Leonard is a bigger-bodied wide receiver that has the talent to come down with most jump balls, but with the agility of a smaller receiver.

    Leonard ranks No. 40 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Defensive End Jake McMillon

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    Height/Weight: 6'3", 240 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star defensive end

    High School: Abilene

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: April 1, 2013

     

    After losing three defensive line commits in January, keeping Abilene's Jake McMillon was key for the Longhorns defense. McMillon ranks No. 90 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Defensive Tackle Chris Nelson

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    247sports.com

    Height/Weight: 6'2", 295 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star defensive tackle

    High School: Victory Christian Academy

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: Feb. 5, 2014

     

    Lakeland, Fla. defensive tackle Chris Nelson was one of the few surprises to come on national signing day. Nelson was originally committed to Charlie Strong at Louisville, but opened up his commitment when Strong took the job with the Longhorns. Adding Nelson to a class that lost three defensive tackle commits in January was huge for the Longhorns.

     

Defensive Back Jermaine Roberts

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    Height/Weight: 5'9", 170 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star cornerback

    High School: St. Augustine

    Senior Year Stats: 56 tackles, six interceptions

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: April 12, 2013

     

    New Orleans, La. cornerback Jermaine Roberts' commitment to Texas seemed to be up in the air before his visit to Austin. Roberts had previously planned to visit Ohio State and Oklahoma, but his January visit to Austin went exactly the way Longhorns fans hoped it would. Roberts cancelled his other visits and stayed firm to his commitment to Texas. 

Running Back Kevin Shorter

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    Height/Weight: 6'0", 188 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star running back

    High School: Newton

    Senior Year Stats: 61 carries, 630 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns; 11 receptions, 224 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns

    Commit Date: Aug. 17, 2013

     

    Newton running back Kevin Shorter suffered a tragic spinal injury in October and his football future is up in the air. However, the Longhorns honored their scholarship offer to the running back and Shorter signed with Texas Wednesday morning.

Tight End Blake Whiteley

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    Height/Weight: 6'5", 240 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 3-star tight end

    Junior College: Arizona Western C.C.

    Stats: Eight receptions, 67 yards, two touchdowns

    Other Finalists: Arkansas

    Commit Date: Jan. 8, 2014 (Enrolled)

     

    Arizona Western C.C. tight end Blake Whiteley is the only tight end signee for the 2014 recruiting class. Whiteley will fill a major void for the Longhorns, as the only two tight ends on campus, Geoff Swaim and Greg Daniels, will be seniors in 2014.

Athlete D'Onta Foreman

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    Height/Weight: 6'0", 198 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 2-star athlete

    High School: Texas City

    Senior Year Stats: 186 carries, 1,893 rushing yards, 28 touchdowns

    Other Finalists: N/A

    Commit Date: June 28, 2013

     

    Texas City athlete D'Onta Foreman adds a layer of athleticism to the Longhorns' 2014 class. Foreman's senior stats prove his athleticism. The big-bodied running back has the speed and agility to make an impact for the Longhorns.

    Foreman ranks No. 76 in the Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 class of 2014. 

Offensive Lineman Elijah Rodriguez

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    247sports.com

    Height/Weight: 6'6", 280 pounds

    Position/Ranking: 2-star offensive tackle

    High School: Cy-Creek

    Other Finalists: Colorado

    Commit Date: Feb. 3, 2014

     

    Cy-Creek offensive lineman Elijah Rodriguez was a late add for the Longhorns. Rodriguez had been committed to Colorado for several months, but his visit to Austin last weekend was the final straw that broke the Buffalo's back. Rodriguez switched his commitment from the Buffs to the Longhorns Monday morning. Rodriguez is one of three offensive linemen in the 2014 class.

     

    Star rankings via Rivals.com.

    Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's lead writer covering the Texas Longhorns. Follow Taylor on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.