After a rough loss in Manhattan, Kansas, on Saturday, Head Football Coach Charlie Strong was able to pull out a recruiting win on Sunday afternoon when Cameron Townsend, a 2015 4-star OLB from Missouri City announced his commitment to the Longhorns, choosing Strong’s team over Oklahoma and Oregon State.
Townsend’s announcement makes him the 18th commit in the class of 2015, currently ranked 16th in the country and first in the Big 12 by ESPN.
At 6 foot 1, 205 pounds, Townsend has a similar, though slightly leaner, build to current starting linebacker Jordan Hicks, who despite being plagued by injuries the past two seasons has been one of Texas’ most reliable forces on defense. Townsend said one of Texas’ biggest pulls was the fact that he had “a good opportunity to play early” with Hicks’ departure after this season with the coaching staff recruiting Townsend for Hicks’ position.
On film, Townsend shows his explosiveness off the snap and quick feet, proving his reported 4.63 40 time. Townsend also showed good physicality, unafraid to go head to head with the big guys on the line as well as with receivers in the slot. On the pass rush, he comes off the edge well and is able to elude blockers on his path to the quarterback. He also makes good use of a long wingspan to make tackles when one arm is occupied by a blocker. He also shows great natural athleticism, as shown in a game his junior year where he hurdled a lineman en route to a sack.
Townsend also does a great job on the delayed blitz, which accounts for his high tackles-for-loss count.
Though, a few times on his junior year highlight tape he seemed unwilling to finish tackles, applying one hit then letting his teammates bring the ball carrier down. While he can get away with this against high school competition, a tough college running back would make him look silly. He will have to bulk up in the spring and summer, but has the frame and work ethic to get it done.
Overall, Townsend has raw talent and athletic ability that he has been able to get by on in high school. He described his current coaching staff as “offense-minded,” so it could be fun to see what Strong and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford are able to turn him into with some closer technique coaching. Strong has proved this season that he isn’t afraid to play- and even start- true freshman, so don’t be surprised to see Townsend getting quality reps next fall if he can show a good understanding of the defense.