Despite decommits, Texas boasts solid batch of defensive recruits


When it comes to recruiting a batch of defenders for the 2013 season, Mack Brown has had his share of disappointments. 

First there was A’Shawn Robinson, a five-star lineman who recently decommitted from Texas, perhaps in favor of carting his defensive gifts to the home of the Crimson Tide. 

While the loss of Robinson was a significant blow for a Texas team in dire need of defensive strength, Robinson wasn’t too thrilled about the spread of his decommitment news. 

“Texas leaking that story made me kind of mad,” Robinson said, according to an interview with Max Olson of ESPN. “They kind of tried to ruin the moment for me.”

Having a moment of his own Tuesday was Andrew Billings, whose collegiate choice was also grim news for the Longhorns. Prior to his decision, the nation’s No. 13 defensive tackle was grappling with the choice between Texas and Baylor. In the end, he picked the Bears. 

Texas had good reason to lust after him: Without his commitment, Texas has no defensive tackle in its recruiting class for the first time in more than 10 years. That’s a gaping hole defensive coordinator Manny Diaz surely hopes to fill.

With junior Brandon Moore gone to the NFL draft, and two more key defenders, Chris Whaley and Ashton Dorsey, set to leave next season, filling the defensive rotation is crucial. 

Despite the bubbling disappointment after Robinson’s choice to go elsewhere and Billings’ Baylor decision, the incoming offensive line is shaping up well. Offensive guard Rami Hammad’s commitment was the cherry on top of a shining string of players Texas has managed to rope together. There’s Darius James, whose quick feet and agility make him a welcome addition.

There’s Jake Raulerson, Texas’ very first commit, a coveted center whose excitement for Texas has led him to try and recruit other top players to follow his burnt orange lead. 

“I’m just trying to get the best guys to come to Texas,” Raulerson said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I’m trying to be that guy, that leader.”

Defensive-end wise, Texas still has Jackson Jeffcoat and Reggie Wilson, both of whom will graduate after this year.

There’s Kent Perkins, an offensive tackle who ranks 76th on the list of ESPN’s top 150 recruits, and Desmond Harrison, a junior college transfer who will strive to make his mark in his remaining two years
of eligibility. 

Cornerback Antwuan Davis brings a resume of accomplishments with him to Texas. The speedy Bastrop product is the top defensive back in the state and a talented sprinter. Chevoski Collins committed back in October and is set to debut as a defensive back. While Texas still has starting cornerback Carrington Byndom, a rising senior, as well as Quandre Diggs, Diggs may swap his spot to fill the need for a safety. 

Deoundrei Davis and Naashon Hughes are both committed to fill the linebacker slots, though Davis is nursing a torn ACL. Hughes originally committed as a grey shirt and was recently offered a full scholarship. They’ll join linebackers Jordan Hicks and Demarco Cobbs. 

Despite a few setbacks, Texas boasts a solid stack of commits and can look forward to what it’ll bring to the 40 Acres as the 2013 season edges closer.

Published on February 6, 2013 as "Despite challenges, defensive class stands strong".