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February 27, 2006
A quick start
Going into the Texas junior day this weekend, it was believed that several offers would go out and commitments would most likely follow. However, the Horns came up bigger than previously imagined as numerous pieces fell into place during the weekend event which got the 2007 class started off in a big way.
The first reported pledge of the class belonged to Aledo, Texas offensive tackle Kyle Hix who didn't take long to think things over when he received his official offer this past weekend. The 6-foot-6, 290-pound highly regarded talent had also picked up offers from Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas Tech before Saturday.
After Hix really had things down to the Longhorns and Red Raiders, the official offer from Texas solidified things for his future in Austin.
"I kind of wanted to go there for a long time and when they offered me, that's what I wanted to do," Hix told OrangeBloods.com editor Jason Suchomel. "They have a great program, a great offense. I love Austin. I love the coaches there. It's a great school all around."
With offensive lineman being a priority and a plethora of them on hand, head coach Mack Brown's staff certainly wasn't finished there. Hix was followed by a star-studded list of the Lone Star state's top offensive lineman as early commitments.
La Marque standout Aundre McGaskey, Kilgore's Michael Huey, hometown star Matt Nader, and heavily regarded Jerrod Gooch from Aledo gave the Horns five quick pickups for the offensive line.
Arguably the top offensive lineman in the state, South Grand Prairie's Tray Allen, did not make a verbal commitment but received his offer and appears to have Texas at the top of his list.
Alluding to a late decision earlier in February, Allen will most likely take official visits before pulling the trigger. Either way you slice it, the Horns reeled in pledges from five of the six offensive lineman on hand at the junior day making for quite a weekend.
Allen's fellow Metroplex star Richetti Jones also received an offer from UT and has Texas at the top, but has yet to make a decision.
The commitments on Saturday didn't just include offensive lineman. Rising linebacker Keenan Robinson turned a big junior season into his first official offer at the Texas junior day. That translated into a quick commitment from Robinson who said that he wanted to be a part of a team that has tradition.
"They're a good team every year, a top-10 team every year," Robinson told Rivals.com. "I like their playing style, their coaches, and the atmosphere."
The secondary is also a big target for the Texas staff and their first piece also came on Saturday. Beaumont Ozen product, the 6-foot, 174-pound speedster Ben Wells gave Texas his verbal commitment after the junior day filling another big need.
Coach Duane Akina compared Wells to Thorpe Award winning defensive back Michael Huff.
"I'm a very physical corner," Wells said. "I like to punish smaller receivers and bigger ones. It doesn't matter."
Adding one more defensive back to the mix on Sunday night certainly put the cherry on top. West Orange Stark star Earl Thomas had to talk things over with his father after having a big time on his trip to Austin.
Coach Brown spoke with his father and that pretty much sealed the deal.
"My dad wanted to talk to them before I committed," Thomas said. "Then I went ahead and made my commitment. I didn't think it would happen this early."
Top gunslinger Ryan Mallett also received his official offer this weekend and didn't commit. The story does remain the same though for Mallett who has Michigan and Texas at the top of the list.
Running backs Lennon Creer along with Foswhitt Whittaker, who are favoring the Horns at this point but have yet to make a pledge, were joined by Curtis Brown and Andre Jones as other offers given out. While any number of those players could in fact pull the trigger in the coming weeks, it appears that already calling the weekend a success is a severe understatement.
An early finish to the 2007 class is becoming another huge possibility with a remarkable start to the recruiting process for Texas.