Texas has recently had a steady stream of top-notch pass rushers to
the NFL, with Pro Bowler Brian Orakpo being a first-round pick in 2009, Sergio
Kindle a second-round selection in 2010, along with Sam Acho and Alex Okafor
going in the fourth round of the 2011 and 2013 drafts.
Jackson Jeffcoat earned All-American honors last year on his
way to propelling his draft stock into possible first-round status while Cedric
Reed promises to get early-round consideration in the 2015 NFL Draft after
deciding to return for his senior year.
Could San Antonio Brennan defensive end Derick Roberson be
the next great Texas pass rusher? Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike
Farrell thinks so and sees similarities between the 6-foot-3, 225-pound
Roberson and Kindle.
“He’s skinny but he’s really quick around the edge and he
dips his shoulder extremely well,” Farrell said. “He’s narrow-shouldered, so
he’s not going to fill out to be a huge defensive end but, man, he’s quick.
They’re probably going to stand him up. They’re going to put his hand down.
They’re going to bring him off the edge. They’re going to blitz him. They’re
going to do a lot of different things with him and I think he’s going to be in
the backfield a lot.”
Roberson, a four-star prospect, according to rivals.com, is
the most highly touted of the four defensive linemen Texas signed, checking in
at No. 93 in the 2014 Rivals250.
After not signing a single defensive lineman in last year’s
15-member recruiting class, Texas made that position a recruiting priority this
year. The coaching turnover, which resulted in the Longhorns losing defensive
line coach Bo Davis, did not help.
Three of the six defensive linemen who were verbally
committed to Texas when Charlie Strong was hired last month quickly decommitted
following Davis’ departure – San Antonio Warren defensive tackle Trey
Lealaimatafao, New Orleans St. Augustine defensive end Courtney Garnett and
Longview defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson.
After Keller defensive end Sione Teuhema became Texas’ sixth
decommitment and fourth decommit on the defensive line, the Longhorns were left
with just two verbal commitments from players at that position. Teuhema’s
brother, Maea, is a five-star prospect, according to rivals.com, and, like his
older brother, decommitted from Texas and committed to LSU.
“Those two guys were a package deal and his brother is a
five-star offensive tackle who you can build your offensive line around,” said
Farrell, who believes losing Teuhema was the biggest blow among the six Class
of 2014 players who decommitted from Texas. “Losing Sione when you look ahead
to next year, there’s a five-star gone next year, so that’s the one that stands
out to me because it’s a package deal. And it’s at positions they need.”
Texas head coach Charlie Strong doubled the number of
defensive linemen in the 2014 recruiting class, however, by signing Lakeland
Victory Christian defensive tackle Chris Nelson and Hilton Head defensive
tackle Poona Ford, who will add much-needed depth in the trenches for the