The first Texas Junior Day of 2011 may have started off slowly, but it gained momentum Sunday evening with two commitments, one from Copperas Cove ATH Orlando Thomas and, an hour later, news that DeSoto offensive lineman Curtis Riser (6-3/280), widely considered one of the top offensive linemen in the state, gave his verbal pledge to Mack Brown.
Riser is the fifth commitment in the class, joining Connor Brewer, Alex De La Torre, Alex Norman, and Thomas. While Thomas was an unexpected visitor, offer, and commit, Riser has been on the Texas radar for more than a year and was on his way to becoming a major regional (if not national) recruit, fielding reported offers from Baylor, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Texas Tech. The primary competition for Riser from the beginning was LSU. Though Riser planned to make a recent Junior Day visit to Baton Route, he had to cancel at the last minute. At the same time, Recruitocosm had Riser pegged as a probable JD1 commitment.
The question, then, was whether Riser would draw out his recruitment in order to make another visit to Baton Rouge. Obviously, the answer to that question is a resounding no, and Riser is now the first offensive line commit in the class. He's also considered a top-10 talent in the state and his coach, Claude Mathis, believes he is the best in the state at his position.
This is what Mathis had to say ($) about his star lineman:
I would describe Curtis as a very nasty player. A player that doesn't like to beat. He really takes care of business. He's very quick... He gets in and out of his stance well. He wants to pin you every time to the ground. He is just a nasty player. He could already be the best DeSoto offensive lineman ever.
Some of Riser's value hinges on whether or not he can play tackle at Texas. Over the last year, the consensus has become that Riser will be a guard, mostly due to his height at 6-3, though the same thing was said about Trey Hopkins when he entered the program and he played some tackle for Texas as a true freshman. Wherever he ends up, Riser projects as a major contributor at Texas and his commitment gives the Longhorns a strong start in recruiting along the offensive line. Finding two true tackles is now the main priority at the position.