[Update]: Cottrell told Ducks Territory that he is "not really sure how to feel" ($) about the offer from Texas and said that he does not currently have any plans to visit Austin. He is still committed to Oregon. --GoBR--
[Update]: There are now multiple reports that Cottrell will indeed visit Texas, but there does not yet appear to be confirmation of that from the player or his high school coaches. Expect Oregon to try to keep him from visiting. --GoBR--
Even with a recent offer going out to Van linebacker and Tennessee commit Dalton Santos, as well as the renewed interest in TCU commit Daje Johnson, it appears that the Longhorns aren't finished pursuing prospects in the 2012 class.
On Tuesday, the news broke on Orangebloods (subsequently confirmed by Hookem.com), that Texas has offered a scholarship to Oregon commit Bryce Cottrell, a 6-3, 230-pound linebacker/defensive end from Plano West.
Recruited as a linebacker by the Ducks, the position at which the Longhorns choose to offer Cottrell could make an impact on his eventual decision, though it's not clear at this time whether Texas sees him as a linebacker or a defensive end or if Cottrell has a preference. The thought here is that since an edge rusher is a greater need at this time than another linebacker with the offer out to Santos, Manny Diaz and company probably see Cottrell as a defensive end.
Likewise, it's not immediately clear how Cottrell feels about the Longhorns and whether his commitment to Oregon is solid. As is the case with trying to get in on any prospect this late in the recruiting process, it's not going to be easy for Texas to give Cottrell the hard sell on just how much he's needed, as recruits often place a great emphasis on which schools identified their talent the earliest. It is likely that the staff is efforting to get Cottrell on campus for an official visit this weekend.
bryce cottrell senior highlight (via planowest12345)
As a prospect, Cottrell didn't receive a lot of high-quality national offers, but certainly drew more than regional interest -- he was offered by Arkansas, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arizona State, and Boston College, among others. A growth spurt following his sophomore season helped raise his profile in the recruiting world, momentum consolidated through a strong junior season.
The best projection seems to be for Cottrell to eventually play weakside defensive end in college, where he could also provide some scheme versatility to drop into coverage. In high school, Cottrell is dangerous to leave unblocked in the zone running game, as he used his speed to effectively chase down plays from the back side. As a pass rusher, the Plano West product doesn't have an elite first step, but his first two steps off the ball are pretty close to it.
On one play in the highlights above, Cottrell sheds the hands of an offensive lineman, quickly swims, runs the arc, and finishes the play with a sack. So while that play may not be particularly representative of a high level of technical proficiency by Cottrell, it is a flash of it that shows some understanding of how to play the defensive end position.
All in all, Cottrell would be a perfect fit in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker -- which makes it seem rather odd that Texas A&M did not offer him -- but he does have the frame to eventually carry 250 pounds or more and become a pure defensive end, though it could take him some time in the weight room at the college level until he is ready to hold up against the running game.
Cottrell may not be an easy flip late in the process, but it is encouraging to see the Texas staff continue to evaluate and pursue prospects at need positions up until National Signing Day.