The Longhorns emerged from the first Junior Day for the 2013 class with no commitments and had to wait for them to start flooding in. After the second Junior Day, the wait was much shorter, as Cy Woods linebacker Deoundrei Davis pledged to become a Longhorn on Sunday morning, hours after receiving his offer fromvia Facebook chat on Saturday evening after he returned home from Austin.
The 6-2, 210-pound Davis is one of the fastest-rising players in the state following the release of his junior film and is now the seventh commit in the class, and the first who can be definitively pegged for the defensive side of the ball. Davis could also be the only pure linebacker Texas takes in the class, although that won't definitely be known until attrition season is over following spring practice. Or perhaps even longer than that.
As it relates to the mechanics of other offers, how things shake out from here depends on where the coaches see certain players like Harker Heights jumbo athlete Naashon Hughes, who believes he could be a safety/outside linebacker hybrid, but could even end up at defensive end if he keeps on growing. Other prospects, like Plano Prestonwood Christian's Mike Mitchel and Fort Bend Marshall's Deon Hollins, could play defensive end as well as linebacker. Determining where to project players like those three could be a major part of the evaluation process for Texas.
But back to Davis -- after all, he's the cause of all this discussion in the first place. The Houston-area product told Horns Nation that he envisions the Longhorns winning a national championship during his first several years on campus, echoing the sentiments of virtually every other player who has committed in the class. There are definitely some questions that need answering before the 'Horns can seriously compete at that level, but the sense around the program is the strong recruiting efforts over the last several years are going to start paying off and it would be wrong to say that isn't a factor for many, if not all, of the seven 2013 pledges.
Of course, for a kid like Davis who grew up a Texas fan, it probably wasn't going to be a hard decision ($) regardless of the current prospects for the program:
My heart and my mind said the same thing. I had a feeling Texas was the place for me. From the coaching staff to the players and facilities, it felt like home.
The Longhorns are getting an extremely impressive prospect who is set to make some leaps up the various rankings when they get updated, as he's universally considered a four-star recruit and a likely top 15 or so player in the state. With a frame that has the room to add the mass to eventually play at or beyond 230 pounds and a reported 4.65 that doesn't seem like a stretch based on his speed on film, Davis is now receiving mention as the top linebacker in the state, a belief the Texas staff may have arrived at themselves based on the offer.
What really stands out about Davis though is his striking ability. There's no other way to describe Davis except as a violent dude who brings some bad intentions with him to the football field and makes good on them consistently with his strong tackling radius, ability to sink his hips and uncoil, then finish tackles with a strong core. A rangy player like Tevin Jackson is probably a good comparison in terms of overall violence, athleticism, and upside.
The fact that Davis also shows the ability to diagnose plays quickly and without taking false steps is also a major part of his value. A terror of the edge when unblocked, Davis uses his strong ability to accelerate quickly to run down plays in the backfield before they even come close to having a chance to get started.
There's enough versatility in his game for his high school coaches to feel comfortable moving him out onto inside receivers in coverage, though there isn't much film on whether or not he can drop into coverage, as was the case with other downhill linebackers Texas has recruited in the past, like Jackson and Sergio Kindle before him.
It's heartening to see the willingness of Davis to battle through traffic and pack enough of a punch with his hands to be able to hit and separate at the high school level, as well as use them to fend off blockers at his legs.
Overall, Davis has all the tools to become a multi-year starter at Texas and though he's a different type of linebacker than either Peter Jinkens or Dalton Santos in the 2012 class, Davis may be better than any of the players in the four-man group from the last recruiting cycle.