The biggest Signing Day surprise for the Texas Longhorns was that the team managed to find a defensive end and defensive tackle to help fill the big holes that existed on the defensive side of the ball in the 2013 class.
So who were the surprise commitments, a la Shiro Davis last year?
Well, truth be told, Texas didn't actually manage to sign anyone unexpected this year on NSD, but head coach Mack Brown did reveal during his Signing Day press conference that redshirt freshman Hassan Ridgeway will be making the move from defensive end to defensive tackle and fellow redshirt freshman Caleb Bluiett will make the move from tight end back to his primary high school position of defensive end.
The moves help to alleviate some of the long-term depth concerns raised by the fact that Texas lost Lancaster defensive end Daeshon Hall to Washington last summer (he signed with A&M Wednesday) and then also had five-star recruit A'Shawn Robinson bail, while Andrew Billings opt for the Bears over the 'Horns and Horned Frogs.
Ridgeway was a US Army All-American last season before he enrolled at Texas and is listed on the Texas roster as 6-4 and 280 pounds, though he is likely closer to 300 now. Brown indicated that Ridgeway hasn't lost any of the speed that made him a strong defensive end prospect coming out of high school and although he's not as physically strong as Robinson, he's probably quicker than the former Texas commit and can hold his own in comparison to Robinson as a freakish athlete for his size.
As for Bluiett, he played a number of positions in high school, including tight end, linebacker, and defensive tackle, but should be able to acclimate quickly to the defensive end position because he's a quick learner, as shown by some observations at the International Bowl last year. When receiving coaching, Bluiett was as good as anyone at practice of being able to take those teaching tips and immediately execute them. He also probably won't be asked to contribute early in a solid defensive end rotation.
With the two switches, it's understandable now why Mack Brown said on ESPNU that the class was able to fill the needs (though running back still comes to mind), even if there is still pressure on the 2014 class to stock up on defensive ends and defensive tackles.