Instant analysis -- It's a familiar story for a lot of Texas commits. Lifelong Longhorn fans, there's little wasted time between the official offer and the verbal commitment. A lot of times, the elapsed time is about as long as it takes a heart to beat.
About the surest of sure things entering the weekend, when news broke on Friday that the Denton Ryan linebacker was heading to Austin on Saturday, whatever sliver of doubt might have existed about him receiving an offer and committing was gone. The day before JD1 begins officially is often a day used by Mack Brown to bring in top targest or surefire commitments and DLT falls easily into the latter category.
So just how long as the Texas offer and your commitment been virtually a lock to go down ($), DLT?
I've been wanting to go to Texas for a long time and just to hear Coach Brown say we want you to be here and asking if I wanted to be there, it was a done deal from there. On September 1, he called my dad and told him he wanted me to be there, so it's been pretty set in stone from there. It just needed to be official like today.
Well then. If DLT isn't a Will Muschamp guy, he's certainly a Mack Brown guy. Manny Diaz may just be along for the ride.
DLT's commitment broke on Saturday afternoon, just as the Texas Baylor basketball game was tipping off. He was the second commitment in the class, following Chaparral (AZ) quarterback Connor Brewer's commitment last Monday. Later on Saturday, Bishop Dunne defensive tackle Alex Norman gave his verbal commitment to Texas.
In terms of the class overall, DLT could well be a Chet Moss type in terms of bringing other prospects into the fold given his long-time commitment and strong desire to be a Longhorn. He's also the first linebacker commitment in a year when the Longhorns may only take one or two more linebackers in a deep year in state.
As far as the wider perspective with Denton Ryan, it's a school that produces some talent and it can't hurt to have DLT on board with Texas pursuing teammate Mario Edwards. However, Edwards transferred from Prosper prior to the his junior season, so he and DLT have only been teammates for one year. Fellow linebacker Jordan Richmond is on the fringes of the radar.
Instant scouting report -- First of all, it's hard to argue with DLT's production the last two years. As a sophomore in a strong district, DLT racked up 156 tackles, 25 TFLs, nine sacks, and two forced fumbles. In 2010, despite missing four games DLT registered 124 tackles, 24 TFLs, five sacks, a pass break up, and a forced fumble. Hard to argue with those numbers or the competition it came against. Ryan also made it to the state finals before losing to Lake Travis and as the son of a Ryan assistant coach, DLT is known as a smart, tough football player.
Given his fast commitment and swirling questions about whether he's a questionable take or not, the easy comparison is Chet Moss, another quick commitment who wasn't ranked among the top players in the state. The big difference between DLT and Moss is that Moss is taller and probably tests out better athletically. Not to mention the fact that Moss was a proven playmaker his junior season, forcing and recovering quite a few fumbles.
A better comparison for DLT might be Blake Gideon. Like Gideon, DLT doesn't have great size for his position -- he's listed at 6-2, 220 pounds in some places and 210 in others. A more relevant consideration is that unless DLT has grown in the last year, he's a verified 6-0 tall. As a linebacker. Like Gideon, DLT also doesn't have particularly good speed or quickness for his position. Like Gideon, DLT's highlight film from his junior year shows a propensity to lead with his shoulder on tackles instead of wrapping up. Pet peeve alert! Like Gideon, DLT also gets in on a lot of tackles late on his highlight film, jumping on piles more than being the first defender to the ball.
The problem here is that there is nothing that pops physically with DLT. Attempts to consider some positive physical attributes that he brings to the table basically come up dry. In fact, I'm not really convinced he's among the five most physically gifted linebackers in the class and if that's the case, why offer?
In terms of the nuts and bolts of where DLT will play, he was a weakside linebacker at Ryan, but Manny Diaz told DLT and his father that he could end up at Mike, though it's hard to predict right now. Considering how little Texas has used a middle linebacker recently and the continued prevalence of the spread, that may be a nice way of calling him a situational player. DLT certainly doesn't have ideal size and strength for the Mike.
And unless things have changed in the last six months or so, DLT combines his unimpressive height and quickness with an unimpressive physique that features little muscle tone. Jeremiah Tshimanga he is not. Besides having good top-end speed and short-area burst, having some strength is a positive attribute for a linebacker, right? Someone who will have to win blocks against offensive linemen?
So, anyway, back to the positives. Lots of tackles, a reputation for toughness and intelligence, his pedigree as the son of an assistant coach, and...
Well, he loves the Longhorns.