Thursday wasn't just a landmark day in Texas Longhorn football recruiting with the unprecedented (for the program) extension of early offers to juniors in the 2014 class. It was the day that Abilene Cooper wide receiver Lorenzo Joe got to reveal a big secret -- his commitment to the Longhorns, which he gave back on June 10th at a summer camp.
Joe was nice enough to grant an interview on his big day, and said that it was a load off his chest to make his commitment public, as it was a pledge that he had to keep between himself, his coaches, and his family. In fact, he said it was sensitive enough that he didn't believe he could trust his friends enough to tell them, for fear that it would get out.
The two buzz words for Joe on the night? "Crazy" and "excited." Crazy meeting with the Texas coaches and Mack Brown and talking to them after seeing them on TV. Excited about finally, officially becoming a Longhorn.
How long has Joe been a Longhorn fan? Well, his father, who played Division III ball back in the early '90s and was named an All-American for his efforts, said that his son was a Longhorn from the minute that his mother gave birth to him.
Actually, it's a little bit disappointing that Lorenzo wasn't a fan while in utero. Fandom should really extend prior to birth. Completely joking.
Bad jokes aside, an interesting addendum to this conversation is a friendship that Joe struck up recently.
On Twitter Thursday evening after Joe's commitment, 2014 Mount Pleasant wide receiver KD Cannon, the top receiver in the state, asked the Cooper standout about his pledge and gave his official pronouncement on the take for the 'Horns:
Aye Texas Got A Cold Reciever From The 2014 Class Lorenzo Joe— Kd Cannon (@IAmTheOne_9) August 2, 2012
A comment that prompted 2013 bellcow Jake Raulerson to put in a little bit of work in the 2014 class with the knowledge that Cannon was officially offered by Texas on Thursday as well:
— Jake Raulerson (@JakeRaulerson55) August 3, 2012
@iamtheone_9 why don't you join him?? #hookem
It sounded like Joe hasn't exactly taken on the role of class recruiter with Cannon, as he didn't indicate that he and Cannon have ever talked about Texas, but they have gotten to know each other since meeting at a camp. The Longhorn pledge did echo the sentiments that Cannon expressed about Joe's own abilities, calling his friend a "great player who will be successful wherever he goes."
Joe's a sharp kid -- that's pretty much the deal with Cannon. Like Raulerson, though, Joe wouldn't exactly mind playing with his buddy.
"If he goes to Texas, that would be even better," said the first commit of the 2014 class about Cannon.
Joe also spoke about being the first commit Texas has taken this early, after notably shooting down Demarco Cobbs in 2009 (uh, why did they do that?).
"It's a great honor. I'm just extremely blessed. I have to give all the honor and the praise and the glory to God for all this. Number one, the first commitment, it's just crazy, because I know that every year they've got a big recruiting list, and to be the first of the class, that's crazy," he said, dropping one of the the buzzwords of the night a couple more times.
Joe also provided some context for the Mansfield Timberview game, as did his father. It was a last-second loss after a defensive penalty extended the eventual game-winning drive on a cold, windy night in Abilene. The Cougar coaching staff had opted to go to heavy jumbo-package looks in an effort to wear Timberview down in the running game, so Joe wasn't a big part of the gameplan that night.
He told me that he was only targeted three times, with the one third-down conversion for 22 yards. Context. The remarkable thing, looking back on the conversation with Lorenzo and the subsequent talk with his father was that the younger Joe never had a bitter note in the tone of his voice about not being a bigger part of the plan that night.
And that's hardly insignificant for a wide receiver, a position that breeds divas seemingly by the minute. Joe was just matter-of-fact -- we watched film, the coaches saw what they saw, and the gamplan was executed, nearly well enough for a big-time victory.
Team has a me in it, but, shhh, Joe doesn't seem to know that and probably wouldn't care if he did.
Had he been a bigger part of the gameplan, for instance running the ball after recording no carries on the night, after he breaking off that long run on the inverted veer that leads off his highlights (a heck of a play, and one that put his athleticism on display), perhaps the Cougars would have been playing the next week. After all, the gameplan for next year is to put the best athlete on the team at quarterback.
Inserting one of a team's best runners into a run-heavy gamplan? Could have worked.
It is an early pledge for the Abilene native, and Joe will likely be spending the next two seasons at quarterback, but he'll still be working on his receiving skills, according to his father -- doing footwork drills with a trainer and catching passes on a consistent basis. Keeping all that on point. That's how Lorenzo rolls.
Joe's 4.53 40 was on display on that long run that leads his highlights. Earlier Thursday, I had initially thought mid-4.5s for Joe in the 40, then inexplicably changed it to 4.6 in the final post, something both Joe and his father found rather, well, off the mark. Understandably. Recruiting analyst fail.
So, Lorenzo Joe -- really good athlete. Officially. Texas thinks so. The film agrees, as do stopwatches various and sundry, employed by those timing him.
And now Lo Jo is a Longhorn, as he was out of the womb, apparently. So mostly just a continuation of things. Also, this is all officially crazy. Joe said so, more than once.