After rumors of a pending commitment for the Texas Longhorns over the last several days, Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep defensive end Malcolm Roach pledged to the Horns in a ceremony at his high school on Friday morning.
The Louisiana ties of defensive line coach Brick Haley, who has been recruiting Roach for some time, helped land the pledge. Roach wasn't on the official offer list for the Horns, making his commitment rather unexpected. Tennessee had been the favorite to land his services.
The 6'3, 255-pounder is a consensus three-star prospect, the No. 613 player nationally, the No. 27 strongside defensive end, and the No. 31 player in Louisiana. Credited with more than 20 offers, Roach also had official invitations to play at Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi State, Missouri, North Carolina State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, and Utah, among others.
Now the second defensive lineman to pledge to Texas in the 2016 class, joining fellow Louisiana product Gerald Wilbon, Roach is the first defensive line commit with an offer from an SEC West program, breaking an 0-for-9 streak to begin the cycle.
Evaluating Roach based on his junior film is a little bit difficult because he's reportedly gained 30 pounds since the spring. As a junior, he played linebacker and distinguished himself with physical play, although his speed was far from elite and should translate much better to a role closer to the football, assuming he's maintained his quickness through the weight gain.
Gaining an understanding of his burst off the ball and ability to use his hands at the point of attack will have to wait until his senior film becomes available. The Texas coaches have seen it, however, and deemed it impressive enough to take the commitment from Roach, who has a similar profile to other developmental success stories of players who flourished under head coach Charlie Strong.
Roach is now the 10th pledge in the 2016 class for the Longhorns. The group now ranks No. 54 nationally and No. 7 in the Big 12.