The Texas Longhorns landed a key defensive tackle piece, as New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine defensive tackle D'Andre Christmas-Giles chose the Longhorns over his other two finalists, the LSU Tigers and TCU Horned Frogs, in a decision televised on a local New Orleans station Tuesday evening.
Happy Holidays! Great way to lead into Signing Day! #LetsRide— Charlie Strong (@Strong_TexasFB) February 3, 2016
4 for 4!!! ✊— Malik Jefferson 4⃣6⃣ (@Official_MalikJ) February 3, 2016
Not included in the final three for the 6'3, 290-pounder were the Texas A&M Aggies coming off an official visit to College Station in mid-January. The Horned Frogs weren't considered a serious contender recently or really at any point during the process, but did receive an official visit back in early December. Meanwhile, even though Christmas-Giles was in Baton Rouge last weekend, he wasn't on an unofficial visit and LSU seemingly filled up at defensive tackle recently.
So all of that was good news for Texas, which has been in a strong position with the rising 6'3, 290-pounder ever since he visited just before the dead period began in December and then promptly decommitted from the Tennessee Volunteers.
At the time, the late offer received from LSU looked like a potential game-changer, but that changed as room got more limited. And waiting so long to extend that offer might not have helped the Tigers. In the final moments before the decision came down from Christmas-Giles, Texas trended heavily:
Ultimately, the appeal of early playing time, defensive line coach Brick Haley's deep Louisiana ties, and some initial interest from Christmas-Giles when he received his Texas offer were enough to land yet another defensive lineman from The Boot.
Here's his evaluation by ESPN ($):
Prospect with excellent overall size at this stage. Can add more size, but has big frame and should be able to pack on some additional good mass and rework body comp. some with time in a college weight program. Flashes very good playing strength, which should only continue to improve as he further physically develops. Displays very good first-step quickness.
Versus the Run
With good get-off capable of quickly firing off the ball and at times being able to power through contact and disrupt with penetration. Flashes ability to fire out and deliver a pop at contact and uncoil and when he does can hold ground and even at times knock blockers back, but needs to watch pad level as it can quickly rise after contact. Shows flashes, but needs to continue to develop hand usage as doesn't consistently shoot them and can caught up with blockers. Can quickly get up-field, but struggle to quickly change direction once in the backfield.
Pass Rush Skills
With good initial burst and strength could be a disruptive interior pass rusher. Can do a good job of attacking half-man and shows some activity with his weapons, but needs to refine usage. Can gain some initial push with bull rush, but movement can stall due to pads rising. Displays average ability to close on QB.
Defender with very good size and strength and while he can better utilize them at times, flashes a physical nature. At his best getting up-field and range and redirect is more average, but shows good effort, though like many big men can be little more consistent in finishing.
Christmas-Giles is a prospect that had to sit out his junior year and missing that time not only led to missed experience and reps, but also likely led to him flying under the radar some. He is a D-Line prospect with some good tools and upside though and with a full senior season could see interest rise. Has some limitations and we feel a redshirt would be very beneficial, but a prospect with size and strength that can get off the football and that will surely catch some recruiters eyes once they can see him more in action.
Because if the missed time, Christmas-Giles is a little bit behind in his developmental curve compared to some other prospects in refinement and doesn't project as a dominant, disruptive force like Malcolm Brown was during his junior season or Hassan Ridgeway flashed at times over the last two years.
However, he does add much-needed depth and should ultimately prove capable of taking on and standing up double teams as his strength develops and he corrects the pad level issues. If Haley can coach him up on technique, there's some further upside there.
Christmas-Giles is a consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 334 player overall, the No. 34 defensive tackle, and No. 21 player in the state of Louisiana, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. During the fall, his recruitment took off and he eventually accumulated 30 scholarship offers, including Arkansas, Cincinnati, Colorado, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kansas State, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
With the addition of a second Louisiana defensive tackle prospect, the Longhorns now hold pledges from 16 prospects, good enough to move up one spot to No. 25 nationally and slot narrowly behind the Sooners for No. 4 in the Big 12, according to the 247Sports Composite team rankings. Texas also holds a pledge from Destrehan (La.) defensive tackle Gerald Wilbon and appears in strong position to close with at least two and as many as four more defensive tackles on Wednesday. No, that is not a typo.