The Texas Longhorns got off to a strong start on what should prove to be a wild National Signing Day, as Duncanville defensive tackle Marcel Southall committed to the Longhorns over the Oklahoma Sooners and Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday morning.
Marcel Southall committed to Texas moments ago. pic.twitter.com/YeSRieQHFV— Jason Suchomel (@OB_JasonS) February 3, 2016
Congratulations to @Duncanville_HS DL Marcel Southall! He signed his letter of intent to play @UTAustin #NSD2016 pic.twitter.com/hgJ5GI0kwn— Duncanville ISD (@DuncanvilleISD) February 3, 2016
The decision caps a relatively mysterious recruitment for the 6'2, 285-pounder, who didn't give many interviews. Oklahoma was considered the leader throughout most of the process, to the extent that anyone knew what was going on with him, but Texas surged down the stretch:
Southall took an unofficial trip to Norman in early August and then followed that up with an official visit in November. During the last two weeks of his recruitment, he took official visits to Miami and Ole Miss.
However, an unexpected official visit to Texas in mid-January changed everything for him, vaulting the Horns into contention, even though he wasn't expected to take one of his five paid trips to Austin:
Hearing that 2016 TX DT, Marcel Southall is trending #Texas.— Super K (@SuperK_TFB) February 2, 2016
What Super K was hearing contrasted with the word in Oxford, as two Ole Miss recruiting analysts put in Crystal Ball predictions to Oklahoma on Monday. Despite that, his information ended up being spot on and the Longhorns picked up a high-upside defensive tackle who looked highly unlikely to become a part of the class just weeks ago.
Here's the ESPN evaluation ($) on Southall:
Prospect with good height and adequate bulk at this stage. Looks to have a thick, sturdy build with room to still support some additional good mass with further physical development. Displays excellent playing strength. Flashes a good initial burst, but real inconsistent and a beat slow in get-off at times.
Versus the Run
Demonstrates ability to fire out with pad level and uncoil at contact and displays ability to anchor well one-on-one when he wins leverage battle. Flashes heavy hands and the upper body strength to separate and shed, but needs to work to be more consistent with his hands in keeping blockers off his frame and being able to get off blocks quicker at times.
Pass Rush Skills
Needs to be more consistent in get-off and continue to develop pass rush arsenal, but flashes active hands and an effective rip-move and can do a good job of attacking half-man. Flashes adequate bull rush ability.
Displays a physical nature and a good motor and can sharpen pursuit angles, but displays good range for size and solid wrap-up tackler.
Southall is a strong, physical and active defender in the trenches. Needs to continue to develop in areas, but good DL prospect that should see his stock rise as the process continues to unfold.
There are some concerns among people in the Duncanville area about how hot Southall's motor runs on a consistent basis, but there's no doubt that he has the raw tools to be an extremely dangerous player. Because he's so quick off the ball -- like most of the Texas defensive tackle targets still let to decide.
Southall is a consensus three-star prospect ranked as the No. 489 player nationally, the No. 42 defensive tackle, and the No. 78 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Throughout his recruitment, he accumulated more than 20 offers, including scholarships from Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, California, Florida. Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas Tech, and Washington.
Now the third defensive tackle prospect in the class, joining Destrehan (La.) product Gerald Wilbon and New Orleans (La.) St. Augustine standout D'Andre Christmas-Giles, the late Tuesday night addition. There should be more coming as well, as the Longhorns look to add more talent in the trenches to the group of 18 pledges, which currently ranks No. 22 nationally and No. 3 in the Big 12, according to the 247Sports Composite team rankings.