Some decisions aren't difficult in evaluations. Sometimes, a coach and a coaching staff sit down and watch some film and there it is. Immediately. The easy decision. The no-brainer offer.
Last Wednesday, Texas Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong described exactly that situation when he flipped on the film of Flower Mound Marcus defensive end Andrew Fitzgerald, eventually a 2016 signee last Wednesday.
"When we turned the tape on, I said, 'Oh god, I don't need to see anything else,'" Strong said. "'If he's going to play like that, we have to have him.'"
It's not clear when that revelation happened, but Texas offered Fitzgerald in late September. Two days later, he took an unofficial visit for the Oklahoma State game. In the next month, he took official visits to Kansas State and Oregon. Five days after visiting Eugene, Fitzgerald ended his recruitment in favor of the Longhorns.
When discussing the Semper Fi All-American, Strong dropped one of his greatest superlatives of his press conference.
"I say this guy right here will be the dark horse of this class," he said. "He's a guy that goes hard all the time. He has one speed, and he's going to go hard. Up in the Fort Worth area, he was the defensive player of the year there. He's fun to watch."
Indeed, 247Sports evaluators enjoyed watching Fitzgerald during the week of the Semper Fi game.
"[Fitzgerald] checks every box," said 247Sports National Director of Scouting Barton Simmons. "He's got great size, combine athleticism, strength at the point of attack and he's got a big-time motor. He makes his move up after dominating the Semper Fi practices."
The move? Up into the top 100 of the 247Sports rankings. Into the top 10 of strongside defensive ends nationally.
On the first play in the highlights released by the Longhorns, Fitzgerald threatens a speed rush outside, plants, swims on the offensive tackle after swiping at his hands, discards a chipping running back with his shoulder, and finishes the play with a sack.
Motor, motor, running hard.
Charlie Strong knows about defense. Charlie Strong's type of guy. Charlie Strong thinks Andrew Fitzgerald could be really good. Andrew Fitzgerald could be really good.