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Charlie Strong wants Texas signee Andrew Fitzgerald to remain at DE

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The Longhorns head coach believes that the consensus four-star prospect is more valuable outside.

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Andrew Fitzgerald
via @andrewfitz90

As the Texas Longhorns attempt to get more pass-rushing production from defensive ends in 2016, head coach Charlie Strong wants to have Flower Mound Marcus product Andrew Fitzgerald available at the position.

"He's at end right now," Strong said. "It just depends. I think he's probably sitting there at 250-255, which is a good size. He can carry it well, but we don't want to make him really big because what he really does well is he gets off and goes so hard. You don't want him to lose that edge about him."

Since the 6’5 Fitzgerald is already at the prototypical weight for a strongside defensive end, there has been speculation about whether he might grow into a defensive tackle after entering the Texas strength and conditioning program, but Strong makes a compelling case as to why the staff won’t allow that to happen.

It’s also the case that the nation’s No. 10 strongside defensive end, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, can better use his length as a pass rusher. Inside at defensive tackle? That position values leverage much more than the defensive end position, so Fitzgerald’s height might not actually be a benefit there.

And then there’s his athleticism, which is a fantastic attribute, as evidenced by this video:

So while Fitzgerald could probably stand to mature some to a higher level of lean, functional strength, keeping that athleticism that makes him special outside is clearly a priority for Texas.

ESPN recently called the productive pass rusher one of the "most intriguing freshmen" for the ‘Horns this season, citing his 20 sacks over his last two years of high school and the fact that Strong called him the "dark-horse candidate" in the class on National Signing Day.

So look for Fitzgerald to figure into the rotation immediately and expect a bright future for him at defensive end, not at defensive tackle.