Feb. 9, 2013
Jackie LaPenta, Texas Media Relations
Another National Signing Day has passed leaving cheers of excitement and promise echoing down the halls of the University of Texas’ Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletic Center. The Longhorns look to build on their successful 2012 campaign with yet another strong recruiting class by signing 15 talented newcomers.
“Our job is to fit our needs. We got some speed that we needed,” head coach Mack Brown said. “But the highlight [of this recruiting class] is the offensive line, averaging 6’5” and over 300 pounds. They can move their feet. I think you’ll see some speed at skill positions as well as at other places.”
Four of the 15 student-athletes decided to complete their high school degrees early and enroll at the University of Texas this semester giving them the opportunity to participate in spring training. Despite the fact that these players have been fully integrated into campus life for the past month, the football program felt it was important to give them a commemorative version of signing day.
A team meeting was held on Wednesday when parents were invited to join the squad in welcoming their sons as new members of the Texas football family. Coach Brown introduced the young men as each player put on his burnt orange jersey for the first time.
Jake Raulerson is a smart and aggressive athlete who has experience playing on both sides of the ball. The Celina, Texas, native has utilized his off-season training to become physically stronger and build up his weight.
“We are looking at him at both places, but right now the offensive line is first,” Brown said. “He played offensive line in the All-American all-star game. He’s a bright young man who is very driven and has done an outstanding job in our off-season program.”
Outside linebacker Deoundrei Davis arrives in Austin with raw athletic ability and speed that Coach Brown believes will coincide well with the Big 12’s tempo. Davis has dreamed about playing for the Longhorns since he was a child and has shown an unwavering commitment to the University of Texas
“He has wanted to come to Texas since he was three years old,” Davis’ mother, Natasha Smith said. “He came to me one day and told me he was a Longhorn at three years old, so this is living a dream for him. I’m extremely proud of him, and I know that having a degree from Texas will take him anywhere.”
Quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, hailing from Whitewright, Texas, finished his high school career with 5,341 rushing yards and 73 TDs, along with 3,850 passing yards for 41 TDs, making one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation. His family accompanied him for the ceremonial signing.
“I’m proud that he is getting ready to start another phase of his life,” Elizabeth Swoopes, Tyrone’s mother said. “The fact that he is able to play for such a great school is even better. After we visited here and after meeting Coach Brown, I was very comfortable with his decision to come here. I felt like they would do a good job of teaching him football, taking care of his academics and taking care of him as a person.”
Tight end Geoff Swaim is one of two junior college transfers in this year’s recruiting class. Coming from Butte Community College in Oroville, Calif., Swaim has the potential to make an immediate impact with his highly developed blocking skills.
“He's exactly what we're looking for to be more physical at the line of scrimmage,” Brown said. “We can't wait to get him out there and watch him work. I think he has the other tight ends' attention with how physical he's been.”
After each player had a photo opportunity with their family, a video of the incoming class was shown to highlight the new recruits' attributes. Each of the 15 players received a glowing review by the team after watching all the hard hits, strategic moves and scoring plays.
The Longhorns have much to look forward to with the integration of the newcomers into their line-up, who show great potential for the 2013 season.
“When you look at what's important, the classes over the last three years have been very, very good as a group,” Brown said. “It should give us a chance to have a really good football team next year.”