2011 freshman summer check-in
May 31, 2011
Grant Abston, Texas Media Relations
The majority of the Texas Longhorns remaining 2011 recruiting class arrived on campus Tuesday, ready to join the four early enrollees as part of the 22-member freshman class.
Joined by their families and friends, players filtered in and out of the dorms throughout the morning as coaches and staff waited to greet them. With a few players still set to arrive in the coming days, the morning marked the start of each student-athletes collegiate career and is a day that has been circled on the calendar for a long time.
"I'm truly excited, and it's a great opportunity for my son," said Bobby Greenlea, father of offensive lineman Garrett Greenlea. "This whole recruiting business started late in his freshman year, early in his sophomore year, so it's been three years coming. You wonder if it's actually ever going to get here or not, so it's been a long time coming and we're just glad to be here."
While choosing the best place to continue her son's athletic career was an important decision for Tarsha Hutchins, mother of offensive lineman Marcus Hutchins, it was the emphasis the Texas coaching staff placed on education in addition to athletics that made the difference.
"After we went to different schools and then talked to Coach Brown, I felt like this was a good decision for him," Hutchins said. "All of the other schools were talking about the NFL, and Coach Brown was talking about grades and education. I felt comfortable with that because that is the main goal for him - is to get his education. When he made his decision, I felt that he made a mature decision because he basically said the same thing, and I was real proud of him at that time."
While the location of the University of Texas made it an appealing choice for running back Malcom Brown's family who live in San Antonio, Tommy Brown, Malcolm's father, praised the coaching staff for making their decision one they felt comfortable with.
"Coach Brown was a very personable guy who made us feel at home," Brown said. "Then Coach [Major] Applewhite put the icing on the cake. He made us feel like we were already a part of the family before we even made the decision. The rest of the staff always went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and every time we came up we saw not only the coaches, but we saw the coaches' families. So that made a difference."
For the Shipley family, the decision to come to Texas was easy after having a familiarity with the program atmosphere created by the coaching staff and players.
"Our oldest son, Jordan, came here back in the day, so Jaxon was little when we first started coming here," said Sharon Shipley, mother of wide receiver Jaxon Shipley. "We love it here. The coaches and their families are just a big part of it. There was no question this was where he wanted to be."
Shaunta Brown, mother of linebacker Kendall Thompson, echoed Shipley's sentiments in describing the family-like atmosphere.
"It's the way they accepted us with open arms as a big family," Brown said. "When you walked in you felt like a family and [felt] the warmness around here. He's always wanted to come here since he was a little boy, so when they [offered], that's the only choice we had."
Despite being a bittersweet day for both the student-athletes and their families, the check-in marks the start of an exciting journey for each arriving player.
"It's still hard to believe that we're here, that we're doing this," Greenlea said. "Certainly I'm looking forward to fall and coming back and having a vested interested in watching the ballgames. I want to see him on the field. I want to see his name on the back of his jersey. He's been playing ball since he was six years old and to see him here at one of the best universities in the country and such a prestigious, storied program as well - him having an opportunity to be a part of that - it's hard to describe how I feel right now."