Welcome back in Longhorns Nation, the focus of today's program is to look at the recruits that Coach Ape has brought in already this cycle and to speculate about their future roles on the team. Let's drive right in and examine the commitments one by one.
DT Zaquan Dykes 6-5 288 Fr Northland Christian (Houston TX) 2.5 of 4.0 2-Gap
Zaquan comes in as an electric performer in the high school ranks. Dykes was ranked the 4th best DT in the the recruiting class. He's ready to start right away at the next level. He'd fit best in a 3-4 defensive front. Dykes has a possible pro future ahead of himself if he can reach his ceiling in Austin. The path for Dykes in his first year is not completely set, that will depend if Redshirt Junior Zion Gaines declares for the draft or not. Either way, Longhorn nation should be excited for such a highly touted front 7 recruit.
OLB Ricardo Cortes 5-11 224 Fr Roscoe (Roscoe TX) 2.5 of 4.0 Coverage
A common theme will start to emerge soon for you with this class of recruits so far. Coach Ape has been laser focused on building up the defensive front 7 and has acquired some in state studs. Ricardo Cortes is the 8th ranked OLB in the class and will be ready to play almost right away after coming to Austin. Cortes is more of a coverage guy than a blitzer, but the Longhorns needed to get some more natural Outside Linebackers on the team. Cortes fills that role swimmingly.
OT Uzoma Akabueze 6-7 263 Fr Abuja (Nigeria) 3.0 of 4.0 Run Blocking
The Longhorns are going international and they have landed a huge recruit out of Nigeria. Uzoma Akabueze was ranked as the 4th best international recruit. Uzoma has been described as a natural lineman and won't need a lot of adjustment time to play the game at a high level. This is good because the Longhorns were looking very barren at OT before this recruiting cycle. He should step in and start right away for the team.
DE Shaq Edwards 6-5 254 Fr DeLeon (DeLeon TX) 1.0 of 4.0 Blitz
Shaq alert everyone! Coach Ape has added another Shaq this the squad. This time he's a Defensive End. Edwards is a little more raw than the other players in the class so far but he does have a nose for sacks and will possibly be playing on Sundays. He's ranked as the 19th best DE in the class but will possibly take a redshirt next year to work on getting his game up to the speed of the college game
DE Aaron Holguin 6-6 258 Fr Flour Bluff (Corpus Christi TX) 2.0 of 4.0 Contain
Look out Big 12 because Coach Ape has effectively recruited an entire defensive line of the future this class now. Aaron Holguin comes to Austin ready to make an impact. With the lack of depth at DE moving forward for the Longhorns Holguin will likely slide into a starting spot as a freshmen. He's more developed than Shaq Edwards and will be able to start right away if needed. He was ranked as the 9th best DE in the class.
TE Dereece Taylor 6-5 194 Fr DeLeon (DeLeon TX) 3.0 of 4.0 Receiving
Coach Ape did a little double dipping in DeLeon this cycle. He was able to pull in Shaq Edwards teammate Dereece Taylor, giving Benjamin Lockwood a huge asset in the pass game moving forward. Dereece is a huge threat in the passing game from the Tight End position and is highly developed already. He will likely be able to see the field right away next year and hit the ground running. Dereece was ranked as the 2nd best TE in this class.
P Cedric Renaudin 5-7 185 Fr Marseille (France) 1.0 of 4.5 Power
Going abroad again the Longhorns snagged an elite special teams player, this time from France. Cedric Renaudin came late to American Football but found himself quite the natural at punting. He's going to need a year at least to adjust to the college atmosphere and will learn from Transfer Tristian O'Rourke. Cedric was the 6th Ranked International recruit.
CB Shaq Lawson 5-11 187 Fr Westwood (Austin, TX) 1.0 of 4.0 [Zone Coverage]
And last but not least Shaq Lawson who had already committed to the Longhorns (thanks to Coach Ape's great local connections) brings the class to 8 players so far. All of the 8 players so far are pro potential guys. Having been committed already Lawson was not ranked in this class but would possibly slot in around the 30th-45th best CB in the class. He's still raw and will likely redshirt with the other Shaq in this class before taking the field for the Longhorns.