Defense: 2009 Recruiting Class

Okafor: Defensive Leader

The Texas Longhorns are about to sign another Top 10 recruiting class in the country and the top class in the Big 12 according to Scout.com national rankings. On the defensive side of the ball, the class is anchored by six defensive linemen. Burnt Orange Beat summarizes the expected defensive signees.

Mack Brown is about to sign another impressive group of new Texas Longhorns on Wednesday's National Signing Day. Of the twenty recruits in the class, eleven are on the stop force.

Defensive Linemen

The war is often won in the trenches and the defensive line is a top priority in this class as the Longhorns lose three defensive starters off the Fiesta Bowl champions. Texas is signing six defensive linemen in this class.

DT Calvin Howell (San Antonio Warren) 6-4, 280
Howell is the #15 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Howell earned a 28-5A 1st Team Selection for his Warren Warriors. Howell selected the Longhorns over Oklahoma, LSU, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, and others.
Verbal Commitment: 5/14/2008

DT Derek Johnson (Hoxie, AR) 6-3, 310
Johnson earned a 3A All-Conference selection for his Hoxie Mustangs while posting 76 tackles, 12 quarterback pressures, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, one caused fumble and one fumble recovery that he returned 40 yards for a score, despite being double teamed on every play and sometimes triple teamed. Johnson selected the Longhorns over Arkansas, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and others.
Verbal Commitment: 5/29/2008

DE/DT Kyle Kriegel (Elysian Fields) 6-5, 255
Kriegel is the #83 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Kriegel posted 116 tackles, nine sacks, 38 tackles for a loss, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a sophomore for Elysian Fields High School. Kriegel was dominant again in his junior season, posting 15 sacks, 128 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and one touchdown on a fumble return. Kriegel graduated early and is already on campus.
Verbal Commitment: 2/23/2008

DE Alex Okafor (Pflugerville) 6-4.5, 232
Okafor is the #4 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Okafor earned AP 1st Team All-State after a tremendous senior season. Okafor was recruited by virtually every school in the country and chose the Longhorns over offers from LSU, Nebraska, Texas Tech, and Stanford. Okafor graduated early and is already on campus.
Verbal Commitment: 3/22/2008

DE Dominique Jones (Kilgore) 6-3, 231
Jones is the #31 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list and the 14-4A Defensive MVP. Jones selected the Longhorns over offers from Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and TCU. Jones graduated early and is already on campus although he is expected to miss spring ball after shoulder surgery.
Verbal Commitment: 2/23/2008
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DE Tevin Mims (Round Rock Stony Point) 6-3.5, 230
Mims was the latest commitment in the class after a tremendous senior season which earned him Honorable Mention 5A All-State honors. Mims is the #33 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Mims chose the Longhorns over offers from Texas A&M, TCU, Kansas, Arizona, Texas Tech, and others.
Verbal Commitment: 1/18/2009

Linebackers

This Texas class includes only two linebackers. That allocation is in part due to the fact that Texas only loses one linebacker to graduation (Bobino), and the shift in the Big 12 to pass-happy offenses which often take linebackers off the field.

ILB Tariq Allen (Irving MacArthur) 6-1, 231
Allen is the #46 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Allen finished his senior season with 122 total tackles (34 solo), 16 TFLs, four quarterback hurries, four sacks, three pass break-ups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Those impressive numbers earned him Honorable Mention 5A All-State. Allen selected the Longhorns over offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Kansas, and Purdue. Allen graduated early and is already on campus.
Verbal Commitment: 3/5/2008

OLB Patrick Nkwopara (South Grand Prairie) 5-8.5, 202
Allen is the #87 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Nkwopara notched 100 tackles as a senior which earned him 7-5A Defensive MVP honors. Nkowpara was recruited by Oklahoma State, SMU, Houston, and Texas Tech before choosing Texas.
Verbal Commitment: 2/23/2008

Defensive Backs

The three defensive backs in the Texas class all bring flexibility to the backfield as all could likely play corner or safety. Barnett and Vaccaro both suffered season ending knee injuries as seniors so both are on the mend.

S Marcus Davis (Clear Creek) 6-0, 193
Davis is the #12 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Davis choose the Longhorns over offers from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, UCLA, Florida, Florida State among others. Davis graduated early and is already on campus.
Verbal Commitment: 2/11/2008

S/CB Kenny Vaccaro (Early) 6-0, 190
Vaccaro is the #41 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Vaccaro was injured as a senior at Early High School, but as a junior, Vaccaro accumulated over 100 tackles and four interceptions at Brownwood. Vaccaro chose the Longhorns over offers from Oklahoma, Florida, Stanford, among others. The Early standout graduated early and is already on campus.
Verbal Commitment: 2/29/2008

CB Eryon Barnett (Euless Trinity) 6-2, 185
Barnett is the #24 player in Texas on the Burnt Orange Beat 2009 Top 125 list. Barnett was injured as a senior at Euless Trinity High School. Barnett selected the Longhorns over offers from Miami and Oklahoma, among others.
Verbal Commitment: 2/23/2008

Note: Dre Kirkpatrick and Jarvis Jones are still possible additions to the defensive class and both are expected to announce their decisions on Wednesday, February 4.

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