It’s been a busy yet productive week for Texas Longhorns recruiting, and that trend continued Friday with the commitment of St. Augustine (New Orleans) cornerback Jermaine Roberts. Joining his high school teammate Courtney Garnett (who committed to Texas on Sunday), Roberts becomes the 15th member of UT’s 2014 class — and its first defensive back.
At first blush, Roberts’ measurables appear a little underwhelming — 5’9″, 170 lbs. (as a reference point, Quandre Diggs is officially listed at 5’10″, meaning in actuality he’s probably closer to 5’6 1/2″) — but he has long arms, which allow him to play bigger, and he’s flashed exceptional speed, quickness, and a physical demeanor in his recent camp performances, causing his stock to explode on the national level. The Horns earned his commitment over the likes of Alabama, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Ole Miss.
As mentioned before, out-of-state recruits typically tickle the fancy of fan bases in an altogether different way than the local ones do, but Roberts is an interesting case study. It’s a loaded class in Texas for defensive backs, so the fact that UT’s first DB commitment comes from Louisiana can be taken one of two ways: a) After years of stubborn frustration, Mack Brown is finally expanding his recruiting circumference to go out and get the best players available, no matter where they may be; or b) Because of an ever-changing landscape, one that’s more crowded now with a resurgent Texas A&M, an always-present LSU, and an expanding SEC footprint, the Longhorns aren’t closing on the top in-state talent at as high a clip, forcing them to look elsewhere to fill out their needs.
Like most things in life, the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. In the big picture, though, it all comes down to on-field performance, and in Roberts, it appears the Horns are getting a player who can help deliver those on-field results.
If he’s good enough for Duane Akina’s mustache, he’s good enough for me.
You can contact Brent Stoller at [email protected]