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DE Bryce Cottrell switches to Texas

1/30/2012

Just when it seemed Texas had wrapped up an impressive 2012 recruiting class with two weekend commitments, the Longhorns have pulled off an improbable switch.

Two-star defensive end Bryce Cottrell (Plano, Texas/Plano West) confirmed in a text message to HornsNation he has given Texas his verbal commitment. Cottrell had previously been committed to Oregon for the past three months.

"It was best for me and my family," Cottrell said in a text message. "Their scheme fit me better.

"The [Texas] coaches sat me down and showed me everything, and it truly did fit the way I play."

Like Sunday’s commit, Van linebacker Dalton Santos, Cottrell was firm in his commitment until Texas made a last-second effort to recruit him in the past week.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound recruit will play weakside defensive end and was recruited by Longhorns defensive ends coach Oscar Giles. He received his offer last week and took an official visit to Austin over the weekend.

Though the visit went well, Cottrell said staying closer to home and doing what was best for his family was “all it came down to.”

“I want to live in Texas when I get older,” he said, “and it will provide me with a great education.”

Unlike Santos, though, Cottrell was no sure thing for Texas. He remained quiet publicly last week about his plans and was conflicted by the difficult decision to back out of a relationship with Oregon that spanned at least eight months for one with Texas that started barely one week ago.

But on Monday, Cottrell contacted Ducks linebackers coach Don Pellum and informed him of his decision to pick Texas.

“Tough, man,” Cottrell said. “Just real tough.”

Cottrell recorded 83 tackles, six tackles for loss and five sacks in his senior season for Plano West. In addition to him, Texas has verbal commitments from defensive end recruits Caleb Bluiett (Beaumont, Texas/West Brook) and Hassan Ridgeway (Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield), who recently reaffirmed his commitment after taking a visit to Texas A&M this weekend.

Texas now has 27 verbal commitments for a 2012 class that moved back up to the No. 2 spot on ESPNU’s team rankings on Monday.

After receiving verbal pledges from Cottrell, Santos and four-star athlete Daje Johnson (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) in the past three days, Longhorn coaches have only one name left on their wish list: Top-ranked receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. The nation’s best uncommitted recruit will announce his decision Wednesday morning on ESPNU.

ESPN Midlands Recruiting writer Damon Sayles contributed to this report. Max Olson covers University of Texas sports and recruiting for HornsNation.