- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Texas picked up its first verbal commitment of the Charlie Strong era on Wednesday.
Arizona Western Community College tight end Blake Whiteley chose the Longhorns over Arkansas, Virginia, Purdue and several other offers, his father confirmed Wednesday.
The three-star prospect, a native of Canada, is 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and has four years to play three seasons at Texas.
Whiteley took an official visit to Texas in December, on the weekend coach Mack Brown announced his resignation, and decided the Longhorns were the right place for him even with Brown resigning.
In his lone season at Arizona Western, Whiteley caught eight passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns. He had more than 70 catches during his senior season at West Vancouver Secondary.
Whiteley was offered in early December after tight end John Thomas of Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College decommitted from the Longhorns. He fills a major need, since the Longhorns will have two seniors at the position in 2014.
Geoff Swaim and Greg Daniels emerged as trusted blockers in Texas’ run-heavy attack this season but were non-factors in the passing game, combining for six catches on the year. Whiteley provides a long-term option at tight end, but still has some growing to do.
Arizona Western coach Tom Minnick said Whiteley had little experience weight lifting or playing on the line coming from Canada. He learned plenty about blocking and lifting in his year of junior college ball.
“He was raw coming out of Canada,” Minnick said, “but he’s got the signs of being a great one when it’s all said and done.