Thursday, May 30, 2013
Texas lands pledges from Teuhema brothers
By Max Olson
KELLER, Texas -- As far as package deals go, they don’t get much better than the one Texas landed Thursday night.
As expected, brothers Sione Teuhema and Maea Teuhema gave their verbal pledges to the Longhorns following Keller (Texas) High School’s spring game.
Following the game, the two brothers kept things modest for their big announcement: Maea grabbed a black Texas tee out of a bag, Sione grabbed a white one and they grinned as they held them up.
Maea Teuhema (left) and Sione Teuhema both committed to the Longhorns on Thursday.
“It feels good to be a Longhorn,” Maea Teuhema said.
Sione, a 2014 defensive end, becomes the 14th member of Texas’ No. 2-ranked recruiting class. His younger brother, coveted offensive tackle Maea, becomes one of the cornerstone pieces of the Longhorns’ 2015 class and its fourth verbal pledge.
“It’s close to home – not too far and not too close,” Sione Teuhema said. “And we love the school and it was a good experience. We agreed on Texas. LSU was too far. For me, the first time I visited there, I just fell in love with Texas.”
This commitment has seemed almost inevitable since the day the Teuhemas set foot on the Texas campus on March 23 and were taken immediately into coach Mack Brown’s office to receive scholarship offers.
Ever since, the Longhorns appeared to be the leaders to land the impressive duo. Texas coaches told Sione he reminds them of former UT All-American Brian Orakpo, and they viewed Maea as one of the state’s best sophomore prospects.
"The biggest thing is it feels like home," their guardian, Robert Taliaferro, said. "It really did to me and to them. We loved the defensive ends coach, and we loved the offensive line coach. And at the end of the day, if the NFL doesn't work out, they want to get a job and live in Texas."
But the Teuhemas did their research before reaching this decision, including visits to LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and several other programs. Alabama also made a strong late push, though the brothers were unable to visit Tuscaloosa.
According to Taliaferro, the decision was tougher than expected at one point this spring.
"I thought we were going to LSU, I really did," he said. "It was dadgum close to being LSU, done deal, and we almost committed that day while we were down there. It was that strong of an impression. But when they got home and realized just how far it was, they went back to Texas again and started talking about how much Texas felt like home."
Sione came to Taliaferro nearly two weeks ago and asked what he'd think if they chose Texas. One day later, he took it a step further.
"He said, 'We pick Texas,' " Taliaferro said. "I talked to Maea alone and asked if he was on board with this, and he said yeah. He said, 'Actually, we decided Texas a long time ago. We just weren't telling you to mess with you.' "
The duo wanted to hold off on announcing so more Keller teammates could get noticed by recruiters during their spring practices.
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According to Taliaferro, this commitment completely ends their recruitment. Maea, a 6-foot-4, 344-pound offensive tackle, will be a Longhorn no matter what, even if he doesn’t sign his letter of intent for another 20 months.
"We've turned down LSU and Alabama," Taliaferro said. "Who else is going to win us over?"
That was the plan all along. The brothers would not split up and play at different schools, and college recruiters obliged that plan by offering both brothers.
Sione, a 6-3, 211-pound speed rushing end, and his brother also held offers from Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, TCU, Utah and Washington State.
He’s the third defensive end in this Texas class, joining top commit Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) and Jake McMillon (Abilene, Texas/Abilene).
Maea becomes the second offensive lineman in Texas’ 2015 class, joining Sherman (Texas) guard Aaron Garza.