Texas Longhorns: Class of 2014

His real name is Donald Catalon. But you can call him “Duke.”

For the time being, he also has another moniker: Texas commitment.

[+] EnlargeDonald Catalon
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comRunning back Duke Catalon becomes the third commitment to the Longhorns' 2014 recruiting class.
The 2014 running back from Houston Eisenhower informed Longhorns coaches Friday morning that he would like to become their latest bit of good news in what has turned into a week full of it.

“I like how Coach [Major] Applewhite really shows you how to run your plays,” he said.

Catalon spoke with head coach Mack Brown, who gave his newest commitment a bit of advice.

"He said that since I have committed now to stay away from others because they are going to be trying to get me and that he wants me to go to games and etcetera," Catalon said.

Catalon was one of the 20-plus juniors that the Longhorns extended official offers to on Thursday.

He is the third addition to Texas’ 2014 class, all of which have come since Thursday afternoon. Wide receiver Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper) was the first to pledge in what became a banner day for a program that unexpectedly shift its recruiting philosophy.

Normally the Longhorns wait until after signing day in February and offer prospects at a junior day. But that has changed. HornsNation has confirmed that at least 21 2014 recruits have been officially offered.

Defensive end Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) joined Joe in committing late Thursday night, and now the Longhorns have added one of the state’s top running backs to their stable.

Catalon, who checks in at 5-foot-10 and 193 pounds, chose the Longhorns over offers from SMU and Texas Tech.

He has already familiarized himself with the campus and the coaching staff by attending both Longhorns camps in June. The first one he attended but only in support of some teammates.

The following week he returned and really made a name for himself.

“After the camp I had talked with Coach Mack Brown and Coach Applewhite in Coach Brown’s office,” Catalon said. “Coach Brown was basically asking me how my grades were and talked about how I looked out there. He liked my speed and my ability to play football.

“It was big for me because they are one of the top schools, and I wasn’t expecting that.”

Catalon saw his role increase dramatically from his 22 carries (for 142 yards) as a freshman to his sophomore season when he carried the ball 165 times for 1,148 yards and six touchdowns.

That 7.0 yards per carry average clearly intrigued Texas enough to give him the opportunity to join a backfield that could be in question by the time he makes it to Austin.

Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron would both be seniors in 2014, and heralded freshman Johnathan Gray will be draft eligible by then.

The Longhorns only have one commitment from a running back in 2013 from Kyle Hicks (Arlington, Texas/Martin).

Now, earlier than ever during Mack Brown’s tenure, Texas has a commitment from a running back before he’s even played a down during his junior season. And Donald couldn’t be happier to be that guy.

Neither could Duke for that matter. You know, that Texas commitment.
The Longhorns took a step toward replacing the potential loss of both starting defensive ends in 2012 with the commitment of 2014 edge rusher Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan).

Roberson wasted little time accepting the offer when it came Thursday night.

“I came home from jogging and my dad handed me the phone and said it was coach [Duane] Akina from UT,” Roberson said. “He told me they offered and that they wanted me to come to school. I committed right away.”

Roberson is the first defensive end commitment in 2014. He could be in line to help replace senior Alex Okafor and junior Jackson Jeffcoat, who could forego his senior season for the NFL Draft.

He is the second commitment of Texas’ class of 2014. Athlete Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper) was the first to pledge in what became a banner day for a program that unexpectedly shifted the way it went about offering juniors.

Normally the Longhorns wait until after signing day in February to have prospects come to a junior day before it offers. But that changed today with HornsNation confirming that at least 19 recruits from 2014 have been offered.

That included an overjoyed Roberson, who has liked the Longhorns all his life despite only living in Texas for less than a year.

Both of his parents are in the military and they moved from Las Vegas to San Antonio during the 2011-2012 school year. San Antonio has one of the largest populations of Air Force members in the nation with Lackland Air Force Base.

“I’ve always wanted to go to UT,” Roberson said. “They have always been my top option. I just like Texas. I have been looking at Texas ever since I was a little kid.”

Roberson didn’t garner much attention while playing in Las Vegas. But that all changed when he came to Brennan and tormented offenses to the tune of 105 tackles, 31 tackles-for-loss, nine sacks and one interception. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder claims to run a 4.7 40-yard dash.

He made enough of a name for himself with his performance at one of Texas’ two June camps for Texas to become his first offer. He was also able to develop a bond with Longhorns defensive ends coach Oscar Giles.

“He just told me how he could show me some stuff that I could take down to Brennan and that I could be an all-star,” he said.

The offer came as a complete surprise.

“I didn’t see them coming,” he said. “I don’t know why I went ahead and committed today. I just wanted that offer and wanted the guaranteed scholarship.”

2014 DE Shaw only getting better 

July, 31, 2012
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Two seasons ago Dequone Shaw was merely an onlooker when Dallas Roosevelt took the field on Friday nights.

He had the athleticism to play at the varsity level but hadn’t fully grasped the mental aspect of the game. So with a keen eye, the freshman watched and took mental notes.

“Just going to varsity games and seeing how people gave it their all and didn’t care about anything but football,” Shaw said. “That next season my coach came to me and told me I had to work hard to make varsity. I knew what I had to do to be a good varsity player. I did it and here I am now.”
Texas was able to target and nab commitments from most of its top targets in 2013, which has allowed the Longhorns’ coaching staff to begin evaluating 2014 sooner than ever.

Here is an early look at some of those targets are on offense:

Quarterback

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2014 OL could get Texas offer soon 

May, 18, 2012
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The college coaches came for the star quarterback. They stayed for his giant young lineman.

All those recruiters who stopped by Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints Episcopal last season to scout eventual UCLA signee T.J. Millweard are making their way back this spring.

The attention has helped establish Demetrius Knox as one of the state’s most highly sought recruits for the 2014 class.

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Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) picked up his first-ever offer last week, but another school remains the clear leader for one of the state’s best quarterbacks of the 2014 class.

Heard earned an offer from Nebraska and its offensive coordinator, Tim Beck, after the Huskers scouted him at a recent Guyer spring practice.

“It was a pretty neat thing when they offered me, and I was so excited. It was amazing. I talked to the offensive coordinator and he’s really cool,” Heard said. “They really like my film and how I ran the offense at Guyer, which is what they run at Nebraska.”

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In the hierarchy of organization you might find The Container Store and your grandmother’s linen closet at the top of the list.

Not far behind, though, would have to be the 2012 version of Mack Brown’s coaching staff.

This time last year, as Texas neared the kickoff of its annual Orange-White game, they were, in essence, running around like kids in an Easter egg hunt. With so many coaches still trying to adjust to their new surroundings, the Longhorns had yet to identify the state’s top targets and entertained only about 25 sophomores at the game.

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