- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Texas picking up its second wide receiver commitment this week is not much of a surprise. The surprise is who it came from.
Longview (Texas) wide receiver Dorian Leonard called the Longhorns coaching staff on Thursday morning to deliver his pledge, becoming the 16th member of Texas' No. 3 ranked 2014 class.
Leonard hadn't been able to make it to either of Texas' camps this month, had set no timetable for a decision, and, in fact, had never publicly indicated that Texas was in the lead for his pledge.
"They just stood out a little bit more to me,” Leonard said. “It was between Texas and Oklahoma, and Texas just stood out a little more.”
So Leonard made the big phone call to area recruiter Stacy Searels and became the fourth wide receiver in Texas' class, joining Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper), Roderick Bernard (Houston/Sharpstown) and Garrett Gray (Marble Falls, Texas/Marble Falls), who committed on Monday.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound wideout caught 22 passes for 444 yards and four touchdowns in 2012 and is confident he'll bring a special skill set to the Longhorn receiving corps.
“I'm a big, physical receiver,” Leonard said. “I'm a big target to get to, and I have good hands. It feels real good to know I'm a Texas commit and I have a college to go to. I wanted to get committed so I can go back to working hard on the field.”
For Leonard, deciding between Texas and Oklahoma was a difficult call. He had a lot of reasons to like both programs after visiting this spring.
“It was a tougher decision at first, but Texas started to stand out to me,” he said. “The class that they've got coming in made a difference, and I know Texas is better academically. It looks like a real good class to be in.”
Leonard said Texas' new spread offense and its coaching staff were also a big sell and a reason why he decided to make his unexpected pledge Thursday.
He plans to shut down his recruitment now and won't visit any other schools, and Leonard is hoping to take an unofficial visit to Texas later this summer to make up for missing camp.
Considering Longview has been a prominent pipeline for Oklahoma, one that produced receiver Malcolm Kelly and offensive tackle Trent Williams, Leonard knew there would be some pressure to pick the Sooners.
“A lot of people thought I would end up at Oklahoma, but sometimes you've got to do your own thing,” he said. “It's exciting. Me and my mom are real happy. She's happy for me and all that.”
Despite Leonard's pledge, the Longhorns will continue recruiting receivers Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) and recent TCU commit Emanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln). Both attended camp Sunday and could be closing in on decisions soon.
518dSam Khan Jr. and Max Olson