Monday, February 25, 2013
Gresham sends message with Texas visit
By Max Olson
Daniel Gresham knew the best way to dispel a belief wasn’t his words. It took actions.
That, in a nutshell, is why the Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints running back woke up early on Saturday morning, boarded a plane at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and made a surprise appearance at Texas’ second junior day.
Texas commit Daniel Gresham made a surprise appearance at junior day.
Nobody asked him to visit Austin. Nobody needed to. The Longhorns commit wasn’t out to send a message, but he hopes he did.
“A lot of people have been sitting around on the Internet and saying I’m going to decommit and that I’m not really a bell cow and things like that,” Gresham said. “I really wanted to get down there and show everybody how much I love Texas. It was important to me to be the bell cow of this class and get as many commits as I can.”
Gresham has been committed to Texas since August and hasn’t wavered. New offers have been coming in lately, including from Auburn, Miami, Tennessee and Ole Miss. He appreciates those, but they don’t change a thing.
Still, Gresham became frustrated last week when some posts on Twitter led Texas fans to question the strength of his commitment. While Gresham says things got blown out of his proportion, the criticism he faced on the social network prompted him to delete his @Dgresh33 Twitter account.
“I wish I hadn’t said anything,” Gresham said. “I let my immaturity get the best of me.”
Gresham could block out what the so-called fans were saying, but the implication still gnawed at him.
He considers himself one of the leaders of the Longhorns’ eight-man 2014 recruiting class. He’s serious about this, and the accusations that Gresham had one foot out the door -- misguided as they were -- couldn’t continue.
So he came up with a plan Friday night. He and fellow UT commit Demetrius Knox couldn’t get a ride to Texas for the program’s second junior day. But Gresham did have one thing going for him: His mother works for American Airlines.
That meant lining up a cheap, one-way ticket for a flight down to Austin was fairly easy. Gresham landed at 10:30 a.m. and got a ride over to campus from some friends. There, he was greeted with exactly he reaction he’d hoped for.
“Coach Brown ran up and gave me a big hug,” Gresham said. “He was surprised I came down and everybody was excited. It showed the coaching staff how serious I was about being a Longhorn.”
Mack Brown and his coaches had no idea Gresham was coming. He brought the longtime recruit up to speed on who Texas planned to offer and who he needed to spend time with during the day.
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Gresham stuck with fellow UT commit Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper) and focused his attention on Texas City (Texas) receiver Armanti Foreman, an Oklahoma commit, and Abilene defensive end Jake McMillon.
Texas didn’t pick up any new verbal commitments over the weekend, but Gresham is confident he did his job. He has continued to keep in touch with several key UT targets and hopes his presence at both junior days helped make an impact.
At the very least, it shut up any doubters. Those fans who bugged him this week know now that the 17-year-old isn’t afraid to puts his money where his mouth is.
He’s started a new Twitter account, but this time it’s private. He wants to let only friends and future teammates access his posts. There’s less attention and drama that way, or at least that’s his hope.
As Gresham caught a ride home with some buddies on Sunday, he was already looking forward to his next trip to Austin. He’ll be in town for the weekend of the Orange-White spring game and Texas Relays next month.
Next time, a plane trip won’t be necessary. But Gresham is glad it paid off.
“I didn’t set out to try to impress people,” he said. “I just wanted to come down and do what was best for Texas. Hopefully that’s what I did.”