- William Wilkerson, RecruitingNation
Houston Sharpstown head coach Dallas Blacklock had heard about Longhorns wide receiver Marquise Goodwin when Texas’ coaches compared his receiver, Roderick Bernard, to the Olympian. But he didn’t know a ton about him.
So he did his research on Goodwin to gauge exactly what Texas’ coaches had envisioned for Bernard and was immediately sold on the comparison.
“I knew of Marquise but didn’t know a lot about him so I looked him up and he and Roderick are identical,” he said.
Longhorns coaches are hoping that Bernard can bring that type of playmaking ability to Austin when he arrives on campus in January, 2014. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound prospect committed to Texas on Wednesday.
The journey to this commitment began weeks ago but really gained speed when coach Mack Brown stopped by the high school on Wednesday to extend the offer.
“Coach [Mack] Brown came by the school today and I spoke with him for five minutes,” Blacklock said. “He just asked me about Roderick’s character. He is the best kid I have ever coached as far as character wise. Those are the things that Coach Brown is looking for. He told me that we want him to be a Longhorn.”
Bernard said he found out about the offer at around 3 p.m. as he was working out. It didn’t take him long at all to accept even though he also had an offer from Houston to consider.
“My mind was already made up,” said Bernard, who will attend Texas’ first junior day on Feb. 10. “It was made up before because they were showing me interest early on. I had my mind set to go to UT. Now I am going to put in extra work to do what I have to do.”
Bernard was an all-district defensive back as a junior but Texas will bring him in as a receiver, which means he becomes the second WR in 2014 along with Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper), the class’ first commitment. The Longhorns now have seven commitments in 2014.
He recorded 34 receptions for 790 yards (23 yards per reception) and nine touchdowns in 2012 and also finished with 38 tackles, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups.
“Roderick Bernard has been a diamond in the rough for a very long time,” Blacklock said. “When I came in two years ago Coach [Oscar] Giles came by and was looking at some guys and I told him to check out this kid name Roderick. I told him he was going to be big time. It’s only a matter of time.”
According to Blacklock, Giles watched some film and was immediately struck by his speed. Blacklock said Bernard has 4.3 40-yard dash speed. Bernard said the fastest 40 he’s ever been hand-timed at was a 4.2.
“He told me Coach [Wyatt] loves Roderick and he thinks he might fit in our program,” Blacklock said.
That was music to the ears of Bernard when the message was relayed to him. He called Texas’ coaches late Wednesday to give them his verbal pledge.
“It means a lot. I put God first. I just feel like this is a big blessing for me,” he said. “I’ve been working hard to get out there. The time finally came. My family helped me through it too. I keep my head on straight. I was raised like that.”
As a sophomore (spring 2012) won his district title in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. Bernard thinks his speed is one of his attributes that drew Texas to him. But that wasn’t the only thing.
“I think my speed and talent but also keeping my grades up in class,” he said. “There are a lot of athletes out there that don’t keep up with their grades. I am not one of those guys that is going to go out there and do something silly. I always want to help the school and my family. That’s the kind of person that I am.”
1dSam Khan Jr. and Alex Scarborough