NCF On The Trail: Daniel Gresham

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Louisville’s class is in free fall after Charlie Strong’s departure for Texas, but would Bobby Petrino be able to salvage things? And, Wednesday produced a mix of both bad and good news for Strong.

Louisville’s class needs a shepherd

Texas recruits hanging with Longhorns 

September, 8, 2013
Being the Joneses has its perks.

But when the Joneses can’t live up to their own way of living, things can go awry very quickly.

Manny Diaz found out just how quickly Sunday afternoon when he was relieved of his duties as Texas’ defensive coordinator not even 24 hours after the Longhorns gave up a school-record 550 rushing yards and 679 total yards to BYU in an embarrassing 40-21 loss in Provo, Utah.

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LEANDER, Texas – ESPN 300 back Daniel Gresham (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints) is confident that his commitment to Louisville will be the final one he makes before signing day next February.

But that doesn’t mean the No. 1 fullback in the nation won’t take a few more visits first.

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The nation’s top-ranked fullback is going back home.

Versatile offensive back Daniel Gresham (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) spent most of his life in Kentucky and grew up a big Louisville fan. On Monday morning, Gresham decided to turn his favorite team into his future team as the 5-foot-11, 229-pound, ESPN 300 athlete verbally committed to the Cardinals.

Gresham, strong enough to play fullback but quick and agile enough to play running back, chose Louisville over an offers from Miami. A former Texas commit, Gresham becomes Louisville’s 15th overall pledge and the second ESPN 300 athlete to commit to the Cardinals, joining wide receiver Isaiah Ford (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy).

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Tales from the Road: Texas 

May, 29, 2013
Every Wednesday, HornsNation will take a look at Texas' week in recruiting in Tales From The Road.

This week’s targets: The Longhorns coaching staff spent plenty of time out in California last week with a particular interest in the crop of 2015 quarterbacks the state is producing. Texas co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite stopped by to see touted pro-style passer Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), who is planning to visit Texas from June 11-13. He also visited with Kyle Kearns (Pleasanton, Calif./Foothill), Josh Rosen (Beliflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Kevin Dillman (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and Jake Browning (Folsom, Calif./Folsom). Texas also stopped by Fort Bend Travis to watch Texas A&M commitment Nick Harvey.

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Gresham has top six, sets two visits 

May, 27, 2013
It’s been a little over two weeks since Daniel Gresham (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) decided Texas wasn’t the place for him. Now, the nation’s No. 2 fullback is inching closer to finalizing where his new home will be.

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Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal) has started with one, and it’s the one Ohio State fans were hoping it would be.

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RB Gresham decommits from Texas

May, 11, 2013

Two weeks after Demetrius Knox decommitted from Texas, his friend and teammate has followed suit.

Four-star running back Daniel Gresham (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints) has decommitted from Texas. He’d been committed to the Longhorns since August. Gresham confirmed his decision in a text message.

"It just wasn't the right fit for me," Gresham said. "I have many reasons [for decommitting], but I don't want to get into it."

Daniel Gresham
Max Olson/ESPN.comDaniel Gresham is rated the No. 2 fullback in the nation and the No. 30 prospect in the state of Texas.
Gresham, who’d long been considered a package deal with Knox, didn’t decommit simply because the All Saints four-star offensive lineman did. He was unhappy that Texas is working to land a third running back for its top-ranked 2014 recruiting class.

The Longhorns recently offered scholarship to ESPN 150 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), four-star back Adam Choice (Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County) and Plano (Texas) West standout Auston Anderson.

Texas already has a longtime verbal pledge from Donald Catalon, the Houston Eisenhower back who was one of the first members of the class.

Gresham, the nation’s No. 2 fullback prospect, told HornsNation as recently as last week that he was still solid with Texas.

When he committed to Texas on Aug. 7, Gresham held only one offer. Since then, he’s landed offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Ole Miss, Ohio State and several others.

Ole Miss and Louisville appear to be the early favorites to land him, and Gresham said Florida State, Alabama, Tennessee and Miami are all on his short list now.

The 5-foot-10, 236-pound prospect was recruited to play a variety of roles in the Texas offense -- not just fullback. He’s seeking a school that will give him a chance to be a featured running back.

The loss of Gresham leaves Texas with 13 commits for its 2014 class.

OL Demetrius Knox decommits from Texas

April, 22, 2013
Texas’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class suffered a blow on Monday when Demetrius Knox decided to decommit from the Longhorns.

The Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints offensive guard had been committed to Texas since November but took unofficial visits to Oklahoma and Ohio State this spring. All Saints teammate and Texas commit Daniel Gresham confirmed Knox’s decision.

The news of Knox’s decommitment is hardly a surprise considering how his recruitment has played out since that Nov. 26 pledge. Though Knox considered himself one of the leaders of the Longhorns’ 2014 class, the Columbus, Ohio, native had expressed interest in taking visits to out-of-state schools on multiple occasions this spring.

The biggest reason for Knox’s decision to pick Texas was the fact Gresham was also committed to the Longhorns. The two plan to play together in college, and at the time of his commitment last August, Texas was the only school to offer Gresham.

Knox, a 6-foot-4, 296-pound lineman, said in an interview a month ago that he was still solid with UT and had developed a great relationship with the coaching staff. Still, he knew the fan base was beginning to expect that he could back out of his pledge.

“Everybody feels threatened that they're going to have another big-name decommit,” Knox said at the time. “That's understandable. But if I was going to do it, I would've done it by now."

Before committing, Knox also considered Ohio State, TCU and Alabama. He's also shown some interest in visiting UCLA and other schools on the West and East Coast.

Despite Knox’s decision and the fact they’re a package deal, Gresham said he has not decommitted from Texas.

“With all due respect, I’m my own person,” he said. “Demetrius felt like it was the best choice for him.”

Five stories to watch: Dallas NFTC 

April, 5, 2013
The Nike Football Training Camp series will continue outside of Dallas on Sunday. Athletes will trek to Allen, Texas, the home of one of the most impressive high school stadiums in the country. Allen Eagles Stadium, a $60-million facility, opened last year and featured nearly 22,000 fans watching Texas powers Allen and Southlake Carroll clash.

Here are five storylines to watch on Sunday.

Talented DBs aplenty

It’s been said on multiple occasions that the 2014 class may be one of the strongest in years at producing big-time defensive backs in the region. The battle for defensive back MVP has the potential of being extremely competitive with players such as Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville), Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), Steven Parker (Jenks, Okla./Jenks) and Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt) expected to be in attendance. Chris Hardeman (Houston/Alief Taylor) has committed to LSU, while Dylan Sumner-Gardner (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) and Armani Watts (Forney, Texas/North Forney) have pledged to Texas A&M. Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange-Stark), a 2015 prospect, has verbally committed to Alabama. All of the DBs will have their shots in one-on-one drills against equally talented ESPN Watch List receivers such as Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant) and Texas commit Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper).

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A healthy Kyle Hicks will benefit TCU 

December, 3, 2012
Last year, ESPN 150 athlete Daje Johnson committed to TCU in March, only to change his verbal to Texas and sign with the Longhorns in February.

TCU got its comeuppance on Monday.

ESPN 300 running back Kyle Hicks, a Texas commit since mid-February, chose to decommit from the Longhorns and give his verbal to the Horned Frogs early Monday afternoon. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back, ranked No. 219 in the ESPN 300, is TCU’s highest-ranked commit and the Horned Frogs’ 16th commit overall.

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2014 OT Demetrius Knox commits to Texas 

November, 26, 2012
Back in August, Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints) was ready to commit to Texas. He made a phone call to offensive line coach Stacy Searels to give his pledge.

But Searles didn’t answer. On that Aug. 6 afternoon, Texas was in the middle of a preseason practice. So Knox waited, and after talking it out with his family and coaches he decided to hold off.

[+] EnlargeDemetrius Knox
Max Olson/ESPN.comOffensive tackle Demetrius Knox is Texas' sixth ESPN Watch List commitment for the 2014 class.
After taking visits and considering all his options, the ESPN Watch List offensive tackle decided his first decision was the right one.

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Weekend Rewind: Texas 

November, 26, 2012
The combination of the Thanksgiving holiday and Texas high school football playoffs made it difficult for some players to make it to Austin for Texas' loss to TCU. Looking back, though, that could have been a good thing given the way the Longhorns played. Then again, it was on national television for the whole country to see.

One of those players who wasn't able to make it in was 2013 Texas commitment Geoff Swaim, who watched the game back home.

"I thought it was a tough game," Swaim said. "There didn't seem to be a lot of rhythm in the game, and when you don't have any rhythm it's hard to get anything going."

Despite the loss, Swaim isn't getting discouraged with his choice to commit to Texas and still thinks the lofty expectations of this team moving forward are well in reach.

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Texas commits make ESPN Watch List 

September, 27, 2012
Future Longhorns and prospects Texas coaches would like to label “future Longhorns” are well represented in the class of 2014 ESPN Watch List, which was released today.

All five of Texas’ 2014 verbal commitments made the cut in RB Donald “Duke” Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower), FB Daniel Gresham (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints, QB Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer), ATH Lorenzo Joe (Abilene, Texas/Cooper) and DE Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/ Brennan).

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FORT WORTH, Texas -- Texas knew it was getting a versatile weapon in 2014 running back Daniel Gresham (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints). But how’s this for versatility? Gresham has played lead roles in two All Saints Episcopal theater productions.

That's right, he was Horton the Elephant in “Seussical,” and the voice of the evil plant in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

“The guy can sing. Really well,” All Saints coach Aaron Beck said. “He’s one of those guys who gets pulled in a lot of different directions.”

The bruising, 5-foot-11, 220-pound back can also pitch and play outfield. For the Longhorns, though, the new commit will be quite a handful as a hybrid fullback/running back who can also catch passes out of the backfield.

Beck admits he finds it hard to believe Gresham is only going into his junior season.

“The kid is a freak in the weight room,” Beck said. “We tested him on Monday. On the squats, I stopped him at 600 pounds, because who cares what you can do over that? He’s sniffing 400 on the bench. And he’s got two high school seasons left to play.”

Gresham also ran two 40 times Monday. He clocked in at 4.59 both times, just as he had earlier in the summer.

“At that size, that’s all you could ask for,” the coach said. “He’s such a bruiser, but he has the softest hands, too. He can be a giant mismatch.

“If you’re a corner at our level, just get out of the way.”

Gresham will take over as the feature back for All Saints this fall after rushing for 580 yards (7.25 per carry) in a supporting role behind UTSA signee Brian Vaughn.

Gresham has matured more than most 2014 backs -- he’s already 17 -- and said his weight fluctuates between 225 and 235 pounds. Beck is making a point of keeping him under 230 and his conditioning at a high level for the next two years.

After that? Once Gresham gets on campus, Beck said, the fun begins.

“In the college weight room, that dude’s frame will carry whatever you want to slap on it,” Beck said. “He’s only limited by his height. They’ll have some options with that kid. They won’t lose with him.”