Big 12: Frank Okam
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
The rest of the Big 12 should consider themselves warned. Lamarr Houston is finally feeling comfortable at defensive tackle.
After playing defensive end earlier in his college career, Houston moved inside last season to help fill a hole for Texas. A foot injury and his new surroundings kept him from really ever thriving at the new position last season.
|Brian Bahr/Getty Images|
|Texas' Lamarr Houston should show improvement in his second season at defensive tackle.|
"It's a completely different position from defensive end," Houston said. "The contact coming on you is so much faster and it's on every play. It comes immediately after the ball is snapped. You have to get used to that."
Houston has worked on boxing techniques to get ready for the hand-to-hand combat inside in the trenches. After a year of playing experience, he finally feels ready to blossom in his senior season.
"Obviously, playing defensive tackle is totally different from what I was used to," Houston said. "It was quite an adjustment mentally for me. But I got over it plenty fast and feel like I'm coming along in learning my position."
Houston's on-the-field development, as well as his leadership, will be critical for a Texas defensive line that is judged as one of the team's primary question marks.
The defensive front loses key performers from last season's unit like Roy Miller, Brian Orakpo, Henry Melton and Aaron Lewis. That group that led the nation in sacks and ranked third nationally in rush defense.
"It's always hard to replace those guys like Orakpo, Miller and Melton," Houston said. "But we recruit so that our tradition never really graduates."
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
So much for any rest for the weary. Texas coaches are out recruiting for 2010 and already have attracted the foundation of a strong class -- less than a week after national signing day.
Alan Trubow of the Austin American-Statesman writes today that the Longhorns have already picked up five verbal commitments in their 2010 class.
And their early signees have already helped fill what appears to be their biggest positional need at defensive tackle. Among the five players are two of the state's most highly ranked players at the position in Alief Taylor's DeAires Cotton and Denton Guyer's Taylor Bible, Trubow reports.
Other verbal commitments over the weekend came from Galena Park offensive lineman Trey Hopkins, DeSoto wide receiver Darius Terrell and Garland Naaman Forest receiver John Harris.
Bible, a 6-foot-3, 280-pounder, picked the Longhorns over Oklahoma. Recruiting analysts see that he could develop into the next line in a succession of Longhorn players at the position like Casey Hampton, Roy Miller, Frank Okam, Shaun Rogers and Marcus Tubbs.
The high school junior had an interesting comment on why he picked Texas.
"I guess the best way to describe it was Texas just feels like my own bed," Bible told the American-Statesman. "You know when you spend a lot of time on the road and you just get sick of that hotel bed? Well, a lot of schools feel like that bed. It's uncomfortable. But when I'm at Texas, I feel like I'm in my own bed."
That feeling of comfort works for Bible at Texas. And it's why Mack Brown's recruiting efforts already are off to a good start early in the recruiting game for next season.