Commentary

Adrian Colbert commits to Texas

Updated: December 16, 2011, 12:29 PM ET
By William Wilkerson | HornsNation

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas might be limping into the Holiday Bowl having lost three of its last four games, but that hasn't stopped Mack Brown and Co. from bolstering their top-ranked recruiting class.

Three-star safety Adrian Colbert (Mineral Wells, Texas/Mineral Wells) became the second defensive back, along with cornerback Kevin Vaccaro (Brownwood, Texas/Brownwood), to commit on Sunday.

Colbert, who confirmed the commitment to HornsNation, is the 25th member of the 2012 class and the sixth player to commit since Dec. 2.

The other recent commitments are Kendall Sanders (Athens, Texas/Athens), Marcus Johnson (League City, Texas/Clear Springs) and Donald Hawkins (Senatoba, Miss./Northwest Mississippi Community College), all players who switched commitments and landed with the Longhorns. Sanders and Hawkins originally were committed to Oklahoma State, and Johnson had pledged to Texas Tech, then Texas A&M before committing to Texas.

Colbert, the No. 19 safety overall and No. 63 player in Texas by ESPNU, had been committed to Baylor since Oct. 19. He gives the Longhorns a true safety prospect, and because of the numbers at the position, he could see early playing time if he can impress the coaching staff enough.

According to Mineral Wells coach Chuck Lawrence, it's Colbert's speed that will make the difference.

"Adrian's got a special burst of speed that I have never seen in 35 years of coaching," Lawrence said. "When he sees it, he has the ability to get there quickly … It's that burst of speed that makes him special."

Texas offered Colbert less than two weeks after he committed to the Bears.

"Texas isn't the only one that got in on him late. Everybody did," Lawrence said. "As of October 1, he didn't have anything. Then all of a sudden TCU, Baylor, Texas, A&M and Texas Tech all kind of got film and saw the same thing I have seen in my three years here."

The Texas offer came a day after Longhorns defensive backs coach Duane Akina stopped by to watch one of his games. He scored three touchdowns in the first half.

"I had an 81-yard receiving touchdown, a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdowns and a 41-yard touchdown run," Colbert said. "I didn't get the ball in the second half, but I had 10 tackles."

It's that expanded role on offense this season that sparked his recruitment. He was strictly a defensive player in the past but flourished as a running back, receiver and tight end this season. He rushed 57 times for 553 yards and 10 touchdowns, and caught 28 passes for 571 and five scores.

It certainly shows what Colbert is capable of.

"We had to use certain players both ways," Lawrence said. "We were fortunate that we were able to get the ball in Adrian's hands."

Colbert, who is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, fills an extreme position of need for the Longhorns. Four-year starter Blake Gideon and senior Christian Scott will both be gone after the Holiday Bowl, and junior strong safety Kenny Vaccaro could enter the NFL Draft.

Without a true safety in this recruiting class, Texas would have been left with freshmen Mykkele Thompson and Sheroid Evans as the only two returning safeties. But they seldom saw time at safety and instead made the majority of their combined 18 tackles (13 by Thompson) on special teams.

Colbert and Vaccaro join Bryson Echols (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) as the only true secondary players in this class. Orlando Thomas (Copperas Cove, Texas/Copperas Cove), who is listed as an athlete and played quarterback this season, likely will move to the secondary.

William Wilkerson covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation.
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