AUSTIN, Texas -- Harker Height offensive lineman Darius James wanted to wait, to take his time.
He loved his visit to Texas during the Longhorns' first junior day. But he still needed to see Oklahoma and LSU before he'd even think about reaching a decision.
On Monday, after passing up a weekend trip to OU, the time came for a commitment. James confirmed in a text message to HornsNation he has given Texas its 12th verbal pledge for its 2013 recruiting class.
"It was a gut feeling," James said. "It just felt right."
Versatility is a trend that can be found throughout the 2013 recruiting class, and that trend continued with James, an ESPNU 150 Watch List member.
James, who stands 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, can play either guard or center and even nose tackle at the next level. But he'll likely play along the offensive front for Texas.
"[James] probably will end up being a guard but he could potentially play either one," a source close to the situation said. "I just think he's better suited for a guard."
James was the first offensive lineman offered by Texas during its first junior day on Feb. 12, and the second offensive lineman to commit after tackle Kent Perkins (Richardson, Texas/Lake Highlands).
He is the second player from Harker Heights to commit to Texas. Linebacker Naashon Hughes also committed with the understanding that he'd grayshirt if a scholarship spot did not open up. Hughes' older brother, Camrhon Hughes, is a freshman on Texas' football team. Both Hughes' are two of James' best friends.
James is Texas' 12th commitment overall and the sixth offensive commitment along with wide receiver Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit), quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright, Texas/Whitewright), running back Kyle Hicks (Arlington, Texas/Martin), receiver Ricky Seals-Jones (Sealy, Texas/Sealy), receiver Jacorey Warrick (Houston, Cypress Falls) and Perkins.
Baylor, LSU, Mississippi State, Oklahoma Texas A&M and Tulsa also have offers out to James, one of the top linemen in the state.
Harker Heights coach Mike Mullins told HornsNation back in October that the last time he was involved in a recruitment that carried a similar buzz to James' was in 1996 when former Longhorn Quentin Jammer was a budding cornerback from Angleton.
Despite those other offers, Texas always seemed to be the team to beat. One big reason for that is the comfort factor he feels with his future position coach Stacy Searels.
"He really liked me, and really liked the way I carried myself," James said on his way back from Texas' junior day. "I was asking him questions on how he interacts with the his players. It was basically a question game all day.
"I have to feel comfortable with him. If I don't feel comfortable with him when he is giving you criticism you could get mad at him. I have to be able to respond to him well."
James already is very familiar with Texas' campus. He attended several home games last year with the Hughes' brothers and even camped at Texas last summer when he ran a 4.9 40-yard dash (James vows he can do better).
He was hoping to show off his defensive skills at the camp. That's the side of the ball he told HornsNation he would prefer to play in college. But Texas' coaches placed him at guard during the camp. He didn't see any time on defense.
"If you lose a game it is most likely because you couldn't put points on the board," James said, "and on defense you can keep them from putting points on the board. I just like hitting people and making big tackles."
The capability to play both sides was certainly there, though, which Mullins is keenly aware of.
"He can go to tackle, to guard, to center, to defensive tackle," Mullins said. "He is probably playing 100-plus plays a game and not getting a break at all on offense. He gets tired, but then all of a sudden he just overwhelms opponents. It's hard to do that, especially when you are playing center and have a nose guard on you and have to get the snap right."
Max Olson covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation.
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