DEFENSIVE LINE (3-4)
For the first time in a long time, the Cougars are in pretty good shape in the defensive line, especially at defensive tackle where two sophomores, Kade Lane and Gerard Richard, are slated to start. Their immediate backups, Sharrod McGowan and Jessie Bryant, are sophomores as well; moreover freshmen L.C. Kirkpatrick, John Harrell, and Marquay Love are all expected to develop into outstanding players. And redshirt frosh Albert Martinez will likely be moved to tackle. The Cougars aren't‚ quite as set for the future at defensive end where senior Farouk Adelekan and most likely juniors Kendrick Goss or Joe Clay will start. Other than incoming freshman Eddie McCray of Baytown Lee, sophomore Matt Bentley is the only underclassman defensive end on the roster. So the coaches want to sign a couple of pass rushers.
Top-flight defensive tackles are a little thin in Texas this year, so it‚s a good thing that UH has good young players at the position. One Cougar target at defensive tackle is Yaniv Barnett (6-3, 310) of Schertz. Barrett is a manchild who's already drawn offers from the Cougars along with schools from the Big 10, Big XII, and PAC 10. Another possibility is Brandon Mack (6-4, 285) of Beeville Jones though he could also wind up on offense. As for defensive ends, UH liked Brian Orakpo of Houston Lamar, but he committed to Texas. McCollins Umeh (6-3, 240) is highly recruited, but the Coogs are making a run. Emmanuel Phillips (6-5, 240) of Alief Hastings and Paul Briscoe (6-4, 240) of Dickinson have excellent speed for their size.
UH is perilously thin at linebacker this season, and the starters are overwhelmingly upper classmen. Damien West heads into his final campaign. Justin Davis is listed as a senior and Lance Everson a junior though both could receive an additional year of eligibility if they have passed the required coursework. Bryant Brown will be a sophomore. UH did sign Trent Allen, Jason Price, Austin Griffith, and Wade Koehl in February, but given the depth concerns, another infusion of 3-4 LB's is warranted.
Chris Pilot (6-1, 215, 4.6) of Lufkin was the Cougars‚ first commitment. His coach, John Outlaw, describes him as "an excellent athlete." A defensive end for the Lufkin Panthers, Pilot will move to outside linebacker at UH. One LB high on defensive coordinator Ron Harris' wish list is Luke Tiemann (6-3, 210, 4.6) of Pflugerville. Tiemann is getting attention from Notre Dame and Penn State and has offers from UH and Wisconsin, among others. Coach Briles recruited Tiemann at Texas Tech and has a good rapport with the youngster. He'd be a great pickup for the Coogs and very possibly a fixture at middle linebacker for several years. Alto's Tad Scott (6-3, 210) is similar to Tiemann and is has been offered by UH. Two local products, Marquis Rodgers (6-2, 225, 4.7) of Spring Westfield and Marcus Smith (6-1, 220, 4.7) of Conroe Oak Ridge could end up signing with the Cougars. A North Shore Mustang, Charles Robinson (6-1, 210, 4.5), is also well liked.
DEFENSIVE BACK (3-4)
The Cougars have some phenomenal young talent in the secondary. Defensive backs such as Will Gulley, Roshawn Pope, Courtney Sterling, Willie Gaston, and Xavier Lane will make their mark at UH. Even so, Coach Briles only signed three defensive backs--Gerard Price, Marcus Ross, and Rocky Schwartz, who could be moved to offense in February, so it is imperative that UH ink at least three good ones this time around. Additionally, with the first and second-team strong safeties ending their careers in Œ03 and injuries tragically ending the careers of free safeties Levi Gaston and Brian Hodges, picking up a couple of safeties with the ability to come in and play early is a priority.
UH likes three HISD cornerbacks: Zaire Wilborn (6-0, 170, 4.5), Kendrick Benjamin (5-9, 170, 4.5), and Jeffery Jack (5-11, 180, 4.5). The recruiting battles for these Houston kids will heat up significantly. LaMarque corner Caldwell Brown (5-10, 170, 4.5) has strong cover skills and could wind up a Coog. Coach Briles may drive east on I-10 to Baytown to find his safeties. Will Lewis (6-3, 190, 4.5), who replaces Drew Tate at quarterback for the Ganders, and Charles Godfrey (6-1, 204, 4.5) are outstanding athletes. Another top athlete looking at UH is Billy Jackson (6-2, 180, 4.5) of Beaumont Kelly; in fact, the Cougars lead for his services. One of the fastest DB's on the Cougar board is Tyvenskie Page (6-2, 210, 4.4) of Dallas Adamson. Page also has good size, so UH will have to fend off Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and many others to get him. Other Dallasites listing the Coogs are all-district safety Deshawn Knighten (6-2, 180, 4.5) of Dallas Roosevelt in tough District 10-AAAA and Dennis Scales (5-10, 190, 4.5) of Dallas Skyline. Adison Haas (6-1, 170, 4.6) of Azle is safety considering the Coogs.