Coog's National Signing Day Recap

Kevin Sumlin had been going since sunrise on Wednesday, but the marathon that was National Signing Day couldn't deter his enthusiasm.

Kevin Sumlin had been going since sunrise on Wednesday, but the marathon that was National Signing Day couldn't deter his enthusiasm.

The Houston coach spoke to a packed house of Cougars alumni and fans at Bubba's Barbeque that concluded his day. The fans were pleased as highlights of each of the newest 27 members of the Conference USA runners-up showed on several big screens.

"We added a little bit of everything," said Sumlin of the recruiting class, which finished 54th in Scout.com's rankings. "This incoming class provides with depth across the board. I felt we faded a little down the stretch (of 2009) because we didn't have as much depth."

One incoming Cougar that is expected to provide an immediate impact is junior college linebacker Sammy Brown. The 6-3, 240-pounder from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College was regarded as the second-best juco linebacker who had drawn the attention of Southern California before committing to Houston.

The Coogs will be looking for the hard-hitting Brown to step into the void left by the departures of C.J. Cavness, A.J. Johnson, Matt Nicholson (outside) and middle linebackers Nick Thurston and Shomari Williams.

"He's got a chance to be a real good player," Sumlin said of Brown.

Brown's versatility will come in handy as new defensive coordinator Brian Stewart -- who will be formally introduced on Monday -- plans to use variations of both the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes.

Both Stewart and Sumlin are excited about the potential of 6-2, 300-pound defensive tackle Matangi Tonga, a junior college transfer who left jaws agape with an 4.6 40-yard dash time.

Tonga spent one season at Brigham Young University before playing last year at the College of San Mateo.

"I look at junior college players maybe a little more like how the NFL looks at it, like offseason acquisitions," said Sumlin during Wednesday afternoon's press conference. "They're coming here to start."

Houston's recruiting class of 2010 satisfied all needs great and small. The Cougars brought in two quarterbacks, a running back, three wide receivers, a tight end, four offensive linemen, four defensive linemen, four linebackers, four defensive backs, a punter and two athletes.

For now, Sumlin said that athlete Aaron Johnson will start off on defense, while athlete Darian Lazard will begin on offense.

Lazard, who helped Pearland Dawson advance to the Class 4A, Division II semifinals, will add depth to the quarterback position, which received a huge boost with the additions of highly-touted Terrance Broadway and David Piland.

The Cougars also announced that the annual spring game will be held on April 24. The team will hold open scrimmages on April 10 and 17.


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