DT Tully Janszen verbals to Texas

From the moment the last LOI rolled across the UT coaches' Bellmont Hall fax machine on Signing Day last February, the Longhorn staff has made a priority of landing the top high school defensive line talent in the state of Texas. Thursday afternoon, Texas coach <B>Hardee</B> <B>McCrary</B> got a call from one of those prospects, and what he heard on the other end of the line must have made him, and the rest of the Texas staff, smile.

Mike Janszen, the father of Keller DT Tully Janszen, 6-4, 250, 4.75, told IT tonight that his son called McCrary earlier today and verbally committed to play his college ball in the Orange and White. "It was a hard decision," Mr. Janszen said. "Tully was teetering between Texas and OU the last couple of weeks, but the coaches at Texas were finally the key. The family atmosphere really swayed him."

Tully is quite the versatile player for Keller, playing both inside and outside on the defensive line, center, deep and short snapper, H-back, tight end and fullback so far in his high school career. As a junior on the DL, Janszen recorded 36 solo tackles with 54 assists, including 14 sacks, and 20 QB pressures. This fall, Janszen will primarily play on the defensive side of the ball but will also play on O when needed. Mr. Janszen said Longhorn DT coach Mike Tolleson will look at Tully at DT in the "2," "3" or "5" Technique (each technique involves different defensive tackle assignments). Mr. Janszen knows a bit about DT techniques. The elder Janszen played DT under Hayden Fry at SMU. As a former player at the position, Mr. Janszen said he's a critical judge of his son's performance, but he said it is obvious that Tully, despite playing on the interior of the line for just one season, played DT well enough and showed enough raw skills to attract the attention of a lot of college coaches. One area of potential improvement, according to Mr. Janszen, is Tully's ability to come off blocks, but that should come with experience as he continues to play on the interior.

The Janszen family, over a week-and-a-half earlier this summer, traveled to Austin, Norman and College Station for unofficial visits with the coaching staffs of UT, OU and A&M. Aside from the facilities, which were "hard to match," Mr. Janszen said one other thing at Texas stood out in comparison to Oklahoma and A&M. "We enjoyed the coaches at OU and A&M," Mr. Janszen said, "but the coaches at Texas made us feel at home. It was a family atmosphere. And the thing as parents we wanted to see was Christian coaches." In Mack Brown, they found that, Mr. Janszen said. Mr. Janszen said Tully and the family took unofficial summer visits (while the coaches have more time to focus on things aside from football) to get a better feel for the coaches, the school and the academics. All three schools have great tradition, the elder Janszen said. The difference was the coaches.

Mr. Janszen said Tully called both the A&M and OU coaches today to give them the bad news. But after that, Tully celebrated his UT commitment by heading out to the lake for a bit of wakeboarding. "I bet he's the only 250-pound wakeboarder on the lake you'll see doing flips five or six feet in the air," a laughing Mr. Janszen said. Aside from simply showing his obvious skill at water sports (which he will certainly have the opportunity to exploit on the Austin area's Highland Lakes), the wakeboarding story above is a testament to Tully's agility, one of the traits that make him such a sought-after football prospect. Years of work on a trampoline (doing triple flips) and playing hoops helped Janszen develop coordination and spring in his legs, which in turn produced the football skills of agility, speed and quickness, according to his dad. I asked Mr. Janszen what attributes the Texas coaches said they saw in his son that led to the scholarship offer. "His God-given ability to come off the ball," he said. "And he's quick and aggressive. He never stops moving towards the ball." David Garvin of Heartland Recruiting recently wrote that Janszen reminds him "of former Sooner DL Kelly Gregg. Not the biggest guy around, but extremely quick, tough and tenacious." Garvin ranks Janszen as the state's No. 23 overall prospect.

Janszen didn't make the camp circuit this summer, but he toured the state in the summer of '00, camping at A&M, UT, Baylor and TCU. At the '00 UT camp, Tully participated as a tight end, working with TE coach Tim Brewster. At that camp, Janszen impressed the Texas coaches with his speed, taking home the camp's fastest man award in the big man category (everybody 235 pounds and above). Interestingly, Janszen almost didn't compete. He didn't have his cleats, only tennis shoes (the 40 was run on the Memorial Stadium grass), and he hadn't timed well earlier in the week, so Janszen considered not running. After a bit of cajoling from his father, the then-TE not only competed but turned in the camp's top time.

Mr. Janszen's prodding over a year ago may have started the chain of events that led to UT's scholarship offer and his son's eventual acceptance of that offer. Regardless, the former SMU defensive tackle's excitement over his son's decision virtually flowed through the telephone receiver. "I'm thrilled to death," he said near the end of our conversation. "I'm happy as a lark." My guess is, after snagging Mr. Janszen's son's commitment, the Texas coaches are feeling the same way about right now.

More on Janszen's commitment: Why UT over OU? Tully Janszen explains

Texas now has 12 verbal pledges, from DT Janszen, Splendora LB Brian Robison, Allen OL Neale Tweedie, Pflugerville Connally LB Marcus Myers, Frenship TE/WR David Thomas, Round Rock Westwood WR Dustin Miksch, Smithson Valley ATH Clint Haney, Paris North Lamar QB Billy Don Malone, Brownwood OL Bret Valdez, San Marcos DT Earl Anderson, Scottsdale (AZ) DE Lyle Sendlein and via juco, '00 signee Sonny Davis.

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