Twenty-six newcomers arrive in Austin

The Texas coaches welcomed 26 newcomers to the Forty Acres today. Twenty scholarship freshmen plus juco transfer Alfio Randall reported as expected, as did five walk-ons. Not surprisingly, all five invited walk-ons -- deep snapper Nick Schroeder from The Woodlands, K David Pino from Wichita Falls, K Brady Noto from Katy, K Dusty Mangum from Mesquite and K James Baker from Westlake -- are on campus to hopefully help shore up the struggling Longhorn kicking game.

The newcomers will take to Denius Field for their first practice in the Orange and White tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 10:30 followed by a short afternoon practice session beginning around 5:00. Brown said today that the newcomers will repeat that schedule on Wednesday before going through academic orientation on Thursday and meeting the upperclassmen on Friday for a team photo. The full Longhorn squad will practice for the first time on Saturday.

We'll have much more on the new Horns' on-the-field exploits over the next few weeks, but since the true freshmen are off-limits to the media until they play in their first game, we won't be hearing from any of these guys until at least early September. In lieu of comments from today's check-in, I've compiled some quotes and other select highlights from IT's coverage of the commitments last year and earlier this year of several of the Longhorn freshmen who reported today. Because it is such a great statement, though, let's lead this off with Blinn transfer Randall:

Alfio Randall -- Why Texas? "They have good academic support, great computer facilities and great tutors for the student athletes," Randall told IT, "and there's just no reason for me to leave home. I'm a Texas kid, I'm a descendant of Texas, and I guess that's why Texas hasn't won a national championship, because players like me keep leaving the state and hurting the talent, so I'm going to stay at home and help Texas win the national championship."

William Winston -- "I like the fact all those (other OLs) are coming in," (Winston) said, in a statement reminiscent of those spoken by Texas' great group of wide receivers a year ago. "I know that competing with those guys is going to make us all better players. We're gonna have to work harder." Winston also said getting to watch Cedric Benson up close and personal Saturday in Royal-Memorial was something special. "I'll be blocking for him some day, hopefully," William said. "You're like 'Wow', looking at all of his talent. He looks like the real deal to me."

Cedric Benson -- . . . the stage is set for one Cedric Benson to take a starring role. The speculation on Benson's fall exploits will no doubt rival that of Chris Simms when he arrived on the Forty Acres two summers ago. . . . Benson's amazing high school on-the-field accomplishments, along with the maturity he has displayed over the last two years handling the pressure of being the highest profile high school athlete, maybe ever, in the state of Texas, point to the Midland Lee star as the most likely tailback challenger this fall.

Derrick Johnson -- At 6-2, 205, Johnson has the speed (4.5-second 40) and cover abilities of a safety with a frame and football instinct suited to an outside linebacker, the spot he projects to play in college. His quickness allows him to chase down opposing running backs and harass quarterbacks, capabilities that the Horns need more of at the linebacker position. In other words, a player who is all over the field. Need an example of Johnson's remarkable knack for finding the ball? The all-state 'backer made 30 tackles vs. state runner-up Tyler John Tyler on Sept. 29. "It seemed more like 50 tackles," a John Tyler assistant said. "He was everywhere."

Mike Garcia -- When the Aggie's prize commitment, Garcia, switched his commitment from the Aggies to the Horns this week, he put a loud exclamation point on the domination in recruiting that Mack Brown is now enjoying over sad sack R.C. Slocum. ("R.C." -- you think that could mean "Recruiting- Challenged"?) Garcia's switch is as sweet as cotton candy if you are a Longhorn fan, and as bitter as the bottom of a barrel of Guinness if you're an Aggie.

Cedric Griffin -- Griffin said (Carl) Reese told him he had seen him on film and that he fits the style of defense that Reese wants to run. It's easy to see why. Texas is hoping to add physicality at the CB position, and Griffin is a guy who fits the bill, going 6-1, 185 and running a 4.45. "The coaches told me they wanted me because of my size and speed," Griffin said, "and because I should be able to match up well with the tall receivers they face." Griffin describes himself as a CB that is "really aggressive, quick, and loves to hit."

Terrance Young -- "I want to major in business" (Terrance Young) said, "and when I saw that Texas has one of the top 10 business schools in the country, that really impressed me. And the facilities are great. I haven't seen anything better."

Jonathan Scott -- "Jonathan just felt comfortable there," said (Jonathan's dad Ray) Scott. "He liked everything about it. Coach Brown asked Jonathan if there was anything about Texas that made him uncomfortable and Jonathan said he couldn't think of a single thing. He wanted his father to be able to come and watch him play, and he wants to live in Texas after graduation, so what better school to get your degree from than Texas. . . . I (Michael Pearle) watched Scott perform at the Nike Camp in Austin in early May and the thing you notice about him is that he has excellent footwork for a man his size.

Braden Johnson -- IT asked Johnson if he had to talk over the offer with his family or think it through before making a decision. "It didn't take a lot of thinking," Johnson said. "When you think of the best place to play football in the state of Texas, you think Texas. This is a dream come true." "I haven't seen a school that has anything nicer than Texas," Johnson said. "The facilities are top notch and the coaches are the same way."

Kendal Briles -- To give you a gauge of how much star-power this guy has generated going into his senior year, listen to this fact: in questionnaires we sent out this spring to the state's high school coaches, we asked for a list of the guys they considered the top players in the state going into this fall. Of all the players mentioned, Briles was listed more often than any other, including Midland Lee RB Cedric Benson.

Brian Carter -- "Brian is a multi-purpose player," (The Woodlands) coach (Weldon) Willig said. "Anywhere we lined him up, he was successful. Every place we lined him up, he made an impact for us. He was one of those essential guys that made us go." . . . Willig said Carter's skills in the return game caught the eye of every coach that came through during May. "I think everybody was really impressed with him as a return man," The Woodlands coach said. "He catches everything that comes his way."

Matt Nordgren -- "Texas just feels like home. And I want to help win at least three national championships at Texas. I know that sounds bold, but if I wanted anything else, I'd be playing football for the wrong reasons. . . . Texas is just the greatest opportunity for me in the country," (Nordgren) said. "I hope to sit and learn my first year or two and then have a chance to compete for the starting position for the next three years."

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