Recruiting: Wide Receiver U?

<P>Champaign (IL) WR <B>Marquis Johnson</B> attended Saturday's Tech game and committed to the Horns before returning to Illinois Monday morning.

"Oh my God, Texas was incredible," Johnson told Pool Recruiting. "The facilities, the players, the coaches, everything. It was just all me. I knew that Texas was the place for me. . . . The coaches and players invited me to be a part of their family and I couldn't turn that down. Texas doesn't come up to Illinois for just anyone and I felt honored and I want to be a part of the family." WR Sloan Thomas hosted Johnson, but as with all of UT's receiver recruits, Chris Simms and the other wideouts also played a big role. "(The players) never go anywhere without each other," Johnson said. "Roy and B.J. told me they need another receiver for next year and they wanted me. That felt great. I also got along real well with Chris Simms. Chris told me he would give me No. 1 next year. He said he was going to wear No. 2." (Note: Simms wanted to switch to No. 2, his high school number, after his freshman season in Austin, but Montrell Flowers already wore that number. With Flowers graduating after this season, Simms will get an opportunity to make the switch to No. 2.) The 6-4, 200-pound receiver consistently listed Texas as his top school since summer, so his commitment, is not a surprise, but it is certainly a huge addition to an already solid recruiting class. Johnson, considered by most a national top 50-caliber player and by some as the top receiver prospect in the country, said he is done taking visits. "I'm solid and happy with my decision," he said. "Texas is the No. 3 team in the nation and they're talking about National Championships down there. I want to be a part of that." Johnson, who picked UT over hometown Illinois, Michigan State and Arizona, is the Horns' 15 commitment so far for the class of '02 and their second from a wide receiver. Westwood wideout Dustin Miksch committed earlier this year.

Recruiting notes: Wimberly RB/LB Brent Slaughter also attended Saturday's game. . . . The Horns are close to picking up another commitment, this one from Tyler John Tyler's Matthew Melton. The FS/WR told Heartland Recruiting last week that he is "pretty close to committing to Texas. I'll probably make a decision within a month. I want to be sure my parents are OK with it. I want to stay close to home in order for my family to see me play. I'm still considering A&M and Purdue, but Texas is the clear leader." Along with Melton, the Horns are in position to take at least 10 more prospects (and quite possibly more) over the next few months from among Mesquite DT Marco Martin (UT, FSU, A&M, Miami, Tennessee), Alief Hastings DT Rodrique Wright (UT, OU, A&M, LSU, K-State, Tennessee), Lancaster DT Larry Dibbles (UT, OU and Notre Dame top his list), The Woodlands DE Travis Leitko (Michigan, Stanford, UT), Jenks (OK) DE Bryan Pickryl (may visit for the Colorado game), Houston Madison QB Vincent Young (Miami, LSU and UT are in the hunt), Plano East OL Justin Blalock (UT, OU, Florida, Michigan), Spring Westfield OL Tony Ugoh, Highlands Ranch (CO) OL/DL Kasey Studdard (he's considering a whole host of schools), Galena Park RB Albert Hardy (UT, LSU), Flower Mound Marcus WR Robert Timmons, Longview LB Marvin Byrdsong, North Mesquite LB Aaron Harris (UT, A&M, OU), Shreveport Evangel CB Jonathan Wade (the 5-11, 170-pound speedster attended the UT-UNC game along with teammate Chase Pittman), Port Arthur Lincoln CB Ricky Wilson, Forney ATH Da’Bryan Blanton, and North Garland RB/ATH Edorian McCullough (UT, A&M, OU, Miami, Michigan -- the Horns are recruiting him as a DB and all of the other school are recruiting him as an RB). . . . Rick Barnes hosted Westlake bigman Brad Buckman this weekend. The head coach and the prospect attended the Tech game. Buckman has narrowed his choices to Texas and North Carolina.

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