Dibbles: UT best combo of football and academics

It's said that there is a first time for everything, and <B>Mack Brown</B> experienced one of those firsts Tuesday. As the Horns continued preparations for Friday's Holiday Bowl, the Texas head coach received a Christmas Day gift from <B>Larry Dibbles</B>.

It came in the form of a phone call rather than a pretty, wrapped present. The highly recruited Lancaster defensive end dialed up Brown in San Diego and verbally pledged to play football for Texas. "He was very excited," Dibbles said of the coach's reaction to the unexpected call. "He told me that in all his years of coaching that I was the first to commit on Christmas Day." The Texas head coach also told Dibbles, according to the DE's recollection of the conversation, that he's "another link," joining "so many (other) high profile" prospects, in what is turning into an "awesome," "record breaking recruiting class."

The 6-4, 275-pounder, though, told IT the Horns' current recruiting success didn't have a major impact on his decision. In a way, Dibbles said, the recruiting process had to be a selfish one. "It was all about Larry Dibbles and my family," he said. "No one will be going to school but me. I made the best decision for myself."

Dibbles said the decision represented a "mutual agreement" between him and his parents. He said if it had been a football-only decision, Miami would have gotten the nod. Strictly academics? Princeton, Dibbles said. But both? Texas, which had an undeniable "merger of both standpoints," according to the Horns' 22nd commitment.

"In the state of Texas, it just doesn't get any better than UT," Dibbles added. "It is the best combination of football and academics. It has the total package." He also mentioned the Longhorns' large alumni base and the post-graduation job opportunities that the Burnt Orange corporate connection provides.

Dibbles said he plans to major in mechanical engineering, a program he had an opportunity to check out on his visit to Austin for Banquet weekend.

The Lancaster standout said Texas is recruiting him to play defensive end, but that because of his athleticism, the coaches may be able to "pull some tricks with me on the inside and the outside. . . . With my weight and speed, I can do anything in the front four."

Dibbles converted from linebacker to defensive end early in his high school career and hasn't yet played DT but said he felt it wouldn't be a huge adjustment if he's asked to do so. "If coached to do it, I'll do it and be good it," he said.

Whatever the spot, Dibbles would like to get on the field early. "If I can contribute at defensive end, I'll do it," Dibbles said. "If I can contribute at defensive tackle, I'll do it." With three returning starters on the D-line (Cory Redding, Marcus Tubbs and Kalen Thornton) and returners Adam Doiron and Stevie Lee prepared to step into the other starting spot, plus a plethora of incoming DL recruits, Dibbles understands the Horns' numbers game on the D-line. "Competition is part of the game," he said. "If I didn't feel I could compete, I shouldn't be playing the game. If you throw me in with a bunch of talented guys, the more I will shine."

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