Culpepper's Commentary: Signing Day '05

Here is the problem in recruiting with early commitments -- the Ryan Perrilloux's of the recruiting world.

I am not blaming Perrilloux for his final choice of LSU. The young man was raised, educated and coached through high school by Louisiana people. And believe me, there was immense pressure applied to both the parents and the young quarterback. His parents will now be welcomed guests throughout the state and doors will be opened for them because of their son's choice of schools.

But what I don't like is Perrilloux holding Texas hostage. The Texas staff believed in his commitment and curtailed their recruiting of other top quarterback prospects. Now, they're left with one less quarterback in the class of '05 than needed.

But also know this: From my side of things, a player that continues to make visits after giving a pledge should never be counted on as a solid commitment.

That campus visit Perrilloux made to LSU was certainly filled with horror stories about Texas and Mack Brown. Les Miles surely filled Perrilloux's head with visions of the quarterback controversy between Major Applewhite and Chris Simms and with sophomore Vince Young's Rose Bowl performance.

It would be very interesting, though, to see the expression on Perrilloux's face when he gets a chance to watch redshirt freshman quarterback JaMarcus Russell, a 6-5, 230-pound, four-game starter for the Tigers, during LSU spring practice.

Forget Perrilloux. He and his ego are LSU's problem now. Here is the good news for the Horns: A good friend of mine who lived in Midland and closely followed Cedric Benson in his state championship run at Midland Lee moved to the Port Arthur area and watched every game running back Jamaal Charles played this season. According to my buddy, "Jamaal is as tough as Benson and faster."

Running back coach Ken Rucker and Jamaal Charles should be a perfect match. As we learned last season, freshmen running backs can play in the Texas-OU game and actually carry the ball. (It unfortunately took Adrian Peterson to show that instead of Cedric Benson in his freshman season four years ago.)

Roy Miller from Killeen will be a great addition to what should be an outstanding defensive front at Texas. He was a man against boys in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Where Texas needed solid numbers in recruiting, they got it in linebackers Roddrick Muckelroy, Chris Brown and (possibly soon) Brandon Duncan and running backs Charles, Jerrell Wilkerson, Michael Houston (who is already on campus) and even Henry Melton. For sure, some of the guys that signed today can cover kickoffs better than the group that tried at the Rose Bowl.

Losing Perrilloux and Martellus Bennett certainly knocked the late luster off the 2005 recruiting class, but don't ever think that several of the other signees can't take up the slack.

Try 6-3, 270-pound Melton from Grapevine. Agile enough to be a running back and big enough to play tight end.

One thing for sure, the cream will rise to the top and there will be pleasant surprises among this class that will help a strong-as-garlic Texas Longhorn football team in 2005.

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