Daniel Gresham (right) and teammate Foster Sawyer (Photo by the author).
The strategy of offering 2014 prospects early paid off again for the Texas Longhorns on Tuesday.
On Monday, it seemed like a commitment from 2014 Fort Worth (TX) All Saints running back/fullback Daniel Gresham was imminent, in conjunction with a pledge from close friend and teammate Demetrius Knox, a top-rated offensive tackle.
One pledge went down on Tuesday after the 5-11, 230-pound Gresham took some time to talk about the decision with his family, while it appears that Knox will take his time with the process -- just days ago, he had planned on announcing at the Under Armour All-American game in early 2014.
Gresham is the fourth commitment in the class for the Longhorns, joining Abilene (TX) Cooper wide receiver Lorenzo Joe, Aldine (TX) Eisenhower RB Donald Catalon, and San Antonio (TX) Brennan defensive end Derick Roberson. All four verbal pledges have come since Thursday, when head coachand his staff opted to officially offer prospects before their junior season for the first time.
Gresham had planned on waiting until some time during his senior season to sit down with Knox and talk about their future, but decided to pull the trigger days after receiving his official Texas offer, his only offer at this time.
A Louisville native, Gresham made the move to the Metroplex when he was 12, and has had a chance to develop strong feelings for the program in that time.
"Yeah, I like them a lot," said Gresham while in College Station for the Fox Sports Southwest 7-on-7 State Championship. "Since I moved down here, everyone has been talking about them. I realized how prestigious they are."
A June camp trip helped the running back/fullback hybrid get a sense of running back coach Major Applewhite and the program.
"I loved it. Coach Applewhite was probably my favorite -- he's a real cool guy," said the All Saints product. "I didn't get a chance to meet coach Brown."
Texas is recruiting Gresham as a running back and fullback, as Applewhite has told Gresham that he will get a chance to do both, just as he does in high school. He was receiving interest from both Louisville and Michigan for similar roles.
Many high school ballcarriers might not be that interested in doing the dirty work of blocking, but the physical Gresham said it wouldn't be a big deal for him.
"I'm open to playing fullback," he said. "To be honest, I would prefer to play running back and I'm trying to get my speed up so that coaches will keep that in mind, but whatever my team needs, that's what I'll play."
To that end, he's been training hard over the summer and dropped his 40 time into the 4.6 range, certainly good enough to see some carries as a running back and take over short-yardage duties when he eventually gets to Texas.
On film, Gresham is a willing and able blocker who has the mobility to lock onto second-level targets and the natural strength, flexibility, and overall punch to deliver de-cleating blows. Most impressively, though, is his ability with the football. Natural balance, toughness, his compact build, and leg driver help him run over and through defenders at the high school level -- he's a true bruiser.
As a result, he's a good enough prospect that even if Gresham had never met Demetrius Knox, who often goes by the nickname Meech, he has to talent to make sense as a take for the Longhorns.
Several questions now emerge. Will Knox and Gresham still end up playing together in college? On Monday, Gresham said that they would "FOR SURE" still end up at the same time, but judging by the lack of decision, Knox isn't quite ready, perhaps torn by his childhood allegiance to the Buckeyes as an Ohio native -- Knox has said that he will "always be a Buckeye."
The other question is whether Texas is down recruiting at the running back position, with offers reportedly out to Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman star Nathan Starks, an extreme longshot, and New Orleans (LA) St. Augustine superstar Leonard Fournette, an even greater longshot. Time will tell there.
Until then, Texas has landed their short-yardage tailback and fullback of the future, all while securing a place atop the list of the top in-state offensive tackle target. Not a bad deal.
Daniel Gresham 2014 RB/FB (Fort Worth, TX) (via 247SportsStudio)