January 20, 2011

Dallas defensive tackle picks Houston

The Houston Cougars have had the final two weeks before signing day shape up to be the most demanding. As is the case with a lot of programs across the country the Cougars coaching staff have seen changes in the class and are surely believers that nothing is final until the fax ink dries on February 2.

One piece that a lot of schools have been trying to add to their class as of late is Dallas A Maceo Smith defensive lineman Keithen English who as one of the last quality big men left uncommitted saw his stock rise exponentially over the last couple months.

Back in December English took an official visit to the Houston campus and got a chance to get to see things a little better and meet some of the players.

"When I came down to Houston on my visit in December I had a real good time," said the 6-foot-4, 315 pound lineman. "I hung out with (Junior guard) Chris Thompson and he showed me around down there, showed me how everything was. I was thinking back then, man I would love to be a Cougar."

With that being said English, went home and still has had a barrage of interest from schools from across the country. Many wonder what was the one thing that finally put him over the top to pick the Cougars.

"Coach Sumlin, he said excitedly. "He is the coolest head coach I have ever met. I've had the chance to visit with him some and I feel like I've known him for years. I also want to meet the new defensive line coach, Coach (Carlton) Hall. Coach Zac (Spavital) was telling me they hired him and telling me about him some. I hope I get to meet him soon."

Although previously committed to Memphis as an offensive lineman, English will hope to make his mark with the Cougars on the other side of the ball.

"Yes sir, I am committed as a defensive lineman," said the three star tackle. "I prefer the defensive line, I love playing defensive line. Their talking about using me some at nose guard and that's where I really want to be."

Playing nose guard is often a position that doesn't come with much fame and glory. A lot of times, when you do your job properly, you are at the bottom of a pile while a linebacker is making the play. It's a job English is comfortable with.

"I know high school isn't anything like college," he said. "At times I was able to dominate at defensive tackle in high school. I got used to the double teams and what not. I think that if the defensive ends in college do what they do, I can handle my own."

With the recruiting season coming to a close, English had set up visits to Arkansas and Mississippi State in the weeks leading up to signing day. With all of the craziness surrounding some of the current Cougar commits visiting other schools, the big question for English was if his plans for the next two weekends had changed.

"Yea, those other visits are going to be called off, he said. "I'm relieved to get the decision over with, it has been crazy."

There is one other Cougar player in particular that English is excited to get to play with.

"Also, one of my favorite players play on the team already," he said of one of his future teammates. "Macus McGraw is a beast. His cousin goes to my school and plays defensive tackle. He's going to go to Lon Morris. I don't know Marcus personally but I met him when I was on my visit. If we can do our job up front, then he can get that much better."

English chose the Cougars over offers from Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, UTEP, Memphis and may others in addition to late charges by Arkansas, Mississippi State and Texas A&M.

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