FOR SPORTS - Temple's Taquon Graham (11), who has pledged to the Texas Longhorns, applies pressure against Highland Park's Paxton Alexander (35) during the Class 5A, Division I state championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Michael Miller/Temple Daily Telegram

BEVO BEAT Football

Class of 2017 yearbook: Temple defensive end Ta’Quon Graham

Posted May 20th, 2017

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CLASS OF 2017: TA’QUON GRAHAM

Temple defensive end, (6-3, 266)

HOW DID HE GET HERE? Graham committed to Texas last September — the day after the Longhorns’ season-opening win over Notre Dame — and he signed with Texas on Feb. 1. But in between there was plenty of recruiting drama. More than 20 schools offered him, and he was viewed as a possible flip after Charlie Strong left. But he never did, and was one of six recruits who pledged to Strong and signed with Tom Herman.

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STAR RATING: 4

RECRUIT RANKINGS: Overall, 199th; Fab 55, 26th; Position, 15th

MILES TO AUSTIN: 68

Temple defensive lineman Taquon Graham competes during a 39-25 win over Round Rock on Sept. 2. Graham committed to the University of Texas on Monday (Henry Huey/Round Rock Leader).

AT TEMPLE: A three-time all-district selection, Graham was one of only two defensive players in the state to earn district MVP honors in Class 5A his junior season. Played in two Division I state championship games and totaled more than 20 sacks in his final two years.

STATS WATCH

2014: Named 17-5A’s newcomer of the year for 5A state finalists

2015: Had 23 TFL, 11.5 sacks and forced three fumbles

2016: 44 tackles, 10 sacks, three TFL in injury-shortened season

WHAT HE’S WALKING INTO: At defensive end, Texas is in a position of both needing new bodies to supplement the roster but also wanting to nurture two promising players in Malcolm Roach and Breckyn Hager, who were disruptive presences in 2016. Graham’s history producing sacks is something the Longhorns are looking for.

THEY SAID IT: “I want to be part of being a difference maker, bringing Texas back to what they were in ’05. People don’t need to be scared to come to Texas because it’s going to change, it’s going to be turned around.” — Graham

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Graham said that his mother, Forestine Thompson, allowed his older brother to pick out his first name. Broderick Thompson, 31, also introduced Graham to the film room; he’d tape Ta’Quon’s youth-league games and then go over what was recorded. “I don’t want to say that I was a step ahead, but I was used to being criticized in what I was doing from a young age,” Graham said.
  • Raised in Temple, Graham began playing football when he was six years old. He first lined up as a running back and cornerback, but a growth spurt forced him to move to tight end. He’s played on the defensive line since middle school.
  • At Texas, Graham will be reunited with wide receiver Davion Curtis, who redshirted last season. Curtis and Graham were teammates at Temple in 2014 and 2015.

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