A Texas cheer squad member waves the Longhorn flag after a first half score against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl, Saturday, October 2, 2010. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

BEVO BEAT Football

Longhorns Class of 2016, Destination Texas: Andrew Fitzgerald

Posted February 25th, 2016

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WHAT’S FITZGERALD STEPPING INTO?

Where Andrew Fitzgerald ends up on the line — maybe the strong-side rusher spot, maybe the fox position on the other end, or perhaps even defensive tackle if he puts on weight — isn’t known yet. Shiro Davis is gone, but Naashon Hughes and Charles Omenihu should figure into the DE picture. Derick Roberson and Bryce Cottrell also return.

RECENT HISTORY: DEFENSIVE ENDS

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Texas’ top ends

The Longhorns’ top-performing defensive ends and freshmen DEs over the past three years:

2015: Naashon Hughes, 57 tackles, 9 TFL, 5.5 sacks; freshman — Charles Omenihu, 17 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble

2014: Cedric Reed, 73 tackles, 10 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 8 hurries; freshman — Hughes, 28 tackles, 5 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 2 hurries

2013: Jackson Jeffcoat, 86 tackles, 22 TFL, 13 sacks, 19 hurries; freshman — Bryce Cottrell, 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 hurry

Freshmen on the field

The Longhorns played 16 freshman in 2015, which led the nation. That included true freshman Charles Omenihu who played in 11 games and finished with 17 tackles and one fumble recovery.

Here’s an interactive map of Texas’ recruiting class of 2016.

RECENT SIGNINGS: DEFENSIVE ENDS

The last 10 defensive ends Texas has signed. Numbers in parenthesis reflect that player’s star rating from 247Sports’ composite rankings:

2016: Andrew Fitzgerald, Flower Mound Marcus (4). Charlie Strong called him the dark horse of Texas’ class — if you can consider a four-star recruit a dark horse, that is.

2016: Malcolm Roach, Baton Rouge Madison Prep Academy (3). A four-time all-state pick who also was named Baton Rouge’s metro defensive player of the year.

2015: Charles Omenihu, Rowlett (3). Saw some action as a true freshman.

2015: Quincy Vasser, Navarro College (3). Had minimal impact in his first season — seven tackles.

2015: Breckyn Hager, Austin Westlake (3). Finished with 18 tackles, but had a nose for the ball, made an impact on special teams and even picked off a pass. Played primarily outside linebacker.

2014: Derick Roberson, San Antonio Brennan (4). Was rated right at the top of Texas’ 2014 class along with Jerrod Heard and Armanti Foreman. Still, he made bigger offseason news — a fall camp fight in practice with Tristan Nickelson last August, then a car accident this January — than anything he’s done on the field. So far.

2014: Jake McMillon, Abilene (3). Saw action in 12 games last fall, with no starts and three tackles.

2012: Hassan Ridgeway, Mansfield (4). The NFL-bound junior started eight games, had 36 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

2012: Caleb Bluiett, Beaumont West Brook (3). Has played in 33 games, switching back and forth between defensive end and tight end, with five starts (3 as a DE, 2 as a TE). Has 41 career tackles, with 4.5 sacks.

2011: Cedric Reed, Cleveland (4). Went undrafted after two strong seasons to finish his UT career. Now on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad.

For our full profile on Andrew Fitzgerald as part of our Longhorns Class of 2016 series, click here.

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