The future of defensive tackle at Texas has gone under the microscope over the last week.
After defensive tackles coach Bo Davis announced he was leaving the Longhorns for USC, Texas lost all three tackles committed in their 2014 class before Charlie Strong even had a chance to meet them.
With a glaring void in the class coupled with a thin depth chart at the position, it’s no surprise Strong has welcomed the interest of a couple former Louisville pledges with whom he’s already built a strong relationship.
Hilton Head (S.C.) four-star Poona Ford and Lakeland (Fla.) Victory Christian Academy three-star Chris Nelson both decommitted from Louisville Friday, and both are expected to make an official visit to UT by the end of the month. All signs point to the two tackles following their former coach to Austin.
“Between Coach Strong and (former Louisville assistant) Coach Brian Jean-Mary, that has a lot to do with Chris going to Louisville at first and why Chris has since decommitted and is very interested in Texas,” Nelson’s head coach Tommy Lewis told the American-Statesman.
Both prospects would be welcomed additions to a class desperate for defensive tackles, but Ford would be a huge coup for Strong.
The 6-foot, 290-pounder with an 80-inch wingspan is rated as the 22nd defensive tackle in the country, but Ford’s head coach, B.J. Payne, is more than skeptical of the idea that there are 20 better tackles across the nation.
“He’s the best player I’ve ever coached,” Payne, who’s had 70 players go on to play college football, told the American-Statesman. “On the field he’s extremely violent, explosive. He just has anything and everything you would want in a football player.”
Ford registered nearly 200 tackles and over 70 tackles for loss over his final two seasons at Hilton Head.
“If you watch his highlight film it’s almost funny,” Payne said. “The stuff he does is ridiculous. He’s just an absolute freak show.”
Nelson is no slouch either.
The three-star Floridian played defensive tackle, fullback, inside and outside linebacker, and offensive tackle this season for Victory Christian Academy. At 6-foot-3, 295-pounds, Nelson led his team with 100 tackles this season.
“He’s a big kid with a motor that doesn’t stop,” Lewis said. “When you find those kinds of kids, you can do a lot with them.”
Nelson is expected to visit Texas on the Jan. 17. Ford a week later on the 24th.
Unless something drastic happens, expect both to pledge to Charlie Strong once again.
“If (Ford) falls in love with Texas, the University of Texas and the people of Austin are getting Poona Ford,” Payne said.
Poona Ford highlights:
Chris Nelson highlights:
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