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: Erick Fowler

Posted March 5th, 2016

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WHAT’S FOWLER STEPPING INTO?

All Fowler has to worry about is sticking out in what could be an impressive group of young outside linebackers. That includes Malik Jefferson, Ed Freeman, Breckyn Hager, Anthony Wheeler and fellow 2016 signee Jeffrey McCulloch. Still, Texas continued to recruit him even after he’d committed to LSU for a reason.

RECENT HISTORY: OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

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Texas’ top ‘backers

The Longhorns’ top-performing outside linebackers and freshmen OLBs the past three years:

2015: Peter Jinkens, 75 tackles, 6.5 sacks; freshman — Malik Jefferson, 61 tackles, 2.5 sacks.

2014: Jordan Hicks, 147 tackles, 3.5 sacks; freshman — none (Edwin Freeman redshirted)

2013: Peter Jinkens, 49 tackles, 2 TFL; freshman — Timothy Cole, 10 tackles, 1 hurry

Freshmen on the field

The Longhorns played 16 freshmen in 2015, which led the nation. That included Jefferson, the five-star linebacker who split time between the middle and outside positions — middle out of necessity, outside because that’s his natural spot. Fellow freshman Anthony Wheeler also played, though Cameron Townsend didn’t. And Hager saw time at linebacker, defensive end and on special teams.

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

RECENT SIGNINGS: OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS

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

2016: Jeffrey McCulloch, Aldine Davis (4). “The Shark” was one of Texas’ biggest splash signings announced on signing day.

2016: Erick Fowler, Manor (4). Another big get, Fowler flipped from LSU to Texas on signing day. And he’s UT’s lone local recruit signed in 2016.

2015: Malik Jefferson, Mesquite Poteet (5). The gem of last year’s class, Jefferson started from Day 1 and only figures to get better. Last year, he had 61 tackles, 7 TFL, 2.5 sacks and a defensive TD.

2015: Anthony Wheeler, Dallas Skyline (4). Started two games as a freshman, with 36 tackles (the same as DT Hassan Ridgeway) and recovered one fumble.

2015: Cameron Townsend, Fort Bend Ridge Point (4). Redshirted last season.

2015: Breckyn Hager, Austin Westlake (3). Was considered an OLB/DE on signing day, but was primarily an OLB as a freshman. Played in nine games, with 18 tackles and one interception.

2014: Edwin Freeman, Arlington Bowie (4). Redshirted in 2014, then was limited to only five games last fall because of a shoulder injury. Finished with 12 tackles, though three of them were for losses.

2014: Cameron Hampton, Dallas Carter (3). Redshirted in 2014, then transferred out of the program that December. Reports had him landing at Lamar University, but he’s not on the Cardinals’ current roster.

2013: Deoundrei Davis, Houston Cypress Woods (4). Another roster casualty. Davis never saw the field at Texas; he suffered a severe knee injury during his senior season, redshirted in 2013 and then was dismissed from the program early in the 2014 season. We don’t know where he is now, but his last presence on Twitter was a January 2013 retweet of Jameis Winston — “I just think you should look at situations from several perspectives before making a strong opinion. Life is all about perception.”

2013: Naashon Hughes, Harker Heights (3). Has shifted to defensive end at Texas. Was fourth on the team in tackles in 2015 (57) and had 9 TFL, 5.5 sacks and 4 hurries.

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

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