- Long before he became a Texas Longhorn, Davion Curtis was a Temple Longhorn in the Central Texas Youth League
- Curtis originally committed to Georgia but changed course after Texas came through with an offer in November
- Curtis will have a leg up on his competition at Texas because he's familiar with Sterlin Gilbert's spread offense
TEMPLE — Words commonly used to describe future Texas wide receiver Davion Curtis include fast, explosive and elusive.
But not quiet. Definitely not quiet. Consider that Curtis, a sneaker enthusiast, owns a pair of fluorescent high tops that he rocks to school. Another offering from his collection is shiny red. On his high school team at Temple, Curtis served not only as the big-play threat on the perimeter, but also the resident jokester.
Yet last summer at a Texas camp, Curtis, admittedly nervous, kept to himself, and his failure to turn up the volume nearly cost him a chance to play ball for his dream school. That timidness was inconsistent with reports the coaching staff had received about Curtis, and receivers coach Jay Norvell delivered a blunt critique of his performance.
“He told me I wasn’t very energetic,” Curtis recalled last week.
Curtis was sure to bring noise to subsequent camps and months later he received an unexpected scholarship offer during a surprise phone call from head coach Charlie Strong. On signing day this Wednesday, Curtis and Texas will make it official, closing the loop on a vision Curtis first articulated to others at around the age of 7 when he was wearing burnt orange for the Temple Longhorns in the Central Texas Youth League.
“He said, ‘When I get big, I’m gonna play for the Longhorns,” his mother, Shneka Curtis said.
Curtis, who pulled in 30 catches as a senior for 987 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015, is among four receivers in Texas’ class along with Manvel’s Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, Southlake Carroll’s Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Collin Johnson, of San Jose, Calif., who is enrolled at Texas for the spring semester. Overall, the Longhorns have 15 commitments and are banking on some signing day magic to pull out of a relative low ranking (No. 33, currently).
2016 Texas Longhorns recruiting classHere's a look at the recruits who have committed to Texas coach Charlie Strong for the 2016 recruiting cycle. Star rankings from 247sports. Oral commitments are non-binding. National signing day is Feb. 3.
|Collin Johnson||WR||San Jose (V. Christ.), Calif.||4||4/17/2014|
|Shane Buechele||QB||Arlington Lamar||4||2/23/2015|
|Tope Imade||OG||Arlington Bowie||3||5/26/2015|
|Gerald Wilbon||DT||Destrehan (La.)||3||6/17/2015|
|Peyton Aucoin||TE||New Orleans (La.) Martin||3||7/24/2015|
|Malcolm Roach||DE||Baton Rouge (La.)||3||11/6/2015|
|Andrew Fitzgerald||DE||Flower Mound||4||11/12/2015|
|Jean Delance||OT||North Mesquite||4||1/2/16|
|Lil'Jordan Humphrey||WR||Southlake Carroll||3||1/30/16|
|D'Andre Christmas-Giles||DT||New Orleans (La.)||3||2/2/16|
|Chris Daniels||DT||Euless Trinity||4||2/3/16|
|Chris Brown||S||Alief Elsik||3||2/3/16|
|Jeffrey McCulloch||LB||Aldine Davis||4||2/3/16|
|Jordan Elliott||DT||Houston Westside||4||2/3/16|
|JP Urquidez||OT||Copperas Cove||4||6/25/16|
Curtis, a three-star prospect, is rated lowest among the four receivers, but he’s the envy of the group in at least one regard because he’s familiar with the new offense having played in a system similar to it for the past five years. Curtis was in eighth grade in 2011 when new Longhorns offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert came to Temple and installed Art Briles’ spread offense. Though Gilbert left the school after one season, the offense remained a Friday night fixture, providing Curtis a comprehensive study guide for his freshman season at Texas that’s not yet available to his in-house competition.
“That was a big plus for me,” Curtis said of Gilbert’s hiring in December. “A win-win situation.”
Curtis’ blinding speed — UT coaches clocked him at 4.40 seconds in to 40-yard dash — will only increase his chances in a battle for playing time that could include as many as 12 other scholarship receivers.
Not unlike Gilbert, who had initially rebuffed Texas’ offer to stay at Tulsa, Curtis had made plans to attend school elsewhere. Lured by the draw of the SEC, he committed to Georgia in August and set out to be the first Texan to play for the Bulldogs since star quarterback Matthew Stafford (Highland Park) in 2008. Yet as weeks went by he had change of heart, put off by Georgia recruiting several junior college receivers and by concerns about the job security of head coach Mark Richt, who ended up being fired at the end of the season.
“When I heard Coach Richt was leaving, that was a big shock for me,” Curtis said.
But perhaps the biggest factor in his souring on Georgia was that phone call from Strong, who started off with small talk before extending the scholarship offer. The increased interest on Texas’ part was viewed as a response to the Horns losing a commitment from Navasota receiver Tren’Davian Dickson a week earlier.
“When I got the opportunity I just had to take it,” Curtis said. “It’s my dream school.”
At the time all of this was going down, Shneka Curtis was driving home from her job at the veterans hospital.
“Walking to the house I could hear him screaming and shouting,” she said. “I’m wondering, what in the heck is going on.”
Curtis was displaying the energy Norvell had wanted to see all along.