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Commitment 101: Defensive end David Abiara joins Texas' 2021 recruiting class

Three-star defensive end David Abiara could find early playing time his freshman season. The Mansfield Legacy product signed with Texas on Wedesday.

Mansfield Legacy's David Abiara became Texas’ 21st signature of the 2021 recruiting class on Wednesday morning when the 6-4, 248-pound defensive end chose the Longhorns over 24 other offers.

Abiara was previously committed to Notre Dame before backing away from his pledge on Nov. 25. 

"It is definitely a sigh of relief to be signed," Abiara said on Wednesday at a small signing ceremony in the Mansfield Legacy field house. "I’m excited to be signed and I’m excited to play football for the University of Texas. I’m glad (recruiting) is all over."

Texas’ class ranks 17th in the nation and second in the Big 12. The Longhorns signed 18 prospects in the early period. Abiara becomes the third previously unsigned commitment to join the class, following wide receiver Keithron Lee and cornerback Ishmael Ibraheem. 

Skill set: Abiara is a large-framed defensive end with the physicality to play early in his career. He’s a big, strong prospect who won’t be bullied at the point of attack. He's the 24th-ranked strong-side defensive end in the 2021 cycle, ranking 358th nationally on the 247Sports composite ratings. He was a one-time member of the Fabulous 55. 

"David is a competitor. He competes really hard and loves a challenge. His potential is really, really high," Mansfield Legacy head coach Chris Melson said. "He’s got rare talent and has as high of a ceiling as any player I’ve coached in 29 years. I look forward to seeing what Texas does with him and how he develops."

Abiara played well as a sophomore, showing promise with 23 tackles, including six for loss and one sack in 2018. He raised his stock with an impressive junior campaign, ending the year with 75 tackles, including 15 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. Injuries dampened his senior season. 

Immediate impact: Texas is losing production at defensive end with Joseph Ossai forgoing his senior season for the NFL. The Longhorns will return Moro Ojomo and Marqez Bimage at end, as well as some experienced backups and young prospects. There are snaps to earn in 2021, however, and Abiara could find his way onto the field early if he's in shape when he arrives this summer. A team can’t have too many players who can get after the passer and stop the run.  

"Coach K will be a 4-3 or a 3-4, so I can play defensive end or outside linebacker," Abiara said. "I would tell young recruits to take their time and don’t be rushed into any rash decisions. Surround yourself with good people so that they can elevate you."

Fitting into the program: Texas brought in a new defensive staff following Steve Sarkisian’s replacement of Tom Herman as head coach. Defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski was hired from Washington. Bo Davis, who was most recently in the NFL working with the Detroit Lions, is taking over a talented defensive line. The fact that those two wanted Abiara enough to add him this late in the cycle bodes well for their belief in him as a prospect who can instantly buy into the new regime. 

In fact, Kwiatkowski was recruiting Abiara to play at Washington prior to his move to Texas.

"The defensive coordinator (Pete Kwiatkowski) built a strong relationship with David when he was still at Washington. That is where Davis was going to go, so when coach Pete came to Texas, that was it," Melson said. "And he knew Sarkisian and those guys from when Alabama was recruiting him. It was a perfect storm."

Recruiting at the position: Texas did a good job recruiting the defensive line despite a disappointing overall cycle. Five-star athlete Ja’Tavion Sanders can play defensive end, though it's looking more likely that he’ll begin his career at wide receiver. The Longhorns also signed defensive ends Jordon Thomas and Derrick Harris Jr. in the early period.