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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Football

Cougars add four players on National Signing Day


Sophomore Deontay Anderson was one of the transfer signees of the 2018 signing class and was one of the few transfers to pan out for the Cougars. | Corbin Ayres/The Cougar

As National Signing Day wrapped up Wednesday with new head coach Dana Holgorsen, Houston added 16 new players to the team. The bulk signed during early signing period while four signed Wednesday morning.

The Cougars added two defensive linemen in junior Atlias Bell and sophomore Jamykal Neal and two offensive players, an offensive lineman Cam’Ron Johnson and running back Terrell Brown.

“The four kids we signed today are a small part of what we’ve done over the last five weeks, and I’m happy to have those guys,” Holgorsen said.

Holgorsen plans to focus on the future and rebuilding the program by starting with strengthening the new players coming in next season, like running back Terrell “Smoke” Brown.

“(Brown is) going to be a good player and we needed a young back like that. We’re very senior heavy at running back and that’s the future. I do want to say, everybody that we’ve signed, there’s eight transfers and nine high school guys, are all pretty important to us,” Holgorsen said.

The Cougars struggled on the offensive line last season, so one of the main focuses in recruiting was to find players to build in that position. With three returning starters, the Cougars looked to add more offensive linemen and have four in the signing class.

“The offensive line was a huge priority because the numbers aren’t nearly what they need to be. That’s the most important thing to recruit, offensively, other than a quarterback,” Holgorsen said. “Getting these four guys – they’re big, they’re good players, we evaluated them, we brought them in and we liked them.”

Similarly, Houston needs to fill holes in the defense for future seasons, especially with the loss of Ed Oliver and the transition from a three-down front to a four-down front.

Although Houston was limited in recruiting due to the five transfer players who played last season, Holgorsen can still fill a few more spots reserved for the defense and offensive linemen.

“We have four more to get. We need defensive players and offensive linemen. We’re going to bring in the best four we can moving forward,” Holgorsen said.

The Cougars gained a couple of transfers, such as sophomore Taures Payne and junior Oliver Charles-Pierre, who both are defensive linemen with experience and could help out the Cougars next season.

To continue to build the program and ensure the Cougars will have players to fill future positions for the next couple of years, Holgorsen recruited transfers who would still have multiple years of eligibility left.

“We signed three of them that are three-for-three, and a couple others that are three-for-two, which means we have the ability to be able to build our program for not only the next coming years, but for the future as well,” Holgorsen said.

Transition classes are notoriously hard to fill, and the Cougars plan to get to work with spring football after the break to figure out the look of the team.

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