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Thursday, January 20, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 77

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Dimel catching up in Texas' recruiting race

By Josh Gajewski
Daily Cougar Staff

UH head football coach Dana Dimel announced Wednesday the signing of five junior college transfers and the official arrival of Chris Robertson, former running back at the University of Texas.

The JC transfers include offensive lineman Josh Demarr of Cisco Junior College, Tyrone Green of Itawamba Community College and Darnerius Watson of Kilgore College.

Defensive lineman Bryan Hill (Dodge City CC) and strong safety/linebacker Ronnie Braxton (Fort Scott CC) were the other two signees.

"Braxton is probably the top guy in that group," Geoff Ketchum, from lonestarrecruiting.com, said. "He had been recruited by Kansas State and Texas Tech and is a big safety who can play at linebacker as well."

So far, the Cougars' other verbal commitments (which are non-binding) include running backs Jermain Woodard (Dobie High School) and Jesse Grove (Dodge City, Kan.), linebackers Travis Griffith (Hargrove) and Nick Stavinoha (Jersey Village High School), defensive end Kendrick Goss (Crosby High School) and wide receiver Mark Hopkins (North Shore).

"Woodard is a guy who I really like," Ketchum said. "He is a very underrated player who's really impressed me."

Woodard is likely to be part of the Cougar backfield next year, along with current UH members Leif Penn and Geoffrey Reynolds.

Chris Roberston

Robertson, who scored 11 touchdowns as UT's short-yardage specialist, will be unavailable for next season because of NCAA transfer guidelines, but will be able to practice with the team in the spring and will be eligible to officially don Cougar colors in 2001.

His choice to come to UH was based upon his desire to be a running back instead of a fullback in UT's crowded backfield.

"He'll be an instant contributor (in 2001)," Ketchum said. "He's a very talented guy who just didn't fit into the Longhorn system."

Dimel's primary target during this recruiting season is believed to be quarterback Dustin Long from Port Neches-Grove HS.

According to Ketchum, Long's primary schools are now Texas A&M and UH.

"A&M is probably still the favorite but it looks like it's coming down to these two schools," he said. "What he needs to decide is whether he wants to play for a higher profile school (A&M) or join an offense that better suits his skills (UH).

"But UH will get their quarterback eventually. If they don't get Long this year, they're going to find someone who wants to play in (Dimel's) system. It's very attractive for a quarterback."

Dimel has been fast on the recruiting trails since he arrived in Houston after coaching Wyoming the past three seasons.

His wide-open passing attack will likely attract better skill-position players in the coming years than former coach Kim Helton, who often burned bridges with high school coaches in the Houston area as well as in Texas.

Thus far, UT, A&M and TCU have garnered the most commitments in the state. UT's recruiting class is expected to be among the top five in the nation after snagging the top spot in the recruiting polls last year.

"As far as where UH falls in the final rankings this year, it's just too early to tell," Ketchum said. "If they can steal Long from A&M and sign some other of their targets, then they'll be better than Texas Tech, Baylor and SMU (in the recruiting polls)."
 

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