2012 Houston Football Recruiting: Cougars Closing Strong

Despite losing coach Kevin Sumlin to Texas A&M, Houston has converted the momentum from their 13-1 season and their move to the Big East to grab some high-profile commitments on National Signing Day.

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College Football Recruiting Rankings, 2012: Houston Finishes On Top Of Conference USA

After a long decade in the wilderness after the SWC was disbanded, the University of Houston seems to be building a legitimate program.

Despite losing Art Briles to Baylor, they were able to plug in Kevin Sumlin and continue their ascent all the way to a 13-1 finish and a shot at an undefeated season and a BCS bowl last year. So far, they seem to have recovered from Sumlin's departure to Texas A&M, as the new coaching staff under Tony Levine reeled in an impressive recruiting class.

Houston was the clear-cut winner of the 2012 recruiting cycle in Conference USA, with Scout placing them at No. 55 while 24/7 Sports had them sneaking into the top 50 at No. 48.

More importantly, they raced past the rest of their conference rivals, none of whom were anywhere near the top 50. Rivals had the average star ranking for the Cougars 24 commitments at 2.75, a clear cut above Marshall, Southern Miss and Tulsa.

Their biggest recruit was 4-star WR Deonte Greenberry from California, the No. 7 rated WR in the country, who they flipped from Notre Dame on National Signing Day. At 6'3 187 with a 4.4 40, he already has NFL measurables and he could be a force instantly in Houston's spread offense.

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2012 Houston Cougars Football Recruiting Class Signees List At 24, Steals One From Notre Dame

Consider it a landmark day in the history of the Houston Cougars football program as head coach Tony Levine was able to get one of the biggest coups on college football with the signing of the No. 7 wide receiver in the country Deontay Greenberry. Greenberry chose the Cougars over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in what many considered the biggest surprise of the day.

The Cougars finished up the evening with 24 signees, with most being two and three star recruits coming to Houston to play. However, picking up a four-star recruit could signal the Cougars moving into the next level of "mid-major" programs like TCU and Boise State who are now finding ways to get the best players in the country to come to their emerging programs.

Here are the 24 commitments who have signed a letter of intent to the Cougars in 2012:

Name Pos Ht/Wt Stars Rank
Jacob Abels OL 6-5/290 NR
Steven Aikens LB 6-2/200 NR
Rex Dausin QB 6-3/175 NR
Deontay Greenberry WR 6-3/187 7
Blake Herman OL 6-7/290 NR
Donald Hopkins DT 6-2/270 34
Jarrett Irving DB 5-10/180 NR
Ryan Jackson RB 5-11/180 NR
William Jackson ATH 6-2/180 NR
Thaddeus LaGrone LB 6-2/193 NR
Mac Long OL 6-4/277 12
Cameron Malveaux DE 6-6/215 NR
Tomme Mark DT 6-2/260 NR
Xavier Maxwell WR 6-0/175 NR
Adrian McDonald ATH 5-10/160 NR
Larry McDuffey WR 5-11/165 NR
Devin Parks RB 5-10/165 NR
Andrew Rodriguez WR 5-10/170 NR
Bryan Singleton DE 6-4/250 NR
Trevon Stewart DB 5-9/195 NR
Steven Taylor LB 6-1/205 NR
Terrence Taylor RB 5-11/205 48
Davonte Thomas LB 6-1/197 NR
Jontrey Tillman ATH 5-9/170 NR

For more on Deontay Greenberry and the Houston Cougars, visit SB Nation Houston. Click the link for more on National Signing Day 2012.

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Surprise Commit From Greenberry Highlights Cougar Recruiting Class

The Houston Cougars, led by new head coach Tony Levine, signed 23 high school athletes to national letters of intent on Wednesday morning, as well as one junior college transfer, and an already-enrolled transfer from LSU.

Without a doubt, the surprise of the morning was the commitment from Deontay Greenberry, a wide receiver from Fresno, California. Greenberry had been verbally committed to Notre Dame for some time, and as late as Wednesday morning, reports were that he would stay with the Irish. But Greenberry chose the Cougars, making him the first five-star recruit in school history.

Greenberry and Blinn transfer Xavier Maxwell figure to be able to step in immediately and play at the receiver position, with Houston's top four receivers all graduating. Andrew Rodriguez of Allen and Larry McDuffey of North Shore also signed with UH at that position.

Another big last-minute get was Jontrey Tillman, a running back with track star speed from Baldwin, Louisiana. Tillman had been solidly committed to Stanford, before being told recently that he would not be admitted to the school, despite a 4.0 GPA. Tillman was forced to reopen his recruitment, and ultimately picked Houston. Tillman could help provide depth right away behind Charles Sims, with the graduation of Bryce Beall and Michael Hayes.

Trevon Randle has already enrolled at Houston, but will get lumped in with the 2012 recruiting class. Randle was a four-star linebacker recruit for LSU a year ago, but after redshirting a year, decided to transfer to Houston. Randle will sit out the 2012 season, and be classified as a redshirt sophomore in 2013.

While recruiting size on the lines can be an issue for smaller programs, it didn't seem to be a problem for the Cougars. UH's three signees on the offensive line - Mac Long (6'4", 282 lbs), Blake Herman (6'7", 290 lbs) and Jacob Abels (6'5", 290 lbs) - all have excellent size. On paper, Long, a 4-star recruit according to ESPN.com, is one of the stars of the class. The Cougars also added four defensive linemen, three of them topping 250 lbs, and the fourth, Cameron Malveaux, has the potential to be an impact player if he fills out his 6'6" frame.

The total positional breakdown for the class is one quarterback, three running backs, four receivers, three offensive linemen, four defensive linemen, five linebackers, two defensive backs and three athletes.

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Jontrey Tillman, Former Stanford Recruit, Signs With Houston

The Houston Cougars benefited from Stanford's 11th hour decision to pull their scholarship offer from two-star safety Jontrey Tillman, as the Louisiana native signed with Houston on National Signing Day.

The 5'9 195 defensive back publicly committed to Stanford very early in the recruiting process, and their decision to pull their offer to him made national news in outlets like USA Today.

Usually, when a school like Stanford has to back out it's because of grades, but that wasn't the case with Tillman, who reportedly had a 4.0 in high school and scored a 26 on the ACT. His high-school coaches suspected that the Cardinal coaching staff miscalculated their incoming class and were letting Tillman go as part of the numbers game.

He was forced to scramble in the last week, picking Stanford over schools like Colorado, Kansas and Washington State.

Beating out several BCS conference schools for Tillman was a huge win for the Houston coaching staff, as they've been performing well on the recruiting trail despite Kevin Sumlin's departure to Texas A&M.

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Deontay Greenberry Commits To Houston Over Notre Dame In A Shocker

The Houston Cougars grabbed a huge commitment in one of the best wide receivers in the nation, originally committed to Notre Dame.

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