Major Applewhite is winning the offseason, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He proved that he can get graduate transfers to come to Houston, but questions remained about his ability to bring in top high school talent. Things could be changing. Applewhite added four-star defensive end Nelson Ceaser from Ridge Point (TX) yesterday.
Houston picks up 2019 commitment from Nelson Ceaser (@CeaserNelson), a 4⭐️ defensive end from Ridge Point. Had offers from Nebraska, Oklahoma, TCU to name a few.— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) July 29, 2018
Houston saw an influx of former four star recruits transfer to the program in the offseason, and also still have players like Ed Oliver (five star) and Courtney Lark (four star) on roster as well. Ceaser, like Oliver and Lark, decided that he wants to stay close to home, and is yet another impressive defensive end to potentially join the Cougars.
Ceaser’s commitment could be the beginning of a new era under Applewhite. While there is still quite a bit of time before National Signing Day arrives, the Cougars could be starting something that might shake up college football. The addition of a National Signing Day in December had many believing that recruiting could change in favor of Group of 5 teams. This year will tell us a lot about the truth to that belief. In this case, Houston would only have to wait until December for Ceaser to sign with them officially (if he stays with his commitment), giving Power 5 schools less chances to flip him. Ed Oliver started the trend of top recruits spurning bigger programs to stay home, and it might be something more athletes decide to do as well.
Houston’s been known to be a great place for teams to recruit, and many believe it is the best in the country. Applewhite and his staff have continually made an effort to keep these recruits home, but didn’t have much luck doing so last year. The Cougars have already shown that staying home can actually do wonders for a players career (Oliver has proven that). If this coaching staff can prove that Oliver staying home wasn’t a fluke, it could mean that Houston’s trajectory is going in a great direction. It would change the perception of Houston in the college football landscape.
Imagine if players like Kendall Sheffield (Ohio State), Holton Hill (Texas), Rodney Anderson (Oklahoma), Jalen Hurts (Alabama), Walker Little (Stanford) and Trayveon Williams (Texas A&M) committed to Houston. All six played high school within 30 minutes of Houston, and could have stayed home. Applewhite and his staff are trying to get players to stay in Houston, and Ceaser could be a key piece in achieving that goal.
All it takes is one recruit to prove that you can buck the trends and still achieve your goals and aspirations. We learned a lot about Major Applewhite this offseason, and it might be a trend that can change the program. Ed Oliver started what could provide more parity in college football, and it very well could continue. Ceaser may be a nice piece in the Cougars 2019 recruiting class, but he could also be contributing to something much more.