Second year head coach Tom Herman's ability to attract recruits to the University of Houston has nearly transcended the concept of a talent disparity between "Power 5" and "Group of 5" caliber players. The top three guys currently committed to the Cougars (Ed Oliver, Na'Ty Rodgers, and Tyrie Cleveland) are blue-chip talents that anyone would love to have on their squad, so it's no surprise that Houston fans are excited about the future of the program with players like these coming on board.
First and foremost is defensive tackle Ed Oliver from Spring Westfield High School in Houston, TX. Oliver is currently listed as the sixth-best player in the country according to 247 Sports, and he courted the likes of LSU and Texas before committing to Houston last May. The 6'2", 277 pound lineman's highlights shows a combination of strength and a quick first step that will be tough to defend at the next level.
Listed as having a 4.87 40-time, he's not too shabby breaking tackles if he gets the ball in his hands either.
Rodgers is junior college transfer with an interesting background. The 6'5", 290 pound offensive tackle originally committed to play for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina in 2013. Rodgers left the Gamecocks after one season and enrolled at Iowa Western Community College. Herman secured Rodgers' commitment a little over a month ago, and it's easy to see why he was so sought after by UH.
Rodgers shows good instincts and a quick first step as an offensive lineman. Combine that with the ability to read defenders and get to the next level when blocking, and it looks as if the Cougars have their blindside tackle for the next two seasons.
Oliver's teammate at Spring Westfield is the explosive talent of Tyrie Cleveland. At 6'2" and 189 pounds, Tyrie finished his senior campaign with 17 total touchdowns, 14 of those coming from the passing game. The talented wide receiver also added scores in the return game, finishing his high school career with five kick return touchdowns in three seasons.
Cleveland's highlights show a player with a fantastic amount of speed and perhaps even better, an ability to locate the ball and wrestle it away from defenders. Both of those skills will come in handy as Herman brings in more offensive talent to help quarterback Greg Ward Jr.
If Herman keeps attracting players like Oliver, Rodgers and Cleveland to Houston, the Cougars could be looking at being just as talented as P5 teams in larger conferences. And that will make all the difference when it comes to either separating from the Group of 5 pack or closing the gap on the Power Five.
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