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February 3, 2014

Longhorns add 2014 offensive lineman Rodriguez

Elijah Rodriguez knew he'd have to make a quick decision after finishing his official visit to Texas on Sunday. Rodriguez, out of Cy-Creek, had been committed to Colorado for several months and he was faced with the choice of either sticking with the Buffs or flipping his commitment to Texas. With only a couple days left until National Signing Day, Rodriguez had very little time and he'd have to make a very difficult decision in short order.

On Monday afternoon, Rodriguez made his choice, and the Texas Longhorns have added another key commitment to their 2014 recruiting class.

The 6-6, 280-pound Rodriguez made up his mind at about 3 p.m. on Monday. Shortly after that, he called Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre to inform him of his decision and followed that call up with a call to Texas head coach Charlie Strong.

Rodriguez said he's "really excited to be a Longhorn" but he admits it was not an easy decision to change his commitment.

"It was the toughest decision I've ever made in my life. It was extremely hard," Rodriguez said. "I had built a great relationship with the coaches at Colorado. They've always been so good to me. They're such great men and fantastic coaches. I have a lot of respect for them. I think the Colorado program is going to be picking up, going to be doing great thing in the future. It was hard to decide to choose UT over them.

"But there's just a lot of different aspects to it that I really liked about UT. It was definitely by far the hardest decision I've ever made in my life."

One of the aspects that helped lead Rodriguez to his decision is the fact that his brother attends the University of Texas. In fact, his brother, who will be a junior next year, is going to walk onto the Texas football program as an offensive lineman.

"That was a big plus, getting to play football with him," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez' grandfather, Arved White, played at Texas under legendary head coach Darrell Royal. When Rodriguez shared the news of his decision to attend UT, his grandfather was understandably excited.

"He's been a tremendous inspiration to me. He has been with me all along through the recruiting process. He's been role model for me," Rodriguez said. "When I told him I threw up the horns and said Hook'em Horns. He jumped up off his seat and yelled and gave me a great big hug."

Rodriguez said there were a multitude of factors that put Texas out in front and helped finalize his decision.

"At first, a big issue was that I had gotten accepted into the engineering program at Colorado. But they said they couldn't accept me right off the bat at UT. That was a big issue but talking to the coaches, my brother, hearing about academic support team at UT, they made a point that they'll do whatever it takes to get me into the engineering program. If I have to take a more difficult program during the summer, take it by itself so I can really focus on it, they would do that for me. Hearing that, I have a lot of confidence I'll have the resources to make it into the engineering program.

"That was big, and the thing with my brother being there and on the team with me. And it being so much closer to home, my family can go to the games. My grandpa has a ranch that's about an hour away from Austin so I can go there sometimes. My grandpa played football there, practically all my family has gone to school there. It's kind of been a tradition in my family of going to UT."

Rodriguez becomes Texas' 22nd commitment in the 2014 recruiting class, and he's the Longhorns' third offensive line commitment. He will sign his letter of intent early Wednesday morning.


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