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April 10, 2003

Bobby Tatum becomes Horns 10th commitment

At the rate Mack Brown and the Texas Longhorns are going, they could very well earn the title of Defensive Back U. With former Horns like Quentin Jammer making their mark in the NFL and a plethora of other potential first-round draft picks battling for playing time on the UT roster, its hard to imagine another school that can boast of the quality of defensive backs that the Longhorns can.

On Thursday, the rich got a little richer. The Longhorns, already off to a blazing start in the 2004 recruiting season, picked up their 10th yes 10th commitment when Fort Worth Dunbar defensive back Bobby Tatum called Brown and said he too will wear the Burnt Orange.

They offered me on Tuesday. I really, really liked Texas and I wanted to do it then but my coach (Bob Jones) said maybe I should take my trips and everything, Tatum said. I talked it over with my dad and my old coach at North Crowley and he said theres really no need for me to go through all this extra. Its really just a waste of time. So I figured Id just go ahead and get it over with.

The 6-1, 195-pound standout, who is regarded as one of the top defensive backs in the Lone Start State, said he made the decision while passing some idle time at Dunbars district track meet. Normally, Tatum would have been a key piece to Dunbars sprint teams, but due to a tweaked hamstring he had some extra time to contemplate his future.

I was at the track meet and it was really on my mind since I wasnt running, he said. My dad had called me and he was talking to me about it, telling me I should commit. I didnt know if I wanted to but when I called my old coach at North Crowley, were really close, he said he thought I should commit because its a once in a lifetime opportunity. I really trust his opinion and its kind of what I wanted to do anyway.

I called Mack Brown from the track meet on my cell phone on his cell phone. He was just getting back from vacation and we were talking about fishing and stuff. Then I just told him how I felt.

Tatum said he probably wont be able to run in the regional meet but he hopes to back in time for Dunbars run at a state title. He has listed the Longhorns as a clear leader for some time and he said his familiarity with the UT program was enough to win him over.

Its close to home and I really liked the environment, the players and the coaches, he said. Ive been going to the Texas summer camps ever since I was a freshman plus the state track meets. I just love Texas.

Tatum, who will be a mid-term enrollee, said hes hopeful that he can get right into the mix for playing time once he reports to the Forty Acres. If not, hell bide his time until hes ready.

Theyre recruiting me as a cornerback, he noted. I told them Ill be there in January and coach Brown said Ill have a chance to get in the mix as a true freshman. I would love to play as a freshman but if they want to redshirt me Im fine with that.

Although hes one of the most highly sought after prospects in the state including a bundle of offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Texas A&M and LSU, among others Tatum said he realizes he still has things to learn and on which to improve.

Im big and Im physical. Right now I rely on my natural ability and my speed. I have good coaches and all, but I think I can still get a lot better with the coaching theyll give me at Texas, he said.

Whats next? With his commitment in the bag, Tatum said hell turn his attention towards track and close the door on recruiting.

It feels really good, he said about his pledge. I can tell all the other coaches Im through and I know where I want to go. Im not taking any visits except to Texas.



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