Harker Heights junior offensive lineman Darius James verbally committed to the University of Texas this morning during an impromptu visit to the Austin campus.

"I'm just really happy, it's like a weight lifted off my shoulders," James said by phone.

After originally saying he wanted to wait out his decision and visit several more schools, the 6-foot-6, 320-pound James -- rated as the nation's No. 1 center prospect -- reversed field last night made up his mind on the Longhorns. 

After canceling a weekend trip to Norman, Okla. for Oklahoma's Junior Day earlier last week, James and mentor/Harker Heights assistant coach Rob Hagey decided last night to drive to Austin this morning and surprise the Longhorn coaching staff with the good news in person.

After a brief conversation with Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels, who reiterated how much Texas wanted him, James made it official during a sit down with Longhorns head coach Mack Brown.

James becomes the third Killeen-area prospect to committ to a major Division I program this month, following Shoemaker running back Johnny Jefferson (Texas A&M) and fellow Knights teammate and best friend Naashon Hughes, who committed to Texas last week despite no official scholarship offer on the table. The Longhorns also have Hughes' older brother Camrhon -- another good friend of James -- already on campus as a 2012 early enrollee.

Along with Hughes and James, who make up commitments No. 11 and 12 for Texas, the Longhorns have verbals from eight of the top 11 prospects from the state of Texas according to Rivals.com's Lone Star Recruiting's Top 100 list.


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