Punishing Florida linebacker Cecil Cherry committed to the Texas Longhorns, giving the 2015 class a physical, punishing inside thumper with bad intentions and a highlight film that resembles felony battery.
It's a good thing Cherry hails from Frostproof HS because some of his highlights against outmatched competition are too cold.
Cherry is a decisive striker who is adept at wading through traffic, squaring up, dropping his hips and driving the top of his face mask through the ballcarrier's sternum. He has a naturally low base, good lower body strength and the ability to snap his hips violently, resulting in a lot of collisions where the ballcarrier begins to questions his choice in sport, much less his desire to carry the rock again. Cecil is also a hard-running fullback on offense with soft hands and if he doesn't pan at LB, it's not hard to imagine him as an enthusiastic lead blocker in a two back set. Cherry provides physicality and terror and there's a value in those things that's bigger than just total tackles registered in the box score.
Cecil could provide a massive physical presence inside, an anchor who, along with two good DTs and a solid strong side defensive end will provide the infrastructure necessary to surround them with fleet tweeners and spread disruptors.
On the other hand...
The 6 footish Cherry is not particularly fast or fleet, though his first step is quick. His only use on defense will be at inside linebacker and it remains to be seen whether he can make useful coverage drops against spread offenses and handle bigger offensive linemen that he won't be able to bully. He's an early bloomer with a lot of strength and aggression facing small school competition - he's supposed to be dominating. The big question is whether the attributes that make him an impressive high school linebacker translate to the next level and he can demonstrate the instincts and quickness necessary to bring his physicality to bear.
His best upside comp is former OU and Oiler LB Joe Bowden.
If Strong is looking to shift the Longhorn mindset to more physicality, Cherry is a good place to start.