Jake Raulerson has known for a long time that he wanted to be a Texas Longhorn. He was, after all, the first commitment for Texas' 2013 recruiting class.
Wednesday was the culmination of all the hard work Raulerson has put in over the years, with the standout prospect signing his paperwork to officially join the Texas Longhorn family as an early enrollee in the 2013 class.
I just signed it and faxed it back in," Raulerson said shortly after putting pen to his scholarship agreement. "I'm excited to get there and ready to go. This makes it more real. I'll be there in a month."
Raulerson will take his last class as a Celina High School student on Friday - he expects the magnitude of what is in front of him to hit him at that point - and he'll immediately turn his focus towards getting his mind and body ready for a January enrollment in Austin.
"I'm just going to be working out. I'm just going to lift as hard as I do anyways. I've got a month left of just grinding out," Raulerson said.
Earlier this month, the 6-5, 250-pound Raulerson took his official visit to Texas. The highlight, he said, was hanging out with the other prospects who were in on their visits, and getting more time with the Texas football staff. In speaking to the UT coaches, Raulerson was given some news that he wasn't quite expecting.
"They said I'm going to go in and pay defensive end. That surprised me," Raulerson said. "They said they weren't going to redshirt me."
There was a time this summer when Raulerson believed he would start his Longhorn career on the offensive line. He's now focused on defense, but as he has put it all along, he'll do whatever is asked if it helps get him some playing time and helps the team win.
"I just want to get on the field," Raulerson said. "As a defensive end, I'll just work hard to see if I can get into the rotation. I think I can bring some quickness off the edge and effort. I'll just see if I can make a difference.
"The coaches said I could rotate in where, I think, Jeffcoat is playing right now. I can rotate in, help those guys out, be on the strongside, use my run stopping ability, my quickness. I'm not the fastest guy in the world, but I can stop the run pretty well."
Raulerson was hosted by Dalton Santos on his visit. A personable guy who seems to know just about every top prospect in the state of Texas, Raulerson used the 48 hours of his official visit to get better acquainted with the current UT team members.
"i really connected with a lot of those guys. I feel like I'm becoming part of the team even more," Raulerson said. "I know I'll be accepted as part of the team when I get there, so I'm excited about that."
Rauleson will head to San Antonio on December 29 to watch the Longhorns take on Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl. From there, he'll stay in San Antonio for a week as an Army All-American. Upon completion of the Army Bowl, he'll have less than one week before moving into his dorm at Texas. Raulerson said he has a flurry of emotions going through his mind knowing that a new chapter in his life is right around the corner.
"'m nervous. I had guys (on the visit) come up to me and tell me, 'Dude it's not easy.' If a guy tells he's not nervous at one point before something like this, he's lying," Raulerson said. "But the nervousness is an excitedness, it's not a bad thing. I'm ready to go. It's like four years came and went in high school, and I really don't want this next four years to go that fast.