As the only non-Texas on the 2011 Longhorn commitment list (at least for now), last weekend's Longhorn mini-camp carried extra importance for Christian Westerman.
The Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton offensive tackle, perhaps more than any other UT commitment in attendance, wanted to use his time in Austin to build relationships with his future teammates, while also showcasing his talents to the Texas coaches and recruits.
The 6-5, 288-pound Westerman, ranked as the nation's 12th-best prospect overall, put on a show with his performance during the camp and more importantly, made connections with some of the other commitments that he had not yet met.
"The best part was being around, meeting some of your friends," said Westerman, who noted that he really clicked with his fellow offensive linemen. "I felt a really close bond. They're just a bunch of cool guys, and I can see myself hanging out with a lot in the future."
On the field, Westerman excelled in the individual drills, not giving up a sack in the one-on-one blocking assignments despite matching up with some of the best pass rushers the state of Texas has to offer. He and the other linemen cross-trained at both guard and tackle, and Westerman came out of the camp feeling good about the way he held up against the competition.
"I felt I did really well. I think I showed that I can play early. I thought that I did well in the one-on-ones," Westerman said. "There was def a lot of good competition out there. I just came out and played hard."
One of the toughest match-ups for Westerman and all the other linemen in attendance was Longhorn defensive tackle commitment Desmond Jackson. Cat-quick off the snap, Jackson dominated the competition in a similar setting at the Army Junior Combine, and he was once again a top performer at UT's mini-camp. Jackson won his share of the battles over the course of the day, but Westerman was able to keep him in check on the one occasion when they matched up.
"That is one fast kid. He has one of the quickest first steps I've ever seen," Westerman said. "There were a couple guys, when it was snapped he was already by him. I matched up with him once at guard. I thought I did pretty well but he's definitely one the best out there."
At the camp, Westerman and the other offensive linemen got to work under the watchful eye of Texas o-line coach Mac McWhorter. It was actually the second time for Westerman to work with his future position coach after attending a Longhorn camp last summer as well.
"He definitely makes you work hard. He's really down to earth. If he has something to say, he'll tell it to you straight," Westerman said. "If you have things to work on, he'll tell you but he's also supportive. He doesn't keep secrets or anything like that."
Over the summer, Westerman plans to continue to work in the weight room to get himself ready for what should be an extremely successful senior season. His plan is to work on his strength, quickness and footwork as well as finding some time to spend enjoying time with family and friends in his last summer at home.
The good news for the blue-chip lineman is that last weekend gave him a glimpse of what life as a Longhorn will be like, and Westerman's still 100 percent sold on his decision to take his talents to the Forty Acres.
"That's a good feeling, knowing I'll have a couple friends out there when I get there this time next summer," Westerman said. "I'm still really happy about my commitment. I can't wait to get out there, to start playing with them."