February 28, 2012

Breaking down the Longhorn recruiting board

Two weeks ago today, a number of recruitniks across the country were up in arms over the fact that the first Texas Junior Day had come and gone without a single commitment. However, as the calendar prepares to turn from February to March in a little more than 24 hours, the Longhorns are sitting at 11 commitments and have the meat of their 2013 recruiting class already taken care of.

So, what's left? What should you watch for from this moment moving forward?

Here's a position-by-position breakdown of the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting board.

Quarterbacks

Players currently on scholarship: (4) Case McCoy (Jr.) David Ash (So.), Connor Brewer (Fr.) and Jalen Overstreet (Fr.)

Needs for this year: One

Current commitments: (1) Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright)

Players on the radar: None

Overview: Nearly 10 years to the month that the Longhorns landed Vince Young, Mack Brown was able to go out and land another dual-threat quarterback prospect with 5-star credentials on the table. Although he's raw and will need some time to develop, the Longhorns landed the No. 1 game-changing quarterback prospect on the market. There might be a number of quality options in-state this year, but there's only one guy that is described by college coaches as different from rest of the pack. The Longhorns got that guy. I'm not sure you could ask for more.

Running backs

Players currently on scholarship: (8) Jeremy Hills (Sr.), D.J. Monroe (Sr.), Ryan Roberson (Sr.), Joe Bergeron (So.), Malcolm Brown (So.), Johnathan Gray (Fr.), Chet Moss (So.) and Daje Johnson (Fr.)

Needs for this year: Two

Current commitments: (1) Kyle Hicks (Arlington Martin)

Players still on the radar: (1) Dontre Wilson (DeSoto-offered)

Overview: You probably wouldn't guess that 30 percent of the graduating senior class for the Longhorns is comprised of running backs but Major Applewhite definitely needs a pair of backs to replace the three that are leaving this year. The young talent in the program is tremendous, but numbers need to be rebuilt in this class and the Longhorns have already secured one of the state's best prospects in Hicks and have another offer on the table to Wilson. Both players are game-breakers, but both have different strengths and skill sets. If the Longhorns can close with their top two in-state targets, they'll have really scored a touchdown with this recruiting class, especially on the heels of signing back-to-back five-star prospects at the position. If Texas misses on Wilson, look for the Applewhite to look for an alternative that fits his desires in the spring. For now, the Longhorns are going to work on closing Wilson.

Wide receivers

Players currently on scholarship: (10) Marquise Goodwin (Sr.), Desean Hales (Sr.), Mike Davis (Jr.), John Harris (So.), Bryant Jackson (So.), Miles Onyegbule (So.), Jaxon Shipley (So.), Marcus Johnson (Fr.), Cayleb Jones (Fr.) and Kendall Sanders (Fr.)

Needs for this year: Two or three

Current commitments: (3) Jake Oliver (Dallas Jesuit), Ricky Seals-Jones (Sealy) and Jacorey Warrick (Houston Cy Falls)

Players still on the radar: (3) Ra'Shaad Samples (Dallas Skyline-offered), Eldridge Massington (West Mesquite), Ellis Jefferson (Denton Guyer) and Robbie Rhodes (FW Southwest)

Overview: The next couple of weeks could be fascinating to watch because the Longhorns appear to have stretched themselves in terms of numbers with the addition of a third recruit in this class. With two departing after this season, Texas is scheduled to have 11 receivers on scholarship next fall. That being said, unless something has changed there's still an open offer out to Samples, which means the Longhorns could expand their wide receiver class to four if he commits. That could be a sign that the numbers on campus right now are somewhat deceptive and that some attrition is expected once the roadblock of numbers that includes four sophomores is broken up a little this spring. With the three commitments that the Longhorns have secured, they've gone out and landed two elite national playmakers and one of the state's fastest vertical threats. Darrell Wyatt didn't have his guys last season, but that won't be a problem in the future. A big-time cavalry is on the way.

Tight ends

Players currently on scholarship: (7) D.J. Grant (Sr.), Barrett Matthews (Sr.), Luke Poehlmann (Sr.), Trey Graham (Jr.), Greg Daniels (So.), Darius Terrell (So.) and M.J. McFarland (Fr.)

Needs for this year: Two or three

Current commitments: None

Players still on the radar: (3) Durham Smythe (Belton-offered), Jeremiah Gaines (Red Oak) and Trent Gow (Mansfield)

Overview: Like the wide receiver position, 30 percent of the departing numbers this year comes from this group, which means that a lot of the numbers and depth for the future must come from this class. Obviously, Smythe is their No. 1 target and represents one of the most important prospects in the entire class. He's plan A and it's tough to say who exactly plan B would or will become, but Smythe won't be the last offer made at this position for 2013. He's just the only guy with an offer right now and that should say a lot about him, considering the importance of getting it right at his position this year.

Offensive tackles

Players currently on scholarship: (9) Donald Hawkins (Jr.), Paden Kelley (Jr.), Kyle Kriegel (Jr.), Josh Cochran (So.), Taylor Doyle (Rd-Fr), Garrett Greenlea (Rd-Fr), Marcus Hutchins (Rd-Fr), Kennedy Estelle (Fr.) and Camrhon Hughes (Fr.)

Needs for this year: One or two

Current commitments: (1) Kent Perkins (Lake Highlands)

Players still on the radar: Josh Thomas (Shreveport Evangel)

Overview: From a numbers standpoint, the Longhorns finally have some depth with which to work at the tackle position heading into this season and there's not a single departing senior that needs replacing in this recruiting class. Therefore, the most important thing for the Longhorns is not quantity, but quality, which is why the addition of Perkins on Monday was such a big deal for Texas. Unless there's a loss of several players in this group through attrition this season, the Longhorns have probably filled their need at this position with the pick of the litter. If Stacy Searels can find a cherry for his sundae, well, that's what adding another nationally elite prospect would be.

Offensive guards

Players currently on scholarship: (5) Thomas Ashcraft (Jr.), Mason Walters (Jr.), Trey Hopkins (Jr.), Sedrick Flowers (Rd-Fr.) and Curtis Riser (Fr.)

Needs for this year: None or one

Current commitments: None

Players still on the radar: Brandon Kublanow (Mariette, Ga.) and Patrick Morris (Denton Guyer)

Overview: The Longhorns have a lot of young depth in the program along the interior of the offensive line, especially with Hopkins moving back inside. There aren't any seniors that need replacing from a numbers standpoint, but you'd probably like to add at least one elite interior prospect if possible.

Offensive centers

Players currently on scholarship: (2) Garrett Porter (Jr.) and Dominic Espinosa (So.)

Needs for this year: One

Current commitments: None

Players still on the radar: Darius James (Killeen Harker Heights-offered) and Austin Davis (Mansfield)

Overview: There's one nationally elite center prospect available in the class this year and it's James. Landing him would potentially signal the arrival of a three-year starter beginning in 2015, following a red-shirt freshman season. At this point in the game, the Longhorns are all in for James.

Defensive tackles

Players currently on scholarship: (7) Ashton Dorsey (Jr.), Brandon Moore (Jr.), Chris Whaley (Jr.), Desmond Jackson (So.), Malcom Brown (Fr.), Paul Boyette (Fr.) and Alex Norman (Fr.)

Needs for this year: One or two

Current commitments: (1) A'Shawn Robinson (FW Arlington Heights)

Players still on the radar: Justin Manning (Dallas Kimball-offered) and Christopher Robinson (Shreveport Woodlawn)

Overview: The Longhorns aren't scheduled to lose anyone from this group and this is one position where attrition would be a bad thing. Ideally, you'd probably like to have eight defensive tackles on campus, so Texas really needs only one or two prospects to fill the numbers need. With top-10 state prospect Robinson already committed, the top remaining guy on the board is Manning, but the Longhorns seem like a longshot for his services right now, which makes identifying the most likely No. 2 target in the class a little murky.

Defensive ends

Players currently on scholarship: (8) Alex Okafor (Sr.), Jackson Jeffcoat (Jr.), Reggie Wilson (Jr.), Cedric Reed (So.), Caleb Bluiett (Fr.), Bryce Cottrell (Fr.), Shiro Davis (Fr.) and Hassan Ridgeway (Fr.)

Needs for this year: Three

Current commitments: (2)Daeshon Hall (Lancaster) and Jake Raulerson (Celina)

Players still on the radar: Torrodney Prevot (Aldine Taylor-offered), Joey Bosa (Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), D.J. Ward (Lawton, Okla.) and Vincent Taylor (San Antonio Madison)

Overview: Half of the current depth chart going into the 2013 season is comprised of true freshmen, which is the first eye-opener you notice when scanning the roster. The other thing that jumps out is that Okafor is gone after this season and Jeffcoat could be a strong early departure candidate. That means that the Longhorns need two defensive ends at a minimum and in all probability, three is the number desired. Hell, maybe four because you just cannot have enough edge players. Thus far, they've found three they like based on their recent offers to Hall and Prevot. With Raulerson and Hall in the cupboard, the Longhorns appear to be content on finishing out the recruitment of Prevot, while lining up some out of state's options to explore this spring.

Linebackers

Players currently on scholarship: (10) DeMarco Cobbs (Jr.), Jordan Hicks (Jr.), Aaron Benson (So.), Steve Edmond (So.), Tevin Jackson (So.), Kendall Thompson (So.), Tim Cole (Fr.), Alex De La Torre (Fr.), Peter Jinkens (Fr.) and Dalton Santos (Fr.)

Needs for this year: One or two

Current commitments: (2) - Deoundrei Davis (Houston Cy Woods) and Naashon Hughes (Harker Heights)

Players still on the radar: Mike Mitchell (Plano Prestonwood), Travon Blanchard (West Orange-Stark) and Brett Wade (Kennedale)

Overview: From a numbers standpoint the Longhorns look pretty solid right now. In an ideal world you would probably prefer to have 8-9 guys on scholarship and the Longhorns are already beyond that number right now and will stay above it without some strong attrition. That means Texas will likely stick to one or two linebackers at the most in this class, and Davis took a key slot with his commitment on Sunday. If the Longhorns take another linebacker in this class, the expectations will likely exist for it to be a difference maker of the highest order. (Note: Texas has since landed a greyshirt commitment from Hughes, but it doesn't really change the dynamics of the situation)

Cornerbacks

Players currently on scholarship: (9) Carrington Byndom (Jr.), A.J. White (Jr.), Eryon Barnett (Jr.), Quandre Diggs (So.), Leroy Scott (So.), Josh Turner (So.), Bryson Echols (Fr.), Duke Thomas (Fr.) and Kevin Vaccaro (Fr.)

Needs for this year: One or two

Current commitments:

Players still on the radar: Antwaun Davis (Bastrop), Chevoski Collins (Livingston), Colin Janice (West Orange-Stark), Maurice Smith (Sugar Land Dulles), Stanvon Taylor (Tulsa Central) and Cole Luke (Chandler, Az.)

Overview: The Longhorns have stocked up on corners in the last two classes, recruiting a total of six in 2011-12, which means that numbers are no longer an issue and shouldn't be heading into next year. Duane Akina likely has one corner spots at his disposal right now and maybe two if it were two guys Texas just couldn't say no to. However, the numbers just don't allow for the Longhorns to overextend themselves.

Safeties

Players currently on scholarship: (5) Kenny Vaccaro (Sr.), Adrian Phillips (Jr.), Sheroid Evans (So.), Mykkele Thompson (So.) and Adrian Colbert (Fr.)

Needs for this year: One or two

Current commitments: None

Players still on the radar: Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla-offered), Kameron Miles (West Mesquite), Vonn Bell (Rossville, GA - offered) and Su'a Cravens (Murrieta, Ca.)

Overview: The numbers at safety are stronger than they appear because several of those playing cornerback could slide over to the position if called on, but there's no question that the Longhorns will need to replace Vaccaro and it might make a lot of sense to double-down with a second option in this class in the event that the numbers collapse for some unexpected reason. As is the case at cornerback, Akina is being meticulous in his approach to determining who he wants in this section of his class. He's looking for elite of the elite right now.

Kickers

Players currently on scholarship: (2) Will Russ (So.) and Nick Jordan (Fr,)

Needs for this year: None

Current commitments: None

Players still on the radar: None

Overview: The Longhorns need Russ and Jordan to give them some quality play on special teams because you can't really devote scholarships to more than two or three guys at any time. If a special prospect presented himself, the Longhorns could probably justify the offer, but at this point they haven't shown any signs of wanting to extend a 2013 offer to this position.



...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!