February 13, 2011

Everything you need to know about the 1st Junior Day

After weeks and months of discussion, the first Junior Day of the 2011-12 recruiting year has been put to bed. With this weekend's showcase of the Longhorn football program, less commitments than usual were recorded, but the first true step forward in this next chapter of Longhorn football took place in earnest.

Overall, there were 13 offers handed out this weekend and four accepted commitments.

Here's a position-by-position, player-by-player breakdown of what happened this weekend and what it means:


Visitor: None

Low-down With Conner Brewer's commitment earlier this week, the Longhorns didn't bring in any quarterbacks this weekend and probably won't target another prospect.

Running backs

Visitor Johnathan Gray - Aledo

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Gray picked up an offer on Saturday when he came in a day early to get some up-close and personal attention from the entire Texas offensive coaching staff. Although there's a ton of speculation that the Longhorns are in extremely good shape, there's still a feeling that TCU is very heavily in the mix.

Key quotes: "Junior day was a good visit. Having a chance to meet the new staff was important because it gave us an idea of which direction they're going. Offensively they're trying to get back to running the football and that is impressive.

"Coach Harsin and Applewhite seem to have a good working relationship. We also had a chance to meet and talk to returning players. And they were excited about the challenge ahead of them.

It was really an honor to be invited. Next visit is to A&M on the 20th."

Orangebloods discussion: Johnathan Gray thread

Wide receivers

Visitor Thomas Johnson - Dallas Skyline

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Johnson was the only Skyline prospect on hand this weekend and after receiving an offer from the Longhorns this weekend, the Longhorns appear to be in very good shape.

Key quotes: "They're definitely a school I'm considering."

Orangebloods discussion: Thomas Johnson thread

Visitor Cayleb Jones - Austin High

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: The Longhorns have long been a favorite for Jones, but he emerged from the Junior Day without having committed and his official position is that he's a ways away from making a final decision.

Key quotes: "Overall, I think it was a really good day. Every time I go to talk to coach Mack, he always says something very insightful, something I take in and really think about. It's never a waste of time when I go over there. It always means a lot to me and my family."

"I'm just taking it day by day. I'm not really in any rush."

"I don't really have a top, but there are nothing but good things I can say about Texas. It's a prestigious university. The way coach Brown runs things, the way he and Miss Sally (Brown) run things, the way they got everything back on track so fast, it's unbelievable. It's a very prestigious program."

Orangebloods discussion: Cayleb Jones thread

Visitor Dominique Wheeler - Crockett

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Wheeler is yet another wide receiver that was offered, but he emerged from this weekend listing TCU as a favorite, with Texas coming in second.

Key quotes: "I talked to coach (Mack) Brown. He showed us everything in his office and told us what it all stands for. That was cool. He just came out upfront and said he wanted to offer me. That was about it. He told me about the position and things like that, where I'd be playing."

"Those are my top three right now - A&M, TCU and Texas. I would say it would probably be TCU, Texas and then Texas A&M."

Orangebloods discussion: Dominique Wheeler thread

Tight ends

Visitor: None

Low-down The tight end position appears to be one that the coaching staff is still trying to sort through.

Offensive linemen

Visitor Estelle Kennedy - Pearland Dawson

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Kennedy is one of three offensive linemen that were offered this weekend, but he's one of two that didn't commit. Although his offer has been confirmed, Kennedy has been mum about his thoughts on the weekend thus far.

Key quotes: None yet

Visitor Curtis Riser - DeSoto

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: The state top 10 selection might have been the most important of the four commitments the Longhorns landed this weekend.

Key quotes: "The only thing he told me was he felt a relief once he got down there and was talking to them and had a chance to talk to coach (Mack) Brown and talk to coach (Stacy) Searels, the offensive line coach," DeSoto coach Claude Mathis said. "Coach (Bruce) Chambers did an unbelievable job recruiting him, especially when he got down there. He said some things to Curtis that really went well with his mom as well as with Curtis and I think that was the deciding factor right there."

Orangebloods discussion: Curtis Riser thread

Visitor Michael Starts - Waco La Vega

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Starts is a guy that many believed would commit this weekend, but he emerged from his visit with a lot of positive things to say, but not quite an "I do."

Orangebloods discussion: Michael Starts thread

Defensive linemen

Visitor Mario Edwards - Denton Ryan

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: The state's top player arrived on Saturday for a special meet and greet with the staff, but there hasn't been any official comments made at this point about the visit.

Orangebloods discussion: Mario Edwards thread

Visitor Javonte Magee - San Antonio Sam Houston

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Magee picked up an offer this weekend, but declined to discuss his favorites, although he does have offers from Texas, Texas A&M, TCU and Baylor. He's expected to stay in-state.

Key quotes: "I liked what they were coming with on their academics, their tradition of winning. I like how they're a family up there and that type of stuff."

Orangebloods discussion: Javonte Magee thread

Visitor Alex Norman - Dallas Bishop Dunne

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: The private school defensive tackle was a Saturday visitor/commitment for the Longhorns.

Key quotes: "The facilities, the way I feel on the field when I'm there. When I went to the camp, I went to the practice fields and the main field. It just felt good. My family went there, they said they loved it. The academics are top notch, the football program, everything is top notch."

Orangebloods discussion: Alex Norman thread

Visitor Hasan Ridgeway - Mansfield

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Ridgeway wasn't available for comment, but it appears that

Orangebloods discussion: Hasan Ridgeway thread


Visitor Tim Cole - Brenham

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Cole wasn't quite ready to speak to the media on Sunday, but this looks like a Longhorn vs. Aggie battle and he'll be on my radio show Monday to discuss his visit.

Key quotes: "He just said it was amazing and a great visit and he really enjoyed the coaches," Coach West said. "He really enjoyed coach Brown and really enjoyed coach Diaz and coach Giles. I'll tell you what he did mention. He mentioned he really liked what he heard about their offseason program and how tough that was. He said he thought that was a neat thing. We pride ourselves on having a great offseason program, I know it's nothing like they have, but he said that he was excited about that because he knows that's real important. He had zero negatives about the whole deal. He was real positive."

Orangebloods discussion: Tim Cole thread

Visitor Alex De La Torre - Denton Ryan

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: De La Torre was one of two Saturday commitments for the Longhorns.

Key quotes: "It's very exciting and I'm just glad to finally announce where I'm going to go. It's been a blessing."

Orangebloods discussion: Alex De La Torre thread

Defensive backs/Athletes

Visitor Nick Coleman - San Antonio East Central

Offered?: No

Lowdown: Coleman came down to Austin this weekend, but was not offered and could return for the second Junior Day later this month.

Orangebloods discussion: Nick Coleman thread

Visitor LaDarrell McNeil - A. Maceo Smith

Offered?: Unconfirmed

Lowdown: McNeil arrived with teammate Damian Lawry, but he did not give details of his visit and it is quite possible that he wasn't offered this weekend.

Visitor Orlando Thomas - Copperas Cove

Offered?: Yes

Lowdown: Thomas was an under-the-radar visitor who not only emerged with an offer, but he also was the school's fourth confirmed commitment.

Key quotes: "I committed. Hook 'em"

Orangebloods discussion: Orlando Thomas thread

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