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June 13, 2012

Breaking down commitment No.15

1. Whoa, I leave town for less than 24 hours so that I can sneak into Oklahoma City to attend my first NBA Finals game and while I'm away, all kinds of craziness takes place while I'm gone, as the Texas Longhorns land commitment No.15… a guy that nobody has ever heard of.

So, what are my thoughts on the commitment after a few hours to process the news? There's a lot of to process here.

a. It's an interesting offer. Although listed at 6-5, 260+ pounds, he doesn't look like a guy that's nearly that big, which can be a bit of a positive because he might be more comfortable coming out of the backfield as a fullback than at tight end, although he's likely an upgrade as an end of the line blocker over the current crop of tight ends that are scheduled to return in 2013. That being said, it's impossible to tell off of his limited film and production whether he is a skilled enough athlete to give the team something in the way of pass-catching. He certainly looks like he can move around a little, but usually it's telling if the first play of a highlight video is of a block. Usually. His longest reception of the year was a seven-yard gain.
b. I guess I don't completely understand the decision-making on the staff. There are roughly seven months until National Signing Day and I will never completely sign off on Texas becoming a player's first offer. Why not wait a little later? Recruit the heck out of him, but wait on the offer because you have all of the leverage.
c. With a name like Geoff, I think he has a chance to be a star.
d. I've been screaming to the rafters for years that the Longhorns were in poor enough shape at the tight end position and had been for such a long time that they needed to do a nation-wide search for the best possible prospects available. This wasn't exactly what I meant.

2. This truly gives everyone a heads up to the truth about the tight end position next year. As of right this second, the Longhorns are scheduled to have MJ McFarland, Greg Daniels, Durham Smythe and Swaim on campus. That's it. Oh, I'm sure some receiver or defensive end will be rolled over to the position for depth purposes, but I'm not sure that's a switch that has actually worked in the last 10 years or so. This is one of the most important positions in this offense and if there's an injury, grade issues or anything happens at all that causes a guy to be a bust, there will be issues. You can make a case that outside of David Ash, there's not a more important development in the program than McFarland.

3. The decision to not recruit a tight end in 2011 is mind-bottling. I'm sorry, the decision to rely entirely on three-star Caleb Bluiett at this position in 2011, while ignoring the begging cries to go get an impact player outside of the Texas high school pool of players is mind-bottling.

4. Here are the players that have been recruited at tight end or have been moved over from another position since 2006:
Josh Marshall (2006)
Britt Mitchell (2006)
Greg Smith (2006)
Blaine Irby (2007)
Ian Harris (2007)
Ahmard Howard (2007)
Luke Poehlmann (2008)
Trey Graham (2009)
Dominique Jones (2009)
Kyle Kriegel (2009)
Barrett Matthews (2009)
Greg Daniels (2010)
Darius Terrell (2010)
MJ McFarland (2011)
Caleb Blueiett (2012)
Durham Smythe (2013)
Geoff Swaim (2013)

For those that believe that recruiting doesn't matter and all the Longhorns have done is recruit star players, only to not have those players plan out… understand this. Of that group of 17 players, only one (Blaine Irby) was believed to be a true national recruit. Only three of 17 from that group were rated as four-star prospects (Irby, Terrell and McFarland). The truth of the matter is that the Longhorns have not signed a true nationally-elite prospect at this position in half a decade. There's a lot to process in these numbers and none of it is good. The recruiting, development of players and overall production of this position hasn't seen an impact player produced since Jermichael Finley in the Class of 2005 and let's just be honest about Finley… he was not a very good player at Texas. If we're using the honest scale, the last impact tight end was recruited in 2002 (David Thomas). Texas is currently recruiting for the Class of 2013.
5. Bottom line on this offer for the Class of 2013? When you win big as a coaching staff, you get the benefit of the doubt on these matters. When you are 13-12 over the last two years, you are not going to get the benefit of the doubt all the time, and I think that's 100-percent fair. It's clear that the Longhorns need impact help at the tight end position and the coaches believe this is a guy that can upgrade the position. They better be right….

6. I don't think I would stop with Swaim. They still need to go out and get an elite prospect, if there's one out there. If it means digging in and assuming an underdog position in the recruitment initially, just understand that championship teams are not built on being able to successfully work your way through the lay-up line. Just do it.


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