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March 6, 2013

The TicketCity Locker Room

Q: (MoneyMae) - Two-part question...

a. Can you list the number of uncommitted players across the state of Texas that currently have offers from both Texas and Texas A&M?

b. Doomsday scenario. If we lose every single one of those prospects, what's our best case recruiting class if we keep it to only players in the state of Texas? Leave a spot or two open where you think we might take a JUCO.

A: By my count, the following 11 players are involved in recruiting battles that feature offers from both the Longhorns and Aggies:

Mount Pleasant wide receiver K.D. Cannon, Texas City wide receiver Armanti Foreman, Katy Seven Lakes defensive end Jarrett Johnson, Coppell defensive lineman Soloman Thomas, Arlington Martin defensive end Myles Garrett, Lewisville Hebron safety Jamal Adams, Beaumont Ozen cornerback Tony Brown, Houston Cy Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka, Dallas Bishop Dunne cornerback Nick Watkins, North Shore linebacker Zach Whitley and Arlington Bowie safety Edwin Freeman.

If the Longhorns were cut off from landing any of those 11 players, you could still put together a recruiting class that looks like this (current committed players in bold):

QB: Jerrod Heard (Denton Ryan/LSR No.5)
RB: Donald Catalon (Aldine Eisenhower/LSR No.27)
RB: Daniel Gresham (Fort Worth All Saints/LSR No.34)
RB: Auston Anderson (Plano West/LSR No.39)
WR: Roderick Bernard (Sharpstown/LSR No.28)
WR: Lorenzo Joe (Abilene Cooper/LSR No.38)
TE: Koda Martin (Manvel/LSR No.67)
OL: Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth All Saints/LSR No.11)
OL: Terrell Cuney (Jasper/LSR No.75)
OL: Jovan Pruitt (Dallas Bishop Dunne/LSR No.18)
OL: Ty Barrett (Dallas Skyline/LSR No.43)
DT: Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio Warren/LSR No.49)
DT: Ceric Johnson (Rowlett/LSR No.68)
DE: Derick Roberson (San Antonio Brennan/LSR No.7)
DE: Jake McMillon (Abilene/LSR NR)
LB: Cameron Hampton (Dallas Carter/LSR No.24)
LB: Rockdale linebacker James David (Rockdale/LSR No.19)
LB: Justin Phillips (Pearland/LSR No.30)
DB: Darrion Johnson (Brenham/LSR No.2)
DB: John Bonney (Houston Lamar/LSR No.26)
DB: Derrick Dixon (Dallas Skyline/LSR No.22)
DB: Nick Foster (Keller Fossil Ridge/LSR No.44)

By my count, even if the Doomsday scenario unfolded, the class could still feature as many as 16 or 17 four-star prospects from the state of Texas. Even the Doomsday scenarios leave for a hell of a class.

Q: (boblianes) - Please give me some hope for the defensive tackle position. I really fear that in a year or two we will be complaining about the poor job the coaches have done filling our needs and/or having to slide someone in at DT whose natural position should be DE or waterboy.

Other than Mack, who among the coaches is most responsible for the DT recruiting shutout in 2013? Do you think it reflects on the recruits' expectations of being able grow to an NFL worthy status under Bo Davis and Manny Diaz?

A: I think you have every reason to be worried, at least beginning in 2015. If you look at the players scheduled to return next year, you can build a strong interior with Desmond Jackson, Malcom Brown and Hassan Ridgeway. However, when Jackson departs following his senior season in 2014, the Longhorns will have four players remaining on the current scholarship board: Brown (assuming he stays four years), Ridgeway, Paul Boyette and Alex Norman. Of those four, I can't yet tell you if Boyette or Norman will develop into the kind of players that warrant playing at a school like Texas. It's just too soon in their development and they haven't shown that spark yet that would allow me to chalk them up confidently.

These numbers reflect why the final days of the 2013 recruiting class were so harsh on the Longhorns because in losing A'Shawn Robinson and Andrew Billings, they came away completely empty-handed and puts the pressure on the coaches to turn some rocks into diamonds because the in-state crop of defensive tackles in the 2014 class isn't especially strong, which means that out of state players/JUCO might be the way to go.

In terms of the blame-game, I don't think anything happened in 2013 other than circumstances. One kid found the two-time defending national champions too much to turn down and the other stayed with the hometown school. It wasn't some cloud of doubt hanging over the position, it was bad luck and poor back-up planning.

For that, the responsibility falls on Mack Brown, Manny Diaz and Bo Davis.

Q: (cgarcia89) - Ok, first time with a basketball question. Let's just say that Rick Barns is out as basketball coach at season's end. Who would be your top three swing for the fences coaches you would like UT to go after? Who are the top three realistic coaches UT can get?

* I keep hearing M.J. McFarland's name as someone who is doing nice things and should have a big role in this new Major Applewhite offense if he can put it all together. Being from El Paso I am really pulling for this kid. What are his chances now that he has competition from Geoff Swain to push him?

* Enchiladas: Red or Green? Chicken or Beef or Cheese? Egg on top or not?

A: Bill Self (just some rumor I heard), Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart.

As for McFarland, he's getting really close. When the Longhorns go to three- and four-receiver sets, he's already running with the first-team offense at times and it seems clear that the coaches want to take advantage of his skill set. It's just a matter of continuing to develop consistency and I think it's just a matter of time. This is year No. 3 for him in the system and this is when things should start coming together.

Finally, I'm going to be in trouble for this, but I'm not an enchiladas fan. It's just not my thing.

Q: (Anonymous) - Which player has the biggest breakout year for Texas? Which freshman will surprise us this year?

Name your top five recruits you want for this class and why?

Who wins the Heisman this year?

I'm not sure if I have missed it before, but do you think you could do explain what all goes into a junior day. I'd enjoy knowing what a recruit does throughout the day when he is recruited by Texas

A: It's hard to pick against Peter Jinkens as a breakout player right now. He made plays at the end of last season and he's making more this spring. He's the No. 1 guy at the position in my mind right now. Give me Rami Hammaad as the impact freshman … he might just hit the field on the two-deep at guard from the jump because of his size and power.

Top five recruits for this class? Coppell defensive lineman Soloman Thomas, Arlington Martin defensive end Myles Garrett, Lewisville Hebron safety Jamal Adams, Beaumont Ozen cornerback Tony Brown and North Shore linebacker Zach Whitley. That solves a lot talent concerns on the defensive side of the ball and it would represent five head-to-head wins over Texas A&M.

Finally, I like Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller to win the Heisman after the Buckeyes run the table again. Have you seen their schedule?

Q: (Hornsince69) - In your opinion, who is the AD and who are the head coaches of UT's big three sports programs - football, basketball, and baseball - in 2015?

A: Nick Saban, Bill Self and Augie Garrido.

Q: (caldonna) - It's great to be back on the board after my convalescence, and I'm glad you liked your Abdullah the Butcher story.

1. I asked this recently, and I'd like to hear your answer: What would the Longhorns' record have been in 2010 had Mack not tried to shoehorn the SEC-style offense on this team? How different would the team look now, and what would the records have been in 2010, 2011, and 2012? Were the issues on the team deeper than just wrong offense/wrong personnel?

2. Considering question one, who do you think would be head coach of the Horns right now?

3. How do you think the NCAA will view Johnny Manziel's taking on-line courses instead of actually attending classes at Aggy? Doesn't that violate the spirit if not the letter of their attendance rules and wouldn't they look bad if they didn't do anything?

4. Take over Vince McMahon's brain for a moment and book the finishes for these WrestleMania dream matches:

Undertaker-Bruiser Brody
Brock Lesnar-Dr. Death Steve Williams
CM Punk-David von Erich
Sheild-Fabulous Freebirds

A: I think 2010 was destined to happen because so many storms collided at once, whether it was the Garrett Gilbert disaster or the offensive line issues or the coaches wanting to strangle each other by the end of the year. Fate determined a 5-7 season and I'm not going to argue it.

That means Mack would be here, no matter what.

As for question No. 3, I don't think the NCAA is going to do one single thing about Manziel. I think he's going to run wild all year.

Finally, I like your idea of allowing me to book the finishes for these dream matches. Let's see how I do …

a. I've got the Undertaker and Brody involved in a bloody strap match inside a steel cage. On multiple occasions, Brody is close to a pin, but Taker kicks out every time. Eventually, Taker is out cold, but the ref has a (fake) heart attack on the count and can't finish the three count. By the time an official comes to the ring, Taker recovers and eventually both men are strangling each other with the strap, with Taker putting Brody under before the same can be done to him. Covered in blood, Taker gets the three count.

b. I'm putting Lesnar and Dr. Death in an Ambulance Match. The entire match is built around the idea that Williams has constantly questioned Lesnar's tough-man fighting credentials. Match ends with Dr. Death driving Lesnar through a wall with the Ambulance and walking away without even trying to put him inside the ambulance.

c. Lumberjack match with the 10 lumberjacks outside of the ring consisting of the entire cast and crew of wrestlers that hate them both and as a stipulation, none of the Von Erich's are allowed ringside. Match ends with Punk tapping out to David's Iron Claw to the mid-section, following John Cena breaking Punk's ribs outside the ring with a backbreaker through a table

d. Goldberg spears him in the first 10 seconds and pins him for the win. As Goldberg celebrates the win, Ryback recovers and takes a stun gun out of his trunks and stuns Goldberg to the ground. As Goldberg twitches on the ground, Ryback assaults him and leaves him a bloody mess, making it clear from the beginning that this was all part of his plan coming into the match. Eventually, the likes of J.R., Jerry Lawler and Mick Foley are beaten unconscious, as Ryback enters a new age as the sport's new No. 1 heel.

e. Six-man, no disqualification barb-wire tag match in Atlanta with Mick Foley as the ref. Match ends in total confusion, as none of the participants in the match will leave the ring and eventually Michael Hayes drags Dean Ambrose by barb-wire from the arena and into Bad Street

Q: (BEVO SCOTT) - Regarding moving Diggs to Safety.

I understand why people are intrigued at the idea of his skill set at safety, but he is an extremely talented corner. He led the team in interceptions, and it looked like he actually baited the QB on a couple of them. If the staff moves him to safety, I fear that what we gain at safety, will not overcome what we lose at corner. My vote is to keep Diggs and Byndom at corner, let Duke Thomas come in on Nickel situations, and figure out the best safety combination with the remaining DBs.

If Akina called for your opinion on the subject, would you recommend Diggs moving to safety?

A: Yes, I'd move Diggs to safety for three reasons…

1. I like my options of Byndom/Thomas/Sheroid Evans at corner
2. Diggs will still play corner in the slot on passing downs.
3. He's the guy I trust the most to make the most important tackles as one of the last layers of the defense.

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