Q: (Ringerads) – You mentioned that the JM fiasco will have an effect on our recruiting both this year and in the future. When the OU story came out about Rhett Bomar and Big Red, it didn't seem to hurt their recruiting much, if at all. Why do you think this story (where there's smoke but no fire) will have a greater effect on our team?
A: I think everyone needs to understand that not everyone has a natural rosy perspective of The University of Texas. Sometimes when it comes to recruits or the family members of recruits, there are quite a few misconceptions about the school and the city of Austin. If there's a small-town kid in East Texas that Texas is recruiting, they'll often have to battle their competition painting the school/town as something straight of out of a scene from Boystown. This article plays right into that theme and it will be used as proof when these negative recruiting tactics are issued against Texas moving forward.
The Longhorns have to constantly fight against the image of being a program full of drugs, alcohol and trouble. Although that might seem silly to some of you guys, these are the battles that Texas faces in recruiting because if it's about a combination of athletics, academics, scenery, facilities and family atmosphere, the Longhorns aren't going to be beaten very often.
This article spoke right to the heart of all of these worst fears and if you were to speak to anyone from the Texas athletic department about this story on an off-the-record basis, they'd probably tell you that they don't believe it was by accident.
Q: (mccurrieþ) – Which redshirted players do you think will be the biggest contributors next season? (Mine are DeSean Hales and D.J. Grant) Also, what defensive players are you most excited about next season? (Mine is Aaron Williams. I know Sergio Kindle will be awesome).
A: Let's start on the offensive side of the ball. I think it's safe to say that Grant will be in line to compete for a starting job at tight end because that position figures to be wide open entering the fall, with Grant being by far and away the most dynamic playmaker of the group, although true freshman Barrett Matthews could push for playing time as well. Also, I wouldn't be shocked if Hales put himself into a position to get some playing time. On the defensive side of the ball, I'd point to Jarvis Humphrey because of the obvious need at defensive tackle.
Overall, you have to be excited about every aspect of this defense in 2009, especially if Kindle comes back. If the questions up-front are answered, this group has a chance to be very, very good because you can see NFL talent throughout the lineup.
Q: (dr_drums) – This is my first time emailing a question into the locker room. I'm a little nervous. I quite often feel as welcome as a fart in an elevator at times on OB. Butt, here it blows:
1) I personally am stoked about what we have already in the DT, DE area. But, looking back on all of the drama that followed the JaMac saga and the recruits we currently have committed now, did we really NEED him or would it have just been phenomenal to have him as an addition. I guess I mean, did we ever REALLY NEED him or did we just want him really bad for the simple fact that he was the number one DT recruit in the nation?
2) Given how long you have been doing this football thing successfully, what is your favorite moment? Your crowning achievement? The person you are glad you met through doing this?
A: I think the Longhorn staff felt very comfortable with its class of defensive tackles, with or without McFarland. From what my sources have indicated, not everyone on the Texas staff was convinced that he was a true national prospect, but there was no way they were going to leave a defensive tackle of his reputation on the board for their biggest rivals to fight over. When you consider that Elysian Fields' Kyle Kriegel is a spin-down candidate, the Longhorns have three players in the class that could play inside and a fourth is possible if they make a run at and land Round Rock Stony Point's Tevin Mims, which is now expected.
Good second set of questions. It's hard for me to pick a favorite moment because there have been so many of them, but I did enjoy the nearly two year run of the Longhorns not losing any games (10/04-9/06). It's nice to be around all of you when you aren't complaining about something non-stop. Just kidding (kind of). To give you a real answer, I suppose I'd point to traveling with the Rivals.com All-American team in January of 2000 to Maui. I've probably told 1,000 stories from that weekend over the years.
As for a crowning achievement, I'd probably just point towards the success of the website as a whole. I think we've built the perfect model for which all websites of this sort try to emulate. Personally, I've always been proud of the fact that I identified guys like LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees as potential impact players before anyone else in the business. Some of that is pure luck, but I always felt like naming Brees as a top-10 prospect in 2007 when nobody else had him on a state top 100 radar helped me make a name in the business.
There are so many people over the years that I've been able to encounter that it's hard to even know where to begin. Former Colorado prep star Marcus Houston is the most impressive young man I've ever talked with. I'm going to be disappointed if he's not running the country in 20 years.
Q: (Hookem2102) – What are OU's options for QB next year assuming Sam Bradford moves on? Is Landry Jones the guy or is there someone else that would be an option ?
A: It's not a pretty situation if you believe some of my OU sources. It's pretty much going to be Jones' show, with true freshman Drew Allen coming in this spring to give them their only scholarship back-up. According to those that I've spoken with, Jones is not nearly at the same point that Bradford was on the learning curve at this stage of his development. The OU coaches always seem to make their quarterback play to their strengths, but they could have their work cut out for them next season if Bradford does declare.
Q: (40acrefanatic) – I know its been asked before but with the rave reviews Calvin Howell is getting at the AAG, where does Derek Johnson stand? Is he the same level of talent? Where would he rank on your LSR? Also, can you compare Jordan Hicks to Corey Nelson and Jarvis Jones?
A: Talent is not the issue with Johnson. From a physical standpoint, he's as impressive as anyone the Longhorns have targeted this year. I think whatever questions people have with Johnson deal with the fact that he hasn't played a lot of true interior football in his career, so it could take a while for him to make an adjustment. Physically and athletically, he has everything that you want. If he had played at a school like Lufkin, we'd have a better idea of where his true skill set rests right now and he might rate anywhere inside the top 25 of the 2009 LSR list. He's very underrated. As for Hicks, I'd rate him above both players based on what I've seen, with Nelson ranking ahead of Jones. Personally, I think those two players are a little ahead of Jones, who has all of the physical measurables, but isn't quite the player that those two have proven to be.
Q: (Texas T) – Question #1: As in years past, we have several recruits at the Army All American game. How much recruiting goes on behind the scenes between the players? It seems each year there are one or two prospects that we are targeting that are still uncommitted. Any chance it helps our position with the uncommitted prospects?
A: It's probably a little different each year, depending on the group of players, but it definitely exists. For instance, it was a huge deal back in 2002 when the Longhorns were trying to recruit Vince Young. The work that guys like Rod Wright, Larry Dibbles, Aaron Harris and Marquis Johnson did that weekend was immeasurable. I don't think it's as big of a deal this year, at least for schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M don't have top-rated uncommitted prospects playing in the game. I'm sure the committed Longhorn players will try to convince a guy like five-star defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to visit, but there's a lot of make-up ground that has to be done in order for it to have any impact, and thus far the Longhorns have yet to end up with a player that emerged from this game with an interest in them.
Q: (SouthHolland) – Who do you think will get first dibs on Chris Ogbonnaya No. 3 and Quan Cosby's No. 6 jersey numbers? Will it be DeSean Hales and D.J. Grant who both currently have jersey numbers in the 80s, Garrett Gilbert and Chris Whaley, or a combination of?
A: My guess is that Hales would have a serious interest in No. 3 because it's the number he wore in high school. As for Cosby's departed number, I'm really not sure. Grant wore No. 18 in high school and is currently playing tight end, which is a position that hasn't had any single digits that I can remember, with the exception of Ogbonnaya experimenting at h-back. If No. 7 is not available, I'd think Gilbert might take a number in the teens. Whaley wore No. 24 in high school, but it looks like No. 6 will be there for the taking if he wants it and nobody else does. Keep in mind that there are random jersey number swaps every year, so it's a hard thing to project without knowing if certain guys are open to the idea of a change.
Q: (iluvdahorns) – A lot of us have been trying to project a two-deep for 2009. What would your first- and second-team offense and defense look like in 2009 if YOU were Mack Brown. Assume that Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley and Sergio Kindle all return, the 2009 recruiting class is finished, Blaine Irby is ready to go for game one and that nobody transfers. Please list the offense in our base three-WR/one-TE set and also include who would be our third-down and short-yardage RBs, on defense please list a 4-3 staring lineup and who would be the third CB in our nickel package, please also include punt/kickoff returners and the punter/kicker/place kicker, thanks.
A: That's a hell of a task you're asking of me without the full results from the bowl and springs workouts. Also, I'm not going to include Irby into the equation because I'm not sure that's realistic at this point.
Remember, you told me not to factor in any possible transfers.
QB: Colt McCoy (Sr.)/John Chiles (Jr.)
TB: Vondrell McGee (Jr.)/Fozzy Whittaker (So.)
WR: Jordan Shipley (Sr.)/DeSean Hales (Fr.)
WR: Brandon Collins (Jr.)/Dan Buckner (So.)
WR: Malcolm Williams (So.)/James Kirkendoll (Jr.)
TE: D.J. Grant (Rs-Fr.)/Josh Marshall (Jr.)
LT: Adam Ulatoski (Sr.)/Tray Allen (Jr.)
LG: Michael Huey (Jr.)/Charlie Tanner (Sr.)
C: Chris Hall (Sr.)/Greg Smith (Jr.)
RG: David Snow (So.)/Garrett Porter (Fr.)
RT: Kyle Hix (Jr.)/Aundre McGaskey (So.)
Short-yardage RB: Cody Johnson (So.)/Chris Whaley (Fr.)
DE: Eddie Jones (Jr.)/ Alex Okafor (Fr.)
DE: Sam Acho (Jr.)/Russell Carter (So.)
DT: Lamarr Houston (Sr.)/Kheeston Randall (So.)
NG: Ben Alexander (Sr.)/Jarvis Humphrey (Rs-Fr.)
SLB: Sergio Kindle (Sr.)/Keenan Robinson (So.)
WLB: Roddrick Muckelroy (Sr.)/Emmanuel Acho (So.)
MLB: Jared Norton (Sr.)/Dustin Earnest (Jr.)
CB: Chykie Brown (Jr.)/Deon Beasley (Sr.)
CB: Aaron Williams (So.)/Curtis Brown (Jr.)
S: Christian Scott (So.)/Nolan Brewster (So.)
S: Earl Thomas (So.)/Blake Gideon (So.)
Nickel CB: Curtis Brown (Jr.)/Marcus Davis (Fr.)
KR: DeSean Hales and Malcolm Williams/ Aaron Williams and Christian Scott
PR: Curtis Brown/DeSean Hales
K: Hunter Lawrence (Sr.)/Justin Tucker (So.)
P: John Gold (Jr.)/Justin Tucker (So.)