April 14, 2011

The Ticket City Locker Room

Q: (SmokeyDaHorn) - Give me your gut feeling on Aledo running back Johnathan Gray's recruitment because all of the people I work with in Fort Worth believe that he's a Horned Frog in the making and that the Longhorns aren't nearly in as good of position as the board seems to think.

A: Gray appears set on announcing his college decision is a shade over a week and I would be very surprised if he doesn't commit to the Longhorns. To Gray's credit, he's explored his in-state options in exhausting fashion with multiple visits to his top schools and I think the Longhorns have been the team out in front for a while. Understand that there was talk in the fall that Gray would be one of the first commits of this class and I think a 5-7 season coupled with a complete overhaul on the staff gave him some reason for pause. However, the Longhorns couldn't have done anything more to display how important he is to their vision of the future and I think once concerns about the shake-up subsided, the Longhorns regained control on the lead in his recruitment. The fact the Longhorns haven't so much as blinked at another running back thus far in 2012, while TCU (the main competition) has been very pro-active on the running back recruiting front outside of Gray (five in-state backs have been offered) might be a clue that a lot of people have ignored.

Q: (Old Tascosa) - How about an update on all of our active OOS recruits, along with your best guess as to likelihood of a visit and, if it doesn't break your crystal ball, a commit.

Also, you've documented the remaining targets you are aware of on the recruiting board. Are there any positions you think we will try to add to that list or recruits that you think will likely become targets, and if so, who and percentages you assign to each. Thanks for your informed prognostication guesswork.

A: As we've discussed for years, out of state recruiting in February through May always looks better than it eventually will in June once it becomes clear just how few of the big-time out of state blues that discuss Texas publicly or receive an initial glance from the Horns end up being legitimate targets for Mack's staff.

With 15 commitments in hand, the Longhorns appear to be sitting in the 20-21 range in terms of numbers at this point and we know that from a "needs" standpoint, the coaches are looking for one running back, two more offensive linemen and a cornerback, which would put the Longhorns at 19 commitments. In my mind, all four of those slots are probably going to be reserved for in-state prospects, which will only leave a slot or two for wildcards/out of state recruiting.

You can almost take it to the bank that Texas won't take another quarterback, running back (once they get their guy), tight end or linebacker in this class. That leaves wide receiver, offensive line, defensive end and defensive back as possibilities for an out of state offer. Although we'll have a much better idea of Texas' true target list after the spring evaluation process in late April and throughout May, here's a quick thumbnail sketch of what's going on with the prospects that we know the Longhorns have had some early communication with.

WR - Dorial Green-Beckham - The Longhorns have an in because DGB was a huge target for Texas wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt when he was at Kansas, so they aren't exactly starting from scratch. At this point, the Longhorns are one of many that DGB is considering and until he sets a trip to Austin on his itinerary, it's probably too soon to get truly excited about the prospect of landing him.

OL - Vadal Alexander - The Longhorns have already extended an offer to the 6-6, 310-pound tackle from Buford, Georgia, but he's going to be a tough pull from SEC country and it's tough to forecast right now whether the Longhorns can even get him in for a visit.

OL - D.J. Humphries - Yet another big-time out of state lineman that Stacy Searels has officially offered, but again, it's tough to say if the Longhorns will have a fighting chance. His early top three in order are Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

OL - Andrus Peat - This is one to keep an eye on because Peat has shown some definite interest in visiting Austin and he was in contact with Searels as recent as Wednesday night. He's a nationally elite blue-chip guy with interest in schools all over the country. The good news is that he seems very interested in visiting Austin in the near future, which makes him more realistic than some others.

OL - John Theus - Searels reportedly had an extremely good relationship with Theus when he was at Georgia and now he's trying to see if that relationship can help him get the 6-6, 292-pound lineman from Jacksonville, Florida into his new home state for a visit, but Texas probably has a snowball's chance in hell of pulling that kid away from UGA with his brother currently on campus.

DT - Eddie Goldman - The commitment of Malcom Brown probably changes the dynamics of the defensive tackle spot because the Longhorns currently have three commitments at the position and an existing offer out to Javonte Magee. Regardless, Goldman looks like a likely SEC signee.

DE - Torshiro Davis - The Shreveport defensive end's name is an unlikely get because he's committed to LSU and if he looks at other schools, Texas would appear to be behind a few other schools in the pecking order, but the Longhorns are at least flirting with the prospect.

Ath - Nelson Agholor - Yet another kid that has an offer from the Longhorns, but he's given no indication that the Longhorns are a serious option compared to the SEC powers and Florida schools that own the region.

Q: (Golfpr3145) - Since Mack has supposedly turned over the reins of the defense to Diaz, is there any chance he might look to the junior college ranks for defensive linemen to play in the middle? Also, is their anyone in a major role for next year in danger of missing any practice time in the fall because of a lingering injury?

A: No, Mack has never done JUCO's and we've seen zero signs that he's willing to budge on that rule of thumb.

As for question No.2, the Longhorns are in pretty damn good shape on the health front, all things considered. The only players that missed the spring game because of injury were Eryon Barnett, Dominic Espinosa, Trey Graham, Jordan Hicks, Chris. Jones, Kyle Kriegel, Luke Poehlmann and Greg Timmons. Of that group, only Hicks figures to have a major role on the team in 2011 and all reports suggest that he'll be ready to go for fall drills after suffering a foot fracture in March. The incoming freshman class has a few guys coming off of injuries (Garrett Greenlea is probably the most prominent), but all in all, you have to hope the health outlook remains this optimistic through August.

Q: (memhorn) - Are the Longhorns smart enough to execute Bryan Harsin's offense? I thought of this when hearing Major say we ran 6 formations versus 26 for Boise State against Wyoming, and remembering that someone couldn't learn our playbook. Plus, watching the video of Boise State beating OU, it took some very smart, disciplined players to pull off those trick plays

A: I haven't heard from anyone in the program as of yet that feels like the team is too stupid to handle what's been given to them

Q: (wes2388) - 1. What is our backup plan if we don't land Gray at RB? 2. Which out of state player do you think we land? 3. Who is the next player that commits?

A: First, I think the staff would explore a few in-state options that could include a guy like Jonathan Williams of Allen, but I don't think that will be needed. Second, the out of state recruiting is too cloudy to forecast at the moment. It would be pure guesswork and until they visit, they should all be considered long-shots. Finally, the next commit will likely be Gray in eight days.

Q: (RRDoughnuts) - If you were to go to Vegas and make a prop bet on the number of true freshmen that play in 2011, what do you think the over/under should be set at?

A: A baker's dozen. That might not be high enough.

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