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February 5, 2012

The TicketCity Locker Room



Q: (Doc2Rouge) - 1. Of the class we signed who do YOU feel will be the player who provides the most immediate impact on offense and defense respectively.

2. Despite all of the love for Conner Brewer (rightly so) for some strange reason Jalen Overstreet keeps sneaking into the back of my mind and whispering "Hey…you best not forget about me because I am going to be the guy before too long!" Can you give me some clarity as to whether this voice I am hearing has some validity or is it just my imagination?


A: There are two guys that jump out in my mind on the offensive side of the ball - JUCO tackle Donald Hawkins and five-star running back Johnathan Gray. With Hawkins having the next eight months to soak up the off-season program and playbook, I see no reason why he shouldn't be able to make an impact at the tackle spot opposite Josh Cochran. Meanwhile, Gray is just too talented and has a skill-set that should fit in perfectly as a supplement to the likes of Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron in the running game. Over on the defensive side of the ball, I'm not sure I see voids that need to be filled quite like you'll see on offense, but Malcom Brown has a chance to wedge his way into the defensive tackle rotation and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Torshiro Davis gets snaps as a situational pass rusher.

As for your second question, I would warn people not to discount Overstreet at all. While he is behind Brewer in the development at the position, both players should get a chance to redshirt this season if the current scholarship numbers remain firm and the injury bug doesn't bite. If David Ash is the guy everyone believes he can be, the battle at the quarterback position from the 2012 class won't need to truly start being settled for a couple of seasons. With his dynamic athletic skill set, it's possible Overstreet is the one quarterback on scholarship with the ability to be a multi-dimensional weapon. Also, I learned a long time ago to never bet against kids from East Texas because there's something in the water.

Q: (sean1187) - OU has always thrived on quality players from Texas that UT in most cases did not offer. I always felt like this created a mental edge for Oklahoma due to each player's disdain for The University. Do you think that the lack of recent recruiting inside the state of will dampen the rivalry between the players (obviously it won't matter between the fans)?


A: Your question about the Sooners is an interesting one. Their entire football history has been centered around the idea that they can build their championship teams with the best players from the Lone Star State, but there's no question that Bob Stoops has made Texas less of a priority in recent years and I'm not sure I can ever remember a recruiting year like 2011-12 when the Sooners had virtually zero impact on the landscape of recruiting in the state. Of course, maybe that ends up being an anomaly rather than the rule, but consider these numbers:

2012: 25 signees (six Texans)
2011: 17 signees (12 Texans)
2010: 29 signees (17 Texans)
2009: 23 signees (11 Texans)
2008: 20 signees (11 Texans)
2007: 21 signees (six Texans)
2006: 28 signees (10 Texans)

Only twice in the last seven years have the Sooners failed to sign double-digit numbers in the state of Texas and when the Sooners landed six in 2007, there weren't as many quality programs standing around to take advantage of their lack of presence. I'll be watching the Sooners very closely this year to see if the 2012 class is the start of any kind of trend because if Oklahoma isn't fighting hard for the No. 2 position in the state (and it didn't last year), it really does leave the door open for the likes of Texas A&M, TCU, Oklahoma State and Baylor.

The rivalry is the rivalry in my mind. If both teams are good, the game is good. If both teams are great, the game is great. I'm much more interested to see if the new recruiting strategy of going more national and less Texas can lead Oklahoma to a place it hasn't seen in more than a decade, which is a win in a major bowl game against a big boy football team. I give Stoops credit for having the moxie to go places former OU coaching greats never dared to go… outside of Texas.

Q: (ptborange) - Do you think we'll take/offer more than one QB? What's your reasoning?

A: If the Longhorns go out and land a big-time commitment at the position in 2013, the need for a second quarterback is minimal because Texas would then be scheduled to carry five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for the 2013 season and four for the 2014 season (without any committed yet in the 2014 Class). Even if there was a transfer before this season or next, the numbers should be in a strong position. The only thing that might change my position is significant struggling by Ash this season, along with the realization that the two signed in this year's class can't handle fill the void.

Q: (Great Horndini) - Ignoring the 5-star recruits, how do the productivity results for 3-star vs. 4-star recurits at UT compare over the last 10 years? How many 3-star recruits in that period, and how many of them went on to become starters or multi-year starters? How many 4-star recruits in that period, and how many of them went on to become starters or multi-year starters?

A: The available data is a little too incomplete to use a full 10-year window because the Rivals rankings only go back to 1999 and the rankings prior to 2002 were never properly archived. Also, it's hard to use any of the data in the 2008-11 classes because it is incomplete until all of the players have completed their eligibility. Therefore, the data I'm about to post is limited to a sample-size of six recruiting classes (Note: I'm going to do a much more involved study of my rankings going back to 1997, but the project is not near completion).

A few clarifications on the numbers. In order for a player to be considered a multi-year starter, he had to be officially credited with six or more starts in at least two of his seasons on the 40 Acres.

In the six-year stretch from 2002-07, the Longhorns signed 70 four-star prospects. Of the 70 four-stars signed, 45 (64.3 percent) emerged as starters and 12 (17.1 percent) of those ended being multi-year starters.

In the six-year stretch from 2002-07, the Longhorns signed 42 three-star prospects. Of the 42 three-stars signed, 16 (38.1 percent) emerged as starters and 12 (28.6 percent) of those ended being multi-year starters.

Q: (walk-on horn) The quality and depth of the 2012 class is beyond praise. All the positions, except for TE, were addressed. Did Texas recruit a different type of player at certain positions? For example, this group of DBs is like previous groups of Akina DBs. But the group of DTs, OL, and WRs seem different than the previous groups of DTs, OL, and WRs. Am I way off base here? Great coverage on NSD, by the way.

A: Oh, I think there are some subtle things that are somewhat different in some of the different positions, but for the most part I saw a staff that was all-in on going after the best players available. When you look at receiver, I think it's pretty clear that size isn't quite as important on the scouting report as it was under Bobby Kennedy. Meanwhile, when you look at both lines of scrimmage, the staff seemed to target players that can be physical difference makers at their optimal upside. The Longhorns appear on their way to trying to transition the size in their program to the somewhat underwhelming state (especially on offense) to an SEC championship caliber bar.

Q: (Weenhorn) - Here are a couple of 2013 recruiting questions. With addition of Johnathan Gray and Daje Johnson, how many running backs will Texas take out of the 2013 class, and who are the most likely commitments at that position?

Same question in regard to in state defensive backs. With only Kameron Miles scheduled so far for a Junior Day, how many and and who do you predict to most likely receive offers?


A: Major Applewhite has assembled an incredible stable of talent with the last two recruiting classes, but with the scheduled loss of Jeremy Hills, D.J. Monroe and Ryan Roberson following the 2012 season, the Longhorns will only return four running backs to the roster in 2013 (not counting Chet Moss or any other potential fullback candidates). Of course, the four they return (Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergerson, Johnathan Gray and Daje Johnson) are potentially a special group and none are scheduled to depart through the 2014 season, but the Longhorns will certainly look to supplement the position with talent and depth in this class. My early guess is that they look to take two, unless a true dynamic fullback prospect emerges. With Dontre Wilson of DeSoto coming in on the first Junior Day, the smart money is on him receiving the first offer.

As for the defensive back position, the Longhorns have only one senior scheduled to depart following the 2012 season, so the overall numbers will likely be determined by what the competition looks like following the spring. Most of the depth in the defensive backfield is comprised of a group of nine players that will either be sophomores or freshmen, so numbers aren't a huge issue. Look for the Longhorns to target two or three players early out of the commitment to always take the best defensive backs available, but the need for immediate numbers won't dictate any decisions. Miles would appear to be the first in-state defensive back in line for an offer and it's possible that they'll hold out on additional offers until Duane Akina gets a little more time to do his thing on the scouting trail. The early offer to Florida prospect Marcell Harris is an indication that they could look national for an elite prospect or two.

Q: (Hump34) - I know that it will be years until we know the success of this year's recruiting class, but combined with last year's successful recruiting class, this two year combination of athletes may become the best two combined classes that Mack Brown has ever had. I guess only time will tell. I know that you have been doing this for a long time and have been on site for all of Mack's classes. What two year combination of recruiting classes do you feel is the best that the Horns have ever had?

And a bonus question ... putting on your Amazing Kreskin hat ... Does David Ash lead us to a BCS bowl in 2012 and the National Championship game in 2013?

Buy or Sell ... Jenny Dell is the new Boston Red Sox sideline reporter for NESN replacing over Heidi Watney who left to work for the Lakers.


A: You'd be pretty hard-pressed to find a two-year class that can outperform what the 2001-02 classes put together.

Consider the following players from 2001-02: Cedric Benson, Quan Cosby, Cedric Griffin, Michael Huff, Derrick Johnson, Aaron Ross, Jonathan Scott, Justin Blalock, Larry Dibbles Aaron Harris, Brian Robison, Lyle Sendlein, Kasey Studdard, David Thomas, Rod Wright, Selvin Young and Vince Young.

That's a class of 17 guys right there that makes up some of the greatest names in Longhorn history. Doak Walker. Butkus. Multiple Thorpes. Five first-round picks. Almost a dozen NFL starters.

That's the bar for all other two-year recruiting groups.

As for your bonus question, I need to see a lot more out of Ash before I'm projecting a national title appearance. Only someone blinded by burnt orange passion could make that call right now. I do think a BCS game in 2012 is a strong possibility.

Finally, hell yes, that's a buy. Watney is a very pretty blonde, but Dell is a former college cheerleader that is easy on the eyes from top to bottom.

Q: (Masonpuncher) - I've been wondering about the defensive backfield next year, and how the numbers will play out. With Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs both playing very well this season, how does that affect the younger guys? Leroy Scott and Josh Turner got their feet wet this year, where do they factor in 2012? Manny Diaz certainly does a better job of rotating players in his defense and I love that, but this is Duane Akina's arena. Do you think he rolls with Diggs, Byndom, Kenny Vaccaro and Adrian Phillips as the guys and that's that? Someone of youth is obviously going to have step up and assume some playing time and maybe more than one barring injury. Whose it gonna be?

A: You can never have enough bad mamma jammas in the defensive backfield. Period. Never forget that the 2005 secondary was so talented that the coaches realy never even tried to establish consistent true starters, as Tarell Brown and Aaron Ross were BOTH considered starters opposite Cedric Griffin. Yes, the Longhorns currently have four defensive backs in Vaccaro, Phillips, Diggs and Byndom that they know they can win a conference championship with, but that leaves slots open for both the nickel and dime packages, as well as a rotating corner and safety behind the starters. That means that there is actually quite a bit of playing time available for all of the young players, and it will be up to Turner, Scott, Sheroid Evans and Mykkele Thompson to carve out niches for themselves in those important roles. Frankly, all of them have a tremendous opportunities staring them square in the eyes. My money is on Turner, Evans and Thompson all emerging as significant players.

Q: (curtisbeast) - I'd love to read your take on the Aggie class.

For the last couple years, it seems like the Mike Sherman regime actually did okay by scouting o-linemen well, pulling legacies (Matthews, Fuller), and making Texas pay for some non-offers (Michael, etc.).

How'd Kevin Sumlin do?


A: Personally, I like the Aggie recruiting class. The offensive side of the ball has two serious difference makers in Thomas Johnson and Trey Williams, while the offensive line class features three prospects that I really think have a chance to be standout players if they develop and reach their potential. Over on the defensive side of the ball, the Aggies don't have anyone that you can pencil in as a sure-fire difference maker outside of possibly DeVante Harris, but they did recruit a lot of speed. Guys like Tyrone Taylor, Michael Richardon, Polo Manukainiu and Ed Pope give them some raw kids that could emerge as those types of players in two or three seasons.

Most of the class was comprised by Sherman and Co., but Sumlin gets credit for holding the troops together for the most part, while adding Pope, Manukainiu, Johnson and Harris after his hiring. The depth of the class is a question, but they have a chance to get a nice set of players out of this class.

We'll be able to judge Sumlin a little more properly a year from now.

Q: (Shambeaux) - First time emailing in, hope this hasn't gotten covered yet. We took 28 kids in this class and I wondered how that is any different than SEC schools taking over the 25 man limit? I know the limits can be adjusted by adding to the last class, but what does that do for this class? Do the JUCO and kids enrolling early change it for the next class? Do you see Mack and Company taking the entire 25 this class and does the current class leave it impossible to take more than 25 in this class?

A: The NCAA allows teams to rob Peter to pay Paul with their scholarship numbers, which means the Longhorns absolutely could take as many as 25 prospects in the 2013 class if they wanted to because of the ability to count the six mid-term guys towards the 2011 class, which featured several mid-term guys could be applied to the 2010 class if possible. In the last four classes, the Longhorns have signed 95 prospects. By comparison, SEC schools like Arkansas (112), Ole Miss (109), Alabama (103), LSU (97), Florida (86) and Georgia (84) range from both extremes.

Q: (Bobble-Head Bevo) - Question 1: Considering that our JC targets this year were people previously recruited by Davis and Searels, how likely do you think we will pro-actively target junior college players in the future?

Question 2: Mack said yesterday we will probably target two tight ends next year. Who are the likely in-state and out-of-state tight end targets?

Question 3: Acknowledging we will continue to focus on in-state recruits, how likely do you think Mack will be willing to pursue both Texas and out-of-state "difference making" recruits all the way to National Signing Day?


A:First, I think the Longhorns will dabble in the JUCO ranks if they feel like an immediate upgrade to a position can without question be made from those ranks in a way that can't through continued development of guys on campus or with true freshman prospects. That means it probably won't happen all the time, but the fact that the options remains is important.

Second, Ricky Seals-Jones has tight end upside and is a must-have in this class, even if he could potentially play on either side of the ball at a couple of positions, depending on how his body develops in a college weight program. So, whether he's labeled as an athlete or wide receiver, his growth into the position is an option if they land him. We also know that Bruce Chambers has been recruiting Red Oak's Jeremiah Gaines, which makes him an obvious possible offer at the second Junior Day. Don't be surprised if this is a position they look outside the state borders for a little bit of help with, especially if they can't close with RSJ.

Finally, I expect that this staff will continue to force Mack's hand on going after the mega-blue chips, which means I think there will be a handful of guys the staff is still chasing in January.

Q: (Orange Bull) - How does RSJ compare to DGB? Similar size. What about, speed, routes, hands, ball skills, etc? Does he even project as a WR? His profile says he's been playing QB - can he play there at UT? Is there another QB at Sealy where RSJ could get WR reps?

A:From a size and athleticism standpoint, I think the two guys are pretty comparable, as both guys are in the 6-5 or 6-6 range and weight in the neighborhood of 220 pounds. That being said, I think there are some pretty clear differences.

At this stage of their developments, I think DGB is clearly a more natural receiver and has an edge in areas related to skill at the receiver position. In terms of athleticism, I'd actually give RSJ a little bit of a nod because his raw athleticism allows him to be a difference maker on every inch of the field, regardless of which side of the ball he's on. As freakish as DGB is, I actually think RSJ is a little more natural and explosive in pads. As a college prospect, I think RSJ projects as a wide receiver/h-back/tight end or a monster off the edge as a defensive end. Personally, I love his upside on defense more than anything else, but that's me.


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