Evaluating The 2012 Texas Longhorn Recruiting Class: Quarterback, Running Back, Kicker

Johnathan Gray, Connor Brewer, and Nick Jordan are our one man position groups. Each successful solo, but collaborating here. Sort of like the We Are The World video, but for a more important cause. Gray is the most accomplished high school running back ever; Brewer is a play action Jedi with 100 career TD passes against 17 interceptions; and Nick Jordan, well, Nick Jordan.......he keeeeeeeck!

Johnathan Gray

As a senior, Gray took impossible expectations and managed to exceed them. If his high school career were a Frank DeFord novel, you'd roll your eyes at the author's inability to portray realism:

OK, we get it - three consecutive state titles with three different OLs, three-time 1st team All-State, 10,000+ rushing yards while scoring TWO HUNDRED AND FIVE TOUCHDOWNS? Just get on with your bullshit story, Ivy League...you don't understand football.

Gray doesn't have a high school resume so much as a factual and statistical bludgeon. A numerical truncheon wielded by a 19th century Mick wharf cop who beats you into submission and fealty. Read it. You'll tap out halfway through laughing at its absurdity. Everyone is familiar with crazy statistics from system players (I'm looking at you, Lake Travis QBs), but at Aledo, Johnathan Gray was The System (though I concede his OL play is really good). I'm shocked Occupy Wall Street protesters aren't camping on him.

Curtis Martin meets James Gray. If people have any secret reservations about Gray it's that he looks mortal out of pads and doesn't have a defining physical characteristic - the 4.3 40, a 450 bench, whatever. He's not Adrian Peterson or Eric Dickerson. He's a blend of a lot of subtle stuff that doesn't lend itself to modeling Under Armour.

Gray is a Euclidean Terrorist who blows up angles, lulls tacklers into false security with shoulder and hip set-ups that the camera barely registers, and then explodes into daylight like Andy Dufresne bursting from the sewer pipe in Shawshank. He carried the full weight of a football team on his shoulders for three years and never blinked. Also an excellent receiver out of the backfield and a good blocker.

Gray has an immediate potential to contribute to us in the Wildcat, as a third down back, and as part of a three man rotation at RB. In an age where depth charts are pored over like the Dead Sea Scrolls by recruits and their parents looking for the optimal situation, Gray watched Brown and Bergeron start as true freshmen and shrugged.

That's a kid without a hint of arrogance, but complete self-assurance. We're getting a special player - whatever clip you watch.

Connor Brewer

Unlike Gray, Connor Brewer fell into mild evaluatory disfavor even after setting career marks in passing yards and TDs (180 of 286 for 3001 yards, 43 TDs, 5 INTs), and leading his team to a 14-1 record (and a 41-2 career record as a starter), but struggled in his season opener against quality competition (a loss to Las Vegas Bishop Gorman) and was concussed after a spotty Under Armour All-American game.

Brewer isn't physically overwhelming at around 6-1, 190, he has an average arm, and at the college level he'll use his mobility to buy time instead of provide a true running threat. What he does have is accuracy, a nice touch on the ball, good mechanics, a knack for play action, and the ability to read defenses.

He's comfortable throwing on the run and keeps his eyes downfield while evading the pass rush. He's also adept out of the gun throwing quick timing routes. The ball never dips below his shoulder and it gets out quickly. He seems to have raised his release a few ticks form his junior year where was throwing at a 2/3 side arm. He's not going to drive the ball down the field on a 20 yard dig route thrown on a line, but he's accurate short to intermediate and can hit touch deep routes between the hashes.

I do have questions about Brewer's competition level, but there's a lot of stuff you see on film that clearly translates to what we're doing on offense - particularly since he's running a high school version of it.

Brewer's not a creator of offense. He's a distributor. His All-Star game was a pretty good demonstration of how he deals with unscheduled chaos against high level athletes. We've been trained by Colt McCoy and Vince Young to value creators, but If we can nurture him along and place him in a healthy system surrounded by skill talent and a good OL, he'll drive the bus. It's encouraging that Brewer has added noticeable height and weight since his junior year and may yet still be growing.

I'm in wait-and-see mode on Brewer and I don't mean that in a denigrative sense at all. I think he's a project despite his seeming polish.

In an ideal world, Connor gets a redshirt.

Nick Jordan

He's got leg and he knows how to use it.

I have zero insight into his accuracy and the transition from kicking off of a tee and the turf is always a bit of a crapshoot, but it's pretty clear from the video that the ball jumps off of his foot. If Jordan can get a little more hang time on his kicks to go with his natural ability to drive the ball, we may finally have a guy who can consistently get the opponent's offense started at the 20.

If any of you Coppellites have any insight into Jordan, it's appreciated.

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