Texas Football Recruiting: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

Mack Brown, once crowned Coach February for reinventing the college football recruiting landscape with his now-legendary "Junior Days," is back with more recruiting parlor tricks. Facing a Brave New World where the recruiting cycle just starts earlier and earlier, the Texas Longhorns coaching staff shocked the college football nation with a bold, exciting move.

Brown's once-innovative strategy of offering top prospects the February after their junior seasons was quickly becoming a "John the Savage"-ignoramus way of doing business. Internet message boards mocked the "approved for an offer" Longhorn meme, while Texas A&M's hip, young and new coaching regime has played up the ESS-EEE-SEE angle to gain major traction with top 2014 prospects. Even more brashly, non-Big 12 teams have been reaching their grubby little paws into the Lone Star state, beyond the usual LSU pilfering. The chief offenders: Nick Saban (Alabama), USC (Lane Kiffin), and Ohio St. (Urban Meyer). That's big boy territory.

Time to strike back? On August 2, 2012, the Longhorns coaching staff did the unexpected. In one fell swoop, Texas reasserted its quite-visible hand of recruiting dominance. The statement: we'll play your game, you rogues. No longer are juniors off-limits to Texas prior to Junior Days. 18 confirmed offers (to date) went out to the class of 2014, resulting in two commitments (the earliest commitments ever in the Mack Brown era) and a whole host of Clay Davis "sheeeeeee-it" reactions from the Longhorn interwebs.

A major recruiting shift, indeed. If you weren't already convinced that the post-MNC period of inertia, complacency and general recruiting laziness is over, this strategic pimp slap has pushed it seven feet under. Mack's message is painfully clear: he won't get fooled again. And yes, he wants your sandwich.

Here's a full list of the outstanding offers. (Special thanks: data sourced from 24/7 Sports).

QUARTERBACK

Name Position School
(Hometown)
247 Ranking Height / Weight
Lead Recruiter
Other Offers
Longhorns Status
Jerrod Heard QB (Dual)
Guyer
(Denton, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 52
TX: 6
Pos: 2
6' 2.5"
190 lbs
Darrell Wyatt
Baylor
LSU
Nebraska
In-State Favorite

Recruitment Analysis: In years past, the coaching staff has quickly identified, and subsequently reeled in, its primary QB target. Think Tyrone Swoopes, Connor Brewer, David Ash, etc. In 2014, that target appears to be Jerrod Heard, arguably the best quarterback in the state. The staff favored Heard over Fort Bend Bush's Ronald Monroe. Heard has been by the 40 Acres twice this year already, and it would probably be an upset if the Longhorns don't land him.

RUNNING BACK

Name Position School
(Hometown)
247 Ranking Height / Weight
Lead Recruiter
Other Offers
Longhorns Status
Nathan Starks ATH/RB
Bishop Gorman
(Las Vegas, NV)
4*
Nat'l: 25
NV: 1
Pos: 2
5' 11"
200 lbs
Darrell Wyatt
Arizona
Colorado
Duke
Nebraska
Oklahoma
UCLA
Utah
Out of State Contender (Oklahoma & USC)
Donald Catalon RB
Eisenhower
(Houston, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 95
TX: 12
Pos: 9
5' 11"
190 lbs
Major Applewhite
N/A
Committed (#3)
Daniel Gresham RB/FB
All Saints Episcopal
(Fort Worth, TX)
N/A
Nat'l: N/A
TX: N/A
Pos: N/A
5' 11"
225 lbs
N/A
N/A
In-State Favorite

Recruitment Analysis: Could it be thunder and lightning with Daniel Gresham and Donald Catalon? Catalon, who had been considered a Texas lean, just confirmed his commitment moments ago. Meanwhile, Gresham and his more heralded teammate Demetrius Knox (more on him later) also favor the Horns. Gresham, a big guy, has that Joe Bergeron vibe to him and might not be afraid to play second fiddle in the class to the more heralded Catalon. The home run swing is Nathan Starks, who plays for powerhouse Nevada program Bishop Gorman (alma mater of ex-Sooner DeMarco Murray). He's a nice to have, and his offer continues to prove that the new blood coaching staff is not afraid to go out of state against the big boys.

WIDE RECEIVER

Name Position School
(Hometown)
247 Ranking Height / Weight
Lead Recruiter
Other Offers
Longhorns Status
Devante Noil WR
Edna Karr
(New Orleans, LA)
4*
Nat'l: 63
LA: 5
Pos: 6
5' 10"
165 lbs
Darrell Wyatt
LSU
Alabama
Florida
Out of State Contender (LSU)
KD Cannon WR
Mt. Pleasant
(Mt. Pleasant, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 76
TX: 10
Pos: 7
6' 0"
158 lbs
Major Applewhite
Baylor
Oklahoma
Okla St
TCU
Texas A&M
West VA
Co-Favorites (Oklahoma & Okla St)
Lorenzo Joe
WR
Cooper
(Abilene, TX)
N/A
Nat'l: N/A
TX: N/A
Pos: N/A
6' 2"
180 lbs
Bo Davis
Texas Tech
Committed (#1)

Recruitment Analysis: Lorenzo Joe opened the floodgates yesterday as commitment number one in the 2014 class. Like current Horns John Harris and Miles Onyegbule, the athletic Joe is expected to line up at QB for his team this year but is being strictly recruited as a wide receiver. While Joe won't be the bell-cow that previous #1's Connor Brewer and Jake Raulerson were, he is still a great addition to the class. With Joe on board, Texas is also looking for a burner. KD Cannon is considered the top WR prospect in-state, as is Devante Noil (nicknamed "Speedy") in Louisiana. Noil joins Starks as one of two early out-of-state offers for Texas. Considered an LSU lean, Noil is a long shot for Texas. But after landing Shiro Davis (Shreveport, LA) in the 2012 class, the Texas staff clearly feels Noil's recruitment is worth the effort.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Name Position School
(Hometown)
247 Ranking Height / Weight
Lead Recruiter
Other Offers
Longhorns Status
Demetrius Knox
OT
All Saints Episcopal
(Fort Worth, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 28
TX: 4
Pos: 5
6' 5"
300 lbs
Darrell Wyatt
Alabama
Baylor
Michigan
Nebraska
Ohio St
Okla St
TCU
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
UCLA
In-State Favorite

Recruitment Analysis: Just one offer went out on O-line in what is considered a down year in-state. Offensive line coach Stacy Searels has wasted little time revamping recruiting efforts on the line, and the sizeable 2012 and 2013 classes can afford a down year in 2014. As evidenced by this year's recruiting efforts, Searels isn't afraid to wait on late blooming targets (think Andrew Billings and Caleb Benenoch). We'll see what happens.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Name Position School
(Hometown)
247 Ranking Height / Weight
Lead Recruiter
Other Offers
Longhorns Status
Solomon Thomas
DE (Strong)
Coppell
(Coppell, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 24
TX: 2
Pos:3
6' 3"
251 lbs
Darrell Wyatt
ND
Stanford
Texas A&M
UCLA
In-State Favorite
Myles Garrett DE (Weak)
James Martin
(Arlington, TX)
N/A
Nat'l: N/A
TX: N/A
Pos: N/A
6' 4"
240 lbs
Bruce Chambers
Arkansas In-State Favorite
Derick Roberson DE (Strong)
William Brennan
(San Antonio, TX)
N/A
Nat'l: N/A
TX: N/A
Pos: N/A
6' 3.5"
218 lbs
Duane Akina
Texas A&M
Committed (#2)

Recruitment Analysis: Defensive end is one of 2014's in-state "cream of the crop" positions. That's one of the reasons the staff may seem unconcerned about losing out on Daeshon Hall (Washington) and Terrodney Prevot (USC) in the 2013 class. Derick Roberson, commitment #2, is considered raw but highly projectable (think Reggie Wilson). If the Horns are also able to haul in Solomon Thomas and Myles Garrett, the class would be comparable with 2010's haul of Jackson Jeffcoat, Reggie Wilson, and Greg Daniels. Defensive tackle remains a bit of a mystery, with no clear targets as of yet.

LINEBACKER

Name Position School
(Hometown)
247 Ranking Height / Weight
Lead Recruiter
Other Offers
Longhorns Status
Hoza Scott DE (Weak) / LB
La Porte
(La Porte, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 27
TX: 3
Pos: 1
6' 3"
225 lbs
Major Applewhite
Alabama
LSU
Texas A&M
Trailer (Texas A&M)

Recruitment: Just one offer went out at linebacker, to high profile recruit Hoza Scott. Just a note: he's listed as a WDE by 247 but considered a linebacker by most analysts. Scott has been very public in his affection for Texas A&M, but an early Longhorns offer could go a long way. Just remember: this time last year, Jake Oliver was an Aggie lock. Oh, and two years ago, so were Malcom Brown and Tim Cole. Dallas Carter's Cameron Hampton was also rumored to be approved for an offer, but there hasn't been any confirmation with him yet.

DEFENSIVE BACK

Name Position School
(Hometown)
247 Ranking Height / Weight
Lead Recruiter
Other Offers
Longhorns Status
Ed Paris S/CB
Mansfield Timberview
(Arlington, TX)
5*
Nat'l: 24
TX: 1
Pos: 1
6' 1"
190 lbs
N/A
Clemson
GA Tech
LSU
Michigan
Nebraska
ND
Oklahoma
Texas A&M
UCLA
West VA
Heavy Trailer (LSU)
Nick Watkins CB
Bishop Dunne
(Dallas, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 36
TX: 5
Pos: 5
6' 0"
180 lbs
Bruce Chambers
Alabama
Arkansas
Georgia
LSU
Michigan
ND
Ohio St
Oklahoma
Texas A&M
Trailer (Alabama)
Nick Harvey CB
Lancaster
(Lancaster, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 65
TX: 8
Pos: 8
5' 9"
175 lbs
Duane Akina
Arkansas
Baylor
LSU
ND
Oklahoma
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
Virginia
Trailer (LSU & Texas A&M)
Jamal Adams S
Hebron
(Carrollton, TX)
4*
Nat'l: 88
TX: 11
Pos: 7
5' 9"
175 lbs
Duane Akina
Baylor
Kentucky
ND
Nebraska
TCU
West VA
Co-Favorites (Alabama) w/ Possible Imminent Commitment
Tony Brown CB
Ozen
(Beaumont, TX)
N/A
Nat'l: N/A
TX: N/A
Pos: N/A
6' 0"
185 lbs
Major Applewhite
Alabama
Auburn
LSU
Mich St
Miss St
ND
Nebraska
Oklahoma
Ohio St
TCU
Texas A&M
Texas Tech
UCLA
USC
West VA
Trailer (LSU/Texas A&M)
Edwin Freeman S
Bowie
(Arlington, TX)
N/A
Nat'l: N/A
TX: N/A
Pos: N/A
6' 1"
200 lbs
Bruce Chambers
Houston
Nebraska
Texas A&M
Co-Favorites (Texas A&M)

Recruitment: Duane Akina sure does get around, doesn't he? It appears Brown has green-lighted a wide net when it comes to defensive backs. There are a lot of good ones in-state, but this is the position where Texas is heavily considered a trailer with the top in-staters. Five-star stud Ed Paris, originally from Louisiana, is considered an LSU lock, while other prospects like Nick Watkins, Nick Harvey, and Tony Brown have also had one eye on the SEC. Edwin Freeman and Jamal Brown have the Longhorns closer to the top of their lists, but don't expect Akina to give up on the other studs. It behooves them to listen to the Burnt Orange propaganda--Texas is considered DBU, after all.

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