The Longhorns want to finish strong with the 2013 class. But the known options are dwindling.
The Longhorns currently have a solid base of 14 commitments, and have already filled significant needs on the OL, LB, and at TE, but would like to finish with takes at WR, DB, DE, and the OL. But the Longhorns haven't added a commitment since June and options in some areas seem to be dwindling. Or sharpening into focus, if you prefer.
Let's see who remains on the board.
DB Chevoski Collins. He plays the Hey, Win The Game! position at Livingston, but the Longhorns want him as a DB. Collins fancies himself as a WR and that could influence his college choice. He'll decide on October 8th from a group including Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and TCU. Right after attending the West Virginia game in Austin. Collins has been compared to current Longhorn Adrian Phillips, and while his film shows quickness and terrific small area athleticism, I don't see the recovery speed in his junior and sophomore tape. I'd love to see some senior tape.
DB Marcell Harris. He's one of my favorite prospects in the 2013 class. If Mack Brown wants a more physical Texas team, Marcell can help. Like his film and really like what I saw of him in person at The Opening. He's a big, thick kid at 6-1, 210, but has legit ball skills and instincts. And his striking ability is special. I've been very skeptical that a Florida prospect ends up at Texas, but Marcel keeps going above and beyond to keep the Longhorns in his hunt. This is a legitimate battle and the longer it goes, the better it is for us. Fretting over his future position misses the point entirely - football players can always help you.
DB Cole Luke. The Arizona athlete loves the Longhorns, but he has seen his offer list swell with high level suitors like USC, Notre Dame, OU, and Michigan. Long and skinny with good ball skills, Luke has a similar build to Carrington Byndom. And he'll be in Austin for the West Virginia game. Luke projects well down the road once he gets into a quality S&C program and he's a Texas type of kid. He has grown on me quite a bit.
DB Vonn Bell One of the most coveted safety prospects in the nation, the Georgia native is taking his time paring down a list that's a Who's Who of college football. He's a pipe dream until his actions (i.e. an official visit) say otherwise.
Do we take two of Harris, Luke, or Collins if they want to come? I also have Harris and Luke prioritized over Collins, so Chevoski's October 8th announcement date concerns me. I'd prefer to play this out. Maintaining a recruiting presence in Arizona makes a lot of sense to me given their athlete's lack of homegrown loyalty and the shifting demographics of the Sun Belt.
The Longhorns are evaluating nationally, in the JUCO ranks, and waiting for the inevitable in-state DE prospects to emerge during their senior seasons. I could list a bunch of names here that are being thrown around that we've sent feelers out to, but we're in evaluation mode. We will offer a guy here that isn't on the current radar.
OL Caleb Benenoch - The giant Michigan State decommit looked to be a shoo-in for the Longhorns just weeks ago, but as his stock has gone up, his options and affections have expanded to include UCLA, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. He's a massive athlete (Leonard Davis scale) that would be an interesting test for our new S&C regime (I'd give him a 0.3% chance of success under the old program), but it's also fairly clear that he's a guard, not a tackle.
OL Andrew Billings - I've already offered my thoughts on the powerful, squatty Billings and he's an interior OL all the way. His 1820 combined power lift numbers also give you some idea of his strength level. Texas is fighting Baylor, TCU, and OU for his commitment and his decisional calculus seems to be factoring in the opportunity to play defense and his feelings as to who is recruiting him hardest.
Texas wants one of the two and they both represent interesting contrasts in skill and body type, but I don't quite understand the take in the bigger picture. I'm fine adding numbers inside, but our real need is at offensive tackle. Maybe that offers some insight into Garrett Greenlea's development. Or the coaches believe that Estelle, Hughes, and Perkins are all can't miss. Did they try Darius James for a few snaps at OT in a camp and he flashed? Dunno. Even so, I want to get back to redshirting OL and building layers of depth - not pressing everyone into early action and hearing lamentations about our young roster every year.
As I've pointed out many times before, an OL that doesn't pan is the deadest of dead roster weight. And the least likely player to transfer out because of a hurt ego. Pick and plan wisely.
WR Laquon Treadwell. The Crete, Illinois (basically a Chicago suburb town) product is a highly sought after national prospect thought to be a strong Michigan lean (he has visited Ann Arbor 5 times in the last year) but the implosion of the Michigan passing offense and Brady Hoke's aura of sweaty, enthusiastic incompetence offers an opportunity for the circling vultures. Texas is showing interest, and fortunately for us, he was in attendance at Ole Miss to see our rejuvenated passing game. I saw Treadwell at The Opening and he's nice. Legit 6-3, 195 with good hands and the ability to get in and out of his breaks, and good straight line speed. He'll be a 210+ pound WR running sub 4.5 in fairly short order. We'll find out if there's anything really here in the coming weeks, but we badly need his physical type in our receiving corps.
WR Robbie Rhodes. Another elite WR, with a more compact, powerful frame than Treadwell. Baylor got in early on Rhodes and he repaid their belief with an early verbal commitment. Texas has tried to make some progress, and there have been some slivers of light. The Texas staff should try to flip him up until signing day because it's reasonably clear that Rhodes is still open to courtship. It looks like we flat out missed on Rhodes early and we're trying our best to make up ground.
This position has come into sharp focus with Torii Hunter committing to Notre Dame, Devon Allen a likely UCLA Bruin, and Ricky Seals-Jones and Texas bidding each other adieu. As with DE, the Texas staff is exploring all possible options, but I don't think they'll settle for a body - they're looking or a game-changer.
The Longhorns have their targets locked and loaded at defensive back; wide receiver and defensive end are more fluid, and we're clearly in evaluation mode. The OL may be down to a two man race, but I'd prefer an OT be in that mix. Don't rule out the possibility of pursuing a national blue chip late, irrespective of positional need.