Rick Barnes landed a commitment from 2013 PG Isaiah Taylor this week and after reviewing some film, this long and lean Houston baller will be a nice addition to our backcourt next season, assuming Kabongo declares for the draft.
The 6'2 guard out of Houston's The Village High School moved from Oakland after his sophomore year and was relatively uknown until he joined Marland Lowe's Team PRO AAU squad. The three-star guard only had offers from Penn State and Nebraska before Texas showed interest, primarily from ace recruiter Rob Lanier who convinced Barnes to make the offer.
Taylor excels at breaking guys down off the dribble and dishing for easy shots. He's got elite quickness and while not quite TJ Ford on the break, keeps an excellent handle at speed while knifing through traffic for tough finishes around the rim or last second dimes to an open teammate. While not known for his range, Taylor can knock down open jumpers out to 20 feet and will need to extend that out to the 3- point line.
Having just recently picked up an offer on Dec 17, the timing for his official visit worked out perfectly with his whole family in Austin for Texas' big win over North Carolina. The redirection from targeting a combo guard to a point guard for Texas' small 2013 class would indicate that Kabongo is likely declaring early after this season, leaving the 2013 backcourt in the hands of Javan Felix, Demarcus Holland, Julien Lewis, and Isaiah Taylor. Felix is coming off a career high 26 point, 9 assist, 1 TO game in an OT loss to Baylor that featured a free throw discrepancy of 31 attempts in Jesus' favor. What looked to be a bleak forecast at the PG position heading into conference play may not be such a weakness after all. It will be interesting to see the distribution of minutes in mid Feb once Kabongo returns, especially if Barnes already knows he's going pro and Texas' tourney hopes are dashed.
Dontre Wilson's Kyle Hicks' decommitment, Texas is still considering another back for the 2013 class and are making a late push for some out of state prospects. Texas' new RB coach Larry Porter didn't even bother stopping by his new office before hitting the recruiting trail. His first stop was in a very familiar place - Memphis, TN - home of Whitehaven RB Mark Dodson, a current Ole Miss commit who was planning on enrolling early this January. That's likely still going to happen unless Texas can get him in for a visit quickly. A smaller, shifty type of RB (Eric Nahlin calls him a homeless man's Trey Williams), Dodson does solid work inside the tackles and has great lateral acceleration but lacks a high end gear.
Highlights on HUDL and here is a brief junior season clip on youtube:
High School All-Star Games
This year's Under Armour game was more unwatchable than re-runs of The Voice. Especially considering UT only had one commitment on the roster and he was playing out of position at left tackle. Highlight defeated Nitro 16-3. Was SEGA also a sponsor?
The total punting yards were 667, while the total offensive yards were a truly offensive 227.
Even worse, the 227 yards were amassed on 111 plays, which was barely enough to keep the yards/play number above 2. Even Greg Davis wasn't impressed.
For the truly depraved, here are some lowlights
Will Muschamp landed one hell of a player in DB Vernon Hargreaves III. He dominated the game like no other prospect from start to finish.
None of the six UT commits playing in the US Army game (Deoundrei Davis didn't play due to injury) had any highlight performances like we've seen from former Texas-bound prospects, but Jake Raulerson, Antwuan Davis, and Kent Perkins all held their own. In a game format bereft of team chemistry or play-making opportunities, that's often the lone takeaway. A'shawn Robinson and Davis both had blocked kicks. Duane Akina was in attendance and gave a mustache tug of approval. Swoopes got stripped by a DE for a fumble on his first possession and didn't do much with the rest of his chances on 5-6 snaps but he impressed coaches and teammates during the week of practice, which is a more valuable measure than the game itself. I would be a lot more excited about Swoopes as a QB prospect if Texas were still running the zone read.
Raulerson played out of position at center and was helped out by a lot of combo blocks given the fact he's a 255 lb kid who offered to play center. Robinson played out of position at DE but still flashed elite talent chasing down RBs and collapsing the pocket off the edge, he just never had any highlight plays. A'shawn is the manbeast in this class you simply have to hold onto. The upcoming visit to Alabama looms large but he's on the record as being solid in his pledge to UT. In the 2014 class, the manbeast Texas has to land is Solomon Thomas, who blew up the Army junior combine.
Perkins looks to be the most physically ready of the incoming OL but hopefully we can afford to redshirt him then get depth at RT behind Josh Cochran.
I'm holding out on Jake Oliver until I see him get separation against a college DB.
All in all, these are all character guys that represented UT well. If we can hold onto A'Shawn, it may be a small class but it will still be a solid one. Antwaun has the perfect frame, quicks, and instincts to be an all-conference DB.
Texas Offers Nation's Top Offensive Tackle
Jake Raulerson continues to be the bellcow recruiter for the 2013 class, as he put Stacy Searels in touch with Lake City (FL) offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil on Friday after the two players hit it off at the US Army All America game.
Tunsil already has visits set to Alabama (January 11), Georgia (January 18), Ole Miss (January 25) and Florida State (February 1); and is trying to squeeze in Texas as his fifth official visit. At 6-6, 295-pounds, Tunsil is ranked as the nation's No. 1 offensive tackle prospect according to Rivals and 247.
Georgia is the clear leader and given there aren't any available weekends prior to signing day for Tunsil to actually make the trip, this one is a moonshot. But you have to love Raulerson's willingness to keep recruiting top prospects to his own class.
Other Remaining 2013 Targets
Texas is still pursuing the following guys with varying levels of interest by both parties:
- Waco OT/DT Andrew Billings - Texas has offered as a DT.
- Hutchinson, KS CC LB De'Vondre Campbell - the briefest Texas commit in recruiting history, if Texas can stop the Hutchinson SID from misreporting, we have another chance.
- Dual-threat JUCO QB Nick Marshall - forrmer UGA commit - Down to Texas, K. State and Indiana with UT considered to be the leader. Check 6 min mark for 62 yard TD pass
- Contra Costa, CA CC OT Desmond Harrison - Texas, USC, OU, and Arizona are in the mix and the Longhorns have a slight lead for the 6'8 310 mammoth OT prospect. Harrison would start at LT, letting Hawkins slide inside to guard.
- New Smyrna, Florida WR James Clark - official visit to Texas Jan 18.
- Little Elm, TX RB Ke'aun "Real Steel" Kinner - his 55 carries for 332 yards in a win against Prosper back in October fell just seven carries short of the all-time state record, held by Billy Borten of Channelview against Oakwood in 1987. Of course you knew that...2012 Season Stats (through 11 games): 374 carries for 2,929 yards and 28 TD's, one reception for 18 yards and an 85-yard kickoff return for a TD. Kinner averaged 34 carries for 266.3 yards per game and nearly 300 all-purpose yards per game.
- Fort Worth, TX WR Robbie Rhodes - despite being commited to Baylor, this kid has become Darrell Wyatt's pet project.
Who do you think Texas ends up with?