A B+ kind of class. Overall, I think the top 10 guys are an extremely stout group, there are some good role players/projects after that and then I see some drop-off in the late teens to twenty. This class also lacks the singular star power of a Darrell Scott, Julio Jones or Lizza Minnelli. Be warned: my comments are informed by watching lots of grainy highlight films, viewing All-Star games, talking to Texas high school coaches, chatting with friends who are big enough losers to attend high school football games on Friday nights, and irresponsible rumor and objectionable hearsay.
Many of the guys at DB and WR; both guys on our DL.
RB was a need and we didn't land a Superman - we got a committee. LB and OL weren't needs, but there are no crystal clear superstars here. Selective OOS recruiting bricked mightily.
We're missing a single-solution, every down, 25 carries, put-the-offense-on-my-shoulders badass. Thanks Ms. Scott. This class screams situational runner. That's not a bad thing; it's just not the best thing.
Tre Newton RB 6-0 200 4.6
Judging from his SLC highlights, Tre is a guy who has shown a consistent ability to run adeptly through large holes. He's a value-added kind of guy who blocks and catches well. His raw running ability doesn't really do it for me, though, in fairness, he played his senior year with a gimpy knee and no one really knows what he could be when he fills out and gets healthy. He has a good frame and I think his most likely upside is as a 225 pound situational back. An upgraded Chris Oingo-Boingo. Program kid.
Ryan Roberson RB 5-10 225 4.5
Powerful guy. Not a natural runner. I'm perfectly fine with him if you appreciate what he is providing, though the presence of a FB on the field outside of short yardage situations drives me to cattle rape. He could play LB, but I'm not sure I see it. He'll pack on weight and strength easily - look at the dude's frame. A good niche guy.
Jeremy Hills RB 5-10 185 4.45
Hills has really grown on me after some initial reservations. He has a lot of quickness and very solid running instincts. He's not fucking around in the hole like so many finesse guys with his body type. He's running with intent, he's moving his feet, and he's finishing runs as best he can. Physically weak for the college game at this stage. I'd like to see him shirt.
Some exceptional players here. A definite need answered emphatically with Buckner, Grant & Hales.
Dan Buckner WR 6-4 215 4.5
Great size, underrated speed, uses his body to get separation and then goes and gets it. Could he be a Finley guy that eventually projects to TE? Maybe. I like him as a WR in the Sweed mode. His weird decline in the rankings was quickly righted when he showed up at the All-Star practices. Recruiting dorks are so fickle.
Brock Fitzhenry WR 5-9 180 4.4
He will be called a "Wes Welker" type in every game that he catches a 2 yard bubble screen. The question here is not whether he's a good athlete and a productive HS player. The question is what he offers in the slot that DeSean Hales does not already provide. From the optimist's perspective, you can't fake a staff hand-timed 4.4 40 and he's as strong as a mule; from the pessimist's perspective he's already 19, played against poor competition, and may already be physically maxed out.
DeSean Hales WR 5-10 165 4.4
Elite quickness, great speed, superior creativity. This guy is a no-brainer and it takes about three frames of highlight tape to understand that. His potential for making plays in the punting game is signficant (yes, it is possible not to fair catch all punts). If he has a knock, it's that he's small, but no one is advocating he be our goal line back.
D.J. Grant WR 6-2 200 4.5
Good get. Big frame, good hands, smooth strider. AISD competition challenges him like Dungeons & Dragons trivia does Henry James. Our only Fall commit looked damn good in the Click-Clack All-Star game. Coaches that I know in Austin say that he also has a nasty streak: he'll earhole a LB. I like this guy - he has very little experience at the position and as he learns, his upside should increase commensurately.
Antoine Hicks ATH 6-2 205 4.5
Antoine is an Af-o-lete but I'm putting him at WR, primarily because I can. He's clearly a nice jack-of-all-trades, but where's the mastery? Very Eric Foreman. I don't mean that as a knock necessarily - it's just that he could project a lot of places. This is clearly a guy who could weigh 220 and be pretty interesting as a possession wide receiver or, if he likes contact, a physical safety or OLB. Projecting a guy like Hicks is an impossible exercise since so much of it depends on his mentality.
We're clearly trying to get away from Lionel Garr types. I don't have a problem with that per se, but these kinds of rangy fast OL absolutely demand a redshirt and patience. I hope Mack's "Everyone plays!" rants of late don't apply to OL.
Mark Buchanan OL 6-6 275 4.8
Aside from the egregious sin of attending Austin High, I like him. He's going to struggle against more physically developed peers right now - please ignore that bullshit. It's irrelevant. He's got sweet feet, the frame, speed, and the mindset. What he needs is three years uninterrupted getting practice reps and hitting a weight room. And - dare I say it - a redshirt.
Luke Poehlmann OL 6-7 260 5.0
He'll struggle at the point of attack with elite DL recruits because he's basically a power forward at this stage in his development. He's got the feet that you want. See Buchanan. Put him in a Han Solo carbon freeze, add three years of power cleans and skill drills, don't let Mad Dog give him permission to become a fat fuck, and he should be fine.
David Snow OL 6-4 300 5.3
Our only plugger. Strong. He's clearly an interior OL all of the way. Unlike a Buchanan, his technique isn't all there and he's going to struggle with some quicker guys in space. He reminds me of former Longhorn Will Allen. He's a screener - not a driver. His pads are too high - you'd like to see a flat back and an explosion off of the ball rather than a step straight up and an attempt to screen.
We only took two. Both have some question marks in my mind, though not in any way related to pure athletic ability.
Emmanuel Acho LB 6-2 220 4.65
Acho has grown on me after seeing some updated film. He's playing against future yacht owners and your average private school batty boy, but his physical abilities are obvious. I have no idea if he knows how to play LB since he basically stunts on every play and looks for kids with trust funds to knock unconscious. Can we teach this position? History says no. I hope Muschamp can reverse that.
Dravannti Johnson LB 6-2 230 4.6
He's got the physical attributes, four stars, and the added benefit of having crapped on the Aggies with his decommitment, but watching his film there's just something missing. Great effort. Intensity. Hits people. But he's stiff as a board. Change of direction is only OK. I'll say it: I see some Robert Killebrew there. He should become a weight room monster though.
Two exceptional talents here. The other two guys are credits to their race. Our safety recruiting suggests a shift away from the Four Corners philosophy. These are Cover 2 safeties.
Nolan Brewster DB 6-1 205 4.55
I generally don't like Whitey in my defensive backfield. I watched his film pretty closely and was unimpressed. He was being sold as a hitter and I wasn't buying. The U.S Army All-Star game did a lot to recalibrate my opinion with respect to his athleticism and his ability to hold up against quality athletes. I still have reservations about him in straight coverage though. Frame for OLB in the Matt Grootegoed mold? Dunno.
Blake Gideon DB 6-1 200 4.5
He's a cracker! A rather controversial take, to put it mildly. Lots of firm handshake jokes. Blake certainly did his part to vindicate the coaching staff with an All-State team selection while dominating a strong district at Leander. The gap between Gideon and Brewster certainly isn't discernible on film. He has solid straight line speed - but quickness? I don't see how he cracks the lineup given the DB talent in the last couple of classes.
D.J. Monroe DB 5-9 165 4.4
The defensive version of DeSean Hales. Holy shit speed. Concerned about his size? We'd all love 6-1 CBs - but they don't grow on trees. There's always room on the football field for hyper-competitive mean little shits. See: Vasher, Nathan. Monroe is fearless and he's out there lighting people up. He'll add muscle and be just fine throwing his body around at 180-185. Another guy who adds a great deal to our special teams game. This is a recruit to be excited about.
Aaron Williams DB 6-0 185 4.4
Great player. Smooth as silk and that grace belies his true speed. Like DJ Monroe, he'll put his head in there and knock someone out. If he avoids injury this is probably your safest choice for an All-Big 12 guy from the entire class. He'll start at corner, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the coaches plug and play him wherever he can get on the field the earliest.
Not many bodies here, but they're both exactly the kinds of guys that we want.
Jarvis Humphrey DT 6-2 290 5.0
If you read the book Meat Market, Ed Orgeron describes the perfect DT in very specific detail. He describes Jarvis Humphrey. I love him under 300. I truly hope Muschamp can impress upon Mad Dog the value of that quickness in a 3 technique as a disruptor rather than just a 325 pound space eater.
Kheeston Randall DT 6-6 290 5.0
This was a great find by the staff and my preferred type of sleeper - East Texas, a great athlete growing into his body, good feet, basketball background, late to football. Yep. I see that and I pray we can get in his head before LSU discovers him - which is how it played out. Absolutely the guy I take a flyer on over a maxed out high school suburb super-program kid every time. He has a few technique issues, but those are all coachable moments. This is basically Marcus Tubbs. If we let him get twenty five pounds north of 300 and allow him to lose his motor, I will attack Mad Dog with a fruit juicer. Also, a nice OL prospect if he doesn't pan on DL.
Justin Tucker K 6-1 175 4.6
Look, I have no clue. We ruin these can't miss guys with such regularity that I happily endorse the Ryan Bailey open tryout solution for our kicking woes. Or go for two. Just please kick it out of the end zone occasionally.
My Top 10 recruits
1. Aaron Williams
2. Jarvis Humphrey
3. DeSean Hales
4. DJ Monroe
5. Dan Buckner
6. Mark Buchanan
7. Jeremy Hills
8. DJ Grant
9. Kheeston Randall
10. Emmanuel Acho (call it a hunch)
As always, I'm interested in your thoughts, quibbles, outrage.