It's closing time for elite athletes in Texas. You don't have to go home but you can't stay here...unless you're willing to commit before, umm, April of your Junior year.
This is the companion piece to the Magnificent Seven and it is meant to spark some discussion of where we are and where we're headed for our next three to six commitments. Our coaches should be holding these last few 'ships dearly. If they don't, they deserve to catch hell for their lack of ambition and some arbitrary need to finish up the class before the weather gets warm.
Greg Daniels DE Houston, TX
Taylor Bible DT Denton, TX
DeAires Cotton DT Alief, TX
Ashton Dorsey DT Tyler, TX
Bible is an elite talent who I covet as much as any recruit in recent memory. Cotton and Dorsey arguably represent the next two best DTs in the state; certainly 2 of the next best 4. At DE, Greg Daniels is a nice find though he gives us some indication of how the staff handicaps the likelihood of landing Reggie Wilson and Jackson Jeffcoat together - or either one
Aaron Benson LB Cedar Hill, TX
Tevin Jackson LB Garland, TX
This is the Muschamp model for a LB. If you can't run, don't apply. Really versatile players with the ability to blitz, punish in the open field, play the bubble screen as adeptly as a dive play. We need one more and our sights are firmly set on Hicks and Nelson.
I think Nelson is OU or OOS bound. Getting Hicks to Austin will mean taking on Florida and Ohio State who will stay in the game simply by getting Hicks to promise not to commit early - thus almost ensuring that we'll puss out sometime in September. If we brick on both, look for us to re-evaluate here and grab someone else. Aaron Franklin from Marshall is an interesting possibility if his knee heals. There are a half-dozen other back-up plan guys who are reasonable takes.
Carrington Byndom DB Lufkin, TX
Ahmad Dixon DB Waco, TX
Bryant Jackson DB Sulphur Springs, TX
Adrian Phillips ATH Garland, TX
I really like all four of these guys. Ahmad Dixon is an elite animal who fills the alley and knocks people out. Bryant Jackson is a great ball-hawking complement to him. Byndom is yet another skinny kid who can run and he has great academics to boot - you need at least one brain in your defensive backfield. We'll try him at CB initially - his film suggests the ability to do it. I listed Phillips here simply because I felt like it: he's a baller wherever you put him, but if he can pull off CB or S, our defense will be the better for it.
We'll take one more here if it's the right guy: probably Adrian White or Tyler Stephenson. Some believe White is a "silent commit", but I think the staff has little appetite for that game and will look elsewhere if it persists, unless there's some family issue that forces it to be so. Stephenson didn't make it to Junior Day and his 'ship will sail if he doesn't make make the hajj to kiss Mack's ring.
I'm impressed. Everyone can run and there's not a reach to be found. We're starting to address the roster imbalance between offense and defense and I like the coherence of our defensive recruiting across the board: parts fit, takes make sense, there's an underlying discipline to what we're doing. We're dominating DFW and East Texas, though some really big names yet remain on the board.
One DE. One LB. One CB.
None of these needs are life and death and the quality of the athlete will dictate more than positional need. In other words, finishing with Jeffocat, Wilson, Hicks is the best possible outcome even if it means not getting another corner.
Case McCoy QB Graham, TX
Connor Wood QB Houston, TX
We're done here and we've addressed some depth issues in the process. There are better QBs than Case McCoy in-state and there were realistic possibilities out-of-state, but the staff had to weigh Connor Wood's sense of threat with the other offer, so, on balance, I shrug at his inclusion.
Traylon Shead RB Cayuga, TX
Appears to be Seastrunk or bust here. The 2011 class is loaded at RB and we'll most certainly take two of them. I won't hitch my trailer of hope to the Seastrunk circus. This is Applewhite's first RB class as the RB coach (Whaley was given to him) and if Shead is his choice, I'm not really sure what he's doing to create an identity here.
Ross Apo WR Arlington, TX
John Harris WR Garland, TX
Chris Jones WR Daingerfield, TX
Darius Terrell TE Desoto, TX
The inability of major recruiting services to secure film for John Harris or Ross Apo is bizarre. Until then, I reserve judgement. At first blush both appear to be redundant in skill set and size.
Chris Jones is a great take.
Darius Terrell makes sense as a convert project. He can't play WR for us unless you anticipate OU starting a glacier at CB.
DeMarco Cobbs and Darius White still loom large while it appears that we may only have room for one more. Cobbs may not not want to deal with the headache that comes with an Oklahoma kid committing to Texas; Darius White has to be more than a little confused right now given that he's same physical type as Apo and Harris. Folks, they ain't slot receivers. DeAndrew White & Chris Hawkins are really good players that may need academic work so they may be on the outside looking in. Trovon Reed is a pipe dream.
Dominic Espinosa OL Cedar Park, TX
Trey Hopkins OL Galena Park, TX
I'm excited about Hopkins - who now clearly projects in our coach's minds as an OT - and Espinosa is a reasonable get in any year. Espinosa is a possible gray-shirt if the numbers need to be made to work. The way we bricked on Matthews is painful, but fully expected by anyone not named CloseToJumping. We may also need to explain to Evan Washington why his next-in-line offer went to Espinosa. "It wasn't me, Evan." But I saw you! Giving him a scholarship! It's listed in Rivals and Scout. "It wasn't me."
I have more questions here than on defense, certainly. I thought we took a comfortable fit at one QB spot when there was plenty of time left to evaluate others, I consider our RB more of an athlete, and it's not readily apparent what we're doing at WR and OL.
An OT makes sense, but our actions belie that. No pressing needs beyond that. This is really about taking guys we believe to be game changers irrespective of position or numbers: White, Cobbs, Seastrunk etc.
All told, we're off to a very good start, but whether this class is judged Top 3 or Top 12 will rest on our capacity to have discipline with our few remaining ships, our willingness to extend timelines and exhibit patience, and our desire to focus as an entire staff on a seven or eight prospects while other teams have to focus on forty or fifty. If our staff will treat the remaining few elite guys as such and try to win half of those battles, we'll be in the catbird seat next February.
Dr. Saturday opines here.