Man-for-man this is the best recruiting class signed under Mack Brown and the best Texas defensive class signed in the last three decades.
Vince Young is the 2002 outlier who throws off all calculus and defies comparison since he's the greatest offensive catalyst in college football history, but I'm not finding Dustin Miksch and Matthew Melton in 2010 either.
If you value a total class, here's an experiment: throw out the three/five best in each class. Or compare the middle 15. Whatever. Just do something median-ishy. 2010 wins in a landslide on top of an avalanche borne on the back of a tsunami sprinkled with icebergs and stinging jellyfish in iceskates. And Bruce Willis has an improbable plan that may just stop it...
I'll leave it to others to dicker over 2002 vs. 2010. Maybe we can scrimmage them against each other in 2019 ala Best of Times and Connor Wood can come out wearing white shoes like Reno Hightower.
What's fascinating is how unlikely this was a year ago. All of the talent was in DFW and while no one can understand what cosmic event made Houston football grow suddenly foppish in 2009, it did. Receivers ran routes with flapping wrists and defensive linemen remained in the pile far too long. We were going to have to battle for a bunch of studs on what is essentially neutral recruiting ground with OU. Not to mention combating prestige out-of-state programs with national draws (LSU, Florida, USC) in Texas' most mercenary city.
So naturally, USC and Florida avoided Texas like it was a lie detector test and we encountered LSU only long enough to pants them. The bludgeoning of the Sooners in DFW never relented. It was like the Passion of Christ only if Jesus had been Satan's son and owned a jet ski and had lien on him for child support payments. Though OU ended up with a fine class, it's a national class and that has not always ended well for them.
We also shook off the late recruiting malaise with incredible grabs of Mike Davis, Darius White, Jackson Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks down the stretch. WTF!? Any Longhorn fan who had opined in October that we'd land all four of them would have received a condescending pat on the head and an eye roll, also known as "All Of My Conversations With Trips Right."
I'll chat about each guy - particularly the less heralded - and try to offer some thoughts different from those we may have already have heard. If I'm negative at all, please understand that it's nitpicking within a broader context of a class that's off of the charts.
Supposedly a difference maker as a punter, not just for distance but for hang time. Hang times in excess of 5 seconds. If the guy can also kick into the end zone from college distances, he's worth his weight in...well, not gold. But copper.
A Grahamite I trust said he'd expect a Texas-good QB to shine on the field like a diamond in a goat's ass against that level of competition. He didn't think he did. I like McCoy's film fine - he throws a nice ball, is mobile, accurate, and far more advanced than most kids his age mechanically. I have two nagging concerns. First, his frame is different from Colt. Spare me the height and weight recitation at the same age. Weight and frame are different things. Check out a pro boxer some time - his 5-11 155 is carried a little differently from the ectomorph rail that works in your IT department. Look at wrists, look at ankles, look at neck. Then check his teeth before bringing him to market. Case is brittle. Fine-boned is good if you're casting for a Jane Austen adaptation, but not so much college football. Second, a mobile QB without a big arm is going to need to run in college football to be effective. See Concern #1. He can solve this issue with bolus doses of osteoporosis drugs and Nestle Quik stirred into a gallon of milk.
This guy flew under the radar like a Andorran black helicopter because he had zero interest in the recruiting game and seemed genuinely unaware that 6-3 215 guys that can reverse dunk a basketball and throw a football 65 yards are rare and should hold press conferences in hot tubs with bare-titted stewardesses. You're talking about a kid that was the #1 QB target in the country for a half dozen big programs. Huge arm, athletic, big body, rabidly monotheist - all of the shit I like in a college QB. My only issue isn't so much his horrid level of competition as his lack of domination in it. Does he have that drive in his gut? Too nice? The Longhorns do well when the guy taking QB snaps is unhealthily competitive. I get a vibe that might be more present in Case than Connor. I hope that's my projection.
I like him plenty as an athlete. His competition level was an absurdity and his film can be deceiving given that he was often opposed by the equivalent of a 4A JV. He wouldn't be in the top 5 in the state in this year's RB class. Maybe not the Top 8. He's big, plenty strong, and he can move. I don't see a lot there beyond good athlete running hard against 8th graders. Do you? If he doesn't pan as a RB, there's certainly value there. Am I disappointed that we're taking another RB-Athlete on the heels of Whaley and is that unfairly coloring my perception of a really good athlete? Probably.
I think he's big time and one of the best five pure athletes we signed. I have no idea what to do with him and I have every idea what to do with him: S, LB, RB, 3rd down back (imagine a better Ogbonnaya). I think he could adjust to RB with minimal effort. See Marcus Allen, Joe Addai etc. He has a really big frame and my biggest concern is that he's allowed to go OJ McClintock on us. This is really a guy that you've got to monitor so that he puts on good and limited weight and doesn't compromise the lateral quickness that makes him special. If he ends up at RB, I think we'll be surprised by his power.
He'll play early and often. Mile-a-minute trash talkers that also block hard, run perfect routes, have great hands, and good work ethics are the guys you need to take note of - there's something pushing them inside and you just need to make sure it's channeled appropriately. This is the guy that talks non-stop shit, irritates his coaches, prods the weak WR upper classmen above him and then catches balls after practice until his hands bleed. Then he's at the club until 3:00am. These dudes are rare. This is the teammate you love, the opponent you hate.
I expect some confidence struggles when he learns that his coaches will dwell more on a dropped five yard stop than his thirty yard jump ball win, but this guy could be big-time. He'll take some time to learn the game. Love the fact that he's a high level basketball player. I don't think he has the mental game in place like Mike Davis but his upside is big and, like DeMarco Cobbs, his football speed is much better than the stopwatch. If I'm the coach, I make sure that my priority is adjusting him socially and getting him in the right peer group to model good class habits etc. His running style amuses me - it's like something out of the Ministry of Silly Walks.
The forgotten WR. Am I the only person on the intrawebs who loves that he played QB as a senior? It improved him. Route running and reliability are what endeared him to Bobby Kennedy to begin with. That hasn't deteriorated. What has he gained? Better running ability after the catch, toughness from carrying the ball 170 times or so, and athletic confidence from handling the ball on every play. I was surprised to see the difference in his strength from junior film to senior. I considered him a marginal player early and now I'm a little intrigued. He doesn't have any top end speed, but I think his long strides make him look slower than he is. He's a better athlete than he's getting credit for. Nate Jones?
His 0-60 certainly isn't in doubt. He can plant his foot and get upfield quickly when he's moving laterally, but once he's going he seems genetically incapable of putting a move on someone. He'll excel in our screen game but he hasn't seen a lot of use beyond screen/vertical/end around in an offense.
I was initially put off when I saw that he had trouble separating at the high school level, but his ball skills and physicality with the ball in the air are off the charts. My concern is that though we've had positive He'll Grow While Keeping His Athleticism examples like Bo Scaife and David Thomas (Finley has a different frame entirely), we've had three times as many busts. Can't we identify and recruit a 6-5 235 guy? There are elite TEs all over the NFL now - it's not like these guys are unicorns. If his explosiveness dips commensurate to his weight gain, we have a bust. Dig his competitiveness though.
I'm so down on our blocking schemes and OL coaching that it's tough to predict wild success for anyone here, but I'll be surprised if he doesn't pan out for us inside. He's often compared to Kasey Studdard for his brawler's mentality and effort, but I think he's more athletic. If we let him get above 300, I'll be pissed.
We need some guys on our OL who will start a fight and Espinosa fits the bill.
See above. Really like him. He just needs time, a weight room, and a workable scheme. I'm very impressed with his athleticism and I love his intelligence.
When you see a guy with that frame who can run like he does, you take him. He's built like Cory Redding. Shirt him. Feed him. But not after midnight. Let him grow into the 290 pound DT he's destined to be and then let him rhino trample the Big 12.
Huge get. The son of the most technically sound DE in NFL history is...the most technically sound high school DE I've ever seen. Funny, that. Giles may pick up a thing or two from him, frankly. The fact that he's never worked on his body in a true offseason because of basketball tells you that 260 isn't far away. Does he have the first step for the Buck position? We'll find out.
Some guys just have violence written all over their film. Scorsese IMO. I absolutely love him and think he has the potential to be a run stopping terror and a quality pass rusher. His base (read ass) pushes him through double teams like a jaws of life. Jeffcoat is playing chess out there, Wilson picks up the board and beats you on the head.
If he drops 40 pounds and stays healthy, he's Russell Maryland. This shit is pretty simple. Getting him away from Mama Bible is key to getting control of his weight.
De Greek God of War is pretty solid. If you're not rooting for a DT starting combo of Bible and Cotton at Texas then we are done here and you didn't appreciate the Colt McCoy era at all. Any other year we're talking about the big boy with good push and a lot of potential. We land Bible and Dorsey and now he's George Harrison next to McCartney and Lennon. Cotton doesn't have Bible or Dorsey's natural quickness, but he's a rock inside. If we have several DTs pan out - is he a possible OL? I'd like that move if we're looking to inject some athleticism and aggression.
I like this guy a lot. People know he's good, but he's the most underappreciated guy in the class. That first step can't be taught and he brings intensity and some technique. I think he's big time and the most ready to play now.
I've heard mixed things on Benson, but I've only seen positive things on film. Do you think that's because it's a highlight tape? He can run, he likes to hit, but his primary deficiency seems to be overruning a play and letting his body get out of a good athletic base. That seems easily correctable - we have real LB coaching now. That he is considered our 3rd best LB recruit is endlessly amusing to me. Robert Killebrew seems like a long time ago.
The best thing to come out of Ohio since the invention of the radio frequency mass spectrometer. I've coveted this guy since I first saw his reels. Put him at WLB and let the 120 tackle, 18 TFL, 5 sack and 3 interception seasons roll in. He's going to bring us a lot athletically and as a leader. I'm looking forward to seeing him on special teams in the Fall.
A decade ago, Tevin Jackson is probably playing for the U. Like Reggie Wilson, he embraces the violent aspect of the game and he has unique athletic ability. Jordan Hicks is a more complete athlete in a hand-eye, lateral movement, general athletic awareness sense, but they're physical equals and Tevin is the guy you'd probably rather not see in an alley - concrete jungle or running off tackle. We need that. This is a guy that will roll at 240 and run a sub 4.6. Yes, please.
Despite being named after a Dynasty character, I like Carrington because he's probably the most physical skinny kid you'll see on film. He's 170 pounds dripping wet and he fills the alley against the run like he's Steve Atwater. Scipio's Iron Law: skinny East Texas kids that love to hit and can run become bigger East Texas kid that love to hit and can run even faster. Nathan Vasher agrees. My only concern is whether Byndom has the hips to play CB for us.
Must I repeat Scipio's Iron Law to you? Bryant is a 6-3 Byndom with superior ball skills. Redshirt, eat, lift, repeat. We haven't had a big rangy guy in our secondary in a while - suggestive that we're going more zone.
He always struck me as a better athlete and camp guy than football player, but people I respect swear that his on field performance is matching his athletic ability with some newfound athletic confidence. DeSoto plays him on an island that makes Pelieu seem crowded, so it's probably understandable that Mike Davis always takes his lunch money. I'm from Missouri on the guy, but not Branson. Or East Saint Louis. I'm thinking of a small lake community with an active but non-intrusive HOA.
I like this cat. He has tough minded baller written all over him and his film is a pleasure to watch because you can see stubborness and will-to-win in his play. He does whatever it takes for his team to win from QB to WR to DB and he brings the wood and ball skills. He's much bigger than he looks. He's like a lot of guys in this class in that he's extremely physical, the football field loves him more than the stopwatch, and he's a well-rounded athlete. I'm not shy about taking good athletes that don't project neatly - there's a lot of value there.
Those are my thoughts. I welcome yours.