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2015 Texas Longhorns Football Recruiting Class Breakdown - TE, WR, Devonaire Clarington, Deandre McNeal, John Burt, Gilbert Johnson, Ryan Newsome


Devonaire Clarington

The nearly 6-5, 230 pound Clarington has massive hands, a great frame, is too athletic for linebackers and can body up safeties.  A tight end, ladies and gentlemen.  Do not startle him away.  Devonaire has a solid shot at playing in the NFL one day - the key is making sure he enters the league from Texas and not after a year at Florida International bridged by a JUCO layover. He'll arrive in Austin nearly 20 years old - I don't think a redshirt is in the works.  His in-line blocking ability is suspect due to a lack of familiarity there and sub par upper body strength, but he should be fine getting a hat on the second level.  If you watched Finley play here, you know the drill.

If you've noticed those highlights above are from his junior year, bienvenidos a Miami.  Clarington's senior year at state champion Miami Booker T Washington had him playing a lot of DE (he transferred there from Westminster - he's been to more high schools than Wooderson), but I couldn't find film except for a clip here and there.  Because, Miami.

Clarington can contribute immediately.  He just needs to keep his head on straight.

DeAndre McNeal

Please add Finessin McNeal to my All-Misunderestimated Team along with Kirk Johnson.  Rivals national recruiting guys must inordinately favor clean position projections to rate him a three star because McNeal - a 6-2, 228 pound athlete who excelled at QB, RB, S, WR and OLB at various times in his high school career - makes for a muddy projection if you're the type to miss the forest to stare at a leaf.  The important takeaway is what's evident all over his film - McNeal is a versatile skill player with a great first step, flexible hips, good hands and real open field running ability who played a number of positions because his coach wanted to win games - not because he's somehow incapable of specialization.  He also likes contact. This is a large, very skilled football player who could play as a plus-sized John Harris style receiver or grow into a motion TE H-back.  If our LB class wasn't loaded, he'd probably be the subject of a position coach fight.  If you ever saw a pre-knee injury Bo Scaife in high school, there are some real parallels.  My only caution for McNeal is that he clearly puts on muscle mass easily - don't give up that quickness, young man.


Ryan Newsome

The 10.5 100 meter speedster committed to Strong at 1:30am before his high school press conference and then committed to UCLA a few hours later.  Elite ability on the reverse!  He again demonstrated his capacity for misdirection by switching back to Texas on Signing Day. Newsome has speed to burn and he'll be an immediate asset on special teams and in situational offense as he provides the raw speed that Texas demonstrably lacks, but I'm somewhat skeptical of his abilities as an every down receiver from the slot.  Still, a significant punt return threat who can house a fly sweep is well worth a scholarship.  If he can also demonstrate the hands, reliability, route running and durability to man the slot, Texas scored a major asset.

Gilbert Johnson

There isn't a player in the class I know less about.  Absolute X factor.  A non-qualifier out of a Miami high school and originally a Georgia commitment, Johnson went to prep school in Atlanta and missed the entire season with an injury. He's a legitimate 6-4 and his frame shows that he hasn't dedicated himself to a serious S&C program yet. Pat Moorer may have some thoughts on that.  His film shows great body control and a good catch radius as well as a unique high turnover stride cadence that allows him to maintain stability and run fairly deceptive routes. He lacks an extra gear, but his size helps him to win over the top, particularly in red zone situations.  This is what I wrote about him a while back and nothing has changed for me. I confess to having some reservations about academics and socialization for the Miami guys, but that could be from watching Grand Theft Auto advertisements too frequently.

John Burt

Another lanky, raw prospect from Florida, Burt is a highly regarded four star prospect who had abandoned Texas briefly for Auburn's flirtations but returned when Mom won out.  Sometimes the good guys win.  I like him.  My opinion still holds from his original commitment and his demonstrable maturation from his junior to senior is encouraging. Burt's ability to get separation after the initial catch with a rapid step and then accelerate quickly is pretty special for a guy who should play around 200 pounds one day.  If he can refine that, we've got a real player who can reliably work the middle of the field and create yards after the catch.