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National Signing Day Primer: Texas Longhorns Offensive Board

A look at commitments and remaining targets in the 2013 offensive class.

Tyrone Swoopes
Tyrone Swoopes
SB Nation Recruiting

Even though the college football season is over, the grind never ends. National Signing Day is just around the corner (Wednesday, February 6). In case you haven't been following the Texas Longhorns' recruiting efforts in the class of 2013, here is a National Signing Day Primer talking about the offense to keep you informed.

Prospects' measurables are per 247 Sports. Star rating and national ranking are per 247 Composite.

QUARTERBACK (Needs: 1-2)

Commitments (1):
Tyrone Swoopes (Whitewright | 6' 4" | 230 lbs | 4*, 195th)
Outstanding Offers (0)
Other Potential Targets (1):
Kenny Hill (Southlake Carroll | 6' 2" | 210 lbs | 4*, 242nd | Committed to Texas A&M)

No other recruit in the 2013 class draws more criticism than Tyrone Swoopes. Hopefully the adage is true: what doesn't kill Swoopes makes him stronger. Swoopes was once billed as the "next Vince Young" and given a five-star designation by Rivals in its initial rankings. He's tall and extremely athletic, but is a very raw passer and lacks the polish prototypically seen in Texas high school quarterbacks.

After a trying senior year in which Swoopes completed just 42% of his passes and his team, Whitewright, went 1-9, Swoopes' star lost some luster. Classified as an "athlete" by recruiting services, he and Texas have remained committed to each other throughout the process. Swoopes even enrolled on campus early to start taking reps, though realistically he won't be thought of as a candidate for QB1 until after incumbent David Ash graduates.

However, the Longhorns do lose Case McCoy to graduation after next year, and neither true freshman (Connor Brewer or Jalen Overstreet) has wowed in the short time they've been on campus. In December, then-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin started actively looking at the JUCO ranks for a quarterback. Potential targets came and went, including Jake Waters (committed to Kansas St.) and Nick Marshall (committed to Auburn).

There's still talk that Texas may take one more quarterback in the class, but will more than likely hold the scholarship for 2014. In 2013, Southlake Carroll's Kenny Hill is the name making the rounds. Committed to Texas A&M, Hill started wavering on his commitment after OC Kliff Kingsbury left to take the Texas Tech head coaching job. Hill took January visits to Baylor, Kansas St., and Texas A&M, and expects to make a final decision shortly. If Texas and Hill really were mutually interested, time is running out for something to happen.

RUNNING BACK (Needs: 0-1)

Commitments (0)
Outstanding Offers (3):
Ezekiel Elliott
(St. Louis (MO) Burroughs | 6' 0" | 212 lbs | 4*, 68th | Committed to Ohio St.)
Dontre' Wilson (DeSoto | 5' 10" | 165 lbs | 4*, 69th | Committed to Oregon)
Peyton Barber (Alpharetta (GA) Milton | 5' 11" | 215 lbs | 3*, 485th | Committed to Ole Miss)
Other Potential Targets (4):
Alex Collins (Ft. Lauderdale (FL) South Plantation | 5' 11" | 204 lbs | 4*, 41st)
Corey Clement (Glassboro (NJ) | 5' 11" | 205 lbs | 4*, 153rd | Committed to Wisconsin)
Ke'aun Kinner (Little Elm | 5' 8.5" | 180 lbs | 3*, 388th)
Trevorris Johnson (Houston Alief Taylor | 5' 11" | 202 lbs | 3*, 733th | Committed to TCU)

The Longhorns looked set at running back after taking a commitment from Kyle Hicks (Arlington Martin) last February. Unfortunately, Hicks decommitted from Texas in December, switching his allegiance to hometown program TCU. That left the Longhorns in a bind. Texas doesn't have a senior RB on next year's team, but Malcolm Brown is an NFL early entry candidate. Further, the past two years have demonstrated that injuries to the running back position can easily strain the depth chart.

The Longhorns have cast a far and wide net at running back, to no avail. Officially, it appears the Longhorns have three committable offers out. The first name to know is Dontre' Wilson, a speedster back (re: D.J. Monroe) from Desoto committed to Oregon. After head coach Chip Kelly's departure, Wilson has been quietly looking around. Texas coaches went by Desoto last week to make one last pitch to Wilson. However, the Texan playmaker still looks more likely to head out of state, either sticking with his Oregon commitment or heading to Ohio St.

A couple other reported offers to national prospects Ezekiel Elliott and Peyton Barber appear to be the handywork of new running backs coach Larry Porter, a noted recruiter. However, neither prospect has made it down to Texas, nor does it appear either will before Signing Day. The same story goes for other national recruits that flew by the Longhorns' radar like Alex Collins and Corey Clement.

More realistic options reside locally. Ke'aun Kinner, a specialty back from Little Elm, has said he would commit to Texas if offered. However, Kinner just took his ACT in an effort to get qualifying test scores, and won't get the results until after Signing Day. If he were to be offered by Texas, it would likely be later in February. Another name, TCU commit Trevorris Johnson, has also been on the radar.

If Texas is serious about taking a RB not named Kinner in the class, expect additional rumors to pop up prior to Signing Day. It wouldn't be out of the question to see a new name or three arise.

WIDE RECEIVER (Needs: 2-3)

Commitments (2):
Jake Oliver (Dallas Jesuit | 6' 4" | 198 lbs | 4*, 169th)
Jacorey Warrick (Houston Cypress Falls | 5' 10.5" | 170 lbs | 4*, 215th)
Outstanding Offers (2):
Robbie Rhodes (Fort Worth Southwest | 6' 1" | 189 lbs | 5*, 28th | Committed to Baylor)
Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica (CA) | 5' 11" | 195 lbs | 4*, 138th | Committed to Texas A&M)
Other Potential Targets (4):
Austin Bennett (Manvel | 6' 1" | 170 lbs | 3*, 591st | Committed to Oklahoma)
Kyle Fulks (Katy | 5' 9" | 170 lbs | 3*, 686th | Committed to Baylor)
Quantavius Leslie (Hinds (MS) C.C. | 6' 4" | 190 lbs | 4*, 12th - JUCO | Committed to LSU)
Ronald Butler (Contra Costa (CA) C.C. | 6' 0" | 190 lbs | 3*, 198th - JUCO)

Like running back, the wide receiver position remains wide open, with a taste of bitterness. The position would be signed and sealed if Sealy's Ricky Seals-Jones had remained committed to Texas. A dynamic playmaker, Seals-Jones' decommitment from Texas and subsequent pledge to Texas A&M chafe many a Longhorn fan. He would've been an ideal all-around, big play receiver to anchor a group that includes the steady Jake Oliver and slot threat Jacorey Warrick.

As it stands, Texas has been searching fruitlessly for a third wide receiver to round out the class. Next year, the Longhorns will graduate rising senior Mike Davis. A promising 2012 WR class, including former top 100 recruits Cayleb Jones and Kendall Sanders, waits in the wings. However, aside from Davis, Jaxon Shipley is the only proven wideout on the roster.

The Longhorns would love to have Robbie Rhodes, who, by year end, overtook Seals-Jones for top in-state WR honors. Texas hasn't stopped recruiting Rhodes since he committed to Baylor, but Rhodes also hasn't wavered from his commitment. A recent offer, to Californian Sebastian LaRue, will fizzle by the wayside. He committed to Texas A&M last week.

On the potential targets list, Texas has reached out to a plethora of wide receivers at both the high school and junior college ranks, but hasn't seen anything materialize beyond watercooler gossip. The Longhorns have a week left to make a splash at the skill positions. Keep a close eye.

TIGHT END (Needs: 0-1)

Commitments (1):
Geoff Swaim (Butte (CA) C.C. | 6' 5" | 250 lbs | 3*, 85th - JUCO)
Outstanding Offers (0)
Other Potential Targets (0)

Texas thought it had its next great tight end in Durham Smythe, a former teammate of David Ash at Belton. Smythe was supposed to be the receiving threat to complement JUCO commitment Geoff Swaim, noted as more of an in-line, blocking end. Smythe reportedly didn't feel comfortable with Texas and decommitted in December. He just recently pledged to Notre Dame.

With Major Applewhite taking over the reins of offensive coordinator, Texas might start to shift back to more wide open, spread concepts that don't heavily feature a tight end. Swaim, who is already on campus as a spring enrollee, figures to be the only TE commitment in the class.


Commitments (4):
Darius James (Harker Heights | 6' 6" | 320 lbs | 5*, 33rd)
Kent Perkins (Lake Highlands | 6' 6" | 285 lbs | 4*, 38th)
Rami Hammad (Irving | 6' 5" | 320 lbs | 4*, 294th)
Desmond Harrison (Contra Costa (CA) C.C. | 6' 7" | 305 lbs | 3*, 25th - JUCO)
Outstanding Offers (0)
Other Potential Targets (0)

Of all the position groups in the 2013 class, Stacy Searels' bunch must be considered the BMOC. This is, simply put, an outstanding class that could pay huge dividends down the line. Texas currently projects three senior starters next year in Donald Hawkins, Trey Hopkins and Mason Walters, alongside two rising juniors in Dominic Espinosa and Josh Cochran. Ipso facto: the pipeline must be filled.

Closely after last February's Junior Days, Texas secured commitments from its top two in-state targets, Darius James and Kent Perkins. The duo ranks among the top 50 players nationally, high honors indeed. James profiles as an elite interior lineman at center or guard, while Perkins is currently considered a future right tackle that could slide left with optimal development. And don't forget "bell cow" Jake Raulerson (Celina), considered an offense/defense swing candidate currently listed at DE.

After identifying the need for MOAR MEAT, Searels went looking for two more good men. A couple weeks ago, the Longhorns landed a big fish in Desmond Harrison, a JUCO originally from the Fort Bend area. Fans have already penciled him in as next year's starting left tackle, though he won't even arrive on campus until the summer. To double up on good news, the Longhorns then flipped former Baylor commit Rami Hammad, a big-bodied interior lineman who should provide quality depth.

This class was a huge recruiting success. Harrison should provide immediate help, while the burgeoning depth at offensive line means Texas can afford to decide on redshirts for James, Perkins, and Hammad. Throw in Raulerson, and that's a five-wide worth writing home about. And don't forget the potential that defensive tackle recruits A'Shawn Robinson and Andrew Billings, should they commit to Texas, could spin to offense if their futures seem brighter there.

KICKER (Needs: 0-1)

Commitments (0)
Outstanding Offers (0)
Other Potential Targets (0)

Texas is not offering a scholarship to a kicker in the 2013 class.


It's a tale of two storylines for the 2013 offensive class. I'm genuinely excited about the quality and quantity of offensive line prospects. It jives nicely with nobis60's recent "crowdsourcing" look at the offensive line. If you buy that much of Texas' offensive struggles are a function of average line play, the 2012 and 2013 classes are chock full of potential in the trenches.

But if you believe Texas lacks for playmakers at the skill positions, there isn't a belief that a Colt McCoy or Johnathan Gray exists in this class. A week out from Signing Day, and it appears that the coaching staff is still working tirelessly to backfill the skill positions: QB, RB and WR. Right now, it's more likely than not that the Longhorns won't sign anyone new. Of course, it's recruiting. Things change on a dime.

If you're looking for an "out of left field" Signing Day surprise, similar to last year's shocker when Shiro Davis flipped from LSU to Texas, keep monitoring the RB and WR recruitments. But don't get upset if the pot never boils.