The first blow in Red River Recruiting for underclassmen can usually be struck during the Red River Showdown and that could certainly be the case this year.
Not all of these prospects will be at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday, but here is an early look at all the prospects offered by both OU and Texas at this point for the Class of 2016.
Manvel (Texas) High’s Deontay Anderson (6-1, 192, No. 2 S)
Why OU: Sooners have some work to do with Anderson, and it hurts a bit his teammate, Reggie Hemphill, committed to the Longhorns last week. It felt like OU was in a better spot with Hemphill than Anderson, and OU hasn’t landed anything from Manvel since wide receiver Austin Bennett for the 2013 class. - Bob Przybylo, Sooners Illustrated
Why Texas: The four-star safety picked up a Longhorns offer a little later than he would have liked, but he was also understanding that the new staff was trying to catch up on their in-state evaluations.
Now that he’s gotten the offer he seems to be considering Texas quite highly. It doesn’t hurt UT’s chances that it just picked up a commitment from his teammate, 2016 WR Reggie Hemphill, on Saturday.
But Anderson has a ton of offers from some big time programs that he really likes, and the fact that Texas has three safeties committed in 2015 could be a factor. He’s that good, though, so the Longhorns will definitely make him feel like a wanted man. - William Wilkerson, HornsDigest
Arlington (Texas) Lamar’s Shane Buechele (6-2, 185, No. 18 QB)
Why OU: Go beyond the numerous family connections with Buechele, it’s clear he’s in the short list for quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel because it’s very unusual for an underclassmen quarterback to have an offer from OU at this point. Buechele was offered following a performance at the satellite camp and was back in Norman last month for OU’s win against Tennessee. He is invited, but he said Tuesday he’s not sure just yet if he’s going to attend. - Bob Przybylo, Sooners Illustrated
Why Texas: The four-star dual-threat was the first 2016 quarterback in the state to pick up and offer from the Longhorns, who are banking on UT QB coach Shawn Watson to lure him to Austin. Buechele raves about Watson’s teaching habits and overall love for the game.
I’m just not sure that’s going to be enough to get him away from Oklahoma considering his brother, Garrett, played baseball for the Sooners and both of his sisters attend OU. His father, Steve Buechele, also spent all of his time in the minor leagues in Oklahoma.
Sachse (Texas) High’s Devin Duvernay (5-10, 178, No. 2 WR)
Why OU: OU was among the first to jump onboard with Durvernay but not sure that’s going to mean much going forward. What should mean a lot is the fact OU needs some dynamic playmakers at wide receiver, and Duvernay can be that guy. OU being tight with teammate Jared Mayden could prove to be pretty significant as well. No matter what, the Sooners are heading to Sachse and are going to do whatever they can to land Duvernay. - Bob Przybylo, Sooners Illustrated
Why Texas: The Longhorns offered the No. 2 receiver in 2016 many moons ago and have been staying in touch with him. But Texas has a lot of work to do to fend off all of his offers from numerous FBS powers.
Duvernay has visited Texas before and is said to want to come down again. The Longhorns have fallen out of favor with his teammate Jared Mayden, though, which could have helped their cause with Duvernay. Those two might want to play at the same school. Tough sledding ahead but Texas will throw the kitchen sink at Duvernay because he’s that good.
Something else to consider: UT already has two WR commitments in 2016 (Collin Johnson and Reggie Hemphill. - William Wilkerson, HornsDigest
Manor (Texas) High’s Erick Fowler (6-3, 210, No. 18 DE)
Why OU: Let’s make it clear right here that Fowler is no longer a defensive end in the scheme OU is running. But his size is perfect for what the Sooners are looking for as an outside linebacker who rushes the quarterback. And this is a guy you let rush the quarterback. OU has a lot of ground to make up as the Sooners weren’t among his favorites growing up so it will be important to keep constant contact going forward. - Bob Przybylo, Sooners Illustrated
Why Texas: The 6-foot-3, 210-pound defensive end is one of the latest 2016 recruits to pick up an offer from the Longhorns.
It was a no-brainer offer for various reasons. One, he’s highly considered one of the top two or three pass rushers in the state and he goes to school a short drive away from Texas’ campus.
Fowler’s parents grew up Longhorns fans, so that helps. But he grew up an LSU fan. The Tigers haven’t offered…yet. We’ll see what kind of impact that makes if they do. But Texas should stay in the thick of things for the long run. - William Wilkerson, HornsDigest
Nacogdoches (Texas) High’s Brandon Jones (6-0, 190, No. 1 S)
Why OU: OU hit Jones incredibly early as it was pursuing 2015 cornerback Jaylon Lane. But as of now, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to mean much. Texas A&M seems like the clear favorite to land Jones although obviously nothing is a guarantee in recruiting. - Bob Przybylo, Sooners Illustrated
Why Texas: The top safety in 2016 was another late offer for the Longhorns, but one that everyone knew was bound to happen.
Jones doesn’t seem to mind too much that the offer happened when it did (didn’t pick it up until Sept. 1). He’s just happy to have it, he’s told me. But Texas A&M seems like the team to beat here. When I spoke to him at Texas Relays in Austin he was wearing a Texas A&M necklace and said his mom wanted him to go to school there. - William Wilkerson, HornsDigest
Killeen (Texas) Shoemaker’s Kendell Jones (6-4, 300, No. 3 DT)
Why OU: When you look at what OU defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery wants in his defensive tackles, a picture of Jones practically shows up. The perfect size for what OU wants to do going forward. Will that be enough? We’ll see as Jones is going to have suitors from a who’s who in college football. - Bob Przybylo, Sooners Illustrated
Why Texas: Every time Jones comes to Austin, which has been more than a handful of times it seems, the entire coaching staff lights up.
When he came down for a game earlier this season he was led onto the field while Texas was warming up and Charlie Strong gave him a huge hug. The Longhorns want Jones about as bad as anyone in this class.
Jones has all but said Texas is his favorite schools right now and there will be room for him in the middle of UT’s front if he chooses to reside in Austin. - William Wilkerson, HornsDigest