Texas Recruiting Misses

With the Longhorns filling their classes early, Texas sometimes misses on recruits who blow up later in their careers or who don't possess ideal measurables right away. Below is a list of five native Texans who would have been a big help to this year's Texas squad.

1) LaMichael James, Oregon (Liberty-Eylau)

Perhaps the most obvious choice for this list because he brings what the Longhorns have desperately needed: a big-play back capable of carrying the load. James has rushed for 1,422 yards and 17 touchdowns while averaging 6.3 yards per carry in nine games. For comparison's sake, the Longhorns as a team have rushed for 1,407 yards and 15 touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per tote. But more importantly, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound James is a big play threat. As a freshman, James led the country with 21 carries of 21 or more yards. This year, the Longhorns have had just one play longer than 50 yards (a 60-yard run by D.J. Monroe), while James has had four plays longer than 65 yards. Not just football fast, James won the Texas 3A track meet in the 100-meter dash in high school, clocking a 10.51, and despite limited practice, finished fifth in the 2010 Pac-10 Championships in that race.

2) Kendall Wright, Baylor wide receiver (Pittsburg)

The most important spot in Greg Davis's offense is the slot, and Wright is an elite slot receiver. Look at the impact that Texas's other receivers, including Malcolm Williams and James Kirkendoll, had last season with Jordan Shipley tearing apart defenses from that spot. In Wright, Baylor has a receiver with outstanding feet, one who can get open against any coverage and turn small plays into a big one. He has 63 catches for 798 yards and six touchdowns this season, and his 62-yard touchdown catch is 15 yards longer than the longest Longhorn passing play this year. Wright (5-10 190) is an explosive athlete with a 42-inch vertical leap, who used to play basketball for Scott Drew's crew.

3) Tony Jerod-Eddie, Texas A&M (DeSoto)

There are certainly more exciting players you could finger for this spot, but Jerod-Eddie fits the term: "recruiting for need." The Longhorns have a desperate need for a run-plugging defensive tackle, and one who also gives you some scheme versatility. Enter Jerod-Eddie, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound junior who actually plays end in defensive coordinator Tim Deruyter's system. Jerod-Eddie has the height/length that Texas likes in its tackles, and he's active, making 40 tackles in 10 games, along with two stops in the backfield. His weakness is that he's not a great pass rusher, but the Longhorns have that problem solved with Alex Okafor.

4) DeMarcus Love, Arkansas offensive lineman (Dallas Carter)

One of the top tackle prospects heading into the 2011 NFL Draft, Love entered his senior season with 24 starts, including 11 at guard and 13 at tackle. Blessed with outstanding athleticism and strength, Love shows a mean streak that has helped Arkansas to an explosive offense under Coach Bobby Petrino the last few years. He has nice size at 6-5 315, but was 55 pounds lighter coming out of Dallas Carter High School, meaning that most of his attention came from middle tier conference schools like Kansas, Kansas State and Arkansas.

5) Michael Egnew, Missouri (Plainview)

Egnew was a slender (6-5 200) receiver coming out of Plainview High School, the type of player who lacked the speed and athleticism to be a big-time wide receiver prospect. As a matter of fact, Missouri was one of Egnew's only offers. But that offer has paid off in a big way for the Tigers. Egnew is now a 235-pound tight end and the next in a nice line of Missouri players at the position. Gilbert could be tremendously helped by a security blanket at tight end, and Egnew is one of the best in the country, hauling in 71 passes this season. His yards per catch isn't great — he has just 586 yards on the season — but he's nearly impossible to cover in third-and-medium to third-and-short. Considering the Longhorns have struggled in both of those situations, Egnew is a talent that would certainly serve them well.

Ten Just off the list:

QB Robert Griffin III, Baylor — Mobile QB would be devastating running the zone read, has also turned himself into an efficient passer.

RB Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State — Big 12's leading rusher is an explosive threat in the league's most explosive offense.

FB Toben Opurum, Kansas — Opurum starting the fall as Kansas's leading returning rusher, then moving to linebacker and defensive end. He's a versatile athlete who could solve problems at fullback and H-back.

OL Kelechi Osemele, Iowa State — Massive tackle was second-team All-Big 12 as a junior. Outstanding in the run game.

DE Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma — Arguably the Big 12's top pass-rushing end, Beal is a consistent double-digit sack threat.

DL/OLB Von Miller, Texas A&M — Miller gives what every defense needs: a lightning-quick pass rusher who can implode an offense.

LB Travis Lewis, Oklahoma — Consistent All-America candidate runs as well as any linebacker in the league. Is constantly around the ball.

CB Jamell Fleming, Oklahoma — Fleming is a junior cover guy with a bright future. Fleming's four interceptions are three more than all of Texas's cornerbacks combined.

S Byron Landor, Baylor — Safeties should eliminate big plays, and Landor, who has 105 tackles this season, snuffs out more than most.

AP D.J. Beshears, Kansas — Beshears does a little bit of everything for Kansas, lining up as a running back, receiver and Wildcat QB. But his best role might be as a kick returner, where he's among the league's best.


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