Kevin Flaherty: "The first thing to stand out to me is the dropping of Malcolm Brown from Scout.com's No. 1 back in the Class of 2011 to the No. 2 back. Can you talk about that decision a bit?"
Greg Powers: "Malcolm Brown was the No. 1 consensus back on Scout for most of the season, but it was always a hotly debated topic, who was the No. 1 running back between Isaiah Crowell and Brown. Brown always won out on junior film. He looked stronger than Crowell in the middle of the field. But after the All-American games, were able to see different guys on a more even playing field. At that point, Crowell was the prospect viewed with a slightly better overall skill set, because of his ability to run not only up the middle, but also his ability to be the guy who can take it to the outside and score with his speed. That gave him a very slight edge."
KF: "Texas's cornerback prospects seemed to take a fall in the new ratings (Josh Turner and Leroy Scott both fell from five-star players to four-star players, while Quandre Diggs fell to the No. 21 cornerback). What was the basis for those drops?"
GP: "Josh Turner was a five-star all-year long, and he's a solid cornerback prospect. But I think he still has some work to do to become that lockdown guy. Right now, he's not somebody who can stick with the Darius Whites, the Trey Metoyers, the Justin McCays or the Mike Davises. He's a super speedy guy who can develop into that lockdown guy and he could become somebody who could man up bigger receivers. But with all things being equal, the slightest knock against you can move you down a bit.
"The problem with Quandre Diggs is that we can't figure out his true position. He's somebody that a lot of people like as a cornerback, but he doesn't have your prototypical cornerback build. He's built more like a running back. He has a thicker body, like an offensive player. So we don't know which position fits him best. Coming into a school like Texas, where you have three guys slated pretty high in Turner, Scott and Mykkele Thompson, it's going to be tough for him to beat them out. Just watching him on film, he comes up and makes good tackles, but on offense, he's really explosive. Maybe he could fit in the slot and return kicks and punts, but he just doesn't have a true set position.
"With Leroy Scott, that was an instance where we listened to our Texas publisher*. I cared what he had to say, and he has a lot of feel on the streets for which players are good.
"Mykkele Thompson is somebody that moved up as a receiver prospect because he has a different level of speed and shiftiness. His senior highlights were so much better than his junior ones. He was somebody who kind of jumped from obscurity when he committed to Texas. Not a lot of guys had heard from him before. Watching game film, I feel like he could translate well to defense, but he's also pretty special on defense. He reminds me a bit of a guy like Brandon Carter, who is special in that regard. Teddy Ginn was that kind of guy, somebody who could play on defense, but was so explosive offensively that you have to put the ball in his hands."
KF: "Two guys from the Army All-American game moved up slightly, Sedrick Flowers to the No. 4 offensive guard and Jaxon Shipley to the No. 6 WR and a five-star prospect. Talk a bit about those prospects."
GP: "Flowers looked great on his senior film, so he's definitely somebody that I considered for a five-star. He's an athletically gifted guy. You don't see a lot of guys with his high level of athleticism at 6-3 280. You were there and saw just like I did, when he was out there doing the splits and things like that. You think 'wow, this guy really is something.' We haven't seen how special he could be, because he still needs to add size and strength to man up strong defensive tackles, but he should get there.
"Shipley is a guy who is pretty special. The way his season unwound, Brownwood was so dominant that he didn't play in full games until the playoffs. He was getting in one or two series after halftime, at best, so what he was able to do in limited reps was impressive. In the Army game, he was the only guy to score a touchdown, and he showed all week what kind of a route runner he was, and that's a special thing. But he's also so well-rounded. A lot of people quickly point out that he doesn't have speed or athleticism, but they're just wrong. Along with those skills, he brings a complete knowledge of the game and an uncanny ability to get open."
KF: "So from what you saw, does Texas still have the No. 1 class in the country?"
GP: "It will come down to a numbers game. Right now, they're our number one class, and are 300 or 400 points ahead (before the Christian Westerman recommitment). That's a couple commitments or decommitments. It will take a couple of big commitments to pass Texas if the Longhorns don't sign somebody else. But there is a chance there that an Ohio State or Alabama could pass Texas.
"There's a lot of questions in Austin and bound to be some strategy changes. But still, with the coaching staff there now, and the No. 1 recruiting class coming in, there's not a whole lot not to like."
* (EDITOR'S NOTE) My take on Leroy Scott came from a combination of senior film and reports from his all-star week. He's a good-looking prospect who is wonderfully physical for a cornerback. He isn't afraid to get up and hit people. But as a cover guy, he could be a bit lacking. He lacks great height and is somewhat stiff in his hips. I like Scott as a prospect, but not enough to have him as a five-star player and a top-five cornerback.