Sam Houston duo to watch
I'll head out to San Antonio Sam Houston next week, both to check out this year's crop of seniors and some potential stars in the Class of 2013. In the 2012 group, the Hurricanes boast top-notch players in defensive lineman Javonte Magee and defensive back Leo Thomas.
According to Sam Houston coach Gary Green, "most of the country" is after Magee, a mobile lineman with unbelievable size. Green said Magee, who was 6-foot-2 as a freshman, has grown to 6-6.5, with a weight in the 270-pound range. That's especially impressive, given that Magee didn't really start lifting weights until about a year ago, and just celebrated his 17th birthday, Green said.
"He's been up to as high as 275," Green said.
But don't be so quick to pigeonhole the still-developing lineman to the inside, or to the offensive line. Green insists that Magee's best position at the next level (and the level after that) is at defensive end. In fact, it isn't hard to envision Magee as a strong-side end or a defensive end in a 3-4. Green also said that with Magee's considerable mobility, and his hands, that the senior-to-be could also fit in at tight end.
Texas is still a player for Magee, Green said, even with the Longhorns already boasting three defensive tackle commitments.
Thomas doesn't have any offers yet, but that should change quickly now that he has updated film out. Thomas boasts great safety size at 6-3 175, and he ran a 4.55 at Texas A&M's camp a year ago. He's on the Texas radar, though the Longhorns are likely watching to see how some other chips fall.
College Football Live comes out with poll
And surprise, surprise, the Longhorns are ranked. The poll, which included ballots from ESPN college football writers and broadcasters, including the Big 12 blog's own David Ubben, picked the Longhorns to bounce back from a 5-7 season and finish ranked 20th in the country. That ranking puts the Longhorns behind preseason No. 1 Oklahoma and fellow top-ten team Oklahoma State. Texas A&M was just outside of the top-10, while Missouri was ranked slightly below the Longhorns.
Gray means blue skies
Just how good have the Longhorns been on the recruiting trail? With running back Johnathan Gray's commitment last week, the Longhorns snagged three of the state's top four players, including wide receiver Cayleb Jones and defensive tackle Malcolm Brown.
Expanding things further, Texas offered 11 of the state's top 14 prospects, and has landed six of those players. The Longhorns sit well with offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle (No. 7) and offensive guard Michael Starts (No. 10), and are in the hunt for Magee (No. 12). That leaves just two of those 11 heading elsewhere — defensive end Mario Edwards, who chose Florida State over Texas, and wide receiver Dominique Wheeler, who the Longhorns passed on after getting commitments from two other receivers.
So it's safe to say, especially when including the fact that the Longhorns also pulled the West's top quarterback, Connor Brewer, from out-of-state, that the Longhorns have been getting who they want.
Tristan Thompson signs with an agent?
According to some reports, the freshman has already pulled that trigger. As with most things, we'll wait until we hear it from the horse's mouth, but Thompson returning is arguably the biggest key toward Texas's basketball success next year.
Even if the Longhorns lose Joseph, Texas could field among the league's top backcourts in Myck Kabongo and J'Covan Brown, with scoring freshmen Sheldon McClellan and Julien Lewis manning the wings. Add in a deep post group led by Thompson, Alexis Wangmene and Clint Chapman, and adding talented freshmen Jonathan Holmes and Kevin Thomas. The main concern there would be backcourt depth.
If Thompson leaves, the Longhorns will be incredibly inexperienced on the interior, with only Wangmene playing any minutes during the 2010-2011 season.
Of course, if Joseph and Thompson both returned, the Longhorns would be the preseason favorites to take the Big 12, and a likely top-five team.
Speaking of basketball …
Former Longhorn and current Oklahoma City standout Kevin Durant will be running a youth basketball camp in Austin. If you've met Durant before, you'll know that he's as nice a person as you'll find when looking at superstars across any sport. To find out more about Durant's camp, visit the aptly named Durantcamp.com.