* Running Back
It isn't exactly a secret that Texas made a late push after speedy back Daniel Brooks in the 2012 class, and when looking at the potential 2013 roster, it's easy to see why. Following the 2012 season, Texas will graduate three scholarship players in Jeremy Hills, D.J. Monroe and fullback Ryan Roberson. That leaves Texas with one scholarship fullback — Joe Bergeron — and Traylon Shead, Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray at running back.
While Gray displayed nice pass catching ability this past week at The Opening, you get the sense that the staff would like to add another Monroe-type speed back that they could swing out in passing situations. That's where Brooks comes in. If Texas lands Brooks, they may only go after one running back in 2013, along with a potential fullback. If the Longhorns can't steer him away, look for Texas to extend an offer to a player like DeSoto's Dontre Wilson, who is better known as a receiver out of the backfield than he is as an actual runner.
Pearland Dawson's James White would seem to be the front-runner for the running back scholarship at this time, though players like Tyler Lee standout Laquintas Wallace could also factor in. Keep an eye on versatile big backs like Katy Cinco Ranch's Jamel James as well, as they could come into play as a running back/fullback hybrid.
* Tight EndTight end is a huge position in new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin's offense, and only a tight scholarship limit (and a below-average tight end class) kept the 'Horns from looking that direction in 2012. The Longhorns appear to have a good young pair in Darius Terrell and M.J.McFarland, though Trey Graham and Dominique Jones will both be seniors in 2013. That means the Longhorns will have room for at least two, maybe three, tight ends in 2012. It's a good thing that it's a much stronger class, then. Ricky Seals-Jones is a receiver/tight end hybrid that can do a lot of different things. He's considered by many to be among the state's top overall players for 2013. Dannon Cavil of Lake Travis is another possibility in the H-back/receiver mold.
And keep an eye on Christian Morgan of Prestonwood Christian. Texas has some guys who can block, and others who can catch the football, but are admittedly (according to Major Applewhite) lacking in complete tight ends who can do it all. That fits Morgan to a T. He might not be the receiving threat that Seals-Jones is, but he can do everything well.
* Offensive LineThe Longhorns are still trying to grab one of the country's top tackles in Andrus Peat and John Theus in this class, and getting one of the two would make this position less of an emphasis. But as it stands now, Texas has 15 offensive linemen on scholarship for 2013, with a whopping six of those players playing out their senior years that season.
What's even scarier is that all five of those players could be starters. Trey Hopkins, Mason Walters and Paden Kelley are already in that category, while Garrett Porter appears to be the heir apparent to the job at center. And Thomas Ashcraft will have a shot to start at guard as well, though he'll have to fight off talented young players like Sedrick Flowers and Curtis Riser.
That means that the Longhorns need to start stockpiling linemen now, so another class of around four wouldn't be out of the question. Killeen Harker Heights product Darius James and Fort Worth Arlington Heights lineman A'Shawn Robinson will both likely be in the state's top-10 to top-15 prospects. Then there are excellent looking tackles like Ja'Braylin Thomas of Weimar and Jake Raulerson of Celina. The interesting thing about that foursome: all but Thomas have the size and athleticism to excel on the defensive line at the next level.
And of course, none of that counts any potential out-of-staters, a definite possibility with the ever-expanding flight log of line coach Stacy Searels.
* Defensive back
It's easier to list defensive back, rather than cornerback or safety, because the two positions share a number of players who could go either way, like Adrian Phillips, Bryant Jackson, Sheroid Evans and Leroy Scott. Personally, I expect all four of those players to be at safety for the 2013 season. That's important, in that only one other player, multi-threat Mykkele Thompson, is listed as a safety on roster for 2013.
If all four are at safety, Texas should have five safeties, one of whom would be a senior (Phillips). At cornerback, Texas would have seven players, including three seniors.
That means both positions could use a few players. It's important to note, as with the offensive line and running back situations, that Texas is still looking to bring in players for the 2012 class, with Nelson Agholor standing out as a primary candidate.
But even if the Longhorns should land Agholor, or even Agholor plus a safety like Louisiana native Landon Collins, that would only lessen the need at those positions, not eliminate it.
Texas has already looked outside of its borders for a potential 2013 safety in Marcell Harris of Florida, and Harris has already visited Austin. Other likely candidates include cornerbacks like Colin Janice of West Orange-Stark and Will Barrows of Dallas Skyline, or versatile athlete Raaquan Davis of Rockwall-Heath., who could be a safety or a linebacker. The most coveted of the bunch might be Antwuan Davis, though he'll be a difficult battle to win.
* Wide Receiver
Texas currently has nine receivers scheduled to be on scholarship for the 2013 season, though three of those players — Marquise Goodwin, Mike Davis and Darius White — would be seniors. Those aren't just three players, but three valuable pieces, all of whom will likely have had starting experience.
Herein lies the problem: Texas A&M already has a commitment from Jamar Gibson, one of the top four or five receivers in the state for 2013, and would have to be considered a major leader for Jake Oliver of Dallas Jesuit, who would also fall into that category. Depending on how you see Seals-Jones, he's a possibility there, as is Derrick Griffin of Rosenberg Terry. The problem with Griffin, who is already massive at 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, is that he's also an excellent basketball player, and he has said that if he grows any more, he'll stick to roundball.
Also, keep an eye trained on Ra'Shaad Samples of Dallas Skyline, who would continue the recent trend of recruiting Skyline receivers. Chevoski Collins of Livingston played well at a Texas summer camp and is another possible name there.