2012 Recruiting Needs

LonghornDigest.com takes a look at the biggest positions of need left in the 2012 class, and the most likely players to fill those spots.

1) Safety (Top Two Prospects: Landon Collins, Adrian Colbert)


Why it's a need: The Longhorns will graduate two safeties after this season, then will likely lose a third if Kenny Vaccaro declares for the NFL Draft, as he's expected to do. That would leave just Adrian Phillips, Sheroid Evans and Mykkele Thompson. All are free safety types, so a strong safety would be ideal.


Who We Want: Collins. He's arguably THE elite safety in the country, a combination of breathtaking speed and strength with the fluidity and explosiveness to play in the secondary and the frame to be linebacker-sized. But perhaps most importantly, he provides an element that the Longhorns don't already have: a hitter to be feared from the strong safety spot.


Most Likely: Colbert. Collins has the Longhorns among his final three, but Colbert, a Mineral Wells product, has said that he'll listen to what Texas has to say. Colbert might be a Baylor commitment, but that doesn't sound like a firm commitment to me. And when an in-state prospect says that, it's typically a quick hop-skip-and-a-jump into Austin.



2) Defensive End (Torshiro Davis, Javonte Magee)


Why it's a need: The Longhorns don't lack for bodies, with Caleb Bluiett and Hassan Ridgeway expected to join five incumbent ends in Austin. That makes seven. But two of those players will be seniors, and neither Bluiett nor Ridgeway is a natural pass rusher. That Texas is pursuing a defensive end isn't exactly a shock. In addition to the two listed above, Texas is also on the short lists of Mario Edwards and Arik Armstead (more on Armstead in a minute). But the two above might be the more likely selections.


Who We Want: Davis. With all due respect to Magee, who is one of the best physical specimens you'll see, Davis just fits what the Longhorns need more. In fact, Magee is likely a superior version of Ridgeway. Texas has more of a need for Davis, an explosively quick end who has been clocked at 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash. It's not that Davis is the better prospect. It's just that the two are different kinds of prospects, and Texas has more of a need for the Davis prototype.


Most Likely: Magee. There's good news on the Davis front: He's visited Austin multiple times and really likes the coaching staff. And he's looking for a family atmosphere, which Texas can provide. But it's still awfully tough to pull a kid that LSU wants out of Louisiana. Interestingly enough, Magee grew up in Louisiana, but has been in Texas since middle school. And he wants to stay fairly close to home. That helps.



3) Quarterback (Jalen Overstreet, Del Barnes)


Why it's a need: Texas lost two quarterbacks to transfer when Connor Wood and Garrett Gilbert left, respectively, after falling behind in the quarterback race. That leaves just two scholarship quarterbacks in David Ash and Case McCoy, and if one of those two should transfer … well, it's just an issue. Commitment Connor Brewer helps from that standpoint, but the Longhorns really need to get back to four. West Virginia commitment Ford Childress has seen his name tossed around here, and the Longhorns have looked into both Trevor Knight and Tommy Armstrong. But the two above names are more likely.


Who We Want: It depends. That may seem like a cop-out answer, but it's truthful. If Texas is looking for a quarterback who can run the current system, Barnes should be the pick. He has a quick release, is accurate and is more of a polished passer than Overstreet is. But if Texas is looking for somebody to bring in another dimension, Overstreet should be the selection. He's an excellent athlete and great runner, while he's still somewhat developing as a passer. He could run the sub packages that offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin likes to prepare.


Most Likely: Overstreet. Both players are likely gets should Texas offer. So then the question becomes: who will Texas offer? Texas has been out to see both quarterbacks in person in recent weeks, so there's interest in both. The feeling here is that Texas will take Overstreet because he brings that added element, and if needed, could switch to another position. That should be enough to give him a slight edge over Barnes.



4) Offensive Tackle (Arik Armstead, Greg Brantley)


Why it's a need: On last Signing Day, Texas coach Mack Brown admitted that the Longhorns came up one player short on the offensive line. So even though Texas has three in this year's class — Kennedy Estelle, Camrhon Hughes and Curtis Riser — the Longhorns are looking to add one more player, preferably a tackle (and further, preferably a left tackle). Andrus Peat has gotten a lot of play here, but he and the Longhorns appear to be growing further apart. And a junior college player is another possibility. Technically, Texas could take two offensive linemen here; it wouldn't be surprising.


Who We Want: Armstead. He'll start off as a defensive end, but in a couple of years, expect to see him fighting for a starting spot at left tackle. He blends uncommon size, length and athleticism. If you drew up an ideal left tackle, you'd probably have somebody 6-foot-7, 310 pounds with the feet of a basketball player. And in addition to having that kind of frame, Armstead is a good enough basketball player that he would be a top-100 player in this class, if he focused on that sport.


Most Likely: Brantley. Simply put, there's just so much more competition for Armstead's signature. Brantley is far from a consolation prize. He's a heck of a player. But let's call it for what it is: He's most likely a back-up plan for players like Peat and Armstead, both of whom have NFL star ceilings.



5) Jet Sweep Player (Corey Coleman, Daje Johnson)


Why it's a need: This seems awfully specific, especially with Texas looking hard at other positions (like cornerback). But it's a large part of what Harsin likes to do in terms of taking players with elite speed and getting them to the edge or using them as diversions. And both of the Longhorns' current speed demons, D.J. Monroe and Marquise Goodwin, will be seniors next year. An ideal situation would have the Longhorns bringing in one of those kinds of players this year, allowing him to redshirt and serve an apprenticeship next year before taking the job over as a redshirt freshman.


Who We Want: Coleman. This is a brutally tough decision, with both players boasting versatility and elite speed. But arguably no elite player in the country is as fast as Coleman is. He ran a blazing fast 4.32-second 40-yard dash at The Opening, the fastest time of anybody there. But even beyond that, he has the stop-start, the hips and the ability to be either a great slot receiver or cornerback. While Johnson could excel at either of those positions as well, his ceiling isn't quite as high. Either player would be an outstanding catch.


Most Likely: Probably Johnson. Both players have expressed an interest in Texas, and both players are committed elsewhere. But Johnson has been to campus more recently, taking in the Texas-Oklahoma State game. And by all accounts, he had a great time. So we'll go with Johnson here.


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