Longhorn Digest Top 25, 16-20

If we were the Texas coaches, which 25 players would we recruit? All players are in-state, and are gauged both by ability and by the Longhorns' positional needs.

16) Jamar Gibson, WR, Baytown Sterling

Why more people aren't talking about Gibson is beyond me. He probably gets underrated in any discussion about the state's top wide receivers, potentially because he committed so early on to Texas A&M. He has since decommitted, and you can bet that the Longhorns will be taking a long look at him. Gibson has great size and can really run and pluck the ball, typically winning jump balls against whoever he goes up against. And he's a better route-runner than a lot of the top candidates at the position.


17) Austin Jupe, S, San Antonio East Central

Jupe takes up a pretty high spot on this list, higher than he would if we were just listing the top prospects in the state, because the Longhorns need safeties. And Jupe has outstanding potential as a cover safety, a 6-foot-plus player who could easily carry 200 pounds in college. He doesn't have a problem coming forward in run support, but his real strength is as a cover man, as East Central often deploys him at cornerback. When he plays safety, he shows the speed and range to play centerfield, and play it well.


18) J.T. Barrett, QB, Wichita Falls Rider

Why is quarterback so low on the priority list? And why isn't this pick Tyrone Swoopes? The answer to the first question is just that the Longhorns already have four quarterbacks on roster. It's a great year for in-state talent at the position, so expect Texas to grab a signal caller. But it's more of a luxury than other positions. As for the second question, for me it's simple: Barrett is a better fit for what Texas likes to do. Swoopes may have the most upside of any player in the state. He's big, has a cannon for an arm and is incredibly mobile. But Barrett is no slouch himself in those categories, and he's a more polished and accurate thrower than Swoopes is at this point. I couldn't disagree with anybody who picked Swoopes over Barrett, and his potential is enough to make a coach drool. But Barrett brings a lot of those same strengths, and isn't as much a hit-or-miss guy.


19) Marcell Ateman, WR, Wylie East

No one, and that especially includes Ateman, is sure just how good Ateman can be. The basketball player is a terror when the ball is in the air, and he runs well and displays outstanding body control. That he's more raw than other wide receiver prospects in this class is a given. But in terms of pure ability, he might eclipse all of them. A 6-foot-5 wide receiver with some shift, soft hands and the ability to contort himself mid-air? Yes, please.


20) Brett Wade, LB, Kennedale

Wade might be the best linebacker in the state, but he shows up this far down the list because he's a pure middle linebacker, and the Longhorns already have Steve Edmond, Kendall Thompson, Alex De La Torre and Tim Cole. While Thompson started off on the outside, and Cole plans to start off out there, both are arguably more natural middle linebackers. So there are quite a few players there. But Wade is as good as any of them, a nasty hitter with a great frame.


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