Texas Moves to No. 1

With two commitments last week, Texas jumps into the top spot in the Scout.com rankings for the 2012 football recruiting class. Scout.com National Analyst Greg Powers answers LonghornDigest.com's questions about the change.

LonghornDigest: What do you think are the strong points of this class?

Greg Powers: "With the two most recent commitments, I think you can clearly log that at wide receiver. They have a group that is going to be intimidating for a long time, and it's at a position at which Texas clearly needed help. They needed an injection of speed there, and they clearly got that with Kendall Sanders, Marcus Johnson and Thomas Johnson, and then the size of Cayleb Jones. You have two guys that can split out in Jones and (Marcus) Johnson and then two slot guys in Kendall Sanders and Thomas Johnson with blazing speed. They're big enough and fast enough to be a scary combination.

"Then you add in that Texas still has a chance to land Dorial Green-Beckham and a few other top-rated players, and you're talking about a (receiver) class that has a chance to be one of the best in the history of Scout.com (rankings)."

LD.com: Is this one of the better combinations of numbers (Texas has 21 commitments and plans to take a full class) and talent** that you've seen?

GP: "I don't think there was ever a doubt that this year's class was going to be really good. It was just a question of how highly ranked they would end up. And when you look at the fact that they're still looking to add players, and they are already at No. 1, I think they have a great chance of staying there.

"I think it's probably between them and Alabama, depending in part on how many Alabama can take. But this is probably, top-to-bottom, one of the better classes I've seen. We talked about the receivers, but you can't forget Johnathan Gray, who's an amazing running back, and who should see action from the second he steps on campus. He can catch the football out of the backfield and ignite that offense a little bit, and he gives you the chance to run some option with the quarterbacks they do have up there.

"Then, you add in Malcom Brown and Curtis Riser, who are at the tops of their position in the entire country, and this is a special class, and one where you don't' have too many weaknesses.

"These guys in this class literally have a great shot to help change the program."

** Publisher's Note: Texas is currently second-best in the class in average star ranking, with its 4.0 average star ranking sitting just behind Florida State's 4.07. But the Seminoles have just 15 commitments and might not take a large class, while two of their biggest commitments — five-star players Mario Edwards and Jameis Winston — are considered soft verbal commitments. The No. 3 team in average star ranking is Florida at 3.75.

LD: Texas nabbed Marcus Johnson from a Texas A&M team in transition. Are there any other Aggie commitments that Texas fans should keep their eyes on?

GP: "I don't think so. Looking at the Texas A&M class, the only one that really makes any sense is Michael Richardson, because he's from DeSoto and plays a need position (defensive end). But Texas had plenty of chances, and never really came back on him. If you look at what they need to fill at the end of the process, with offensive line, the only guy who might work would be (Aledo offensive tackle) Michael Wilson, but I can't see them doing that, either."

LD: You talked about the strengths. Now, what about the weaknesses? Or are there any positions that you look at and think, maybe they could have done that better?

GP: "If it were me, and I had the ultimate say in running the program, I think I would have looked at a JUCO option at quarterback. I saw the problems like everybody else did. As a major college football program, you're always in a win-now kind of season, and that's the most important position on the field, so I think you need someone to come in and change (the situation) instantly.

"Other than that, I would have maybe taken some different guys on the defensive line. The guys they are bringing in need to progress and get better, and that's the only position that's maybe not as strong. At the same time, that's at a place where they have plenty of depth. But a couple of those guys that they offered on the defensive line aren't really "five-star" kind of guys."

LD: This year, you saw a bunch of young players on the field for the Longhorns. Did that help them in recruiting, for recruits to see that you can play early on? Or did it hurt them because they're fearing having to sit behind those players for multiple seasons?

GP: "I think it's always on a case-by-case basis. No two recruits seem to have the mindset. If I'm just using a random example here, someone like Camrhon Hughes might want to come in and play right away, while Kennedy Estelle might want to sit a year or two and develop. Each case is different.

"At the same time, I do know that recruits want to see that they have a chance to see the field early. They just want a staff that's willing to play the best talent. And if they think they can be the best talent, they want to know that they will be able to get on the field, that the coaching staff will put the best players on the field.

"You can't play a senior because he's a senior. That turns guys off. You need to put the best guys out there, regardless of class, and Texas is doing that."

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