LonghornDigest.com: If you had to pick a gem of the 2012 Texas class, who is it?
Greg Powers: For me, it's hard to go down from the top-ranked guy, who was Johnathan Gray. But a guy who is definitely an NFL-upside kind of guy is Malcom Brown. You just don't see defensive tackles move the way he does. It's almost scary to think that he's just now starting to touch on his potential. He's starting to learn the position better, and in college, when he's able to specialize just on being a defensive tackle, and not focus on anything else, he could really be something special.
LD.com: What about a sleeper in that class?
Powers: It's always tough to pick a sleeper in Texas's class, because they recruit at such a high level. But two guys that I like as sleepers are Hassan Ridgeway and Orlando Thomas. Ridgeway is as put together as anybody you'll see on the defensive line, and he gets the job done. He keeps things simple, uses his size to get into the backfield and makes plays. He pins in a lot of ball-carriers. Thomas was an excellent player at quarterback for a really good program in Copperas Cove that had some pretty competitive teams. When you look at the way Texas has been able to utilize athletes and move them over to corner, like with Quandre Diggs, he's another guy that could do that. He has long arms and is a guy who could be a rangy cornerback. Obviously, that's a position that Texas has seen some success at with young kids, and he's a versatile kid. Thomas could also be a wide receiver in college, if corner doesn't work out.
LD.com: Which position group did Texas best address in 2012?
Powers: I think it was the defensive line. They did a great job of adding superstars at both end and tackle. I talked about Brown earlier, and Torshiro Davis has a great chance to be that end/linebacker hybrid that can really get after the quarterback. They upgraded all across the board on the defensive line, and I think they had the best line class in the country last year. That may seem like an easy statement given the numbers there (Texas took eight defensive linemen, four ends and four tackles), but they landed a lot of talent.
LD.com: Were there any positions that they didn't do as well at?
Powers: I wouldn't have been opposed to them taking another quarterback in last year's class. I know that it wasn't a deep year for JUCO quarterbacks, but it seems like they're hedging their bets, and Jalen Overstreet is a guy who could easily flip over to another position like outside linebacker, safety, running back or wide receiver. It might have been a decent idea to take another arm. I know they have options, and they may have confidence in Connor Brewer and Overstreet. But from the outside looking in, it might have been nice to add another power name to the mix.
LD.com: Were there any guys that you were surprised that they didn't take?
Powers: I don't really know that there were a lot of these guys. Maybe there were a couple surprises that they took. Kevin Vaccaro was a little bit of a surprise. And maybe going after Bryce Cottrell as well. But even then, Cottrell was a pretty solid player for Plano West, and a guy who fits a similar mold of what they were looking at with Davis. At the time they offered Cottrell, they didn't have Davis in the bag. So maybe a bit surprised they didn't go after a Taiwan Johnson, or push harder for a Danielle Hunter or a Devonte Fields, but you really can't complain how it worked out.