In this scenario, you're only given five spots to fill out the Texas recruiting class. Sound tough? That's pretty much exactly what the Longhorns, who may grab one or two more than five, though it's unclear right now, have to do in this class. So if I were Mack Brown for the day, here's the five — a realistic five — that I would close with.
* Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Sealy
* Kewan Alfred, DE, Trinity Valley CC
* Andrew Billings, OL, Waco
* Caleb Benenoch, OL, Katy Seven Lakes
* Cole Luke, CB, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton
There were some obviously tough choices here. Part of me wanted to offer Mike Mitchell of Prestonwood Christian, to give Texas more of a coverage middle linebacker behind Dalton Santos. Part of me wanted to take Marcell Harris of Orlando's (Fla.) Dr. Phillips High, to beef up the Longhorn secondary. And another part of me wanted to make a run at a top receiver — especially Bellaire's Devin Lauderdale — or even a defensive tackle. Torrodney Prevot was just left out, but I felt like his skills were similar to those of 2012 signee Torshiro Davis, and though it's unsure whether Prevot will add the weight to be an every-down defensive end.
But here's how I ended up how I did. Each of the above picks were listed in order of priority.
Seals-Jones was the obvious No. 1 choice. Texas needs an X wide receiver in this class to go with last year's land at the position: Marcus Johnson. Jake Oliver is perfectly suited for the Z, and Jacorey Warrick fits what Texas wants in the slot. That leaves the other spot, and the state's No. 1 player, and a former Longhorn commitment, is the perfect guy there.
Texas loses Alex Okafor, and potentially Jackson Jeffcoat, after this season. So while Reggie Wilson and Cedric Reed should see rotation time this year, the Longhorns could really use another ready-made body to step in and provide cover with a bevy of unproven freshmen currently sitting as the best options there. At 6-3 250, Alfred has the talent to rush the passer, but also had five stops in the backfield on running plays in nine games last year.
Billings is No. 3 for two reasons. One, he gives me an interior player with both mobility and outstanding strength, and the Longhorns could certainly use more interior guys to fit with Curtis Riser last year and Darius James this year. Two, he could also swap over to defensive tackle if needed. I don't see Justin Manning as a great realistic option right now, and should the Longhorns need to move a body over, Billings would be a nice choice.
So why take a second lineman in Benenoch? Texas currently has 18 linemen on tap for the 2013 season. That's a nice number. Unfortunately, it doesn't take into account possible attrition candidates, nor does it take into account that the number drops all the way to 12 in 2014. By taking both Billings and Benenoch, who has great size and versatility, I move Texas to 20 scholarship linemen for 2013, and 14 for 2014. That means I won't have to go for broke looking for linemen in the 2014 recruiting class.
And finally, there's Luke. Antwuan Davis has the physical makeup of an elite cornerback, but Luke already has the skill set of one. And with Texas already having six safeties on roster, and more specifically a safety recruit in Erik Huhn with a somewhat redundant skill set to Harris, a cornerback is a bigger need. Vonn Bell would be great here, but I'm just not sure how realistic that is. Chevoski Collins is more of a cover safety, and would also be a nice fit.
If I had six, I'd take Lauderdale, now a Texas Tech commitment. Seven would mean Harris, and eight would include Mitchell. But I had five, and those were the five I took.
That would put Texas at 20 commitments for the class, and 19 scholarships on the 2013 roster. Naashon Hughes is a grayshirt, and will receive a scholarship for the 2014 season.