Commitment Analysis: Emmanuel Porter

With Texas landing Emmanuel Porter Friday, the Longhorns have a five-man receiver class that could be a force to be reckoned with down the line.

The first thing to note is that this is somewhat of a different Texas receiver class than what we've typically seen in recent years … one without as much polish — with the obvious exception of Lorenzo Joe — as we've seen in recent classes, but with arguably more upside.

Porter is the most obvious example of this, and he, along with Baylor commitment Ishmael Zamora, may have the most upside of anybody in the in-state class. Porter is taller than 6-foot-3 and has tremendous length and athleticism. An outstanding basketball player, Porter has clocked faster than 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at multiple camps, while he's also leapt more than 36 inches vertically. It wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for Porter to trot onto the field in his second year in the Texas program at 6-3.5 and 210 pounds while running sub-4.4 seconds and jumping somewhere around 40 inches vertically.

Could Porter use some more polish? Absolutely. He's come a long way from where he was even six months ago, improving rapidly with the help of Dallas-area trainer David Robinson. But he still has work to do on his footwork and how to use his body. Those are teachable things, but having that kind of athleticism isn't the sort of thing that can just be developed. You'd be hard-pressed to find a lot of wideouts with that kind of size and explosiveness potential.

But here's the thing: while Porter's upside is obviously tremendous, he's hardly the only player like that in the receiving class. The most common evaluation about Longview wideout Dorian Leonard, who also committed this week, is that Leonard has no idea just how good he can be. He's even a bit taller than Porter, at 6-4, and he also displays some explosiveness in terms of making guys miss and turning on the jets. There's a reason Leonard averaged better than 21 yards per catch as a junior, and also a reason he was among the top targets on the Oklahoma recruiting board before the Longhorns snatched him up.

Then, there's Roderick Bernard, a player with world class speed and acceleration. Bernard clocked 4.45 in the 40-yard dash at Texas camp, but the most impressive part of his performance was how quickly he gets to top speed. He, like the players above, still has some rawness, particularly when it comes to making catches downfield (so much of his work in Sharpstown's offense comes from taking a short pass, like a bubble screen, and turning it into a big play). But his quickness and the way that he breaks is better than good … it's exceptional. Players had trouble staying within five yards of him at the June 2 camp, and it's natural to get excited about what he could do once he polishes up his route-running.

Garrett Gray is a bit more of a finished product than the above three players, but even his best football is ahead of him, as a current 6-4 205-pounder who ran 4.4-flat at the Texas camp. Gray is a nightmare on slants and crosses because of his body, and he high-points the ball really well on fade routes. But what makes Gray really dangerous is the fact that when corners play off him, he eats up cushion in a hurry. His first few steps aren't as explosive as a Leonard or a Porter, but he's arguably faster than both in terms of top-end speed, meaning he's a big-play waiting to happen. Gray had the highest level of production of any of the receivers in the Texas class last year, hauling in 82 passes for 1,226 yards and 19 touchdowns.

And last, but certainly not least, is Joe, the first Longhorn to commit in the Class of 2015. While Joe shows the most amount of polish — it's a lot of fun watching him run routes and use his body to shield off defenders — he also has to be considered an upside guy in that receiver isn't even his full-time position yet. He plays quarterback for Abilene Cooper, meaning that all the work that he puts in to become better at receiver is stuff on the side. Joe could be an outstanding collegiate player because of his size, smooth athleticism, body control and soft hands.

None of those five receivers are guys like Mike Davis, Darius White, Jaxon Shipley, Ricky Seals-Jones or Robbie Rhodes — guys who were considered among the top 5-10 prospects in the state coming out. But each player has considerable upside, the kind of upside that could leave people wishing they'd evaluated them differently in four years. The tools are there — now it's up to Wyatt, who has made a living out of maximizing the ability level of lesser talents — to develop them. The future is bright.

Horns Digest Top Stories