In each of the past three classes, Texas has extended the exact same number of quarterback offers as quarterbacks landed. In 2012, Texas pulled in its only two quarterback offers: Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet. In 2013, Texas offered just one signal caller, Tyrone Swoopes, landing him. And the Longhorns have gotten a commitment from their lone quarterback offer for 2014, Jerrod Heard. Simple math, right? Four offers, four commitments.
And then, 2015 recruiting happened. Texas extended a way-early offer to dynamic Fort Bend Marshall signal caller JW Ketchum. The Longhorn staff added two more offers to that pile when Jarrett Stidham (at the June 2 camp) and Chason Virgil (June 9) turned in great camp performances. Kyler Murray followed soon after, while a strong camp from California star Ricky Town led to a rare out-of-state quarterback offer.
Obviously, the math won't be as clean as before, because the Longhorns won't take five quarterbacks in one class. In fact, I project that they could wind up taking as few as one, or as many as three.
How would it be three? Remember that the Longhorns would have three quarterbacks on the books for 2015 in Brewer, Swoopes and Heard. That would allow the Longhorns to redshirt a few of the 2015 quarterbacks who aren't ready, and even make a position change or two, if need be.
I see the 2015 quarterbacks breaking down into three categories, with Texas potentially taking one from each category. While the Longhorns could take two from a specific category, I can't see the numbers getting higher than three.
Here's how the categories break down:
Category 1, TAKES — Chason Virgil, West Mesquite
This one's simple. If Virgil wants to commit early in the process, you take him. His accuracy, timing and anticipation make him a great fit for the offense, and even if Virgil doesn't emerge as a starter immediately, he's the type of player who could work hard and wrest control of the position as a junior or senior.
Category 2, VERSATILE ATHLETES — JW Ketchum, Fort Bend Marshall; Jarrett Stidham, Stephenville
These are the guys who allow you some versatility in terms of the number of quarterbacks you take in the class. Both Ketchum (6-0 200) and Stidham (6-4 190) are excellent athletes who could play multiple positions at the next level if they need to be moved. Watching film of Ketchum, it's impossible not to come away with two conclusions: 1) that he's an explosive athlete who could project at any offensive skill position and 2) he has some work to do as a passer. Stidham is a much better thrower, but he's also a 6-foot-4 player who ran 4.65 in the 40-yard dash at the Texas camp, and who had 800-plus receiving yards and 11 touchdowns at wideout a year ago. He has a powerful arm and can really spin it, but he's only thrown three varsity passes to this point. Stidham has said he intends to let the process play out, and with a big junior year, he could move down to Category 3. But for now, his versatility as an athlete would allow Texas to pair him with another quarterback in that category.
Category 3, WORTH WAITING FOR — Kyler Murray, Allen; Ricky Town, St. Bonaventure (Calif.)
Most people consider Murray to be a Texas A&M lean, while Town already has several major offers and will likely be recruited by almost every school in the country. That means that while Texas might have two quarterbacks in the class, say, Virgil plus Ketchum, the Longhorns would still have a spot open in case Town or Murray want to make their way to Austin late. They're totally different quarterbacks. Murray is a spread offense's dream, an elusive and fast runner and an accurate thrower. If there are knocks to Murray's game, they are that he's short (listed at 5-11) and he doesn't have elite arm talent. Town does have that kind of arm talent. At 6-4, Town is a prototypical pocket passer with poise, a big arm and tremendous accuracy. He might be the best quarterback in the entire country, and the Longhorns will likely be a force in his recruitment until the end.
As I mentioned in Category 2, taking one of those players gives Texas the versatility to take a third quarterback without feeling like the Longhorns are wasting a scholarship. I think Texas will probably land Virgil first out of the five quarterbacks on this list, giving the Longhorns a great start to the quarterback class. From there, the best chance is at Ketchum, who could plug-and-play at running back or wide receiver if quarterback doesn't work out. And Ketchum's versatility means that the Longhorns could also sit on Stidham or Town late in the process. A quarterback class of Virgil-Ketchum-Stidham or Virgil-Ketchum-Town would be a huge boon to the Longhorns' young quarterback talent.