The Heard

Welcome to The Heard, LonghornDigest's weekly in-depth look inside the never-ending world of Longhorns recruiting with news, notes and interesting tidbits on the latest happenings around the program. We'll release this every Friday. Talk about it in our forum and, if there's a recruit out there you'd like to hear more from, let us know.

Read The Heard after the jump:

BIG visitors weekend

Mbanasor ready for Texas visit

Heard spends spring break at QB camp

A list of 2016 offers

Keke collecting offers

BIG visitors weekend

One could argue that this weekend is the most important since Charlie Strong took over Texas.

Not only is spring football underway but the sidelines will be packed with some of Texas' top targets and commitments.

Here's a look at some of the recruits we're expecting to be on campus beginning today.

2015 LB Malik Jefferson, Mesquite (Texas) Poteet

– The top outside linebacker in the country has been one of Texas' top priorities since Charlie Strong took over. Can't be understated how big it is to get him on the 40 Acres.

2015 RB Chris Warren, Rockwall (Texas)

– The No. 8 RB in the country has always been a fan of the Longhorns, who will have plenty of turnover at the position over the next two years. That could be appealing to him and a selling point of the staff's this weekend.

2015 TE Jordan Davis, Houston Clear Lake

- The No. 2 TE in the country, who is currently committed to Texas A&M, is scheduled to be in Austin this weekend. Talks between he and the old staff were limited, but Strong has changed that.

2015 OL Toby Weathersby, Houston Westfield

- The No. 4 OT in the country is starting to warm up to the Longhorns. This will be his second visit to UT in a month.

2015 LB Cameron Townsend, Missouri City (Texas) Ridge Point

– The No. 17 outside linebacker in the country has frequented Texas' campus for over a year now. He's a national recruit but the Longhorns are in good position here.

2015 DE Charles Omenihu, Rowlett (Texas)

– One of Strong's first commitments has been extremely active on Twitter trying to hype up UT to other recruits.

2015 S DeShon Elliott, Rockwall (Texas) Heath

– The four-star DB is Texas' newest commitment. He had offers from across the country but really chose the Longhorns over Texas A&M.

2015 S Roney Elam, Newton (Texas)

– The four-star DB has some big-time offers from the likes of UT, Alabama, LSU, OU and Texas A&M. He actually played quarterback and defensive back for Newton in 2013, throwing for 937 yards, 11 touchdowns, and six interceptions for a run-heavy offense. He ran for 437 yards and five scores, while picking off five passes and forcing one fumble on defense.

2015 CB Jaylon Lane, Nacogdoches (Texas)

– The Ole Miss commitment doesn't have many offers right now (Boise State, Houston and Oklahoma State). But he's another tall DB (6-2, 170) that DB coach Chris Vaughn is interested in.

2015 CB P.J. Mbanasor, Pflugerville (Texas) Hendrickson

– Former TCU commitment from right up the road from Austin is hopeful this visit will spark the interest he's been looking for from the Longhorns.

2015 S Keivon Ramsey, Judson (Texas)

- The three-star defensive back, ranked No. 38 safety in the country, has visited Texas on several occasions. He's 6-1, 165 pounds with 4.4 speed.

2015 OT Trace Ellison, Frisco (Texas) Centennial

- The three-star lineman is rated the No. 77 OT in the country. At 6-6 and 285 pounds, talks are just now starting to heat up with Ellison.

2016 DT Darius Anderson, Missouri City (Texas) Hightower

– One of the most talented defenders in 2016 happens to be the godbrother of former Longhorns RB Fozzy Whittaker.

2016 QB Tristen Wallace, DeSoto (Texas)

– He hasn't gotten much playing time because there was a senior in front of him, but the nation's about to find out just how good Wallace is. His ceiling is high and the Longhorns have taken notice. He's a big Longhorns fan too.(Wilkerson)

Mbanasor ready for Texas visit

An early TCU commitment, P J Mbanasor saw his recruitment explode over the past few months.

"It's just pretty exciting," Mbanasor said. "I'm blessed to be in the position I'm in."

But that doesn't mean it was a huge surprise.

"It surprised me in the sense of how fast it's all happening," Mbanasor said. "But I always believed in myself. I had faith. And I just knew it would happen. I just didn't know it would happen this fast."

That's what happens when you're a 6-foot-2 cornerback with cover skills. While corners like Kendall Sheffield and Kris Boyd get most of the ink in the in-state 2015 class, Mbanasor isn't far behind, pulling in 17 offers, including some from power schools like Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and LSU, among others.

Those offers, along with TCU assistant Clay Jennings moving on to Arkansas, caused the Pflugerville Hendrickson product to reevaluate his commitment, and eventually reopen.

"I had a little bit of regret and second thoughts about whether that was the best opportunity for me," Mbanasor said. "Coach Jennings left for Arkansas to better himself, and that was where he needed to go. And it was the same for me in a sense. I just wanted to make sure I was careful with the process and slow things down, go more in-depth to ensure that I find a perfect fit for me."

Mbanasor doesn't have any favorite schools in "any numerical order" at this point, though he did say he was excited to take a visit to see Texas this weekend. He'll be in for Saturday's practice, one in full pads.

"I think it's more for … the coaching staff," Mbanasor said of the visit. "I think they want to see me in person. I've been in contact with Coach (Vance) Bedford a couple of times, and he said he likes me and likes my film. I get to watch a full-pad practice, so that should be interesting to see."

Will an offer be coming?

"I don't really know what to expect out of Texas," Mbanasor said. "I think they've offered a few cornerbacks … personally, I think I'm better than them. My stats say that, etc. Texas is probably just getting their stuff together and seeing what's in store for them this coming year.

"It will be nice to see how they play this year," Mbanasor said. "We can see if the staff change helped, or dropped them off. Only UT knows what they're going to do, but I'm excited to see if they've gained anything."

For now, Mbanasor said he's happy he gets to slow down the process and see who produces next year. And he said he knows what he's looking for in his school of choice.

"The reasons I would pick a school would be whichever school put me in the best overall position from an academic standpoint, from a football standpoint, from the standpoint of being a man and a personal and general standpoint," Mbanasor said. "I want to surround myself with the best coaching staff, the best teammates, the best facilities and the best school possible."(Flaherty)

Heard spends spring break at QB camp

Given all he's accomplished, 2014 Longhorns quarterbacks signee Jerrod Heard could have easily relaxed on a beach somewhere or simply sat back on his couch during his spring break last week.

He has, remember, won back-to-back 4A state titles, including last season when he completed 155-of-250 (62%) passes for 2,090 yards and 17 scores. He added an additional 2,138 yards on the ground with an impressive 35 touchdowns.

Instead, the five-star recruit and No. 2 QB in the country spent a week in San Diego waking up early and working out late as a part of a camp put on be renowned quarterbacks coach George Whitfield.

Among those in attendance were North Carolina's Marquise Williams, Baylor's Bryce Petty, Arizona State's Taylor Kelly and fellow incoming freshman David Morrison, who is headed to Boise State.

"I learned so much, especially in making my throwing mechanics more efficient and accurate," Heard told

If that's not enough to make you think that Heard doesn't want to take the reigns as Texas' quarterback this fall, consider this: Not only was it spring break, when his friends were likely on a beach somewhere, or at home doing a whole lot of nothing, but Heard and his family put up the money on their own to fly out to San Diego and pay for the camp. That's dedication.

Asked what his expectations were for his freshman season, Heard said, "Coach told me it was up to me. I just have to go compete."

Heard's never been one to stir up controversy. He remained relatively quiet, and certainly composed, throughout the coaching turnover at Texas when he could have very easily looked elsewhere.

He's always stood by the Longhorns.

"Yes I am definitely anxious to be a part of the future here," he said.

Here's some video of Heard from last season.


A list of 2016 offers

Slowly but surely Charlie Strong and his staff are beginning to speed things up when it comes to offering 2016 recruits. So who really has an offer in that class?

The most recent offer went to Collin Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound wide receiver from San Jose (Calif.) Valley Christian. He was offered at Texas' second junior day along with his brother, 2015 running back Kirk Johnson.

They are the sons of former UT defensive back Johnnie Johnson. Collin has the Longhorns at the top of his list right now.

Another wide receiver with an offer is Mykel Jones (Patterson, LA./Patterson). Jones, who can also play defensive back is 6-0 and 185 pounds with 4.5 speed. The four-star also has offers from Akron, Arizona State, Florida State, Houston, Louisiana Tech, LSU, Penn State, Tennessee, Tulane, UCLA and USC. He's camped at FSU, LSU and Tennessee.

It should come as no surprise that tight end Kaden Smith (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus) has an offer from Strong. The 6-5, 235-pound recruit is one of the top tight ends in the country regardless of class.

He had a breakout sophomore season in 2013 when he led Marcus with 40 catches for 640 yards and eight touchdowns.

Smith picked up his offer when he visited UT for its first junior day on Feb. 22. Texas joined an offers list that includes Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

Another no-brainer offer is Greg Little (Allen, Texas/Allen), who will be in the running for the nation's top offensive tackle in 2016. Programs like Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, OU, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas A&M and Texas Tech have already offered.

If you're a Texas fan you just worry that he might follow his quarterback, Kyler Murray, wherever he ends up, which appears to be A&M.

Ben Cleveland (Toccoa, GA/Stephens County) is another national prospect and a no-brainer offer. It's just going to be tough to keep the 6-5, 320-pound bookend out of SEC country.

When it comes to passing the eye test you aren't going to find a 2016 recruit in the country that passes it as easily as defensive tackle Kendell Jones (Killeen, Texas/Shoemaker).

At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, Jones has reportedly less than 10-percent body fat. Think about that.

Defensive tackle Ed Oliver (Houston/Westfield) is another easy offer. He comes from a school that Texas has had success with in the past. Westfield alum Desmond Jackson has had a solid career at UT and should start at DT in 2014.

Last, but certainly not least, is defensive back Jared Mayden (Sachse, Texas/Sachse), who was offered at Texas' second junior day. The Longhorns are in good shape here as Mayden is the cousin of former UT wide receiver and Olympic long jumper Marquise Goodwin. (Wilkerson)

Keke collecting offers

Fire up Kingsley Keke's highlight tape, and the first play almost makes you gasp out loud. Keke, playing for Richmond George Ranch, stands up off the left edge and blitzes forward. When he makes contact with the offensive tackle, Keke simply throws the player backwards, tripping the quarterback several yards back. As the quarterback struggles for balance, Keke darts forward and drags him to the ground for a safety.

"That was against Elgin in the playoffs," Keke said, laughing. "When I look at it, I get happy. It tells me to continue to grind. It really felt great."

Keke has attracted the attention of a number of schools and offers from Tulsa, TCU, Texas Tech, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Oklahoma State, Florida, Louisiana Tech and North Texas. And why wouldn't he? He played last year at 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, and he's up to 290 pounds now. And he's also been the MVP of his school's basketball team the past several years, even bringing the ball down the court at times.

"I get buckets," Keke said.

Naturally, it hasn't been hard for colleges to fall in love with a big defensive lineman who shows off athleticism on the basketball court. And that's why Keke's offer list should only continue to grow.

"It's been great," Keke said. "I mean, it shocked me kind of, but it also taught me to keep working hard and keep putting in work in the weight room.

"I was kind of liking TCU, then all these other offers came," Keke said. "I want to get out to see Oregon State, Oklahoma State, places like that, to see if I like it."

Some teams that run a multiple front envision Keke as a hybrid lineman, somebody who can play a big defensive end in three-man fronts and slide in to defensive tackle in others. And still others just see him as an explosive three technique. For his part, Keke said he doesn't have any problem playing anywhere a staff asks him to.

That has also put him squarely on the Texas radar, as Keke came to the Longhorns' second Junior Day.

"I love Texas," Keke said. "That was a great facility down there, with great players and of course with a new coach in Charlie Strong, they're fired up to do some good things. It was really fun."

Keke said he also enjoyed his time with defensive line coach Chris Rumph, who he called "chill" and "a great coach."

"They told me they want to keep evaluating me before they offer," Keke said. "So they're going to be coming by my spring football, and hopefully, I can impress them."

What happens if Texas does offer?

"I'd love it," Keke said. "I'm pretty sure Texas would be in my top three or top five."

As for right now, Keke said that he likes all the schools that have offered him, and he's trying to get around to see several of them this spring and summer. He has plans to go to Oklahoma State on April 5 for Junior Day, and he's also invited to California on April 12. (Flaherty)

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