HD Roundtable

Question: What 2015 Texas commitment is the most important and why?


William Wilkerson's take

I think I'll be in the minority here but I'm actually going to roll with four-star safety DeShon Elliott for a couple of reasons.

First, and perhaps most importantly, he chose the Longhorns over the Aggies, becoming the first UT commitment under Charlie Strong to do so. That's huge. Given all of A&M's success on the recruiting trail lately, Elliott can, and has, gone to bat for the program and will continue to do so. He could be the difference in gaining/losing commitments down the line and will be important in those head-to-head matchups between Texas and A&M.

Secondly, he's one of the top safeties in the country and Texas hasn't had one on board this early in the recruiting process in a long time. Good players want to play with other good players and having him on board as long as he has been is great for this class.

Also, I'm not entirely sure Charles Omenihu sticks with Texas if Elliott, his good friend, isn't on board. Those two have gone to bat tirelessly for this class.

Finally, the thought of he and Ed Freeman playing that hybrid position over the next few seasons, if that's indeed what this staff chooses to do with these able bodies, has got to be frightening for opposing offenses.





Jason Higdon's take

There is a reason most of the highest paid players in the NFL play the quarterback position. The signal caller is the single most important position on the field. Having said that, the most important recruit in the 2015 class is quarterback Zach Gentry.

Gentry has a cannon for an arm and makes every throw you could possibly imagine. He is very agile for a player measuring in at 6-foot-6 and 230-pounds. His football IQ is through the roof and he is the No. 1 target for quarterback coach Shawn Watson. Gentry has been the guy for a long time for Texas and he will be the future of the program. He will be the player the Texas coaches build around moving forward.





Gabe Brooks' take

First off, this is an interesting topic for discussion. Good idea for the roundtable.

That said, I think I would go with Spring (Texas) Westfield offensive tackle Toby Weathersby.

Weathersby is an elite prospect -- Scout ranks him No. 5 nationally at his position and No. 57 overall in the country in the 2015 class. He's the kind of guy that you have to fight for to get his commitment. Just glance at his offer list. Winning recruits over programs such as Oklahoma and Texas A&M will obviously be key for the new staff at Texas, as it always has been for Texas staffs past.

Weathersby is a great example of the type of prospect Texas must have to re-establish itself as a perennial national contender.

Why?

Because Texas must get back to winning consistently at the point of attack. Yes, Texas finished third in the Big 12 in 2013 in rushing yards per game with 196.2. But Texas did not run for more than 180 yards in any of its five losses and got out-rushed in all five contests. In fact, Texas was minus-138.4 rushing yards per game in its five defeats. Now, I know what you're thinking: the BYU game skewed those numbers. Yes and no. Take away the Cougars' 550-132 rushing edge in that contest, and the four other teams to beat Texas in 2013 still won the ground by 68.5 yards per game.

It's true that Texas' run-game woes in those five losses cannot be totally blamed on the offense not running the ball better. There's no doubt the defense struggled, allowing 200 or more rushing yards in four of those five contests. But if you run the ball well, your defense isn't out there as much. The old "a best defense is a good offense" saying, so to speak.

There's no doubt that keeping commitments from guys like Charles Omenihu is important, too. Any quality recruit on either line will be a huge addition as Texas tries to re-establish Texas as the front-line power it was in the recent past. But from a recruiting prospect standpoint, Weathersby is the best Texas has gotten so far this cycle, and he just so happens to play a position in which the Longhorns will need to thrive to get back to the 10-wins-per-year program it was for so long. Patrick Vahe, for the same reason, is a big commitment as well.





Greg Power's take

You may get the answer repeated a few times, but I would cast my vote on New Mexico hurler Zach Gentry as the most important commitment to date.

Gentry was at or near the very tip top of their wish list and they were able to pull him in over a slew of other national offers. He is also someone who Shawn Watson is familiar with and has the opportunity to work one-on-one with for a couple of camp seasons, which means that he knows exactly how he would fit in the offense that he plans to run in Austin.

It is good for other recruits to look on that list and see a four-star quarterback committed as well. It helps with recruiting all the way around.





Ahmard Vital's take

When the question was first posed, the first answer to come to mind was Westfield offensive lineman Toby Weathersby. He's big and has a tenacity that Texas needs when creating the space for running backs to operate and the time for the chosen quarterback to make plays.

But this go around, I will say that defensive end Charles Omenihu is the most important recruit of the Longhorn 2015. He's long, lean and athletic, which are all good qualities needed in an end.

On top of that, there's never been a roster stocked with too many guys who can rush the passer, as these guys (good ones) are in short supply every year. Plus, the Longhorns are needing more bodies with this ability as the roster is getting thinner at this position after a couple of previous classes went without signing a player at this position.

Omenihu is just as important as a player at this position from the previous class in Derick Roberson, who, by the way, I see as an instant impact player. Omenihu could have that same effect a year from now.





Chip Brown's take

There is no question the most important 2015 UT commitment for Texas to sign right now is QB Zach Gentry.

If you have the quarterback situation right, you can mask a lot of other shortcomings - just ask the 2009 Texas team, which played for a national title with an offense powered around the passing combination of Colt McCoy to Jordan Shipley.

Gentry suits what Texas needs in the Watson/Wickline offense: a big, strong (6-foot-6, 232-pound), pro-style QB who throws accurately but has enough mobility to make something happen with his feet when a play breaks down.

And with Gentry, you get presence, which Texas seems in short supply of at the QB position (outside of Jerrod Heard). When I say presence, I'm talking about someone who can command his teammates in the huddle - obviously. But I'm also talking about someone who is also able to help recruit new 2015 prospects as well as re-recruit the current commitments who may have people in their ear.

Gentry also represents the first QB recruit of the Charlie Strong era at Texas, which tells you a lot about what Strong and his staff are looking for at the most critical position on the field.





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