SUMMER WORKOUTS UPDATE:
How about starting things off with an update on 7-on-7 and summer workouts?
Last week we told you how one of the first 7-on-7 sessions was basically scrapped because it wasn't organized well enough (in the minds of veteran players, of course, since these are voluntary).
And the time instead was spent running and doing conditioning to encourage everyone to get on board and get more organized.
Some good news as far as the return of LB Jordan Hicks from his Achilles injury: Hicks has looked good in workouts thus far. He's moving well and providing valuable leadership.
CB Sheroid Evans is also recovered and cleared from his knee injury last season and moving well.
OL Kent Perkins is still not cleared following his surgery to repair a dislocated kneecap suffered in the spring. But his rehab continues to progress and he should be cleared by the beginning of fall camp.
RB Joe Bergeron continues to show the kind of team attitude and work ethic everyone is looking for from a senior.
I'm told Steve Edmond is the clear No. 1 at MLB, ahead of Dalton Santos. (I've been so disappointed by the LB position that I'm going to remain skeptical about everything concerning this position until I see it on the field.)
But I'm going to follow up a positive note about Steve Edmond with a positive note about senior OLB Demarco Cobbs.
Cobbs has turned into a warrior determined to make something out of his senior season, and it's one of the more interesting stories to watch. The previous staff had basically written off Cobbs as an injury-prone senior whom they would encourage to graduate and enter the next phase of his life.
But Cobbs is trying to seize his last opportunity with a lot of fire. When last we saw Cobbs on the field in 2012, he was part of one of the worst defense's in UT history before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Then, he missed all of 2013. But Cobbs is approaching this summer as if he won't rest until he makes an impact. He and Peter Jinkens are battling.
As far as the freshmen in workouts, more praise for QB Jerrod Heard, who continues to show the most personality at his position while throwing himself into the playbook and asking question after question of the veterans and then retaining the answers.
The other freshman who is starting to really flash is WR Armanti Foreman. He has the kind of speed to take the lid off of a defense. We'll see if he can get separation in pads, but he's winning his share of battles right now. (Chip Brown)
IS Desmond Harrison GETTING IT?
I continue to hear that Desmond Harrison may have an NFL body but that the mental side of the game continues to hold him back.
I'm hearing there is real concern about Harrison, who is listed at 6-8 and 318 pounds and was hailed as "a freak" and as a potential first-round, NFL draft pick by the previous coaching staff.
I'm being told Harrison is making the same mistakes repeatedly and that he's already being considered for right tackle, if he can play tackle at all.
If Harrison can't win one of the tackle jobs, it could cause Kennedy Estelle to move to the left side with Kent Perkins at right tackle. But Estelle has also been a problem child in the classroom with much to prove to this coaching staff.
Perkins was being projected as the right guard if Harrison and Estelle could win the tackle jobs.
Sed Flowers is projected as the left guard, and if Perkins moves to tackle, it could open a spot at right guard for redshirt freshman Rami Hammad.
As part of his Muslim faith, Hammad is currently fasting in observance of Ramadan (from June 28 to July 28) - no food or drink (not even water) from sun up to sun down. This practice obviously makes the coaches nervous, because not drinking water during summer workouts goes against everything coaches preach to players in terms of staying hydrated.
Hammad seemed to need some time to adjust to the in-your-face coaching of Charlie Strong's staff. But Hammad seems determined to show the coaches he's serious about making a push into the two-deep.
Darius James got a look at left tackle in the spring but seems much more suited to guard.
Jake Raulerson continues to draw praise for his progress at center as one of the smartest players on the O-line who still needs to gain weight at 279 pounds. But Raulerson's progress has reached the point that Dom Espinosa took snaps at guard and tackle in the spring to see if he could play those positions if needed in a pinch.
Joe Wickline has thought of just about every line combination conceivable. And if Harrison and Estelle fall short of winning these coaches over, he may need every line combination conceivable. (Chip Brown)
THREE SELECTED FOR BIG 12 MEDIA DAYS:
I was told senior C Dom Espinosa, senior CB Quandre Diggs and senior RB Malcolm Brown were selected to represent Texas at Big 12 Media Days July 21-22, because those were three seniors who had achieved universal respect among their teammates.
Last year, QB David Ash went to Big 12 Media Days. And schools are allowed to bring up to five players.
But Ash is not going this year as he continues to work toward the status achieved by Espinosa, Diggs and Brown. (Chip Brown)
CHAMBERS IN MIX FOR DISD ATHLETIC DIRECTOR JOB?
For a while now, I've heard Texas TEs coach Bruce Chambers, a former head coach at Dallas Carter High School, is in the mix to become the new athletic director for the Dallas Independent School District.
DISD athletics is coming out of a period of enormous scandal in which 15 employees lost their jobs.
An investigation revealed DISD basketball and football coaches were falsifying residence records to help recruited players onto their teams, among other things.
The sources I talked to said Chambers has indicated in the past that he'd be interested in the DISD athletic director job. There's no way the DISD AD job would pay the $275,000 annual salary Chambers is making (for the next three years as the only holdover from Mack Brown's staff) at Texas under Charlie Strong.
But there might be incentive for Chambers to do everything he can to get the job helping to clean up DISD athletics.
Why? Charlie Strong may be ready to plug in his own tight ends coach.
Chambers, the recruiting coordinator under Brown in addition to being TEs coach, has been at Texas for going on 17 years as a member of Brown's original staff.
But it appears Strong is becoming very concerned about UT's recruiting in Dallas-Fort Worth, where Strong thought Chambers could help him.
If Chambers was to move on, those wondering if Strong would go after a veteran recruiter in the state of Texas, such as Tim Brewster, who is now the recruiting coordinator and TEs coach at Florida State, it's doubtful.
Strong and Brewster have no history together, and Strong is all about finding assistants who will be fiercely loyal to him.
With Brewster having been a head coach (at Minnesota), I'm told Strong wouldn't see Brewster fitting into that category.
My recommendation would be someone like Mark Smith, the head coach at L.D. Bell High School.
Smith, a former defensive quality control coach at Oklahoma, has a dynamic personality for recruiting and is also president of the North Texas Football Coaches Association and knows everyone in the DFW area.
That's someone who could go head-to-head with Texas A&M's WR coach and recruiting coordinator David Beaty, a former head coach at Irving MacArthur who went on to coach as an assistant at Kansas and Rice.
Beaty is also a former assistant coach at Naaman Forest in Garland and at Garland High.
TCU also got serious about the Dallas-Fort Worth area by hiring former Arlington Bowie head coach Kenny Perry as its director of high school relations and recruiting in March 2013. Perry was elevated to cornerbacks coach in March of 2014.
When you factor in a Baylor staff with all kinds of ties to high school coaching in the DFW area, including Art Briles himself, as a former coach at Stephenville, Texas has its hands full in the DFW recruiting battle.
It's unclear if any change in Chambers' situation is imminent. But it's worth keeping an eye on. (Chip Brown)
TWO NEW HEADLINER PROSPECTS EXPECTED TO ATTEND JULY 18 CAMP
Speaking of recruiting, Texas' July 18th camp is becoming increasingly important thanks to the scheduled attendance of:
1) Mesquite Poteet OLB Malik Jefferson, Scout.com's No. 2 player in the nation for 2015;
2) Four-star Gilmer CB Kris Boyd, No. 47 on the Scout 300 list for 2015;
3) Four-star 2015 Texas QB commit Zach Gentry;
4) 2015 four-star WR Ryan Newsome of Aledo.
There has been talk that Texas A&M will hold some sort of event for recruits the same day. If that ends up being the case, I think it will be a big measuring stick for both schools.
Jefferson and Boyd have visited Texas already. The fact they are scheduled to attend the July 18th event is a major plus for Charlie Strong and company.
What it probably indicates to the Texas staff is all of these players will take official visits with the Longhorns moving forward.
Once you are talking about multiple trips to Austin, more bonding with the staff, players, commits and other recruits, you're talking about what's needed to land top-tier players of today.
For Ryan Newsome and Zach Gentry, it will give each player the idea of what it would be like playing on the same team.
Getting Gentry and Newsome on the same field in this type of environment is a big deal.
This could be exactly what the staff needs to push some of these players over the top.
Most of the time it's much easier to judge a recruit on his actions versus his words.
And in this case, the actions of these players showing up again on campus would be a very good sign moving forward.
There are a couple other players to keep an eye on such as 2015 four-star OLB DeAndre McNeal of Mesquite Poteet, a teammate of Malik Jefferson; 2015 four-star DT Darrion Daniels of Dallas Bishop Dunne; and possibly 2015 four-star DT Du'Vonta Lampkin of Cypress Falls, who this week said he'll visit Texas Sept. 5-6.
It appears as if McNeal will attend the July 18 camp. Daniels is not sure, and it's looking unlikely Lampkin will attend. But there's still a couple weeks left. (Jason Higdon)
MORE NAMES TO WATCH IN JULY 18 CAMP:
The Texas camp on July 18 is starting g to stack up to be a pretty impressive event.
Going forward, it could become quite the marketable summer event for recruits. Right now there is not one college camp that has established itself as the premiere event.
Looking ahead, this could be one that many recruits have circled on their calendar as hopeful attendees.
But enough about the future of the July 18 camp. This year's event could have huge implications on signing day in 2015.
* Former Baylor commit John Humphrey, a 2015 three-star WR from League City, is an interesting name on the attendee list. He's given indications he might be leaning to OU.
But could a good camp and a possible offer from UT put the Horns in front?
* Also, go ahead and put North Shore OL Tyler Moore on commit watch. Another visit to Austin could seal the deal.
* We reported last week in HD Only about the importance of 2015 four-star WR Ryan Newsome of Aledo attending the camp to catches passes from Texas 2015 QB commit Zach Gentry.
* However the most important recruit on the list of current camp hopeful attendees is none other than the state's top prospect for 2015 - OLB Malik Jefferson of Mesquite Poteet.
The Horns may have some ground to make up in his recruitment. And any extra time with the staff on campus should be a step in the right direction.
* Four-star CB Kris Boyd of Gilmer is another important name to watch in the class of 2015. He's been tough to read throughout the process. But most figure TAMU is out in front with UT chasing.
If that's the case, then one-on-one time with the coaches can only pay positive dividends to close the gap. (Greg Powers)
SHEFFIELD'S FATHER WORRIED ABOUT VAUGHN?
Cecil Sheffield, the father of 2015 five-star cornerback Kendall Sheffield, needs to see more out of Texas defensive backs coach Chris Vaughn.
He's comfortable enough with what he's seen from Charlie Strong and knows plenty about Longhorns defensive coordinator Vance Bedford.
But there is still some uncertainty surrounding the man hired to replace long time "DBU" architect Duane Akina.
"The DBs coach, I'm still working on him," Cecil said. "I heard he coaches at Memphis but I am going to check him out for a year and see what he got. But I know a lot about the DC and Coach Strong. We will continue to look at the University of Texas."
When it comes to Strong, though, the Sheffields are sold on what he represents off the field. They just need to see if he can win on this stage.
"I like Strong. I love discipline," he said. "I love all of that about Coach Strong and that's what is really keeping me interested in Texas. I need to know that my son can go to college and he can accomplish everything he wants. Strong knows hard work pays off and that's the way I raised Kendall. I like that about Strong. I like the DC, too."
Both sides had the opportunity to further their relationship when the Sheffield's were in Austin for the UIL State Track and Field meet in which Kendall was participating.
As important as those meetings in Moncrief-Neuhaus football complex were, the time spent with UT's track program was just as important.
Kendall is one of the top prep hurdlers in the country. He's going to compete in both sports in college, at least early on.
So it was important Texas track coach Mario Sategna and his staff showed Sheffield what he wanted.
"Track plays a big part in his recruitment, because he enjoys track," Cecil said. "Kendall actually started track before football. He has junior national records in track. He loves track. He says he wants to do one to two years.
"If he gets to play, he might get to do some special teams. So he thinks he can run as a freshman. But his ultimate goal is to get to the NFL as a cornerback and special teams guy."
Cecil said getting a sales pitch from a track coach is a bit different than that of a football coach. But he heard what he wanted to from Texas, which was UT wouldn't have any issues with his son playing both sports.
"It's a little different. But basically what they were saying at UT is that he can play football and track," he said.
"At the University of Texas, they wouldn't have a problem with him playing football and coming to track."
Sheffield said that all of the programs they were interested in would allow him to run track. It's normally a year-round sport for Kendall. But it's something he's taking a break from right now as he deals with an ankle injury. He suffered it during a recent camp.
"He hurt it at a camp, his right ankle he rolled it outward and strained his ligaments pretty bad," Cecil said. "He is going to see a foot doctor soon. They originally said he would be good in two weeks. Well, we were in a boot for two weeks, been out of the boot for a week and still can't put anything on it."
Cecil is not sure yet if his son will be in town for Texas' camp on July 18, but it doesn't look good.
"He is supposed to go to Alabama on July 13 and then to LSU the following week," Cecil said.
That would mean a lot of traveling in little time for the Sheffields. [William Wilkerson]
GOOD NEWS FOR UT: STRICKLAND TAKING HIS TIME
Four-star wide receiver Carlos Strickland (Dallas/Skyline) isn't in a hurry to end his recruitment, and that could be a blessing in disguise for the Longhorns.
Texas was late to the party in offering the No. 10 wide receiver in the country (No. 103 player in the Scout 300), finally pulling the trigger after Skyline's spring game. It was actually one of the last offers he's received.
The Longhorns' offer came after the likes of Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, UCLA and Wisconsin.
It would seem like they'll need time to build their relationship with Strickland, and will have the opportunity to do that.
"We even talked after spring ball and he is wide open," Skyline recruiting coordinator Eric Mims said. "I asked him about a top five, and he doesn't have one formulated just yet. He is really not rushing the process and is taking his time. He's really just taking it all in.
"He just smiles at all the schools. I've mentioned a couple of times if he's setting a date to commit and he says, ‘Nah coach I'm in no hurry.' He is really slow-playing the whole process. He isn't letting schools put pressure on him by saying ‘Hey if this other kid commits we might not have a spot for you.' None of that is fazing him. He'll make a decision on his time and not anybody else's."
Mims is of the belief, at least right now, that Strickland will take his official visits before making a decision.
"Right now I do because he hasn't done much this summer," Mims said. "He's just been enjoying himself and getting him some personal time. He's not really big on camps so he is just playing it one day at a time. I can see him [committing] well into the season but who knows. But he could get with his family and decide next week. As of right now he doesn't have a date set. I ask him every week."
Strickland keeps things close to the vest and doesn't say much publicly about his recruitment. But Mims insists that Texas is doing what it can to get him to Austin.
"I think so. He is a big talent and so those guys, the new staff, were a lot more intentional with their offers," Mims said of UT. "They weren't just throwing out offers. They had been looking at him since the new staff got there. They were really evaluating him and liked what they saw at the spring game.
"Some of the guys that were there with Coach Strong at Louisville were there personally, and they really liked what they saw out of Carlos. Coach [Bruce] Chambers has liked him. They just took their time with him and finally pulled the trigger. They are actively recruiting him pretty heavily."
Mims couldn't say if Texas hurt itself by not offering sooner or if Strickland understood why the delay might have taken place.
"I didn't get anything from him on that," Mims said. "He got the offer after the spring game and was all smiles. But, again, he is always all smiles. I'm not really sure if that is going to weigh into his decision, if Texas is going to be out because they did offer him later." [William Wilkerson]
GETTING THE PINK SLIP
Some more athletic department officials were informed this week that they would not be retained for the 2014-15 school year.
Sources told HornsDigest.com those include:
* longtime assistant athletic director for operations administration Larry Falk;
* longtime operations administration assistant Sherri Lawrence;
* longtime gameday events manager Curt Fludd
This week was a scary one for many longtime admins because it was the state deadline for 60 days notice that jobs were not being retained.
HD is still trying to determine who else might have received some bad news. (Chip Brown)
LATEST WOMEN'S COACHING SEARCH
Keep an eye on Rice women's tennis coach Elizabeth Schmidt, an Austin Westlake product who played at UCLA, to be in the mix to replace Texas' Patty Fendick-McCain, who retired last week.
Schmidt, 35, has led the Rice program to back-to-back Conference USA championships and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Like recent women's coaching hires - Ryan Murphy (UT women's golf) and Dave O'Neill (women's rowing) - Schmidt is expected to interview with both women's AD Chris Plonsky and men's AD Steve Patterson. (Chip Brown)
SUMMER WORKOUTS UPDATE: