With Texas ready to host Junior Day I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about some players (some attending/some not) that will be a main focal point on the recruiting trail moving forward.
First of all everyone who has been offered at this time is a big time target for the Longhorns. They have offered just over 50 players by my calculations, and I am expecting a few more this weekend. From the people I talk with I have been alerted of two that will be offered very soon. Is there a chance one of the kids landing an offer could pull the trigger this weekend? Sure there is. But plenty of things need to happen before this goes down. We will have a much better understand of how things go and what Texas thinks and the recruits/families after this weekend. But one kid, in particular, is sky high heading into this event.
One of the more interesting prospects coming in this weekend is OT Willie Allen from River Ridge (LA) John Curtis Christian School. He is teammates with linebacker Nathaniel Evans, who has planned to attend this junior day for a long time. It is not 100% certain Allen shows, but he is scheduled to attend.
Even though the players on the list have confirmed/scheduled to attend some of them will not show, and some not on the list will end up in Austin. It is the nature of the beast when it comes to junior days.
Here are a few more I have not listed that I will be very curious to see how things play out this weekend:
Erick Fowler (Manor HS)
J.P. Urquidez (Copperas Cove HS)
Tren'Davian Dickson (Navasota HS)
Jordan Carmouche (Manvel HS)
Eric Cuffee (Waco HS)
Dontavious Jackson (Elsik HS)
Mark Jackson (Steele HS)
Eric Monroe (North Shore HS)
Michael Williams (All Saints Episcopal)***
Just because NSD is over it does not mean Texas may not fill the remaining couple of spots if the opportunity presents itself. This could be done a number of ways, but the most logical would be with grad transfers. I am not suggesting some witch-hunt or positions for that matter, but this is a logical scenario at this time.
Texas loaded up on the defensive back seven in 2015, putting a big emphasis on the front four in 2016. DE/DT will be a big time position of need moving forward. These kids have been offered (listed on boards 2016 offers) but Michael Williams and Kendell Jones will be two of the most heavily recruited inside guys this season. Jordan Elliott spoke with just about the entire staff within the last 24-36 hours and things went very well. We will see how things proceed with Texas and Elliott moving forward.
Texas has offered numerous DE prospects at this time, including Mark Jackson and Erick Fowler - two players who should be in town this weekend.
Looking at the secondary I think you will see only two CB's in this class. Three have been offered as of today. Texas has zero shot with Jared Mayden (Texas going in a different direction), Khalil Ladler and Saivon Smith. At the end of the day I think you will see two CB's and maybe one transition DB on NSD 2016. Texas is in great shape in the defensive backfield. I think Deontay Anderson could be the one transition player possibly. Not suggesting this kid will be in the class but that type/style of player for this particular position if it's not him.
Texas is clearly shooting for the stars on the offensive side of the ball, and they are hot out of the gate right now. Shane Buechele, Collin Johnson and Reggie Hemphill make up a GREAT start in February. I think you will see a huge focus on this side of the ball with players such as RB Devway Whaley/Trayveon Williams and WR Mykel Jones/Tren'Davian Dickson to name a few.
Speaking of the actual team for a minute the one thing to understand is they have a much, much higher understanding of what is expected of them vs. this time last year. They are so far ahead of where they are from a mental point of view. It’s completely a blue collar bring your lunch pail to work mentality. It has been very refreshing to see for everyone close to the program the determination of the overall team right now - everything from mat drills to the way they carry themselves. The team is more cohesive unit than it was last year.
From an overall numbers standpoint, we are looking at the following for NSD 2016:
10-11 on the offensive side of the ball.
QB 1-2 - Not counting Merrick in this group of 1-2 possibly by the way.
10-11 on the defensive side of the ball give or take*****
With Buechele, Johnson, Boyd, Hemphill and Merrick you have five of the possible 20 commitments or so for NSD. Texas can only take roughly 15 more kids in this class so name of the game will be selective. One thing to understand with Strong is with a class size this small when they offer a kid it's REAL, and if they take a kid it's a kid they LOVE. Things will change so much (board) from now to the start of the season and from the start of the season to Feb 2016.
To no one's surprise, Brick will take over the state of Louisiana and see if he can do some damage on the recruiting trail. I am sure he is more than up for the challenge regarding recruiting vs. Miles and the boys from LSU after the way things went down over the last several weeks or so. It should be interesting to watch and see what ole Brick can accomplish this season come NSD.
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*****Four-star DT Ed Oliver’s Junior Highlights
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