HD Roundtable: Concern in 2016 or not?

Question: The Longhorns have been stuck on four 2016 commitments since Shane Buechele gave UT his verbal pledge on Feb. 23. Should Texas be concerned about this or do you feel like the Horns are right where they should be?

Greg Powers’ Take

I would not be too concerned if I were a UT fan at this point. UT has some nice commits in its class already and it is not projected at this point in time to be a class that approaches the 25-man limit.

It has already addressed some major needs in Shane Buechele and receivers Reggie Hemphill and Collin Johnson.

I think the two biggest areas of need going forward are defensive tackle and linebacker. UT is in a good spot with some of the top national names, which also happen to be top in-state names as well. Players like Kendell Jones, Donatvious Jackson and Jeffrey McCulloch. I do not think these types make quick decisions. As a matter of fact I do not think they have even cut-down their extensive offer lists yet.

At defensive end Justin Madubuike is a big name to watch. It could be a Texas vs. Texas A&M battle for him.

The one area of concern is offensive line recruiting where UT has missed on some if its initial offers. It may not be time to panic quite yet as they have identified a second wave, but if it does not land Denzel Okafor or flip Austin Myers from TCU then it will be a concern how far down the list it needs to look next.

Jason Higdon’s Take

Sometimes you are in a position to hear about things going on behind closed doors. Sometimes those things are good and other times not so good. Either way, there is always stuff going on behind closed doors the public is not made aware of for numerous reasons. It could be a kid tried to commit to Texas, but they would like to hold off for now. It could be they have a silent commitment from a kid or two rated higher at the same position. Regardless of the reasoning recruiting is always growing and evolving throughout the cycle, and things are in constant motion.

I believe with a smaller class size vs. 2015 as we have discussed you will see Texas go through this cycle methodically. To date, that is exactly what Charlie Strong and the rest of the staff are doing and will continue to do so moving forward. In a year in which you are taking upwards of 27+ kids, you can take a few more “chances” vs. a size coming in around 20-21.

Over the next several weeks or so the staff is hitting the road running just as every other staff across the country is doing. The will meet as a staff once they are pulled from the road and evaluate everyone on the board vs. some new kids they see out and about from the road. They will head into camp with a precise order (even more so than now) and go from there with the final evaluations coming from Strong in person during UTL camp later into the summer.

Gabe Brooks’ Take

I don't think there is any need to be concerned, for a couple of reasons.

First, it's the first week of May. There are nine months between now and National Signing Day 2016. That's a heck of a lot of time to make some noise on the recruiting trail, especially considering how the 2015 cycle went for Texas.

Second, exactly that. Texas appears to be more of a late-game closer under the new coaching regime, which is something a lot of Longhorn fans are not familiar with considering Texas' penchant for filling up with 20 commitments by August. Texas didn't load up with pledges early in the 2015 cycle, but finished strong to wind up in Scout's national top 10 team rankings. Not only that, the 2015 class seemed to be heavy on guys that Texas really wanted. To put it plainly, they got "their guys," for the most part.

Finally, while Texas may be No. 26 in the Scout team rankings for 2016 at the moment, there are only two Big 12 schools ahead of the Longhorns -- Baylor at No. 17, TCU at No. 9. While Baylor has landed four commitments since Texas' last commitment, TCU has not. Its last pledge came from Manvel offensive lineman Austin Myers, who Texas offered during the past week.

In other words, there's no need to freak out right now. There's a long road to Feb. 3, 2016.

William Wilkerson’s Take

In some respects I think the Longhorns are actually right where they need to be for 2016. The number of commitments might be less than a handful but their importance to shaping this class is HUGE.

Getting Shane Buechele a couple of months ago was big for obvious reasons: He’s an exceptional QB. But he’s also the type of player you want leading this class, which he is doing behind the scenes.

Collin Johnson and Reggie Hemphill are as good a 1-2 WR punch as far as commitments are concerned as you are going to find in the Big 12.

Demarco Boyd is the type of player that could be viewed as a huge steal a couple of years from now as he continues to grow into his body and more comfortable in whatever roll the Longhorns end up using him in.

Texas is fine. It’s May, early May.

The camp circuit hasn’t even started at UT yet. Once it does I expect a couple of commitments.

In talking to recruits it seems like they are much more confident with the direction this program is headed now that they’ve seen what Charlie Strong and his staff are about. They get it.

Now the Longhorns need to back up a great camp circuit with a solid 2015 campaign. Do that and all should end well for UT on the 2016 recruiting trail.

Need I remind you, as Higs reported last week, that 5-star DT Kendell Jones has visited Texas 13 times? THIRTEEN. Give it time folks.


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