HD Mailbag: Time to Press the 'Panic' Button?

In this week's HD Mailbag I answer questions about the state of Ut's 2016 class and much more.

QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER achitturi:

How are we going to get enough DTs? I don't mean to say it's impossible, but what's a likely scenario? Because right now I don't know how it'll happen. Will we take JUCO guys?

ANSWER:

You’ve got to do everything you can to get Mike Williams on board. He has to become one of the priorities of this class moving forward, even more so than he has been already.

The good news for UT is he is a fan of Texas’. The bad news: He loves other programs, in particularly Ohio State.

Marcell Southall has to be given first-class treatment as well. The secret is out on him and it’s going to take a lot of work, especially to get him to look away from Alabama, but it could happen.

If things aren’t looking great for those two I’d start to look at offering guys like Bravvion Roy, Ken McLaurin and Douglas Tucker.

Glen Logan has a history with Brick Haley, so you could see if there is something there.

I might give a longer look to Austin LBJ product Johnnie Williams too.

There are guys out there for the taking.

I could see UT going to JUCO route at this position but it’s way too early to say for certain right now.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER nmcdow:

Any word on recruiting in Cali? Besides Collin Johnson are recruiting anyone else?

ANSWER:

A couple of players to at least keep an eye on in 2016 are four-star OLB Bryce Youngquist and three-star Gil-Scott Jackson. They are merely guys I think UT could look at.

I think you could see some offers go out as we creep into the fall and then definitely in 2017 with guys like Keyshawn Johnson Jr. Remember he along with his father, yes that Keyshawn, and several other recruits visited UT in March.

Other 2017 recruits that visited were Anaheim (Calif.) Servite receiver Terrell Bynum, Newbury Park (Calif.) corner Darnay Holmes, Calabasas (Calif.) corner Jermani Brown and Calabasas (Calif.) quarterback Tristan Gebbia.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER Mralph9:

Higs seems super optimistic about the 2016 class. Obviously there is a long way to go, but several players that people seemed confident about (and some that were long shots) are looking elsewhere (Jones, Oliver, Elliot, Cobb *supposedly* favoring Baylor, Jackson, Owens, etc.). What do you think about the current direction of this class, where the last commit was a 3-star guy, and the next one will likely be as well (Stoll)? Not that 3-star guys can't be good, but we all know that it would be nice to see a star-studded class in February.

ANSWER:

I completely understand any concern you might be having. It’s warranted.

I hate to tell you to play the optimism card until this program shows you what it can do this fall, especially with the new offense. But I’m going to have to.

I think that’s when you are going to see this class really start to either come together or the coaching staff go into “Oh Crap” mode. Winning cures all. Texas can’t win 6 or 7 games and expect to make a haul like it did in 2015.

Recruits want to see winning results and improvement.

You also have the camp circuit coming up this month, beginning with a mini camp on Sunday. So you’ll see some buzz start to build around the program.

So to answer your question in short: I’d be a bit concerned but also hold out on how this team starts out the season.

I’ll also say this: If UT lands Stoll it should consider that a huge, huge victory. He’s everything UT wants in a tight end. Don’t let the star-count fool you. Try to forget that way of thinking.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER nvlonghorn:

Could you see skip taking over for augie if he chooses to retire if not who would ur top candidates be?

ANSWER:

I could see it happen but I don’t think it would. I think the Longhorns would look to make a bit of a splash hire.

Per our Chip Brown, UT put feelers out to Vandy’s Tim Corbin but he didn’t show the same interest in return.

Oklahoma State’s Josh Holliday, Samford’s Casey Dunn, and Dallas Baptist’s Dan Heefner would all be guys I’d at least take a look at.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER johndcory:

I am getting to the point where I favor more out of state recruits than in state. At this point many Texas kids don't see UT as the "in" school for them. I think many of the out of state kids realize Texas is a very good place to land and offers them a chance to get on the field quickly.

Is there much downside in an approach that looks for recruits out of state first.

ANSWER:

The biggest risk you are taking there is pissing off the Texas high school coaching community, which I can promise is the last thing you want to do.

I understand your frustration as well but Texas should always remain the No. 1 option for any Texas football coaching staff. Once you go away from it and try to reverse course when Charlie Strong is gone, you run the risk of being in some serious trouble.

I think Strong is going about his offers the right way. He is recruiting the Lone Star State hardest, which he should be, and then peppering Florida (17 offers in 2016) and Louisiana.

Winning cures all. Once Texas gets back to its winning ways, the big donors start pumping more money into athletics and the facilities get revamped, UT will again be the “in” school to a lot of in-state recruits.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER THookem:

Does Coach Strong enjoy the same budget that Mack Brown was allowed to have?

ANSWER:

There are certain cutbacks that Strong has endured but I can’t get into that right now. We will have more on this later.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER prohorns:

I feel you, Chip, and Jason are still positive about what we are doing recruiting-wise even with all the elite guys committing elsewhere.

Do you know something you have not told us? Or is it because there is a long way to go until NSD?

Please just give us something to be positive about. I'm getting increasingly skeptical about the 2016 recruiting.

ANSWER:

We try to be as transparent as we can be with or HD family. I promise you that.

As Higs often says, and he’s right, there are so many things going on behind the scenes here that if you knew all of that you’d probably feel more optimistic than you do. Unfortunately there is just some stuff we can’t disclose at the moment.

That said, the Longhorns aren’t down and out here. Far from. Texas sits in a great position with a number of its key targets. They just have to close and the best way to do that is to win.

You’ll see a lot of buzz around this program in the next few weeks with camps. I wouldn’t be completely surprised if we didn’t see at least one or two more commitments by the time you are popping fireworks on July 4.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER nwgjr:

With most of the 2015 class reporting to Austin this past weekend, any idea on when they'll reveal what numbers each guy has chose? Or exactly how the process goes with this coaching regime?

ANSWER:

I don’t know the exact process with this staff but I do know that the guys that just got on campus don’t have their numbers yet. But that will change really soon as they start to get involved with team activities. I’m told players will report back to campus on Wednesday.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER dogus:

What's your NBA Finals prediction? How many games and why?

I like the Warriors in 5; too much production off the bench for Cavs to try and match.

ANSWER:

I’m going with Golden State in 6.

I do not think that Cleveland will get a game in the Bay Area but I do see GS getting either Game 3 or 4 (leaning toward Game 4).

To me, GS has enough capable bodies to throw at Lebron while Kyrie is going to have to test his injury running off consistent picks to guard Curry or Thompson.

Andrew Bogut is also an above-average rim protector. I think he’ll have a big series.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER austinr:

Warriors in 5 sounds about correct. The West is light years ahead of the East.....imho so the team that comes out of the West should win in a walk.

ANSWER:

I’m with you 100 percent.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER gohrns:

johndcory wrote: I am getting to the point where I favor more out of state recruits than in state. At this point many Texas kids don't see UT as the "in" school for them. I think many of the out of state kids realize Texas is a very good place to land and offers them a chance to get on the field quickly.

Is there much downside in an approach that looks for recruits out of state first.

I see this as an expansion of what is going on statewide with UT in general. Because UT has decided to be an elite academic institution instead of a state university for all students of the state, we have estranged ourselves from the general population of the state. aggy, baylor, tech, UH are still universities of the people. So many of us alumni have had to send our own children to aggy, bu, tech, uh or out of state instead of maintaining legacy ties to our alma mater. So many of these kids can go to these other schools and maintain relationships with high school friends and girl friends. We have watered down the tradition and connection to UT within the state. UT created this. And it has trickled down to recruiting. Other schools are accessible and UT is not, at least not to the general population and this hurts our popularity. aggy is the cool, hip and hot school to attend in Texas. Baylor and TCU not far behind. Where I live in Cypress (NW Houston) it is like College Station south. aggy is everywhere. There is even a aggy store in the our area. A lot of peer pressure put on students by kids going to aggy and CFISD aggy admins and teachers. UT is a minority here. We are out manned and out gunned.

ANSWER:

You bring up a great point. UT isn’t going to budge on its academic standards. The Longhorns are going to have to work with that and around it. Good post.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER johndcory:

I really question your logic. As an in state student if you are in the top 7% of your school you can get into any state school in Texas. A&M is under this rule as are all the state public universities. I know many alums have complain that their kids cannot get in but this is not UT fault but more on the law.

I live is the Dallas area and we have a UT co op store by Northpark Mall for all you want. Contrary to your part of the country the local Wal mart could not move a pallet of water with the A&M logo on it.

A&M can let in more students because they want to grow to new heights while Texas wants to stay about where they are.

From what I gather from most kids the toughest schools to get into in Texas are UT and A&M. Those who can't get into these schools end up at the others.

My daughter teaches in Dallas and you will not find a bigger promoter for UT.

The point of changing requirements is across the country. When I went to college you could go where you wanted provided for the most part you had the tuition. Now kids need to be better prepared to get into their choice school.

ANSWER:

Another good post.

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QUESTION FROM HD SUBSCRIBER gohrns:

I have a kid who just finished 2nd year of college and a kid who just graduated HS. Both wanted to go to UT and applied and did not get accepted. Between the 2 of them they also applied to tamu, baylor, tcu as well as out of state. They were accepted at all the others. They both end up going out of state. UT and tamu entrance requirements are not the same. My kids nor most of their friends finished in the top 7%, but they all were accepted to tamu. I am the youngest of 6 children in my own family. All 6 of use attended UT, as did 2 in-laws. My parents have 14 grandchildren. Of the 14 grandchildren, one has made it into UT, and she graduated HS this year. Of the 14 grandchildren 8 have graduated HS and only one gets into UT. One. So where do the others end up? 1 went to aggy, 1 went to ou, 3 ended up at Ok St, 1 at small liberal arts college out of state, 1 UT Arlington and 1 at UT. So much for UT legacy in our family. This hurts UT statewide. aggy families are actually expanding their legacies, while ours is shrinking.

I'm not saying there aren't individual advocates for UT out there. I am saying that aggyness saturates the schools and it translates into aggy popularity amongst the kids.

We have a UT COOP in Houston also. It is in the Galleria area. It is not in a corner of Houston in the suburbs. aggy specifically targeting the largest school district in the state.

ANSWER:

Dare I say, another good post?

I’ll let this one breathe.

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