Texas Recruiting Mailbag

As we enter the march to National Signing Day HornsDigest.com will answer the questions, the fans want answered each week.

1.    Not that I believe them, but do the rumors Coach Charlie Strong wants to go to Miami affect recruiting in any way?


I believe you do have some recruits, families, and even players worried that the apparent “rumors” could be true.  It honestly does not matter where things like this start, only that they start.  Sometimes when the seed of doubt is planted in the mind of a 17-year old kid, it begins to grow, and it’s a hard thing to stop.  However, I believe the relationships will in the end win out IF Texas has stronger ties to recruits vs. the competition.  The other thing that is most important is simple.  In about six weeks, or so when the season is over AND Charlie Strong is still the head coach what are people going to say?  Are they going to continue to say wait for it?  No, at that point they will not be able to say anything and at times these messages other coaches are spreading to recruits can and more times end up backfiring on them.


2.    Will Texas sign a game breaker speedster Running Back in this 2016 class I believe the class will be good, but we lacked that home run since Jamaal Charles.


I believe the running back position is very important for the Texas offense moving forward.  Back in the day when Auburn had Tre Mason (2,000-yard rusher) he was a very good back but not “great” and ran for 2,000 or right around there because of the scheme that Auburn ran.  I believe it will be the same sort of scheme you will see Texas be able to run and run well moving forward.  The two biggest names on the board at this spot above ground are Kyle Porter and Devway Whaley.  From everything I have heard I think you will see both players take visits to Texas once the season is over.  At this point the longer a kid goes without going public, the better for the Longhorns in my mind.  They are not the only two backs being recruited/looked at but two that I like regarding talent.


3.    When a recruit sees a program going up and down (with wins and losses, good/bad performances), how can coaches get them to believe in the program as a contender moving forward? Also, how does the entire athletic program support the coach when fans are losing confidence in the on-field performance and recruiting?


I would never sit and suggest these are easy obstacles to overcome, but they are things they can move past.  It takes good old fashion hard work on the recruiting trail.  It’s about sitting down during the in-home visit with a recruit and his family and looking them in the eye and convincing them of the direction you are taking the program and how important THEY are in that objective.  To answer the second question, it’s even more difficult I believe.  A great athletic department will support the coaching staff 100% until such a time they feel the coaching staff has lost the ability to progress forward with the team. 


4.    What is our class going to look like on National Signing Day? (Mock Class)


I believe you will see Texas get very close to the 25 man mark on NSD.  I am not going to do my mock class at this time, but I feel very good with the players on the board at this time.  Could something happen moving forward that causes one of them to jump ship?  It could happen.  At the same time, you must ask yourself could something happen in the future that could cause other big time recruits to jump on board?  It could happen.  As far as what the class could look like on NSD some suggestions would be.


Obi Ehoh, Peyton Aucoin, Tren’Davian Dickson, Gerald Wilbon, Tope Imade, Shane Buechele, DeMarco Boyd, Collin Johnson, Denzel Okafor, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Jean Delance, Chris Brown, Dontavious Jackson, Jordan Elliott, Jamal Pettigrew, D’Andre Christmas-Giles, Deontay Anderson, Michael Williams and Jeffrey McCulloch are but a few players that should all take OV’s to Texas.  This is only a small portion of things going on today with the recruiting board.  Texas is going to land more than a few players from this list in my mind. Another thing to remember as we enter this stretch run to NSD.  You just about always land someone you are not supposed to and lose someone you think you had.  It just seems to work out that way each recruiting cycle and is something you simply can't ignore.


5.    How does TEXAS stand with the JUCO DL offered? Does this put pressure for other kids to commit soon (Like Fitzgerald)? 


It’s fairly early in the game with him, but Texas does have a pretty solid connection which is why the initial offer was handed out yesterday.  I think the biggest thing with all juco kids is grades and they seemingly all have work to do, and this case could be no different.  I can’t say for sure if he intends to visit, but I think the coaching staff feels pretty good he will make it to campus.  This once again will test my theory of not being in the best of spots to land a kid who made one and only one trip to your campus that being the official visit.


6.    Any 2016 kids about to pop?


I think a few kids could be closer than some would realize.  In this line or work, it’s hard enough to accurately predict who is in and even more difficult to say when they are in.  The bread crumbs are there to follow, though.  It usually is repeat visitors to campus for games.  The weather certainly has not helped but think about the last home game and who was supposed to come and then check out who shows up this weekend. 


7.    Sirius Radio's College Football channel had ISU's Rhoads on this morning to talk about the upset win over TEXAS (UGH) and asked him two things he wants changed in the game and recruiting. For recruiting he believes football should match basketball's rules by have schools pay for a parent to attend an OV (makes sense). Why would basketball already have this rule but not football? Who makes these rules up and how can they be sport specific? 


I think it all comes down to the NCAA and the guidelines they have in place.  I honestly can't follow all the stuff the NCAA allows or won’t allow because it appears ever changing.  I think one parent is allowed to have some financial assistance during the OV weekend, but I don’t pay that close attention to these kinds of things unless it impacts what I do in some capacity.


8.    There seems to be more talk on this board lately about coaches then recruiting (understandably), and we can't go into any "changes" that should/could/would be made but you seem to have a good understanding of the roster here at TEXAS. So regardless of which coaches are on the sideline next season what kind of offense would YOU install at TEXAS given our personal and our goals of winning the B12 and the CFP? Please feel free to give team examples like Ohio State, Alabama, Cal, etc...


This is a GREAT question, my friend.  I have often wondered what I would do if I was a head coach and what would I want to run.  You have some people who say just go score no matter what.  At the end of the day isn’t that the point?  Outscore your opponent and win the game.  I love offense as much as the next guy, but I don’t want to get into a track meet and win games 70-53 if I had my choice.  Yes, I understand 70-53 is better than losing no question.  Above all else I love running the football.  There is nothing more demoralizing than knowing a team is going to run, and YOU can’t do anything to stop it.  It’s like dying a slow death, you know it’s coming, but can't avoid it or do anything about it.  I want to do two things on offense.  I wan’t to score points WHILE keeping the other offense off the field.  This accomplishes so much.  My defense gets to stay off the field, the other high-powered offense in this league is on the sidelines AND for good measure the opposing defense is staying on the field that sets up perfectly for me late in the game.  I think Texas has guys that can stretch the field vertically in John Burt.  I think they have runners that can go insdie like Foreman/Warren and guys that can go outside in Daje/Heard.  I think they have guys like DeAndre McNeal that they can motion out of the backfield and get matched up on a LB.  I think they can do a lot of things they are not fully taking advantage of at this time.  I understand I took the long way to answering this question, my bad.  I like multiple teams with the way they run the offense.  Alabama, Ohio State, and Auburn all bring something different to the table, and I would take the best aspects of each and mold into what I would like to run.  I want a mobile QB that can run when he must but can make quick decisions and recognize what looks the defense is trying to give him on the fly.  I want to take shots deep to back the S/FS away from the LOS, and I want to include my TE in the passing game for the very same reason to keep the LB honest.  I want speed sweeps, counters, bubble screens, slants, come back routes as well as TE drags across the middle of the field AND seem routes.  The key with any of these teams and the systems they run is THEY have the players they need to run them.


9.    We will sign roughly 15 more guys on top of who is already committed... Do you see any commits coming this month? It seems like Charlie could use a couple of solid names making commits in the next couple of weeks.


It is not 100% out of the realm of possibilities.  I am not going to tell you to expect two to pop and then it doesn’t happen.  I feel a few could be closer to announcing than people realize but will it be this month?  That is tough for me to say with certainty.


10.    Of the 3-4 O-line guys we expect to sign, do you see any of them having as instant an impact as Williams and Vahe? Not just starting, but being as good as them?


Texas is In on multiple big times offensive linemen such as Denzel Okafor and Jean Delance to name a few.  I feel both of these players could come in and IF they do the things Williams/Vahe did from a work ethic standpoint could come in and have the same kind of impact no question.

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