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HD's Taylor Estes Q&A with freshman WR Reggie Hemphill
I caught up with Reggie Hemphill before he enrolled at Texas. I will release my full feature story on him Thursday, but here is part of my Q&A with the talented wide receiver.
ESTES: How would you describe yourself as a person away from the football field?
HEMPHILL: "I'm to myself most of the time, but when I'm around my friends, I'm goofy and playful. I like to joke a lot and will pull pranks on my friends."
ESTES: What do you enjoy doing outside of football and track?
HEMPHILL: "I like to skate, fish, go hunting and mainly just hang with my friends."
ESTES: What is something most people do not know about you?
HEMPHILL: "I like to bake a lot. I can bake anything. Whatever is in the cabinet that I can get my hands on, I will bake it, especially when I'm bored. It's mostly cakes, cookies, brownies and things like that. Anything I make never makes it through the night."
ESTES: So your baking must be pretty good then.
HEMPHILL: "Yeah. It always gets eaten immediately."
ESTES: What events or people in your life have helped mold you into the person you are today?
HEMPHILL: "My mother. She's a strong, independent woman who raised me and my eight siblings by herself most of the time. She has always made things happen when it doesn't seem possible."
ESTES: Eight siblings? What was it like growing up in a house with that many people?
HEMPHILL: "You would think it would be chaotic, but it really wasn't like that all the time. The only time it would be chaos was when we were fighting over food."
ESTES: Who is the most influential person in your life?
HEMPHILL: "I have a lot of influential people in my life. My mother is for sure because she is strong and independent. She never shows emotion. My older brothers are too. They are very smart, so I try to match up to them in school."
ESTES: What all positions did you play growing up?
HEMPHILL: "I played quarterback the longest. When I got to high school, I thought I was going to play quarterback, but when I got to my first camp (the coaches) told me I was going to play receiver."
ESTES: Do you miss playing quarterback?
HEMPHILL: "I miss it sometimes because the quarterback has the ball in their hands every play, so I liked that part of it."
ESTES: When did you start liking the University of Texas?
HEMPHILL: "My mom bought me a UT letterman's jacket when I was younger. At the time, I didn't know what it was. She told me it was a college and we started watching Texas on TV all the time after I got that jacket."
ESTES: Who is one of your role models?
HEMPHILL: "I was a big Vince Young fan growing up. He's a great person. He's a very selfless, humble person and I try to model myself after him in that area."
ESTES: At the time you committed to Texas, you were the youngest verbal pledge in school history. How was it to be in that position?
HEMPHILL: "I didn't know how big it was. I was just excited to get my college paid for. Then I started realizing kids get offered at a younger and younger age, so I feel special because I kind of feel like I was one of the first to start that off at Texas."
ESTES: You have seen quite a few offensive coordinators and position coaches come and go at Texas in recent years. What do you like most about Sterlin Gilbert?
HEMPHILL: "I like Sterlin Gilbert because he's a young coach. He knows what he's going with this type of uptempo offense. It's the type of offense I ran in high school, so I should have no problem coming in and learning it."
ESTES: Of all of the 2016 signees, who are you most excited to play with?
HEMPHILL: "There are two. I would have to say Shane (Buechele) and Collin (Johnson). Those two are competitors and are making a big difference right now. When I get there, I want to be a part of that."
Hemphill Weighs in on Shane Buechele
It's apparent Shane Buechele has made quite an impression on his teammates in a short period of time. When asked to describe Buechele as a person, Hemphill gave him a rave review.
"Shane is the ultimate competitor. Not many people knew much about him, but then he came out of nowhere because he worked so hard," Hemphill said.
"By the time people started noticing him after The Opening, it was too late.
"From what I have seen, he's a guy who leads by example. He's a dog and is going to make plays for you.
"With him being a quarterback and me a receiver, you have always got to have that bond and relationship on and off the field. That's what I have with Shane."
PERRIN REVERSING SOME OF PATTERSON'S CARNAGE
Remember when I reported a year ago that former agent of athletic department death Steve Patterson had cut athletic dining hall privileges for UT coaches from unlimited trips to just 30 per year?
After 30 trips, coaches had to pay $10 out of their own pocket every time they went in.
It had become an issue, because Texas men's and women's tennis haven't had a facility for two years, and the dining hall was a place for those coaches and their players to meet.
I hear AD Mike Perrin is changing it back to unlimited trips to the athletic dining hall for UT coaches.
I hear Perrin is restoring the 737 charter aircraft with 50 first-class seats used by Texas basketball from 2008 until Patterson took over and cut it. Only Texas and Kansas had such charters. Then, it was only KU.
Last season, Texas basketball flew conventional regional aircraft charters which require players to fold their long frames into those same, lack-of-leg-room airplane seats you and I sit in.
I'm hearing airfare is likely to return for Texas baseball to destinations such as Lubbock, Norman and Stillwater after two-plus seasons of taking buses to make those roughly 7-hour drives. That was yet another Stevie P cost-cutting move.
In short, Perrin is once again making it about the student-athletes and what the coaches need to support those student-athletes.
NO INCREASE IN 2016 TEXAS FOOTBALL SEASON TICKET PRICES
After Texas football season ticket prices went up an average of 21 percent from 2014 to 2015 under Steve Patterson, Longhorns' fans saw not one penny of an increase in season ticket prices for 2016 under Mike Perrin.
BAYLOR FOOTBALL PLAYER RELEASES
I was told today that Jim Grobe is using Baylor's 30-day response period to meet with the 7 or so 2016 kids who have not yet enrolled and who want out of their NLI.
I was told if Grobe is unsuccessful, that Baylor is likely to give those kids a full release. (I believe this is Grobe's suggestion, because he knows the appeal process is likely to go in the kids' favor. Grobe with some common sense, apparently.)
Under that scenario, the June 24 date Higs' mentioned is likely when we could see the Baylor 2016 kids who want out - being released from their NLIs.
Initially, it appeared BU wasn't going to release football players who wanted out of their NLIs to any other Big 12 schools.
Players will be able to appeal if that's how it plays out.
The one Baylor signee free to go wherever he wants is WR Devin Duvernay, one of the top 2016 WRs in the country (Scout's No. 41 overall prospect and No. 4 WR), because his letter of intent was somehow not filed with the National Letter of Intent Office.
Based on my conversations Wednesday, it sounds like Texas probably trails TCU for Duvernay at this moment. But, of course, Duvernay is expected to visit UT this weekend. So, Charlie Strong and Co. will get the chance to make up any ground this weekend.
As for other 2016 Baylor signees who are now looking around, Texas' best shots will undoubtedly be with Duvernay, OL J.P. Urquidez, CB Parrish Cobb and OL Patrick Hudson. And come the last week of June, those players may be getting their full release (if Jim Grobe's suggestion is followed).
WILLIE LYLES IS BACK
Lyles, whose so-called scouting service played a key role in Texas recruits LaMichael James, Lache Seastrunk and Derron Thomas going to Oregon earlier this decade and landing the Ducks in the NCAA's crosshairs, is back.
I'm told Lyles has been very active in Houston and southeast Texas in repping high-profile players via an "elite" 7-on-7 team and connecting them with top college programs in the state and across the nation by taking those players on bus trips to so-called 7-on-7 tournaments that inevitably include stops to high-profile college campuses.
During those campus stops, recruits get a chance to meet coaches and see faraway campuses they might not otherwise have been able to afford to go see, while college coaches show Lyles the love for delivering those recruits (literally).
I'm told Lyles is directing kids to certain high schools where they can get their transcripts improved and also get assistance on standardized tests.
I expect to have more on this soon.
Sadly, the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, is basically doing the same thing, recruiting kids, setting them up in school and providing standardized test training. But instead of getting money from college coaches for doing this, the IMG Academy, which used to be the Nick Bolleteiri Tennis Academy - has a television deal with ESPN that allows the academy to more than cover its costs for recruiting and pumping out top talent.
Right now, I'm told, the IMG Academy is all-in trying to recruit Houston Episcopal 5-star DT Marvin Wilson.
TEXAS BASEBALL COACHING SEARCH
ICYMI I reported on Tuesday there's a new name to keep an eye on in addition to Florida's Kevin O'Sullivan and it's Tulane's David Pierce.
Pierce just took Tulane to its second straight NCAA Regional (in two years as head coach), taking down top-seeded Ole Miss in the Oxford Regional before losing to Boston College 6-3 with a berth in the Super Regional round on the line.
The Green Wave hadn't been to the NCAA postseason since 2008 before Pierce took over the program in June of 2014.
Prior to his arrival at Tulane, Pierce, a native of Houston, took Sam Houston State to three straight NCAA Regionals from 2012-14.
Pierce also served as an assistant at Rice under Wayne Graham, working as both the hitting coach (2003-05) and pitching coach (2006-11) for the Owls.
In 2001 and 2002, Pierce was the hitting coach at Houston, and the Cougars made NCAA postseason appearances in both years.
Pierce has been to an unprecedented 16 straight NCAA Regionals (as an assistant coach at Rice and Houston and as the head coach at SHSU and Tulane).
I'm told Vandy's Tim Corbin is no longer under consideration.
The other two names I had heard the most before Pierce were Florida's Kevin O'Sullivan and TCU's Jim Schlossnagle. But things may be heating up with Pierce, a 1988 graduate of Houston.
Pierce's Tulane bio: http://www.tulanegreenwave.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/david_pierce_904132.html