Taylor Estes

HD ONLY: Texas Longhorns Offseason Workouts, Recruiting Updates, Vince Young Not Hanging Up NFL Dreams & More

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WELCOME TO TEXAS' BASIC TRAINING

Half the Texas Longhorns are in gold, half in green and a half dozen or so in crimson. 

You can't miss them, because those in gold lead the way, everywhere, get to eat first, enter first, leave first and enjoy the privileges of simply being first.  

Those in green are next. 

And those in crimson? You don't want to be in crimson. Oh, lawdy, you don't want to be in crimson. Those poor bloaks are always bringing up the rear, carrying the backpacks and other gear of those in front of them and might not even have a towel to dry off after their shower - unless they want to use one already used by a teammate in those two groups ahead of them. 

Speaking of towels, there might be some laundry or other 4 am chores for those in crimson. There's definitely more study hall hours. There's more of everything you wouldn't want. 

The message is clear: If you're taking up residence in crimson, you're probably not going to be around long. Probably by your own choice.  

In the military, it's called basic training. At Texas, it's called winter conditioning, and by all accounts, Tom Herman is the irascible drill sergeant right now. The guy known for kissing his players on the forehead before games at Houston? That guy's nowhere to be found right now.  

It's all about stress and duress right now. 

"Stress and duress brings out character in people," strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight said. 

Herman is trying to create stress and duress at every turn - to see who rises above it and to see who wilts under it. To see who demands more of themselves and their teammates and who tries to cut a corner. 

McKnight said dividing players into gold, green and crimson categories might seem to create division among players. But McKnight said inevitably it causes the team to come together based on peer pressure.  

"What do we complain about all the time in this country?" McKnight said. "That we're not developing leaders. And peer pressure develops leadership."

 

(CHIP BROWN)

 

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ARE CLUES POINTING TO CANADA FOR VINCE YOUNG'S RETURN?

Agent Leigh Steinberg announced on Twitter Wednesday former Texas QB Vince Young is a new client "who has a dream of playing more football." Are clues pointing to the Canadian Football League for Young? 

https://twitter.com/leighsteinberg/status/831996104925339650 

Steinberg and Young weren't immediately available for comment Wednesday. 

But I'm told Young convinced Steinberg he has the proper perspective to attempt to resume his football career. And that perspective includes Young being OK with the very likely possibility that no NFL team would be interested in signing him, thus he'd be willing to play professional football in another league. 

While there has been speculation about Young possibly trying to come back in The Spring League, a new, four-team pro league starting in April, there might be good reason to keep an eye on Canada as a landing spot for Young. 

Two weeks ago, the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League picked up Young's CFL negotiating rights, according to 3downnation.com ( http://3downnation.com/2017/02/02/riders-add-former-nfl-star-vince-young... ). Young's CFL rights had been with the Montreal Allouettes through 2015. Young had previously not shown a willingness to play in the CFL, according to sources close to the situation. 

When CFL free agency kicked off on Tuesday, Saskatchewan, which finished 5-13 last season, made a major splash by signing OT Derek Dennis, who was named the league's most outstanding offensive lineman for 2016 with the Calgary Stampeders. The Roughriders allowed the second-most sacks in the CFL last season (57). Former Texas Longhorn Kennedy Estelle started 10 games on the offensive line for Saskatchewan last season. 

The Roughriders are also debuting a $278 million renovation of their home field - Mosaic Stadium - in 2017. With the high-level success of NFL QBs in their mid-to-late 30s (see Super Bowl 51), could a plugged-in, focused, 33-year-old Young end up being part of the Roughriders' attempt to sell tickets and excitement in their shiny new home? 

Young has been out of football since he retired from the NFL in 2014 with a career record of 31-19 as a starting QB, Pro Bowl appearances in 2006 and 2009 as well as Rookie of the Year honors in 2006 after being selected No. 3 overall by the Tennessee Titans.

Following his NFL retirement, Young  was hired into a $100,000-per-year job as a development officer, helping to raise money, in UT's Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Young has also served as an analyst on the Longhorn Network.

Young pleaded no contest to a January 2016 DWI charge and was sentenced to 18 months probation, a $300 fine and 60 hours of community service.  

(CHIP BROWN)

 

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4-Star S Atanza Vongor Excited for Texas Junior Day

Some of the top talent in the 2018 recruiting class is scheduled to be in Austin later this month for Tom Herman's first Junior Day at Texas. 

Among those expected in attendance is South Grand Prairie safety Atanza Vongor.

Craig Naivar and Tim Beck have led the charge in recruiting the four-star prospect. Vongor has enjoyed his conversations with the Longhorns' coaches, and is most looking forward to junior day to better get to know the staff.

"They're great. I've had the chance to talk with them and they seem like some real people," Vongor said. 

"I'm just trying to get a feel for all the coaches and just the atmosphere of the place."

His unofficial visit later this month will give the Texas staff valuable facetime with the top prospect before he makes his college decision.

"I want to go somewhere I feel at home," he said of what matters most to him. "A family atmosphere with a tradition of success, where I know I can succeed as well.

"Somewhere where the coaches are real and the program is legit."

Vongor plans to cut his recruiting process short and commit in early March. As it stands, TCU, Texas and Baylor are on top for the No. 4 ranked safety in 2018. 

(TAYLOR ESTES)

  

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OT Reese Moore Talks Longhorns

Seminole OT Reese Moore has seen a significant increase in his recruiting process. The three-star prospect has caught the attention of several D-I programs, picking up seven offers since late January.

But one offer stood out to the 2018 prospect - the University of Texas.

"They said they were very interested (in me)," Moore said of his talks with the Longhorns' staff. "They think I can fit in well as a tackle."

Though he doesn't have an official favorites list, receiving an offer immediately put the Longhorns in the mix. Moore told me Texas fits "pretty high" on his list.

"I like the discipline and the tradition that is Texas football," he said. "I'm very excited. It's a great opportunity."

At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, Moore holds offers from more than a dozen college football programs, including Oklahoma, TCU, Texas Tech and Missouri, among others. 

Texas is recruiting Moore as an offensive tackle, however, he is open to play whatever position at the next level.

"I really don't have a preference," he said. "I'm willing to play whatever position that is needed."

A three-sport athlete, Moore will spend his Spring throwing discus in track and field and playing basketball for Seminole high school.

"We should win district and go very far," he said of his hoops team. "We have 10 juniors on our team, so we are all coming back next year."

Though Moore's interest in Texas his high, he does not currently have set plans to visit Austin in the near future because of his other athletics' obligations. 

(TAYLOR ESTES)

 

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Son of Former NFL First-Rounder Hopes for Texas Offer

Braden River (Fla.) DE Taylor Upshaw will be in Austin Feb. 25 for Texas Junior Day and is hoping to grab the attention of the Longhorns' staff.

Oscar Giles has been in touch with the younger Upshaw for months, dating back to his time at Houston. Giles has continued his conversations with the Sunshine State prospect since arriving at Texas.

"I talked to Coach Giles ever since he was at Houston," Upshaw said. "He loves my film and is looking for versatile players who can rush the passer from the outside edge or rush inside.

"Both things I can do."

Son of former NFL first-rounder Regan Upshaw, Taylor did not grow up playing football. In fact, he did not step foot onto the football field until his junior season, but that has not stopped schools from offering the defensive end. 

While Upshaw currently holds offers from more than half a dozen schools, an offer from the Longhorns would take his recruitment to a new level. The 6-foot-4.5, 250-pound DE said he would "love" to pick up a Texas offer, and is hopeful one may come once the coaches see him face-to-face. 

"They want to see me in person, but once they see my height and weight, hopefully they (offer)," Upshaw said of the Longhorns' staff. "I have not put together a top group, but (Texas) would be one of my best offers."

In addition to attending Texas junior day Feb. 25, Upshaw has unofficial visits planned to Oklahoma Feb. 19, Northwestern March 3and University of Florida March 25.

(TAYLOR ESTES)

 

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Spotlight: Country's No. 1-ranked 2018 Athlete - BJ Foster 

Allen Perkins: HD Contributor

Twitter: @AllenPerkinsHD 

Along with his head coach, four-star athlete BJ Foster spoke with HD about his personality, hobbies and love of football. Foster will attend Texas' Junior Day on February 25th 

The Angleton (Texas) product will play safety at the next level (according to Foster and his head coach). Foster’s final five are: LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, TCU and Texas (random order).

BJ Foster took a different path than usual towards football stardom.

“I never even thought about playing football growing up," Foster said. "I always wanted to be a cowboy and rope. I grew out of it (roping). I began to take football more serious. I started to love it. It took up most of my time.”

BJ continued, “My parents, they never let me play in my age group, because they knew I would get better if I played against the older kids. I played up in age group. It made me more serious. I had to improve my skills. I started training in the summer and working out more all the time.”  

As far as other athletic interests, Foster said, “I used to play basketball. I was pretty good. I still would be playing if not for football. Football separated from basketball two years ago. It became more important. I love football.”

When asked who molded him into the man he is today, BJ told HD, “My parents and my whole family. My uncles and cousins. They told me I could get us out of this. To keep pushing myself and it will be alright.”

As far as unique talents, Foster said, “I’m pretty good at shooting a bow. My dad and brothers, they all hunt. I looked up to my dad and his brothers. But I was never strong enough to do it. I wanted to get stronger so I could do it and now I can.”

“Roping and shooting with a bow helped me with hand eye coordination and being able to judge the ball in basketball helped in football.”

BJ told HD some of his other favorite activities included playing Madden with friends, playing basketball, listening to music (to unwind) and attending rodeos with friends.

When asked what his friends would say about him, BJ said, “I’m always laughing and fun to be around.”

Angleton High School Head Coach/Athletic Director Ryan Roark was kind enough to provide his own thoughts on Foster.

Roark said a lot of schools are in frequent contact with BJ but there are 5 or 6 teams in the running and BJ is “very interested in UT. “He’s taking his time and really evaluating each school, where he can fit in best. What scheme is the best fit.”

Roark said, “BJ is 100 percent a defensive guy. This kid wants to be a safety. Wherever he signs, he’ll be a safety.

If BJ wanted to play other positions in college, Roark believes he could.

“He could be a Division One receiver, running back, linebacker or corner. If he can stay healthy, he can play in college and in the NFL.

Roark added, “I feel like it's a good relationship between BJ and the UT staff.”

Roark told HD, “He gets along with his teammates very well. He’s not a loudmouth. He’s a silent assassin. His game plays loud.”

Roark continued, “He’s really coachable, which is the highest compliment you can give a player. Not a rah-rah guy. He’s very business like and watches a lot of video. Spends a lot of time with the defensive coordinator.”

On Foster’s personality, Roark added, “He’s a good kid. Not very outgoing. He’s a funny guy who gets along with everyone. He loves clowning around.”

Roark said Foster “Brings that hard hat and lunch pail approach,” despite the overwhelming amount of attention which comes with recruiting.

Roark explained, “It’s difficult when the entire world, the coaches in recruiting, the media, are telling you how great you are. He’s quiet. Not going around thumping his chest. That helps him play at a high level. He keeps his humility and stays humble. That’s one of the reasons the college coaches like him.”

Roark is excited to see what BJ can do when he plays an entire season. BJ dealt with injuries during his sophomore and junior campaigns, missing multiple games both seasons. BJ told me he wasn’t overly worried about his ACL injury.

Roark explained how he has personally helped BJ grow as a young man and a player. “I think all of the above. The entire coaching staff has. It takes a village. That’s the case for all of our athletes. With BJ, sometimes it’s been a lot of encouragement, prodding and tough love. Getting him where he needs to be.”

Roark explained, “Everyone helps with that. The teachers, counselors and administrators. We want to give him the best opportunity to be as successful as he can be.”

 

(ALLEN PERKINS)

 

 

 

 


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