NUGGETS GALORE ...
Keep hearing Texas Longhorns will have a new athletic director selected by year's end. Mike Perrin's agreement with UT president Greg Fenves runs through the 2017-18 school year.
I'll have more on the job Perrin has done as athletic director in the next few days. ...
Improvements to DKR this fall will include an LED renovation to Godzillatron, new speakers throughout the stadium (including microphones for the band so you can actually hear the Longhorn band!) as well as improving the strength of the WIFI by 300 percent.
Taylor Estes has an update on the facilities improvements coming inside DKR this fall a little further down in this HD ONLY. ...
BETTER GAMEDAY EXPERIENCE
Perhaps the biggest change coming to Texas football gameday experience is Tom Herman's push to reduce so-called "ads" aired on the video board during games. (THANK THE LAWDY!!!)
Obviously, this is a hugely sensitive subject for Texas women's athletic director Chris Plonsky, who is in charge of marketing and has given Texas marketing partner IMG a lot of leeway in selling ad packages that includes "a presence" inside DKR during games.
I'm told the football office would like for graphics wizards Tommy Lakes and Matt Lange to be turned loose in creating energy raising video clips that would be tagged with an advertiser logo briefly at the end. The video ring inside DKR at the mezzanine level, which will be connected from the east side, around the north end to the west side, could also be used to satisfy previous agreements with advertisers, sources said.
"It's been made very clear that Tom Herman thinks the advertising being done on the video board detracts from the gameday experience," one source close to the situation said. "And right now, it's been, 'What Tom Herman wants, Tom Herman gets.' So, there's a lot of discussion going on about how the gameday experience can be improved. It will probably be better in Year 2 and Year 3 than it might be in Year 1 - again, because of existing agreements. But it's going to get there." ...
HOOPS ARENA PRICETAG
I'm told the new basketball arena, expected to have a capacity closer to 12,000 than the Erwin Center's 16,000, planned to be built just south of the Mike A. Myers track and soccer stadium, is currently projected to cost $110 million. Previous athletic director Steve Patterson had said he expected a new basketball arena to cost roughly $450 million. ...
TENNIS FACILITY NEARING COMPLETION
UT regents are expected to approve an additional $1.9 million to complete UT's new tennis center being constructed north of Disch-Falk Field that will cover an underground "training facility" - including a weight room - that men's and women's tennis would share with women's softball (which plays its games across Comal from the tennis center at McCombs Field).
UT's new tennis facility is expected to be completed by year's end. Speaking of men's and women's tennis - despite both programs having no facility the past three years, Michael Center's men's team and Howard Joffe's women's team have both qualified for the NCAA postseason tournament.
The men are seeded No. 10 and will host first- and second-round matches with a possible meeting with No. 7 seeded Baylor in the Round of 16 and a possible meeting with No. 2 seeded Virginia in the quarters in Athens, Georgia.
The women are unseeded and could face No. 3 Ohio State in the Round of 16. ...
D'ONTA FOREMAN TOO CLOSE TO HOME?
D'Onta Foreman bought a new Maserati sports car shortly after declaring he was leaving Texas early to enter the NFL Draft.
That was a red flag for some close to Foreman as maybe not the best investment, considering he hadn't yet been drafted. Now, there is concern that Foreman being drafted in the third round by the Houston Texans is a good AND bad thing.
The good thing, obviously, is he'll be close to home (Texas City), so those close to him will be able to see him play. The bad thing is he'll be close to home, so those close to him will be able to see him play.
"There will be a lot of hangers on around D'Onta with him playing only 30 minutes from Texas City," one source close to the situation said. "He's going to need someone around him who can say, 'No.'" ...
STILL WAITING ON COURT RULING IN KEARNEY CASE
No ruling yet from the Texas Supreme Court after taking arguments from attorneys for Texas and attorneys for former UT women's track coach Bev Kearney in her discrimination lawsuit against UT alleging wrongful termination. ...
ANDREW JONES STAYING IN NBA DRAFT?
I'm hearing there's a "better than 50 percent chance" sophomore-to-be guard Andrew Jones stays in the NBA Draft.
Jones, who has had a few workouts for NBA teams, has been invited to the NBA Draft combine May 9-14 in Chicago. Jones has until June 12 to decide if he's staying in the draft or returning to school. ...
Update on DKR Stadium Renovations
While locker room renovations are well underway, DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium renovations are set to begin in the coming weeks.
According to drawings attached to the University of Texas' request for proposals, the Longhorns are looking to add the following updates inside the football stadium.
SOUTH END ZONE
NORTH END ZONE
Upgrades to the main video board are expected to be complete by July 19, with the remaining stadium modifications finalized by August 1, according to documents obtained by Horns Digest.
Elijah Long Talks Commitment, Shaka Smart's Energy
The sophomore transfer officially visited Texas over the weekend, and after spending time with Smart and the Longhorns, Long realized Austin was the place for him.
"I did not know where I was going to transfer (before my visit)," Long told Horns Digest. "But after (spending time) with Coach, I knew this was the place."
One of the biggest things to stand out to Long was Smart's personality and enthusiasm for the game. The coach's energy was at an all-time high when he got the call from Long Wednesday afternoon.
"He was definitely fired up," he said of Smart's reaction to his commitment. "He has high energy with everything he does. His energy is contagious."
An Ontario native, Long heads to Texas following his sophomore season, where his 15 points per game and 38.2-percent shooting from beyond the arch helped lead Mount St. Mary's to a NCAA tournament appearance in 2017.
While Long will be required to sit out next season, he is excited to play in a scheme similar to what he saw at Mount St. Mary's.
"The style of play is a lot like what I did at The Mount," he said. "There's a lot of energy and I'll be able to play ball while having fun doing it."
Long has yet to sign his letter of intent, and does not know when he will move to Austin.
Spotlight: Elite 2018 CB Jalen Green
HD contributor Allen Perkins caught up with Houston Heights head coach Stephen Dixon to discuss all four-star cornerback Jalen Green has to offer, both on and off the field.
“(Jalen) belongs to a leadership group called the ‘gents’, which participates in community service," Dixon said of his standout CB. "He’s also volunteered to help with Special Olympics along with the March of Dimes. There are not a lot of four-star players that do that. It’s pretty rare.”
At 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Green is one of the most coveted recruits in the 2018 class. The Scout100 prospect is the No. 2 ranked CB in the Lone Star State, and comes in at No. 22 overall for the 2018 class.
Though his talents are some of the best this recruiting cycle, Green has remained true to his roots, and has not allowed the attention to go to his head.
“He’s a humble, gracious kid. He appreciates everything that has been done for him," Dixon said.
“He is always very open with his teammates. Joking around with them and being cordial. He cares more about his teammates than himself. He’s more worried about his teammates getting offers than him.
“Once he started getting more publicity, he understood that his teammates were going to look at him more as a leader. He’s become more vocal.”
Unlike many football recruits, Green is not a big fan of being in the public eye. Dixon has helped to change that.
The head coach has worked with Green to be more accepting of the spotlight that comes with being a top prospect, as he understands the attention will follow Green at the next level.
“When it comes to the media I’ve helped him with opening up more, embracing everybody," Dixon said. "He didn’t like the media attention. In his position, he’s going to have to be more open to the media at college and possibly in the NFL.”
While Green is still weighing his options, he recently narrowed his lengthy list of offers to 13.
Dixon Has A Strong Belief in Tom Herman
There's no doubt Tom Herman has made an impression on Houston Heights head coach Stephen Dixon in their meetings together.
Dixon had nothing but glowing remarks about the first-year head coach, and is appreciative of Herman's hands-on approach with high school coaches in the Lone Star State.
“I’ve been good friends with Tom Herman since he was at U of H. We’ve played dominoes together," Dixon said. "I’m a former U of H football player. He opened his doors to me as a coach and welcomed me back to the Cougar family.
“I think Charlie Strong did a good job building relationships with Texas high school coaches. I think Tom is a little more hands-on with coaches. So, I can tell in that regard.
“Herman is a Texas guy through and through. He loves Texas kids. Not that Charlie Strong didn’t. But you can see who is permeating through Herman’s staff. They all have Texas ties. They are going to recruit Texas hard.
“I know Tom has relationships with coaches around the state. When he’s talking to me, he makes me feel like I’m the only coach in the nation that he’s talking to. When you have a person like that, you can trust him.
“I respect him as a coach and a man. He will do great things at UT. He can relate to kids and kids can relate to him.
“If any one of my guys was to commit to Texas, I’d be all for it."