Recruiting: Horns fillin' up fast

With a recruiting dead period in effect and a (possible) lull in this week's avalanche of commitments, it's time to take a fresh look at the Horns' scholarship numbers situation.

Following is a breakdown by class of UT's team heading into spring (pre-Signing Day), what those numbers mean in relation to the 85 scholarship limit, and an analysis of the Horns' prospects to fill the remaining spots in the class of '02:

16 seniors, including 10 projected Holiday Bowl starters (in italics) -- DE Jermain Anderson, C Matt Anderson, QB Major Applewhite, DT Corey Bradford, S Ahmad Brooks, WR Montrell Flowers, DT Maurice Gordon, CB Ervis Hill, CB Quentin Jammer, TE Mike Jones, LB Tyrone Jones, RG Antwan Kirk-Hughes, LB D.D. Lewis, LB Everick Rawls, LB Marcus Wilkins, and RT Mike Williams;

15 seniors-to-be (14 scholarship players), including seven projected Holiday Bowl starters (in italics) -- CB Roderick Babers, LG Beau Baker, P Brian Bradford, LT Robbie Doane, G Derrick Dockery, RB Victor Ike, S Lee Jackson, DT Miguel McKay, LT Alfio Randall, DE Cory Redding, QB Chris Simms, K Dan Smith (walk-on), FB Chad Stevens, ST Beau Trahan, and FB Matt Trissel;

17 juniors-to-be, including six projected Holiday Bowl starters (in italics) -- LB Reed Boyd, CB Monti Collier, DT Adam Doiron, TE Brock Edwards, S Phillip Geiggar, LG Tillman Holloway, WR B.J. Johnson, DE O.J. McClintock, S Dakarai Pearson, RB Brett Robin, TE Bo Scaife, WR Sloan Thomas, DE Kalen Thornton, DT Marcus Tubbs, CB Nathan Vasher, RB Ivan Williams, and WR Roy Williams;

17 sophomores-to-be (14 scholarship players), including one projected Holiday Bowl starter (in italics) -- RG Trey Bates, RB Sneezy Beltran, RB Cedric Benson (non-scholarship), WR Brian Carter, RT Lionel Garr, C Jason Glynn, WR Tony Jeffery, LB Derrick Johnson, DT Stevie Lee, K Dusty Mangum (walk-on), FB Will Matthews, QB Chance Mock, K David Pino (walk-on), LB Aurmon Satchell, DT Austin Sendlein, P Justin Smith, and LB Rashad Thomas;

16 redshirt-freshmen-to-be -- OL Will Allen, S Kendal Briles, OL Mike Garcia, CB Cedric Griffin, FB Eric Hall, S Rufus Harris, CB Michael Huff, DT Kaelen Jakes, RB Anthony Johnson, S Braden Johnson, DE Lance McFarland, QB Matt Nordgren, OL Roman Reeves, OL Jonathan Scott, OL William Winston, and OL Terrance Young.

Based on the numbers above, Texas will return 51 scholarship players next fall (although attrition will almost certainly reduce that number by at least two or three). With the commitment of Blalock, the Horns' commitment total has climbed to 22: QB Billy Don Malone, RB Albert Hardy, RB Selvin Young, OL Neale Tweedie, OL Bret Valdez, OL Justin Blalock, TE David Thomas, WR Dustin Miksch, WR Marquis Johnson, DT Sonny Davis, DT Rodrique Wright, DT Marco Martin, DE Lyle Sendlein, DE Tully Janszen, DE Chase Pittman, DE Brian Pickryl, LB Brian Robison, LB Marcus Myers, LB Garnet Smith, LB Aaron Harris, DB Matthew Melton, and ATH Clint Haney. Add to that list CB Aaron Ross, who signed with Texas last February but who is scheduled to join the team this spring, and that pushes UT close to the overall 85 scholarship limit with 84 'ships currently spoken for. But the Horns are sure to sign more than one more prospect. How? Along with the probable attrition mentioned above, at least one and possibly more members of this February's class will not make it to the Forty Acres next fall because of qualification issues, giving Texas three, four or even five additional available scholarships over and above the one the current numbers suggest.

There are several targets for those four, five or six remaining spots in this class. Prominent in that group are Banquet weekend visitors DE Larry Dibbles and DE Travis Leitko, plus national top linebacker A.J. Nicholson from North Carolina (who visited Austin for the Kansas game), Louisiana LBs Rufus Alexander (a Kansas weekend visitor) and Cameron Vaughn, Longview LB Marvin Byrdsong, outstanding athlete Edorian McCullough, Madison QB Vincent Young, Colorado legacy OL/DL Kasey Studdard and Midland Lee TE Eric Winston. Byrdsong is scheduled to trip to UT the weekend of Jan. 11 while McCullough and Vaughn are scheduled to be in town the weekend of Jan. 18. Both Dibbles and Alexander look to be UT-OU battles. Leitko will decide between out-of-state Stanford, Michigan and Notre Dame and Texas. Nicholson (UT, FSU, Miami, Tenn, UNC, Georgia) and McCullough (Miami, OU, UT, A&M) are still looking at several schools, while Vaughn (UT, LSU, ND), Young (UT, Miami, Arkansas), Studdard (UT, CU) and Winston (A&M, Miami, UT) have the Horns in their final two or three.

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