RBs, QB Top Priority In Brown's Smallest Class

Okay, let's talk about the 2005 recruits who <I>did</I> ink with Texas on Wednesday. The group of 15 ranks as head coach Mack Brown's smallest class in Austin but who, across the board, may stand the biggest chance of contributing this fall compared to previous signees.

2005 Texas Signee list I Team Rankings

"It is our smallest class but I believe, coming into their freshmen year, will be our most productive class," Brown said. "There's not a guy in here that we, as a staff, do not feel can't help us win. All of these guys qualified (academically) and all of these guys fit our needs."

The priority was signing running backs and at least one quarterback. Brown inked four RBs on Wednesday and Tuscola QB Colt McCoy whom Brown described as "the most under-publicized" recruit from the Lone Star State.

McCoy was the Texas 2A Two-time Offensive Player of the Year after completing 536-of-849 (63.1 percent) career passes for 9,344 yards and 116 TDs. He is Texas' first QB recruit since Vince Young signed in 2002.

"Because of Vince, we've had trouble signing a quarterback over the past couple of years," Brown said. "I think Colt McCoy is a tremendous prospect. He didn't get the publicity that a lot of other people got but we think he'll be a great player. When you've got a name like Colt, that's a great start for a Texas quarterback."

"If we only had three or four scholarships this year, tailback and quarterback were the places that we had to get fixed," Brown said. "Anything other than that, we're okay. We had to get a good player at each position and we felt like we did that."

The headliner among the RBs is Port Arthur's Jamaal Charles (6-1, 190), a Parade All-American who rushed for 4,107 yards and 50 TDs the past two seasons, including three games of 400+ yards during his senior campaign. The Associated Press first-team 5A All-State selection has the strength to pound it inside the tackles but also the speed to get outside.

RB Jerrell Wilkerson is an A.P. first-team 5A All-State selection after breaking former Texas RB Priest Holmes' high school career rushing record in San Antonio. The Clark HS product, a speedster who reminds many of Eric Metcalf, blazed to a city-record 7,249 yards and 110 rushing TDs in his career. His 124 total TDs include 12 kick returns for the score.

Those who prefer big RBs will like 6-3, 270 (270!) Grapevine product Henry Melton. The second-team All-USA Today selection gained more than 800 yards and scored eight TDs during his senior campaign, while averaging 6.2 ypc as a junior. Brown praised Melton for his "quickness and power," listing him as a total package "who can catch, block and run."

Denver Colorado RB Michael Houston (6-0, 230) enrolled at UT in January and will participate in spring drills. Houston was an Associated Press honorable mention 5A All-State selection after rushing for 1,414 yards and 23 TDs on 202 carries last season.

"We can get a lot of work out of him this spring and I can't wait to watch him," Brown said.

Houston joins Albuquerque, N.M. DE Aaron Lewis (6-4, 270) as the only UT recruits outside of Texas. The Parade All-American and two-time first-team 5A All-State selection posted 238 career tackles and set a state record with 25.5 sacks during his junior campaign. The son of a military chaplain, Lewis' contacts with Texas began when his family was stationed in San Antonio four years ago.

The defensive jewel of the 2005 recruiting class is five-star and 5A first-team all-state DT Roy Miller. The Killeen Shoemaker standout was a captain in the 2005 U.S. Army All-American Bowl and finished second in MVP voting in that January 15 contest. Miller's stock increased dramatically as a senior after he totaled 264 tackles and 24 sacks for his career.

"We thought Roy was the best defensive lineman in the state," said Brown, who likened the 6-2, 200-pounder to former Texas great Casey Hampton. "He may be more athletic than Casey, at the same age. When he got into the All-American game down in San Antonio, he showed up even more. We felt like we had to have one defensive lineman. We're really fortunate to get Roy and I can't wait to watch him play next year."

In fact, Miller told Inside Texas last Thursday that Brown expects him to be part of the rotation when the Horns open against Louisiana-Lafayette on September 3.

The "big surprise" of the 2005 signees, Brown said, is former Mart WR Quan Cosby who previously deferred his scholarship offer to spend the past four seasons as an outfielder in the California Angels farm system. The former two-time 2A first-team All-State at QB and DB will play WR at Texas.

"We felt like we needed one great receiver this year," Brown said. "In Quan, we feel like we've got a guy that can do a lot of different things for us."

Cosby contacted Brown because his contract was nearing an end and, besides, he said he missed playing. The 5-11, 190-pounder will continue to play minor league baseball until June and then will be listed as a freshman when the 22-year-old enrolls this fall.

"That was one of those blessings that just popped out of the sky for us and helped us make some other decisions at receiver," Brown said.

Cosby joins Diboll's Jermichael Finley as the other WR Texas inked on Signing Day. The first-team 3A All-State selection is expected to begin at WR this fall but will work in a "David Thomas situation" in which the current TE also lined up at WR, FB and H-back. In time, Finley should remind Orangebloods of former TE Keith Cash. At 6-5, 220-pounds, he is also expected to suit up for hoops coach Rick Barnes next basketball season.

LB Brandon Duncan was not listed among Wednesday's signees but is expected to sign later this spring, according to a UT Men's Athletic Department official speaking off-the-record. (Click here for an IT Members only report on Duncan's situation.)

Texas had 13 available scholarships (before attrition) and offered official visits to 20 prospective players, Brown said.

Adam Ulatowski, a 2004 recruit, is listed as the 15th player in this year's bunch. The youngster sat out all of last season with a back injury and will participate in spring drills which are slated to begin on Friday, February 25.

Texas will have approximately 19 scholarships to offer next year and, again, Brown wants to sign a couple of quarterbacks.

"We're lucky that we've had Major Applewhite, Chris Simms, Chance Mock and Vince Young," Brown said. "We've had really good quarterbacks, and you don't want to sign a guy at that position unless he has a chance to be really good."

For the time being, Brown's class will be remember for the one QB that got away. But all Brown had to do Wednesday was hark back to last month's Rose Bowl victory to try and ease concern that the last-minute loss of a couple of national recruits does not torpedo future success.

"Last year's team may not have been our most talented team, individually," Brown said, "but it was our best team with chemistry, work ethic and doing the things that were needed to win on the field."

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