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Tom Herman once again pulls off an amazing recruiting effort by thinking outside the box. Longhorns fans are used to having the mid-July recruiting camp that Strong began as “Under the Lights.” Tom Herman took this concept and went to work – inviting some of the top 2019 guys in the state, getting most of the commits together, bringing in major 2018 targets, and throwing in a bit of a wrinkle with dodgeball, a coaches’ dunking booth, a dunk contest, and a gigantic water balloon fight with hundreds of water balloons all over the field. There was not a single bad review of the event, Texas pulled in two commitments from top targets, and they made massive headway with a great deal of key 2018 and 2019 recruits. Herman nailed it.
If you were to peek over on the 247 Crystal Ball feature, you’d see that basically every media member has marked Mustapha Muhammad down as a Michigan Wolverine. However, we don’t believe the race for Muhammad is quite over. He is the top tight end on the board for the Longhorns, and they made sure he knew it during his trip to Austin. Muhammad left extremely happy with the coaches, the atmosphere, and the facilities. His visit was a step towards ensuring that the elite tight end stays in state.
How was the camp?
MM: Lit. I didn’t participate but it was fun to watch.
You didn’t get into the water balloon fight?
MM: No way! I was wearing designer clothes.
What was the most impressive part of the entire thing?
MM: The locker room…just how they were designed. I’d never seen anything like [the] all-in-one lockers.
What did you and Meekins talk about while you were there?
MM: We did some film study, and broke down how I’d fit in the offense.
Did you get to talk to the commits or players?
MM: I talked to everybody. They all told me they really wanted me too.
2020 RB Jase McClellan (Aledo)
It’s the not-so-hot hot take that Jase McClellan is the best running back in the state regardless of class (with Noah Cain being at IMG). The Texas coaches made sure that McClellan was treated as such. Every time he steps on campus he is given the VIP treatment with running backs coach Stan Drayton by his side. We do not think the Longhorns will be giving him the offer that he wants until they see him replicate what he did in 2016, but he’s the top guy on their board right now for 2020. Right now, the schools he is high on are still Texas, OU, and UGA.
What were your thoughts on the facilities?
JM: The facilities were great. Coach Drayton and some former players showed me around and talked to me about them. It was my favorite part.
What were you and Stan Drayton talking about before you left?
JM: He was talking to me about fitting in at Texas, becoming a better man, and how his coaching style fits the type of person I am.
Does Coach Drayton’s pedigree factor into coming to Texas?
JM: Yes. That is something that works towards my decision on Texas because it shows me he has great skills when it comes to working with the running back.
One of the top WRs in the nation, Al’Vonte Woodard made his first trip to Texas after committing to the Longhorns a week prior. When we spoke with Woodard, he appeared to be a combination of excited, relieved, and just plain happy. He’s already hot on the recruiting trail for the Longhorns, as he is working on recruiting his teammates D’Shawn Jamison and Anthony Cook in hopes of having them play side-by-side for another 3-4 years.
How’s the commitment feel?
AW: I’m just glad to get it out of the way. Schools are still hitting me up, but not as much. But man…It’s just a big weight off my shoulders. It came down to Texas, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss. I made the right decision. (Drew) Mehringer is telling me that I’m their top WR right now, and I can come in and play a key role. I’m just going to have to work for that spot.
How about the rest of the camp?
AW: I came out to support my guy Alex Hogan. Overall though, it was pretty fun. We got to play with water balloons, dunk a few coaches in the water, play a little bit of dodgeball…we were supposed to have a dunk contest, but Reggie Hemphill broke the hoop.
2019 DB Jonathan McGill (Coppell)
Jonathan McGill was apparently the stand out of the entire camp, bringing in 5 interceptions during 1-on-1 play and being mentioned by at least a half dozen top players and commits. While he didn’t pull in an offer from the camp, he certainly got the attention of the coaches. McGill is a very versatile defensive back. He can play basically any defensive back position on the field and do so at a high level.
This is McGill’s second time on campus at Texas this summer, and the interest is there for Texas.
What was your favorite part of the camp?
JM: Probably the dodgeball part. Either dodgeball or just going onto the field and throwing water balloons at each other. Just having fun. Doing something outside of football with a bunch of football players just makes it that much better.
How was talking to the coaches afterwards?
JM: They just told me to stay patient in the process. But they loved what they saw. I worked out at safety today, and Coach Naivar loved seeing me at safety. [He] Told me I’ve done everything right. Coach Washington got hype with me. I had a few picks today and Coach Washington got lively. I am always communicating with Coach O, just staying in touch with him.
Reese Moore made the long trip down to Austin once again, but his mother told us that they’ve gotten used to it now. The big tackle had his patented happy-go-lucky smile on as he addressed the media. When we talked to him afterwards, he indicated that these sessions do wonders for bonding with the other commits and keeping each other strongly committed. After seeing him and his frame in person, I am very excited about what he could be molded into in the future.
What did you think of the new lockers?
RM: They’re unbelievable. I was telling Coach Warehime that “awesome” and “unbelievable” don’t do it justice. There need to be words that are better than that to describe them.
Would you say they’re the best facilities you’ve seen?
RM: I’d say so. Everything that they’re going to also build in their new weight room is going be awesome. Only thing about OU’s lockers is they have shoe racks that pop out and sucks all the stickiness out of there.
Who was the most impressive OL out there competing today?
The star defensive back from Cibolo Steele has become a mouth piece for this class. Sterns told us that he absolutely hates social media, but uses it as a tool for recruiting and pumping out good vibes. From also talking with his mother, I got the sense that the entire family is relieved that they will be sticking closer to home than his brother did (although they do love Oklahoma State). Sterns seems to be locked into Texas currently. Longhorn fans should be very excited to see him on campus in five months.
How did the camp go?
CS: It was good. Watching all [of] the youngins compete and getting some work in with our future coaches is good. As a DB, I can get a head start and take what I learned here and get a head start before I get up here in 5 months. Like I said, it was an awesome experience and a blessing to be a part of this family.
How were the locker rooms?
CS: Oh man. It’s not even done yet and it’s a jaw dropper. They have some more stuff going in, and it’s like, what more could you possibly add in. It’s already one of the best locker rooms around. It’s an amazing thing to experience and be [one of] the first people to go in and look at it.
What do you think of Jalen Green’s commitment?
CS: I was kind of surprised. I saw him and talked about him coming, but for him to actually come…I can’t wait to actually get back there and have him join the rest of us DBs. The things we are going to do here will be special, and I personally believe we are going to turn this program around. He’s a great add-on to the secondary. The sky is the limit for him.
How important was Jason Washington in landing you and Jalen Green in this class?
CS: I don’t know how he does it man, but he just keeps it real. That’s what kids want, as well as his excitement, his thrills, and the way he approaches the game every day. You may see him in videos where he is fired up. He’s like that every day about his job. It’s like a dream to him, so what this job means to him is like something you do not see often. For him it’s not about the money or politics, but to him it’s about what it is to be fired up and motivating. He just has a love for the game and I respect that.
Anybody stand out on the field?
Jonathan McGill. Texas will be going after him sooner or later.
The surprise commitment of the camp came from the first commit in the 2019 class, Roschon Johnson. After he won the fastest man competition, Sam Ehlinger gave Johnson the mic to the PA. After a bit of confused hesitation, Johnson went on a hunt for Coach Herman screaming in the mic, “Coach! I have something to tell you.” I don’t know if he planned on committing the way he did, but when found Coach Herman and announced his commitment over the PA, the entire field erupted. I am interested in seeing his progression from last year and hopefully see improvement on a spectacular sophomore season.
When they gave you the mic did you know what you were going to say? Or did it take you a second to decide you wanted to do it?
RJ: It took a little bit. Sam Ehlinger influenced me. It was a surprise. He basically handed me the mic and said, “Let ‘em know.”
What was it like to be coached by Vince Young?
RJ: It was amazing. I met him previously, but it was great getting to learn a few things from Vince with the things that he has done.
What are your thoughts on the locker room?
RJ: It is crazy. I’ve never seen anything like that. Especially with the new renovations and stuff they have. Without a doubt, [it’s] the best locker room I have seen.
What were other parts of the camp that stood out?
RJ: I enjoyed every bit of it. From the drills to the one-on-ones to the water balloon fight. You don’t really do that at other places. That’s part of the reason why I committed. They do things different over here. It’s a dream I’ve been chasing for a while.