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Remaining Texas Targets and Confidence Levels
D: Coburn sent folks into a panic over the weekend when it was reported he would be in Austin for an unofficial visit then never showed up. Coburn proceeded to send fans into a bigger panic by removing Texas related stuff from his profile. Miami thinks they have a shot at the flip, but we’re not buying it. If a flip is going to occur, it is going to be A&M or TCU, who have been deemed bigger threats for some time now. To our knowledge he didn’t trip to either campus after not making it to Austin. Unless Coburn took a stealth visit somewhere this month, I am putting my money on him sticking with Texas on Wednesday
D: Ingram made a quiet visit to College Station recently with some of his teammates, but it doesn’t seem like it moved the needle at all in his recruitment. I still fully expect him to sign with Texas on Wednesday.
D: Texas had a pulse going into the weekend as Jackson took his final visit to A&M and coming out of the trip it sounds like Texas is still alive and kicking. There is buzz that Texas is the leader when it comes to in-state options and with Jackson considering staying close to home, the Longhorns could potentially pull off an upset here. Stay tuned.
D: Coming into the weekend, I felt optimistic about Texas’ chances of flipping the Arkansas commit from NOLA, and it seems that visit to Austin went over well with him and his mother. The Arkansas side of things doesn’t seem confident they can hold onto him heading into the dead period. I think Texas is trending in the right direction here.
Update: Sources have indicated Parker could announce sooner rather than later, and Texas looks good. Consider the confidence boosted to a 9.
When Bush announced he was taking his final official visit to Baylor over the weekend I figured there was nothing left to see here in regards to Texas. Then Bush and his family decided to make a stop in Austin on their way home to San Antonio today. I don’t know if Texas is going to pull it off, but they are alive and kicking with a chance to still sign the four star pass catcher heading into the dead period.
Texas made a solid push with Keys in the final month of the cycle, but I’m afraid it was too little too late. Notre Dame is still viewed as the leader here as we head into the final stretch and I think the Irish will be able to hold off Texas.
This one is a bummer any way you slice it given Texas’ need for a dynamic slot receiver. The word going around is he is bound for Tuscaloosa.
Did he make it to campus or did he not? Jones has been radio silent the entire weekend, but I have a hard time believing he didn’t make the two hour trip up the road to see his childhood dream school on the final weekend before NSD. If he indeed made the trip like some think, then I like Texas’ chances here. Otherwise, not so much.
Confidence: 8 if he made the trip, 3 if he didn’t.
Probably the most important recruit Texas is after right now since he is an instant starter a huge need position. After taking an official to Michigan, Anderson reported that Texas and Michigan were out in front with other schools behind them. Anderson was in Austin this weekend to see his family and made his way to campus to take in the basketball game against Oklahoma and go some face time with the staff. I already liked where Texas stood after his official and I like it even more when he is able to make impromptu follow up visits like this.
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Q: Will Texas hoops make the tourney? How far will they advance?
A: As it stands right now, Texas should make the NCAA tournament. They have several quality wins and should reach at least the 8 win mark in conference play, which will be good enough to punch their ticket to the Big Dance.
It’s hard to envision the Longhorns receiving anything higher than a 7 or 8 seed with their body of work, which means a potential second round matchup against an elite team. They have shown all year they can play with anyone in the country, but it would be a tall task having to beat a team like Purdue or Michigan State. Right now, I see Texas getting their first NCAA tournament win since 2014, but ultimately failing to make it out of the first weekend.
Q: What are the weak positions in-state for 2019?
A: The weakest position in-state is probably LB. After Marcel Brooks, the state does not have much talent at the position. Don’t be surprised to see Texas reach into other states here, similar to what they did with Ayodele Adeoye in this class. Other than that, DT isn’t as abundant as one would like past DeMarvin Leal, but there are options there.
Q: Will Tom Herman be the play-caller next season?
A: This is a tricky one to answer. Tom Herman was heavily involved in play calling during the Longhorns bowl win over Missouri. Offensive Coordinator Tim Beck is still on staff and Herman has added Herb Hand, who was given the co-coordinator title. If there is no more shuffling among assistant coaches, we expect Tom Herman to take on a larger role in play calling, similar to the bowl game. It is not likely that Herman would come out directly and name himself the play caller, but all plays would go through him and he would have a play sheet at his disposal to make calls.
Q: How do you think Jimbo Fisher’s recruiting will go next year?
A: Jimbo Fisher is off to a really good start in the 2019 class. He has gained commitments from Brian Williams, Kam Brown and Bobby Wolfe in the past 8 days, and has put the Aggies in good position for several other highly rated recruits. The 2018 class should be relatively small for A&M, allowing them to take a big number in 2019. Fisher is a great recruiter and has several assistants who are known for their recruiting ability. A&M should end up with a good class if the early signs are any indication. How good remains to be seen, because the state of Texas is deep at certain positions and not everyone can go to the same school. It will be an interesting battle between Tom Herman and Fisher once focus fully shifts to the 2019 class.
Q: Who is the No. 1 target for the 2019 class?
A: Texas needs to load up in the trenches. This is no secret. The No. 1 player in the state right now is OT Kenyon Green, and Texas is prioritizing him as such. Green is easily the top must-have target on the Longhorns board, and they are in a good position early on. On the other side of the ball, DT DeMarvin Leal is a must-have. If Texas can keep Keondre Coburn in the fold, that’ll be 2 high-end DT prospects in two straight signing classes – something the Longhorns have failed to do for the past half decade.
Note on Reggie Hemphill-Mapps
Although there have been rumors that Hemphill-Mapps would end up staying with the football program after all, that does not appear to be the case. Mapps is not participating in team activities right now and is actively weighing his options. That does not mean he will not ultimately decide to stay with the football program, but at this point, it seems unlikely. We will continue to monitor the situation and update you with any new information we receive.
PWO’s Deserve Love, Too
In every recruiting class, recruits are defined by stars. Major programs such as The University of Texas focus on 4 and 5-star players, with some higher end 3-stars joining the mix. But what about high school players that love the game just as much and work just as hard, but don’t get the same attention major prospects do? Major programs have uses for these types of players, and Texas took advantage. Stars may define some prospects, but heart and a sheer will to succeed define the class of 2018 PWO’s at The University of Texas.
As a junior in high school, Frost had to overcome multiple obstacles. As an offensive lineman at only 200 pounds, it was difficult to see any playing time on the field. This led Frost to work harder than he ever had before. “Because I played for one of the premier programs in California, I rode the bench most of my junior season. This led me to hopping the fence to the football field every weekend of the offseason to push sleds. I spent countless hours in the weight room and managed to get up to around 260 pounds by the start of the season. I’m comfortable with the grind. I embrace it.” You can’t teach determination and work ethic, and Frost has both of those. With other opportunities at high-end DII schools and several Ivy Leagues, one would think the choice to come to Texas would be difficult. Not for Frost. “I grew up watching Texas football and have gone to a game nearly every year since I was 6-years-old. I’m excited to prove myself at the program I have idolized since I was 5.” At Texas, Frost will be apart of the School of Undergraduate Studies, where he plans to transfer into the Cockrell School of Engineering. If there’s one thing that Frost’s story can demonstrate, it’s that hard work pays off. “It feels good to know that all the hard work my family and friends have put in and the work I put into both football and school has paid off.”
P.S. for all of you Longhorn trivia fans out there: Matt’s full name is Matt Wilson Frost. The Wilson comes from his great grandfather, Wilson Homer “Bull” Elkins, who played football for the Longhorns in the 30s and is recognized in the Texas Sports Hall of Honor.
Smith is the perfect example of a deserving athlete that is passed up by most major programs due to one measurable – height. At 5-foot-5, Smith is not your ideal running back. He doesn’t play like an average running back, either. For Smith, being overlooked only adds fuel to his fire. “It only makes me want to prove myself even more, work harder each and every day and just get better one day at a time. Hopefully one day, people will start to notice what kind of football I am, without even paying attention to my height.” Smith was in a similar situation to Matt Frost, but was majorly considering playing for an Ivy League school like Princeton or Cornell. What made him pick Texas? “Texas had the best of both worlds for me. It had the successful football program that I wanted to be a part of and contribute to, and it has the best collegiate academics I could possibly dream of. It has one of the best chemical engineering programs in the nation and one of the best finance programs in the nation. I also chose Texas because it was closer to home. I didn’t want to be far away from my family and friends, yet still be able to get a good education. Texas made me feel welcomed, and made me feel like I was apart of the family before I was even admitted into the college.” A large part of what made Smith feel like he was part of the Texas family was running backs coach Stan Drayton. “I think of coach Drayton as a role model. He has believed in me ever since he met me, and I respect that, because a lot of programs have overlooked me because of my height. I feel like coach Drayton can relate to me and I just have the utmost respect for him.” Texas fans should keep an eye out for Jarrett Smith in the future. Don’t be surprised to see him on the field sooner rather than later.
As the No. 2 long snapper in the country, Mader’s recruitment has been anything but ordinary. For long snappers, the recruiting process is a little different, even if only being offered roster spots as a PWO. “The process has definitely been unlike anything else. Especially at my position, where a lot of times I’m recruiting the schools more than they recruit me.” Even though other schools like Army and Air Force are recruiting Mader hard, Tom Herman and Craig Naivar have done a good job recruiting Mader. “They have been up front with their situation since the spring, and Coach Naivar has visited me at my high school multiple times. I really appreciate their honesty how they have made me feel wanted.” If there’s one thing to learn about this recruitment, it’s that Tom Herman will leave no stone unturned. If Mader sides with Texas, Herman will have completed the special teams trifecta for the 2018 class – kicker, punter, and long snapper. Mader is set to visit Air Force on February 8.
Texas Baseball Prepares for 2018 Season
In their first year under David Pierce, the Texas baseball program fell one win short of a super regional berth. Expectations remain high for the 2018 season despite losing 5 starters and 2/3rds of the weekend rotation from the 2017 squad. Here are some baseball nuggets to chew on as the team prepares for the season opener against Louisiana Lafayette:
- Two new players who will play key roles on the 2018 squad are infielder Masen Hibbeler and outfielder Duke Ellis. Hibbeler makes his way to Austin after 2 years at Odessa Junior College, where he hit .493 with 10 home runs as a senior in 2017. Those around the program rave about Hibbeler’s bat and ability to make consistent hard contact, as evidenced by his 15:22 strikeout to walk ratio in 144 at bats last season. When Hibbeler announced his commitment to Texas over the summer, I talked to an opposing pitcher who faced him last season, and he point blank said, “He was the best hitter we faced all year.” Ellis spent last season at Panola Junior College, and figures to slide into to the CF vacancy left by the departure of Zane Gurwitz. The sophomore hit .415 with 21 stolen bases in his lone season at the JUCO ranks.
- As far as the rest of the outfield, Tate Shaw and Austin Todd seem to be the favorites to take over starting roles in LF and RF, respectively. An outfield of Shaw-Ellis-Todd would give Texas one of the most athletic outfields they’ve had in years. Todd was said to have had a great fall and is a guy who will be counted on as a run producer.
- One of the storylines to watch as the 2018 season begins is the health and role of LHP Josh Sawyer. After battling injuries the past few seasons, Sawyer is fully healthy and figures to be major bullpen piece this season. In 2016, Sawyer was up to 96 with his fastball coming out of the bullpen. This past fall, that type of velocity was on display and there is a growing sense of confidence that Sawyer is in store for a big 2018 season. A healthy season from the left-hander would be a huge boost for the bullpen.
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