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Burnt Ends – 7/6/18

The latest in Texas recruiting and the mailbag headlines the latest edition of Burnt Ends

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The point on a brisket is typically the fattiest cut. Pitmasters often trim the point (and select edges) off a brisket and return those pieces to the smoker.

Are burnt ends tough, chewy worthless cuts of meat, or are they heavenly bites of smoky goodness? It depends on who you ask…

Rather than discard the trimmings and fat, we choose to savor all the information that flows through the site. So, sit down and help yourself to some burnt ends.

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Intel from The Opening

De’Gabriel Floyd

With Chris Adimora’s commitment Sunday afternoon, Texas now has multiple pledges from California in the 2019 class. Adimora joined LB De’Gabriel Floyd, who committed to the Longhorns in March. While meeting with the media on Sunday, Floyd made it clear that he will continue to be in the ear of several Texas targets who reside in California, including Mater Dei 5-star ATH Bru McCoy.

“I know a lot about his situation and what’s going on, what he’s thinking,” Floyd said about McCoy. “I’m telling him the same thing I’m telling everyone else. (Bru) can go do his thing on offense, but at the same time he can play defense and we can be together, and that’s a bad situation for an offense.”

Pulling kids from California is not new for Texas. The Longhorns have inked Cameron Rising, Kirk Johnson and Collin Johnson is recent cycles, but Texas has not signed multiple players from California in the same class since 2013, when junior college players Desmond Harrison and Geoff Swaim inked with the Longhorns.

“I think some kids are really interested in moving to a new state, being on their own and being in an environment where they have to adapt to be more comfortable,” Floyd said when asked why Texas is having renewed success in California. “Texas is kind of the closest thing to California, in my opinion. Texas also has a lot of talent in state, so we feel like if Texas is coming way out here to show interest in us, it really shows they are actually trying to get us to their school.”

In addition to talking recruiting, Floyd also spoke about his performance at The Opening on Sunday. The 4-star LB tested very well, running a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, a 4.38 in the shuttle drill and recording a vertical of 33 inches. Floyd profiles perfectly as a rover in the Todd Orlando defense, which is exactly where Floyd said the coaching staff is expecting him to play.

 

Noah Cain

Last cycle Texas secured its bell cow running back very early in the cycle in Keaontay Ingram, but so far this cycle they are still working hard to get their man. IMG Academy running back Noah Cain has long been at the top of Texas’ want list at the position and that isn’t changing any time soon, but from the sounds of it Cain is a major priority for several top programs. Schools like Auburn, Georgia, and Penn State have been turning up the heat, but that isn’t all according to the blue chip running back.

“Clemson, Miami, and Ohio State are still in the picture. A lot of different schools have the opportunity for me to come in and play early”, said Cain.

So where does Texas currently sit with Texas? Things don’t seem to have changed much there.

“They still stand where they were before and they’re one my top schools. Coach Drayton and Coach Herman text me every other day or Bryan (Carrington). Texas is still one of my top schools”, said the four star running back.

As if there was any question about Cain’s importance to the Texas staff, Herman is personally involved in the recruitment and reaffirmed to Cain that he was a top priority to them and will continue to be so until the end.

Speaking of IMG running backs, Cain isn’t the only one that holds a Texas offer, as the Longhorns are hard after Cain’s five star teammate Trey Sanders. The idea of playing together at the next level is something the two backs have discussed.

“Texas is one of the schools we have actually playing together at because of the need at running back. Me and Trey (Sanders) are both unselfish and want to see each other succeed and feed off each other. We always talk about playing with each other at the next level, but we will have to see if that’s the right fit”.

 

Stacey Wilkins

While Javonne Shepherd has been the most frequently discussed offensive tackle on Texas’ board, the Longhorn staff is still hard after Camden (AR) tackle Stacey Wilkins. Wilkins made his way to Austin during the spring and came away impressed with what he saw with the Longhorn program. Since then he has been developing his relationship with offensive line coach Herb Hand and it seems that Hand is leaving a good impression on the four star big man.

“Me and Coach Hand have a real good relationship and it is fun talking to him because he doesn’t make it too much about football. He is one of the top coaches at his position and knows what he is taking about”, said Wilkins.

Attending camps like The Opening can be a bit overwhelming for guys sometimes given the competition and being under the microscope with all the attention, but Wilkins seemed to really be enjoying the process and just having fun with it while competing against the top players in the country.

“It’s been real fun because I don’t think guys from my town have been able to get this opportunity. I was able to compete against the best defensive linemen in the country, learn new things, and be able to take it back in put it into my arsenal. So that was one good thing and to be able to help my teammates at the same time”, said the four star tackle.

As far a Texas goes, Wilkins has an official set for the fall for the weekend of the USC game and he plans on watching both teams closely, as the Trojans are another team high on his list of consideration.

Wilkins went on to say that he measured in at 6’7, 280 pounds this week and ran in the 5.0-5.1 range in the 40 yard dash during the testing. He has the offensive tackle starter kit you want and will no doubt remain a high priority for Texas as they continue to hunt tackle bodies.

 

Elijah Higgins

For Austin Bowie wide receiver Elijah Higgins, the recruiting process has been gruesome and long, and he’s ready to make a decision and move forward. Before he came to that conclusion, he spent his offseason competing in a variety of camps, including The Opening in Frisco this past weekend. “It’s been great,” Higgins said in regards to The Opening. “There’s some great coaches around here. I’ve been around some of the top quarterbacks in the nation. The ball is a little faster, so you have to adjust. It’s really been about developing and battling through adversity when your legs are tired.”

While Higgins has attended various camps this summer, other athletes are hard-pressed to get him to commit to their school. But Higgins takes a different approach to the process than an every day recruit. “I recruit myself,” Higgins said. “I ask the recruits about other schools, what they think, and stuff like that. I try to get a vibe perspective. It’s really me going around asking them questions and them pulling me that way.”

In terms of a decision timeline, Higgins is ready to wrap up his recruitment before his senior season at Austin Bowie begins. “After this, I’m done,” Higgins stated. “It’s time to sit down and talk schools.” In terms of when a decision could come, Higgins relayed it would come “hopefully when I get home. Probably that week. I haven’t really had much time. I’ve been traveling, visits, camps, so that’s the main reason I haven’t done it yet.” However, Higgins is not going to rush into a decision. “If I’m not ready, I’m not going to do it.”

So, where does Texas stand with Higgins? Although he kept his ranking of schools close to the vest, he did make one thing certain — Texas will not receive an official visit for the coveted wide receiver. That is not necessarily a bad sign, however.  “I decided not to [take an official to Texas] because it’s so close and they have 2 more spots left [for other recruits] and I respect that,” Higgins said. “They asked me if that was okay with me, and I said yes, of course. Other than flights and free food, you can do everything on an unofficial that you can on an official. I don’t want to take anyone else’s opportunity. That’s really it.”

To be frank, Texas is on the outside looking in for the Austin native. After offering Higgins in January, the Longhorns stepped off the gas pedal for a good amount of time, allowing other schools like Florida and Stanford to enter the picture. The best the Texas staff can hope for is that Higgins indeed decides he is not ready to decide before his senior season starts, so that they can have more time to try and sell the future in Austin. Otherwise, one of the best recruits to ever come out of Austin Bowie will be heading out of state to begin his collegiate career next fall.

 

Mailbag

Q: Any status on the kids coming back from major injuries like Pat Hudson, Gary Johnson, Kirk Johnson, Cade Brewer, etc

A: Gary Johnson is participating in summer workouts and barring any setbacks, will be ready to go for fall camp. With the departure of Edwin Freeman, Johnson needs to remain healthy this season. Patrick Hudson and Cade Brewer are both still recovering from ACL injuries, but Brewer appears to be participating at 100% in offseason workouts.  The expectation is both will be ready to go in August. Kirk Johnson is a wild card. No one truly knows if he will be able to contribute this upcoming season, both from an injury standpoint and the fact the running back room added two talented players in Keaontay Ingram and Tre Watson.

Q: How many do we plan to take at OL, DL, and LB this cycle?

A: Numbers are a very fluid thing so it’s tough to call on an exact number. I’d expect 3-5 OL and DL apiece because you want to maintain depth there, and I would expect at least 3 at LB if they can manage it.

Q: Behind the scenes, who seems to be developing (on the team) more than most this summer? Any word on the rumor wire? When will the team report to camp this year?

A: Of the young guys, the name mentioned most seems to be Anthony Cook. Seems like there is a legit chance he logs some snaps this fall. Other names that have been mentioned are Caden Sterns, BJ Foster, and Ayodele Adeoye. With the linebacker position being thin, Adeoye may log some snaps this fall. From a physical standpoint, he arrived on campus ready to compete. With Todd Orlando as his LB coach, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the field at least as a run stopper.

Not sure as far as an exact date for reporting, but it will likely be early August.

Q: How do the coaches use their limited time on visits to show off what makes Austin special?

A: The main focus for the coaching staff is sell what is on campus. When recruits visit, they are shown the locker room, weight room, dining hall, academic support center, dorms and given a tour of campus. In addition, they will break down film with their position coach and get to ask questions about potential scheme fit.  The staff does an excellent job of making sure that recruits see the entire scope of what Texas has to offer, including the academic side. At night, recruits will get to interact with current players, and that is when they get to experience Austin as a whole. Recruit visits almost always end with a meeting with Tom Herman. A lot of times, the staff tries to sell the city of Austin as a whole as well. This includes going to places like Top Golf and getting to partake in activities at the lake by visiting Tom Herman’s house — which is a good sales pitch. If you haven’t seen it, you should do a quick Google search.

Q: What are the chances we can start a Hawaii to Austin pipeline?

A: Texas will need to produce on the field if they have hopes of developing a consistent pipeline to a place like Hawaii. Recruiting assistants like Jake Langi have done an excellent job helping get Texas’ foot in the door, but the results on the field will have the final say. Guys like Faatui Tuitele and Maninoa Tufono have interest in Texas, but the Longhorns are not the top choice for either. The lure of going to the west coast or a powerhouse like Alabama is hard to overcome with kids from that region.

 

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Harrison is a proud alumnus of The University of Texas at Austin and a second-year law student at Texas Tech University School of Law, where he plans to get his J.D. and Masters in Sports Management. He hales from Baytown, TX, but will always consider Austin home. In his spare time Harrison enjoys hunting, sports and any activity pertaining to his dog.

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