Texas Longhorns recruiting: Recapping a wild Sunday camp
In the past, the Texas Longhorns had extended a handful of offers at the first summer camp to players who impressed in person, but they were usually relatively few, extended to the class that would sign the next January, and rarely produced big-time fireworks.
But with the emphasis on early recruiting in the 2015 class, the evaluation opportunity at the second camp, mostly for 2015 prospects, though also for some 2014 recruits, provided the chance the staff needed to follow through with tentatively planned offers after those all-important moments spending rare time actually coaching the players.
All in all, 10 total offers went out on Sunday, with three commitments coming in on Sunday,first a relatively expected one from Lufkin athlete Keke Coutee, then a flip from TCU for Center safety Johnny Shaw, followed by a big offensive tackle pledge from Buda Hays Consolidated's Connor Lanfear.
What's remarkable about the players that Texas offered? The 'Horns were named the favorite or are projected as the team to beat for every single one of the prospects offered with the exception of one, so the 2015 class in particular could starting taking some serious shape in the near future, though the 2014 class could also add four prospects in the coming weeks.
Wide receiver recruiting heats up in 2014. The absence of Longview's Dorian Leonard probably doesn't bode well for his recruitment and Mount Pleasant's Kd Cannon, who showed up to the Rivals Challenge once again wearing Baylor gear, didn't make it in for a camp, though his particular questions can't receive answers until the fall. Texas is out with Louisiana wide receiver Trey Quinn for all intents and purposes, and while things are in decent shape with Texas City's Armanti Foreman, the weekend takeaway was one of impatience with Leonard, Cannon, and Quinn.
TCU commit Emanuel Porter, the 6'5, 190-pound physical specimen from Dallas Lincoln, picked up his offer and is a strong candidate to become the next Texas commit in the 2014 class. Known as a rather raw prospect, Porter is also a strong basketball player with good football speed who has four-star upside and would fit well in the new Texas offense because his frame would allow him a big-time advantage in perimeter blocking, an area that will define the upside for what playcaller Major Applewhite is attempting to install.
The other offer went out to a local product -- Marble Falls wide receiver/H-back Garrett Gray, who has remarkable speed for someone who is 6'5 and 205 pounds and already named Texas his leader following his offer. Gray has a strong chance of growing into a flex tight end and has clearly put enough on film to convince coaches of his ability both as an outside receiver and potentially closer to the line of scrimmage in an MJ McFarland role, so a storyline to watch is whether this removes some of the likelihood that Louisiana prospect Anthony Jones finally picks up his long-awaited offer.
Foreman twin could be closing in on offer. It might be a stretch to say that if the Longhorns extend an offer to Texas City running back/linebacker D'Onta Foreman, he and his twin brother Armanti would commit on the spot, but Texas would be only the second school to offer both brothers, joining Illinois, a somewhat surprising fact given Missouri and Washington State have now offered D'Onta, but not Armanti.
The question was always whether D'Onta was a strong enough prospect to be a take for the 'Horns. He projects pretty well as a linebacker, but Texas already has three commitments at that position and may be full, so it was extremely important for D'Onta to perform well at Sunday's camp as a running back, an area where there is a need for a big back with Daniel Gresham's May decommitment. It sounds like D'Onta came through, run a 4.48 40 and weighing in at 220 pounds, a big deal because if he still has his speed at that size, he could bulk up into fullback/hybrid back range to fill a current need.
So what's the word? Slightly muddled, as is typical:
No official offer for D'Onta Foreman yet. Has to go home and talk with family first. Door open for him and Armanti to join class.
— Max Olson (@max_olson) June 9, 2013
It sounds like if the family is on board, the Foreman twins could become Longhorns with the developments in D'Onta's offer status. The brothers may have started talking recently about the necessity of attempting different colleges if big-time schools don't offer D'Onta, but that concern may have just receded into the background following Sunday.
2015 quarterback recruiting takes shape. The Longhorns have one outstanding offer to a potential quarterback in Fort Bend Marshall's JW Ketchum, who may better fit as an athlete take at this point, and Sunday produced some clarity along with two more offers.
One went out to West Mesquite's Chason Virgil, the two-year starter entering his junior season who helped UCLA signee Eldridge Massington turn in his breakout junior season, and Stephenville's Jarrett Stidham, who also picked up an offer from Texas A&M over the weekend.
The offer to Virgil is one that makes sense on several levels -- the 'Horns didn't make any new friends at the school when they declined to offer Massington and Kameron Miles in the 2013 class, so letting the Wranglers know that they value their top talent was an important move, but Virgil is also deserving of an offer based on his own merits.
247Sports has him as the early no. 4 dual-threat quarterback nationally and though he is a bit on the short side, listed at 6'2, he's a proven winner, has strong intangibles, and some upside as a runner after picking up 400 rushing yards last season. Offers from Arizona State, Clemson, Mississippi State, Missouri, Nebraska, and Toledo are already on the table for him.
Stidham has even more upside with a stronger arm, similar speed in a much bigger 6'4, 190-pound frame. Ranked as the no. 3 dual-threat quarterback nationally despite the fact he hasn't yet started a high school game at quarterback, Stidham is one of the hottest prospects in Texas with offers from Baylor, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech and more soon to follow as schools realize it's a dangerous proposition to wait until the start of fall practice to seriously enter his recruitment.
Since Stidham isn't from the state of Texas, he's believable when he told ESPN that he's wide open, despite the ties of Stephenville to Baylor head coach Art Briles. As a result, the 'Horns will have to truly earn his commitment, which may be more difficult than that of Virgil, who was projected to Texas about two weeks ago by 247Sports National recruiting analyst Brian Perroni in the service's Crystal Ball feature.
Defensive back class emerging as potential 2015 strength. Texas failed to capitalize on the strong 2014 in-state defensive back class and have yet to earn a pledge from any of those prospects, with the sole defensive backfield commitment coming from Louisiana native Jermaine Roberts.
Fortunately, the 2015 group is looking better early, with commitments from Shaw and Corpus Christi Flour Bluff's Jalen Campbell.
Several other offers went out on Sunday, including one to Gilmer's Kris Boyd, an early 247Sports four-star prospect who projects favorably at cornerback with his 6'1, 175-pound frame and reported 4.45 speed in the 40. Boyd named Texas his leader after receiving his offer, his second following one from TCU, and could join the class in the near future.
Meanwhile, South Grand Prairie's Jason Hall is a likely candidate to become the second 2015 defensive back to flip to Texas. He's committed to Nebraska, holds offers from Baylor, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Utah, among others, though he's rated as a relatively low three-star because he doesn't have elite athleticism or measurables. Seven Crystal Ball projections currently have Hall picked to end up a Longhorn.
Another 2015 running back offer out. The offer to Katy running back Rodney Anderson wasn't the only one to go out over the weekend, as Splendora running back Jay Bradford also picked one up, joining his offers from Baylor and Texas Tech. 247Sports' no. 54 player nationally, Bradford launched his name onto the radars of numerous schools with his 10.49 100m time to win the 3A state championship as a sophomore back in March. He said he was "AMAZED" by the offer from the 'Horns and is projected as a future Texas commit already by Perroni.
Another 2015 offensive line offer extended. If Lanfear's name was a pretty new one on Sunday when committed, that of Rockwall-Heath's Trevor Elbert is a really new one. The 6'5, 290-pounder doesn't appear to have a Rivals page and his 247Sports profile list the 'Horns as his only offer. Horns247 publisher Bobby Burton has him pegged as a future Longhorn early.