Tag Archives: recruiting

Gypsies and SEC Talent Headed For DKR

It’s been less than a month since it began, thankfully for most, and yet the hemorrhaging from the University of Texas football program continues. In the short time since the Longhorns ended their disastrous 5-7 season, head coach Mack Brown has gone from an in-control-of-the-program CEO to looking like Scotty Smalls trying to make friends and play backyard baseball in The Sandlot. In other words, he’s got some work to do…and fast.

Up until last week, the Longhorns had seen four coaches depart since November – offensive coordinator Greg Davis, offensive line coach Mac McWhorter, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, and defensive line coach Mike Tolleson. But, to put a wrapper on 2010, wide receiver coach Bobby Kennedy expectedly resigned on Dec. 30 to make a lateral move to be the University of Colorado’s wide receiver coach. Make that five.

Throughout a tumultuous December, Longhorn fans across the country spread coaching hire rumors as fast as they could drink a bottle of Salt Lick BBQ sauce. They threw around more names than Santa Claus could rattle off reindeer names. And yet the New Year passed with nothing from the halls Belmont. What exactly was Mack Brown doing over there? Had we been naughty and not nice?

Darrell Wyatt

On Monday and Tuesday this week, fans began to get some answers – albeit not quite the names or coordinator-level titles fans were expecting. The first presser of 2011 brought us Darrell Wyatt as the new wide receiver coach and co-recruiting coordinator, and you can watch Wyatt’s introductory press conference here. Wyatt is a Texas-born Kansas State alumnus who is a get-to-the-point coach with credible Big 12 Conference experience and has been both a wide receiver coach, offensive coordinator, not to mention recruiting extraordinaire. The problem might be, he’s a gypsy of sorts – making his rounds year-after-year – to different schools around the country, including Kansas (most recently), Baylor, oklahoma, and Oklahoma State…and those are just his Big 12 Conference stops. In fact, he’s coached at 14 different universities in his 21 years of coaching. That said, Wyatt can downright get kids to come play for him and turn them in to top-tier talent – see also Adrian Peterson (oklahoma), Mark Clayton (oklahoma), Rashaun Woods (Oklahoma State), and Mike Thomas (Arizona). He’s recruited from Texas for most of his coaching tenure, including the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, Houston and East Texas, and Central Texas. It’s an exciting addition, and ‘Horns fans can be assured that Wyatt will turn out as much talent to the next level as former offensive coordinator Greg Davis ruined. Another positive for Wyatt – his youth and energy. Brown’s talked about it, and now it’s coming to fruition – a much-needed addition to the retirement home-bound staff that had been residing in Austin the past few seasons.

Bo Davis

In addition to Wyatt, Mack Brown also announced Bo Davis, who has served as a Nick Saban disciple at LSU, the Miami Dolphins, and Alabama, is joining the Texas Longhorns staff, making a lateral move to become the ‘Horns defensive line coach. During his tenure with the Crimson Tide, Davis has had a top-10 defense year-in and year-out in one of the toughest conferences in the country, and he has had several defensive lineman become all-conference or all-American players. Prior to joining the ranks of Saban’s various staffs across the southeast, Davis spent several years coaching at Galena Park North Shore High School in Texas, including coaching former Longhorn DE Cory Redding, and has relationships with high schools across the state. Given his background as an LSU alumnus and assistant, Davis also brings inroads to the top high schools in Louisiana.

The question now becomes whether Brown is making random hires that he hopes work well together under his tutelage. It seems odd, to this writer anyway, to hire position coaches when the coordinator positions are still up in the air. At least, publically still up in the air. Maybe Brown’s got his CEO house in order, has lined up more than we know behind the scenes, and has everything but signatures on the dotted line. Maybe he’s building a staff based on input from those to-be-named resources.

Rumors are circulating that leading candidates for the offensive and defensive coordinator positions are also in Austin interviewing this week. While many expected Teryl Austin (Florida), Everett Withers (North Carolina), or even former Longhorn Jerry Gray (Seattle Seahawks), to be leading defensive coordinator candidates, it appears as though Brown is after another young, energetic SEC coach instead – none other than Mississippi State’s Manny Diaz. Diaz would be an interesting hire, but to look at what he’s done with a middle-of-the-road SEC team only means he could flourish with the talent in Texas. On the offensive side of the ball, many have considered Boise State or Wisconsin’s coaching gurus to be the focus of the search, and that seems to be more or less true, as the Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst is supposedly the top target. But, don’t rule out the Broncos’ OC, although it sounds like he wants some of his boys (namely, his offensive line coach) to come along for the ride if he signs a contract to come to Austin.

Only time will tell, but as the college bowl season wraps up and the recruiting window opens up again leading in to Signing Day in early February, it’s due time to name some coaching talent and get them in Austin and on the road solidifying what is and could still be the #1 recruiting class in 2011.

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We’re #1 In Something!

Texas has taken a hard and fast fall this football season, dropping their latest contest to Kansas State in fine fashion. Consider it Bill Snyder’s “retirement gift” or the engraving for his urn, whichever comes first.

But, don’t fret ‘Horns fans. Believe it or not, Texas may not have the AP or BCS’ blessing in 2010, but Mack Brown and Co. do top the list of Scout’s top recruiting classes for 2011. Gasp – there’s even a top-rated running back and several top-tier offensive lineman!

Before you get yourselves in a tizzy about next year’s team and officially close the book on this season, here’s the Scout.com teaser.

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Conference Re-Alignment, Part III: Gold On The Horizon In The Wild West?

For many Texas fans, as long as that “gold” isn’t referring to USC’s school colors, and more along the lines of a wealthy investment in a super conference, that’s okey-dokey. Both Eyes Of TX and contributor John Hanysworth have given compelling reasons for Texas to stay in the Big 12 or join the Big 10, respectively, the past two days, so now let’s see what contributor “Keifer Nandez” and the left coast Pac-10 have to offer Longhorn nation (or vice versa).

View from the Pac-10 Conference
By: Keifer Nandez
Before we start, a disclaimer: As a life-long Pac-10 follower, I’m ignorant of much of the history of the Big 12 (or the Big Eight for that matter). So, if something sounds ludicrous, it’s because the Pac-10 (including myself) is poorly educated about things like conference divisions, conference championships, and good TV exposure. Bear with me as we explore the issues in play for Texas to make a move to the Pac-10.

TV. More importantly, the money that goes along with it.
It’s easy to forget that this means more to all involved than just football. But make no mistake, it’s football that’s driving all this talk of expansion. The SEC, with its 13 teams and $3 billion dollar TV deal, has guaranteed that even its have-nots (like Vanderbilt) are pulling in anywhere from 80-100 percent more in annual TV revenue than even a top Big 12 team like Texas. Did you hear me? Vanderbilt gets twice as much TV money each year than Texas!

However, the Big 12 uses an uneven distribution model; the teams that are on TV more often get the most money. Texas benefits greatly from this arrangement, routinely getting one of the largest pieces of the Big 12 revenue-sharing pie. The Big 10, on the other hand, distributes money evenly, the single largest motivating factor for a school like Missouri to make the jump.

The Pac-10 currently has a horrible TV deal with Fox Sports which expires after the 2011 season. By jumping on board a conference which may be about to strike it rich with a long-term TV deal (or possibly its own network), Texas could potentially double its television revenue.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
The Pac-10 is considered by many to be a secondary league, one that’s not as important or compelling as the other power conferences. For some time now, the message has been that the Pac-10 (at least in terms of football) is USC, sometimes Oregon, and everybody else. Adding Texas to the fold immediately increases the profile of the conference nationally, and has a chance to improve the overall quality of play. Just by bringing in another top-tier school, you could argue that USC won’t have such a firm grasp on the elite West coast talent. In addition, it’s likely that homegrown Texas talent will look beyond the borders of Big 12 for a place to call home. Texas helping to turn up the Pac-10’s national exposure brings us back to point one: more TV money for everyone.

Academic and cultural fit.
The Pac-10 presidents are a snobbish bunch, and wouldn’t dare allow a non-research university lacking a strong reputation in the world of academia into the conference. Boise State, Fresno State, or even BYU don’t fit the mold. Utah and Colorado make the most likely candidates, and have much to gain. Colorado, for instance, is in the same financial boat as Missouri, only theirs is full of holes and slowly sinking, and Utah is in the Mountain West. Texas has strong athletics coupled with respected academics, and would slide right into the Pac-10 culture.

Geography.
In the last two years, the greatest distance Texas has traveled for an away game is to Laramie, Wyoming – that’s about 800 miles by air. Seattle, where the University of Washington makes its home, is more than twice that distance. I think we all understand the difference between a 2-hour and a 4-hour flight. How much does this matter? I have no idea.

The lure of the unknown.
As we discussed before, the Pac-10’s upcoming TV deal is an unknown quantity. Texas could potentially look at this opportunity to help create “SEC West,” where we play a more attractive brand of football than the “3 yards and a cloud of dust” method popularized by Ohio State’s Woody Hayes, and seemingly still held in high regard by much of the Big 10, Rich Rodriguez and Michigan’s new spread notwithstanding. The addition of another top-quality program has the potential to push the Pac-10’s blank check beyond 9 zeroes, and maybe finally get everyone to shut up for 5 minutes about “SEC Speed.”

Eyes Of TX note: In an article in USA Today, University of Washington athletic director Scott Woodward has noted that he believes both the Pac-10 and Big 10 have already reached out not only to Texas, but also Texas A&M.

In addition, he postured that the Pac-10 could be interested in taking more than two teams for expansion, and said when all of the conference re-alignments are concluded the six BCS conferences could be down to four. “It could be two, four or a merger with the Big 12,” Woodward told USA Today. “There’s a theory that at the end of the day there’s only going to be four super conferences. Now what it’s going to look like, God only knows.”

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Conference Re-Alignment, Part I: Hangin’ Spurs in the Big 12

In this topic series, Eyes Of TX (along with blog contributors “Keifer Nandez” and John Haynsworth) will assess the rumors flying around on Texas’ potential move to another conference. Since we’ve initially heard the hub-bub flying around, there has been little shared and lots of speculation. We’ll plan to add our own to the mix, starting with why Texas should stay put in the Big 12 Conference today.

The first question is, why would Texas stay or leave the Big 12 conference? Well, that question is easier to answer. Money. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) currently dominates the annual money haul from the major TV networks, splitting $242 million/year in media revenue among its 10 member schools. Compare that to the Big 12 Conference, which splits $78 million/year between its 12 schools, although schools that get more television coverage benefit from that additional revenue stream (i.e. Texas over a school such as Iowa State). And, finally, the Pac-10 Conference which divides its $58 million/year between its 10 institutions. You can see the obvious discrepancies.

Within the Big 12, Texas does bring in the most TV revenue at approximately $12 million annually. But, when compared to every team in the SEC, Texas makes half of their totals. Think about that for a moment. Vanderbilt, long a major football wannabe, makes double what Texas does from TV dollars, and does it without having gone to a bowl game in decades. The standard the SEC has set in media revenue dollars is extremely high.

If you’re a conference commissioner anywhere outside of the southeast United States, you’re desperately searching for a way to even the playing field. Literally. The SEC’s TV contract doesn’t expire for another 15 years – that’s guaranteed, substantial cash flow that even the U.S. government would be jealous of. The Big 12, Big 10, Pac-10, and ACC all face TV contract negotiations after the 2011-2012 season, and that makes time of the essence when it comes to how much money will be left to go around.

Will Texas, or other Big 12 conference members, re-align to help chase down the SEC’s lottery-like dollars? Will other conferences begin their own dedicated television networks to compete? Could we see the evolution of four “super conferences”? To truly understand what options Texas and those other major conferences we’ll take a deeper look from the perspective of the Big 12 (below), as well as the Big 10 and Pac-10 in coming days.

View from the Big 12 Conference
By: Eyes Of TX
There is plenty to be said about the Big 12, and Texas’ role in keeping the conference together. The perspectives below focus on why Texas should stay in the Big 12 Conference, as opposed to leaving for the Big 10 or Pac-10…those will be covered in the coming days from guest bloggers. Let’s dig in to it.

The rivalries.
What makes college football great? The rivalries! The intense hatred of that cross-state school that didn’t let you in or whose team beat yours last year. It’s bragging rights. It’s rub-it-in-your-face, we’re-better-than-you, do-things-your-parents-would-be-ashamed of-to-the-visitors kind of psychological warfare on and off the field. Think about not having the annual Red River Rivalry of Texas v. oklahoma, or the Thanksgiving match-up pitting Texas v. Texas A&M. What about other Big 12 rivalries – Kansas v. Missouri, Nebraska v. oklahoma, oklahoma v. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech v. whoever they choose to play that week? Rivalries are key to the passion and excitement of the game. If those long-term rivalries disappeared, the potential money that’s goes with them is gone too. ABC and ESPN coverage of some of those rivalry games, for example, brings in substantial media revenue to those schools, and drives visibility for the conference as a whole. To lose that income would be an epic failure on the part of the conference athletic directors.

Keep Texas athletes (hopefully) in Texas.
Every year, there are approximately 370+ student athletes at the high school level who have enough talent to play football at the next level. Right now, Mack Brown and his staff can take approximately 20-25 of those kids each spring. That means, a large number of those in-state athletes look elsewhere in the state, or look beyond Texas’ borders to play college ball. It’s natural you’ll lose some kids to other powerhouse schools, but many of them grow up idolizing local institutions.

If Texas were to join another conference, they potentially open up the recruiting trails in to their own backyard. So, instead of competing head-to-head with oklahoma for Adrian Peterson’s talents, for example, Texas might have also had to fend off a USC or an Ohio State. Given Brown’s focus on getting talented in-state kids, there is little doubt he’d want to make it open season for other major conference schools to come calling. In other words, he’ll continue to try and win recruiting battles over oklahoma and Texas A&M, rather than teams in the Big 10 and Pac-10 conferences as well.

As Johnny Cash says, “I’ve been everywhere, man…”
Texas is a big state, and the Big 12 Conference as a whole covers a lot of geography, with teams in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado. That’s basically the bread basket of the entire United States. Right now, Texas plays in the Big 12’s South division, which means every year, it plays at least 5 games (oklahoma, Oklahoma state, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Texas A&M) between the Texas and Oklahoma state lines. In addition, they swap in two North division opponents each year from the other remaining Big 12 teams. That means, Texas’ season schedule (excluding non-conference games, which are primarily hosted in Austin anyway) keeps the team relatively close to home and in the television markets where Texas Longhorn interest (and viewership) is high.

By moving to the Big 10 or Pac-10, Texas increases its travel at least five-fold. Trips to Seattle to play Washington, or to University Park, Pennsylvania, to play Penn State? Those are long flights with a lot of dollar signs attached. And, as an athletic director, you want to see dollars coming in, not going out the door. While the draw of those “new” in-conference games might draw additional TV dollars, it might not benefit any of the schools involved as much as one might think when expenses are taken in to consideration.

The Texas brand.
Let’s not forget what Deloss Dodds has done in his time as Texas’ athletic director. He’s built the UT athletic department, especially men’s athletics, in to a dominant program across all major NCAA sports – football, baseball, basketball, tennis, swimming & diving, etc. And, the women’s athletics programs benefit from that success as well. In essence, Dodds has helped make Texas in to a literal money-making machine for the city and the university. In fact, the football team alone brings in enough money to support every other sports team (men’s or women’s) at the university – and it sustains itself. Dodds has worked his business magic with advertisers, donors, and sponsors to make the Texas experience and brand stand out.

What happens if Texas loses its hold on the brand and its market by moving to another conference? In other words, Texas has a good thing going in the Big 12 conference: they get the most TV coverage of any team, they have the best brand and most advertising dollars incoming, and (admittedly or not) they help dictate the direction of the conference – what’s to keep them from saying, “We like the status quo because it benefits us the most?”

Eyes of TX’s conclusion? Simple. Could Texas make a move? Sure. Would they? No, not unless the Big 12 pantry gets raided in a big way. If other teams begin making a move, expect Texas to pick up discussions with other conferences to play catch-up – and, hopefully it won’t be too late. The worst case scenario for Texas is to end up in a conference that fills gaps with the likes of a Rice, Houston, SMU or UTEP. Honestly, no one wants to see the Southwest Conference again.

More perspectives to come tomorrow (Big 10) and Sunday (Pac-10) – stay tuned for more, or share your thoughts on what conference Texas should end up leaving or joining!

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Who Needs A Reason To Love The Bible?

As in, Taylor Bible, that is. The ‘Horns incoming defensive tackle recruit from Denton Guyer is a flat-out stud, and he knows it. But, not in an arrogant kind of way. He’s got a quiet confidence that says, “I’ll just get it done on the field.” And, you’ve got to respect that when it’s coming from a 6’3″ 300-pounder – whether you’re a years-long season ticket holder, or oklahoma’s future offensive line.

Speaking of oklahoma, and Big 12 conference dominance, Bible isn’t even enrolled at UT yet (he’ll graduate high school in June, and enroll this summer) and he’s already giving the blog boards plenty to talk about. Just last week, he was quoted in a HS Game Time article saying Texas will win the next four Red River Rivalry games, not to mention the next four national championships, while he’s got three fingers down in the stance on the 40 Acres. That’s a bold prediction, and one that ‘Horns fans will drool over. Will it happen? Only time will tell, but what’s most intriguing is why Bible believes it to be true:

“The teamwork, the chemistry, the trust, the coaches and the talent we possess, the fact that we know we’re high caliber enough to win four.”Taylor Bible, Denton Guyer DT and 2010 Texas Longhorn recruit

Excuse me while Eyes Of TX wipes up the puddle on my desk. Yeah, this kid’s legit, and every fan in burnt orange is clamoring for him to come in and make rag dolls out of Stoops’ o-line. Freshman, yes. Leader, yes. Check out some high school highlight video of his defensive line dominance below:

If you want to read up more on Texas’ 2010 football recruiting class, check out Eyes Of TX’s post here.

Hook ’em!

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Texas’ Football Recruiting: Meet The Men of 2010

After Eyes Of TX gave you all a quick look at the 2010 Texas football recruiting class on Thursday, this post will delve in to some of the details on the 25 commitments that will be the the future of Longhorn football.

Of the 25, three players – quarterbacks Connor Wood and Case McCoy, as well as defensive back A.J.White – are already enrolled in school and will be able to participate in spring drills later this month, while the others will begin to battle it out for starting positions come August.

A few early observations, based on their pre-Texas media relations mugs, just for fun:

  • How do Taylor Bible and Gregory Daniels make any tackles with their eyes closed? “Hey man, we’re over here!”
  • Is Carrington Byndom old enough for college? He looks about as old as the 13-year-old quarterback commitment USC’s Lane Kiffin just got.
  • Demarco Cobbs should sign a deal for the the sequel to “Passenger 57” playing Wesley Snipes character, John Cutter.
  • Ashton Dorsey looks, well, mean. If there is anything Eyes Of TX learned from high school football, anything from Tyler John Tyler comes with a chip on its shoulder and an axe to grind. Watch out for Dorsey come fall.
  • Ditto for Tevin Jackson and Jackson Jeffcoat.
  • Is it just me, or could John Harris and Texas basketball’s Avery Bradley be twins?
  • God forbid (and he might, in the McCoy family) Case McCoy decide to grow a porn-stache like his brother. Honestly, Case is working uphill already.
  • Snoop Dogg must have had a child we didn’t know about. If Adrian Phillips starts rapping, and has a natural knack for it, all signs point to yes.

Jokes aside, if their high school rapport is any indication, this 2010 class will be incredible to watch. Let’s take a look:

Aaron Benson
Linebacker 
6-2 • 225
Cedar Hill, Texas (Cedar Hill)

The cousin of former Longhorn running back Cedric Benson, Aaron Benson projects as a linebacker at the collegiate level. A prep-All-American and all-district performer, he ranks as the ninth-best outside linebacker by ESPNU and 13th-best outside linebacker by Rivals. Scout ranks him as the nation’s No. 21 outside linebacker.

By The Numbers: Benson posted 295 tackles, 12 sacks, 22 TFL, three INTs, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two touchdowns during his final three seasons while helping Cedar Hill post a 32-7 record during that span.

He was named to the second-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after recording 70 tackles, five sacks, five TFL, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries as a senior despite missing five games due to injury.

Brown On Benson: “Cedar Hill had an outstanding team this year as they always do. Aaron is very active. All three of the linebackers that we signed are linebackers that can play all three positions, and that is something with all of the spread offenses that we see that we thought was very important.”

Taylor Bible
Defensive Line 
6-3 • 300
Denton, Texas (Guyer)

As a prep standout at Guyer, Bible was a two-time all-state, two-time first-team all-area and three-time first-team all-district performer at defensive tackle. The Parade Magazine High School all-American is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 defensive tackle according to ESPN. Rivals and Scout each rank him among the 25 best defensive tackles in the country at No. 12 and No. 19, respectively.

By The Numbers: Bible tallied 219 tackles, 11 sacks, 70 TFL, 52 pressures, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries over his final three seasons while helping Guyer to a 25-5 record and two 4A state semi-final appearances.

He earned first-team all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior after recording 107 tackles, five sacks, 23 TFL, 24 pressures, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries while helping Guyer reach the 4A Div. I state semifinals.

Brown On Bible: “Taylor is big, strong, and quick. We have a need for some help in the defensive line, and we think that we have signed some guys that can play for us next year. We are trying to find guys that can stop the run, but definitely that can rush the passer because we are in a league where the pass is very important. See the athletic ability [on film] of Taylor jumping over the offensive lineman and making a play. He has a lot of ability with the line twist [on film] to still get to the quarterback.”

Carrington Byndom
Defensive Back 
6-0 • 175
Lufkin, Texas (Lufkin)

At Lufkin, Byndom was a three-time first-team all-district selection and three-year starter at defensive back. He ranks as the 10th-best cornerback by ESPNU and 12th-best cornerback by Rivals. Scout ranks him as the nation’s 15th-best safety.

By The Numbers: Byndom posted 210 tackles, six INTs, five TFL and a fumble recovery over his final three seasons, helping Lufkin post a 24-10 record.

He was named to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team second team as a senior as well as the district 14-5A co-defensive player of the year after recording 53 tackles, five TFL and an INT in 2009.

Brown On Byndom: “Carrington can play corner or safety. He is a young man that can come in and play all four spots. We were trying to find defensive backs that could play all four spots because now your defensive backs need to be able to man up on inside receivers with the spread, so a player has to be able to play all over the field. Carrington is very physical. He also has good hands, which is obvious by his ability to play baseball.”

Demarco Cobbs
Athlete 
6-2 • 212
Tulsa, Okla. (Tulsa Central)

Cobb is a versatile athlete who was an all-state, all-metro and all-district selection on offense and defense in 2009. The Parade Magazine and USA Today all-American ranks as the third-best athlete by ESPNU and the ninth-best athlete by Rivals. Scout ranks him as the nation’s No. 3 safety.

By The Numbers: Cobb tallied 2,556 rushing yards and 41 TDs, 1,673 passing yards and 17 TDs, 213 receiving yards and two TDs, 68 tackles, two INTs and four kickoff return TDs over his final two seasons.

He was named Gatorade’s Oklahoma high school football player of the year as senior and was a first-team all-state selection on defense after he rushed for 1,404 yards and 17 touchdowns while passing for 642 yards and seven more scores on offense with 62 tackles, a sack, eight TFL, an INT and a fumble recovery that was returned for a TD on defense. He also returned four kickoffs for touchdowns.

Brown On Cobbs: “We signed Demarco as an athlete. He can play safety, outside linebacker, running back, or wide receiver. I think that he would probably rather play on offense, but he does not care, and he just says that he would like to play. He will not play quarterback, though. His family grew up in Corsicana, Texas. His family is now in Oklahoma, but his grandfather lives in Louisville, Texas. Like Lamarr Houston, Demarco grew up as a Longhorn fan. He watched us on TV and decided that this is what he wanted to do a long time ago.”

De’Aires Cotton
Defensive Line 
6-4 • 286
Alief, Texas (Alief Taylor)

A two-time first-team all-district selection and three-year starter at defensive tackle, Cotton ranks as the nation’s No. 27 defensive tackles by ESPNU. Rivals ranks him as the No. 72 defensive tackle while Scout lists him at No. 38.

By The Numbers: He was named to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team second team as a senior after recording 36 tackles, seven sacks, 16 TFL, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Brown On Cotton: “De’Aires is a big guy up front that is a force. It is hard to find the big guys up front that can move their feet, can stop the run, and have the ability to play the pass. You can never have enough of them. You play a team like Texas Tech who throws as much as they do, your big guys are the ones that wear out. De’Aires is really strong and really powerful and is a guy who can be impactful up front. He will definitely be an inside player.”

Gregory Daniels
Defensive Line 
6-5 • 250
Houston, Texas (St. Pius X)

A two-time all-state and two-time first-team all-district selection at defensive end, Daniels ranks as the 25th-best defensive end by ESPNU and the 17th-best strong side defensive end according to Rivals. Scout ranks him at No. 40 among the nation’s defensive ends.

By The Numbers: Daniels recorded 150 tackles, 20 sacks, 58 pressures, two INTs and three touchdowns over his final three seasons and helped St. Pius X to a 27-8 record, a state championship and two district titles during that span.

He was named to the third-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team as a senior and earned TAPPS Division I first-team all-state honors after posting 65 tackles, 10 sacks, 33 pressures, five forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, nine PBU, two INTs and two touchdowns while leading the Panthers to a 9-3 record and a district championship.

Brown On Daniels: “Greg is from a private school in Houston. He can run. He has great feet. He has the ability to be a really great pass rusher. He is another very smart young man. Greg has long arms and is very tall.”

Mike Davis
Wide Receiver 
6-2 • 183
Dallas, Texas (Skyline)

A prep All-American, two-time all-state, two-time first-team all-area and all-district performer at wide receiver, Davis is regarded as one of the premier prospects at his position, ranking in the top 5 among the nation’s wide receivers according to ESPNU, Rivals and Scout. Rivals ranks him as the No. 4 wide receiver, Scout had him at No. 3 and ESPNU at No. 2.

By The Numbers: Davis recorded 129 catches for 2,764 yards and 39 TDs over his final three seasons, helping Skyline to a 37-4 record. He earned first-team all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior as well as a spot on the first-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he caught 48 passes for 1,157 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Brown On Davis: “Mike is an outstanding basketball player. He is a very good guard on [Skyline’s] basketball team.  We feel like he has the height at receiver and the burst. He can make the big plays, and we have to continue to get big plays out of our wide receivers. Mike has a lot of ability. He has the hands to catch it and the speed to run away.”

Ashton Dorsey
Defensive Line 
6-2 • 290
Tyler, Texas (John Tyler)

A prep All-American, two-time all-state and two-time first-team all-district selection at defensive tackle, Dorsey ranks as the No. 4 defensive tackle by ESPNU and 14th-best defensive tackle by Rivals. Scout lists him as the No. 12 defensive tackle in the 2010 class.

By The Numbers: Dorsey recorded 126 tackles, nine sacks and 20 TFL over his final two seasons while helping John Tyler post a 18-8 record. He earned honorable mention all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior as well as a third-team selection to Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after totaling 63 tackles, six sacks, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries last fall.

Brown On Dorsey: “Ashton is another inside player. He is a real strong and powerful player. He is also very quick inside. We were impressed with his quickness the first day we saw him play. He has great instincts.”

Dominic Espinosa
Offensive Line 
6-4 • 295
Cedar Park, Texas (Cedar Park)

A prep All-American, all-state and two-time first-team all-district selection on the offensive, Espinosa ranks as the top center by Rivals and the third-best center by ESPNU. Scout ranks him just outside the top 5 at No. 6.

By The Numbers: Espinosa started all 32 games over his final three seasons for a Cedar Park team that posted a 19-13 record in that span. He earned first-team all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior and was also named to the Austin American-Statesman’s All-Decade team, earning second-team honors.

In addition, he was named to the second-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he graded out at 89 percent while recording 173 knockdowns, helping Cedar Park to a 7-4 record, a share of the district title and an appearance in the first round of the 5A Div. II state playoffs.

Brown On Espinosa: “[Espinosa] is another very good student. We feel like he can play center or both guards. He is another young man that we will look at playing early because he is very strong. It is hard to find centers, and we are a little bit thin in the offensive line, especially two years from now, so we might look at playing Dominic and Trey Hopkins this year to build back the depth in our offensive line.”

John Harris
Wide Receiver 
6-3 • 200
Garland, Texas (Naaman Forest)

A two-time first-team all-district selection and three-year starter at quarterback and wide receiver Harris ranks as the nation’s 29th-best wide receiver by Rivals. ESPNU ranks him as the No. 86 wide receiver while Scout ranks him at No. 64.

By The Numbers: Harris posted 90 catches for 1,431 yards and 16 touchdowns, 1,115 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns and 517 passing yards and three touchdowns over his final three seasons while leading Naaman Forest to a 24-10 record.

He was named to the third-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team as a senior while playing mainly at quarterback, though rushed for 1,115 yards and 13 touchdowns with just 517 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air.

Brown On Harris: “[Naaman Forest] changed coaches last year, and John was moved from wide receiver to quarterback after we committed him. He will play wide receiver for us. He had a great year for them at quarterback. It just shows you how versatile he is and how smart he is. He is tall, but has great speed and long arms. He is a guy that with some of the other receivers, John has not been talked about a lot, but is a very smart and very talented young man. We like his height and his ability to block. He is a very strong competitor.”

Jordan Hicks
Linebacker 
6-2 • 220
West Chester, Ohio (Lakota West)

A prep all-American, two-time first-team all-state, all-county and all-district selection at linebacker, Hicks was a three-year starter who finished his high school career as a Parade Magazine All-American and was also named as the publication’s top linebacker in the nation. Also a USA Today first-team all-American in 2009, Hicks ranks as the nation’s top linebacker prospect by Rivals and ESPNU. Scout ranks him at No. 2.

By The Numbers: The 2009 Gatorade’s Ohio high school football player of the year and high school Butkus Award – given to the nation’s top high school linebacker – posted 216 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 36 TFL, three forced fumbles, four INTs, 10 PBU and a TD over his final three seasons.

He was selected as the All-Ohio defensive co-player of the year and was a division I first-team all-state by The Associated Press as a senior after he recorded 95 tackles (65 solo), three sacks, 13 TFL, two INTs, two PBU and a TD.

Brown On Hicks: “Jordan is another great student. He is a young man that came to camp two years ago, and we fell in love with him and have really been recruiting him for two-and-a-half years. He can do it all. He has the ability to rush the passer.”

Trey Hopkins
Offensive Line 
6-4 • 280
Galena Park, Texas (North Shore)

A prep All-American, all-state, all-area and two-time first-team all-district performer on the offensive line, Hopkins ranks as the best guard by Rivals and the sixth-best guard by ESPNU while Scout lists him at No. 12.

By The Numbers: Hopkins helped North Shore post a 31-6 record over his final three seasons and was named as the Offensive Player of the Year by the Houston Touchdown Club as a senior. He was also an all-greater Houston first-team selection by the Houston Chronicle and was named to the third-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after helping clear the way for 361 total yards per game, including 232 yards on the ground while recording 48 pancakes and 36 knockdowns.

Brown On Hopkins: “Trey is sixth in his class academically of 1,000 (students) at North Shore High School. He has great feet. He has the ability to play all five spots up front, so he could play either tackle as well as the inside positions. He has not played center, but he has the hand-eye coordination to play the position. He is really athletic. He can pull. He can get on the corner. Needless to say, he is smart. We are really excited about both he and Dominic in the offensive line. Trey was our first commitment last year.”

Bryant Jackson
Defensive Back 
6-2 • 186
Sulphur Springs, Texas (Sulphur Springs)

A two-time all-district selection and three-year starter at defensive back, Jackson ranks as the 21st-best safety by ESPNU and 14th-best safety by Rivals. Scout favored him most, listing him as the No. 11 safety in the country.

By The Numbers: Jackson helped Sulphur Springs post a 33-8 record over his final three seasons while tallying 165 tackles, 23 PBU, 10 INTs, a fumble recovery on defense to go with 58 catches for 768 yards and eight touchdowns and 95 rushing yards on offense.

Jackson was recognized as a second-team performer on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team as a senior after he recorded 33 tackles, three PBU and a fumble recovery on defense while rushing for 95 yards with 54 receptions for 748 yards and eight touchdowns on offense.

Brown On Jackson: “Bryant played wide receiver this year, but he will play safety or corner for us. He is tall. After all of the interceptions this year, we are trying to find defensive backs that can catch because it changes games. The old adage used to be that if you cannot catch the ball, go to defensive back, but that is not the case anymore. You need turnovers to win like we are trying to win. Bryant is another great student from Sulphur Springs. They won the state championship last year.”

Tevin Jackson
Linebacker 
6-2 • 230
Garland, Texas (Garland)

A prep All-American, all-state, all-area and two-time first-team all-district selection at linebacker, Jackson ranks as the third-best outside linebacker nationally by Rivals and the sixth-best outside linebacker by ESPNU. Scout lists him as the No. 9 outside linebacker in the country.

By The Numbers: Jackson recorded 198 tackles, 19 sacks, 16 TFL, 11 pressures, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, a PBU and a touchdown over his final three seasons while helping the Owls post a 20-5 record over his final two seasons.

He earned honorable mention all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior, and first-team honors on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he recorded 77 tackles, 12 sacks, eight TFL, 11 pressures, two forced fumbles and a touchdown as he helped lead Garland to a 9-3 record, a district championship and the second round of the 5A Div. I state playoffs.

Brown On Jackson: “Tevin will look a lot like the other two linebackers. He is really fast. Tevin is an outstanding pass rusher. He can play in space. We feel like all three linebackers are special players. He is tough.”

Jackson Jeffcoat
Defensive Line 
6-5 • 235
Plano, Texas (Plano West)

A prep All-American, two-time first-team all-state and all-area and three-time first-team all-district selection at defensive end, Jackson is one of seven 2010 signees that was named to Parade Magazine’s All-America High School Football Team. The USA Today first-team All-American ranks as the best defensive end and second-best overall prospect by ESPNU, and is also recognized as the best strong side defensive end and 12th-best overall prospect by Rivals. Scout lists him as the nation’s second-best defensive end.

By The Numbers: Jackson recorded 259 tackles, 25.5 sacks, 56 TFL, 42 pressures, four PBU, three forced fumbles, two INTs, two blocked kicks and a touchdown over his final three seasons.

He earned first-team all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior, and was honored as a first-team performer on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he recorded 87 tackles (67 solo), 8.5 sacks, 20 TFL, 22 pressures, two INTs, one of which he returned for a touchdown, three forced fumbles and two blocked kicks while helping Plano West to the first round of the state playoffs.

Brown On Jeffcoat: “Obviously Jackson’s dad was a great player for the Cowboys. Jackson is an outstanding basketball player. He is tough enough to stop the run. He can force plays, but he also has the ability to be a super pass rusher. We feel like he is a guy who can dominate the line of scrimmage, but again, at an early age can put pressure on the passer.  He is very confident and very smart.”

Chris Jones
Wide Receiver 
6-0 • 175
Daingerfield, Texas (Daingerfield)

A two-time all-state and two-time first-team all-district selection at wide receiver, Jones ranks as the 11th-best wide receiver by ESPNU and 10th-best wide receiver by Rivals. Scout lists more modestly at No. 18.

By The Numbers: Jones recorded 64 catches for 1,475 yards and 17 touchdowns to go with 611 rushing yards and nine touchdowns over his final two seasons.

He earned honorable mention all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior after he rushed for 271 yards and three touchdowns while catching 22 passes for 430 yards and five touchdowns as he helped lead Daingerfield to a 15-1 record, a district championship and a state title. He made five catches for 67 yards with two touchdowns in a 64-14 win over Bushland in the state championship game.

Brown On Jones: “Chris is from Daingerfield and won back-to-back state championships. He will be a wide receiver for us. He has tremendous speed in space, and that is what we are trying to do. We are trying to get more explosive plays. Chris can catch, run, and he is a punt and kickoff returner.”

Case McCoy
Quarterback 
6-2 • 175
Graham, Texas (Graham)

The brother of the NCAA’s all-time winningest quarterback Colt McCoy, Case matriculates to Texas as a prep All-American, two-time all-state and three-time first-team all-district performer at quarterback. He ranks as the 35th-best quarterback by ESPNU and 24th-best dual-threat quarterback by Rivals. Scout lists him as the No. 50 quarterback in the country.

By The Numbers: McCoy tallied 10,711 passing yards and 111 touchdowns as a four-year starter while helping Graham post a 34-17 record during that span.

He earned second-team all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior after he passed for 4,276 yards and 46 touchdowns with 538 rushing yards. His efforts helped Graham to a 14-2 record and a trip to the 3A Div. II state finals.

Brown On McCoy: “[McCoy] is very, very similar to his brother. There cannot help but be comparisons while he is here. Case played for the state championship. He is very accurate, has the ability to run, can throw from the pocket, and move around. He is a very good football player. The fact that Colt was here and very successful as his brother really has nothing to do with signing Case. People will fight that because it is natural, but we would have signed him if his brother was not here, or a factor, or known him. We think that Case is really good. There is some chance that he was a better more polished player than Colt at the same age. He has had the comfort and positive experience of having Colt here to help him learn to read defenses better.”

Adrian Phillips
Defensive Back 
5-11 • 199
Garland, Texas (Garland)

An all-state, all-area and two-time first-team all-district selection while playing offense and defense, Phillips ranks as the 14th-best athlete by ESPNU and 25th-best athlete by Rivals. Scout ranks him as the nation’s No. 39 wide receiver.

By The Numbers: Phillips recorded 72 catches for 1,307 yards and 14 touchdowns, 1,111 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns and 949 passing yards and five touchdowns on offense while recording 87 tackles, two TFL, a forced fumble, three INTs and four PBU on defense over his final three seasons.

He earned honorable mention all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior and was named to the second-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he caught 41 passes for 585 yards with six touchdowns, rushed for 145 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 88 yards and one touchdown on offense with 87 tackles, two TFL, a forced fumble, three INTs and four PBU on defense as he helped lead Garland to a 9-3 record, a district championship and the second round of the 5A Div. I state playoffs.

Brown On Phillips: “Adrian will play defensive back—corner or safety. He has played everywhere at Garland High School. He has been a Texas fan his whole life. He committed to us on Junior Day. He and Tevin (Jackson) were teammates. They played with Malcolm Williams, and it helps us when Malcolm has had a good experience and can talk to these guys about his time here. Adrian can catch, run, and he is really smart. He has played quarterback and wide receiver for Garland. The coaches told me that he is one of the smarter and savvier players they have ever had. He has great instincts, and he is tough. He has a lot of ability on the field and a lot of different things that he can do. He is a very nice young man with a great smile.”

William Russ
Punter/Place-Kicker 
6-4 • 185
Shreveport, La. (Evangel Christian)

An all-state, all-city and all-district performer at place-kicker and punter Russ ranks as the 11th-best and most versatile kicker by Rivals and the 13th-best kicker by ESPNU.

By The Numbers: A four-year starter at kicker and two-year starter at punter, Russ scored 357 points and went 34-of-50 on field goal attempts and averaged 41 yards per punt over his career. He also recorded 122 touchbacks in 160 kickoffs.

He earned first-team all-state honors from the Louisiana Sportswriters Association as a senior after he went 10-of-16 on field goals and contributed to Evangel Christian’s 14-1 record and 2A state championship.

Brown On Russ: “[Russ] is an outstanding punter. He, Justin (Tucker), and John Gold will punt for us next year. He seems to have an uncanny ability to drop the ball within the 10-yard line. That is something that we have not done consistently well. Will has an outstanding leg. Justin Tucker will kick our field goals and extra points next year, and Will will come in and compete with him for that job. The thing that most excited us about Will is he has the ability to kick the ball out of the back of the end zone.”

Traylon Shead
Running Back 
6-2 • 210
Cayuga, Texas (Cayuga)

Shead (pronounced “shed”), a prep All-American, three-time first-team all-state and three-time first-team all-district performer at running back, he is one of seven players in the 2010 class that was named to Parade Magazine’s All-America High School Football Team. He ranks as the 17th-best running back by Rivals while ESPNU ranks him at No. 32 and Scout at No. 18.

By The Numbers: Shead finished his prep career as the state’s all-time leader in career touchdowns (141) and second all-time in rushing yards (10,291 yards) while helping Cayuga post a 35-8 record in his last three seasons.

Shead earned first-team 1A all-state honors and was named the 1A Offensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press and the Texas Sports Writers Association as a senior after he rushed for 2,695 yards and 39 touchdowns while leading Cayuga to a 14-1 record and its first state championship.

Brown On Shead: “Traylon is the second leading rusher in the history of Texas high school football. He scored more touchdowns than anyone else in Texas high school football history. He played in the All-American game. He has a lot of ability. He is a very nice young man. He father is the principal of the school in Cayuga, and mom is in charge of discipline for the county, so he says ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, ma’am.’ He had a couple of really good plays in the Army All-American Game.”

Darius Terrell
Tight End 
6-3 • 215
DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto)

A prep All-American, all-state, all-area and two-time first-team all-district selection at wide receiver, Terrell is one of seven of the Longhorns’ incoming freshmen that was named to Parade Magazine’s All-America High School Football Team. He ranks as the nation’s 17th-best tight end by Rivals while Scout and ESPNU both rank him as the No. 68 wide receiver in the country.

By The Numbers: A three-year starter, Terrell posted 129 catches for 2,001 yards and 21 touchdowns, while helping DeSoto post a 24-12 record over his final three seasons. He earned second-team all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior and was named to the second-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he caught 78 passes for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Brown On Terrell: “Darius will play tight end and flex tight end for us. He was a starter in the state championship basketball game for DeSoto last year. He plays wide receiver, but he is a big guy with long arms, and we feel like he will be big enough to be a tight end. He can really run and give us the ability to stretch the field. He is starting on their basketball team right now. Darius is a great student.”

A.J. White
Defensive Back 
6-0 • 175
DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto)

A prep All-American, all-state and all-district selection at defensive back, White ranks as the eighth-best cornerback by ESPNU and 27th-best cornerback by Rivals. Scout favors him most, listing him as the No. 4 cornerback.

By The Numbers: White recorded 103 tackles, eight PBU, four INTs and two fumble recoveries over his final two seasons at DeSoto.

He earned honorable mention all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior and was named to the first-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he recorded 46 tackles (33 solo), three INTs and a fumble recovery and helped DeSoto to a 9-3 record and the second round of the 5A Div. I state playoffs.

Brown On White: “A.J. is in school. He is one of the three that are here. He is a defensive back from DeSoto. He has really good cover skills. DeSoto played man-to-man, so it put him in a really tough spot for a lot of the year and gave him some great experience against some really good receivers. A.J. will be able to compete this spring.”

Darius White
Wide Receiver 
6-3 • 200
Fort Worth, Texas (Dunbar)

A prep All-American, all-state and two-time first-team all-district performer at wide receiver, White is one of the seven Longhorns’ incoming freshmen named to Parade Magazine’s All-America High School Football Team, and was also tabbed as a first-team All-American by USA Today. White ranks as the third-best wide receiver and 20th-best overall prospect by ESPNU and sixth-best wide receiver and 41st-best overall prospect by Rivals. Scout lists him as the nation’s No. 6 wide receiver.

By The Numbers: White posted 93 catches for 2,293 yards and 35 touchdowns over his final three seasons.

White was named as a first-team player on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team as a senior after he caught 24 passes for 491 yards and eight touchdowns.

Brown On White: “Darius is a wide receiver. He looks like some of the No. 4’s [on film] that we have had around here. He is tall, can run, and can make a difference for you. Darius is a great basketball player. He is left handed. I think that he and Mike Davis could both play college basketball. They are not going to, but they could. Darius has the ability to go up high and get the ball over corners.”

Reggie Wilson
Defensive Line 
6-3 • 240
Haltom City, Texas (Haltom)

An all-state, all-area and two-time first-team all-district selection on the defensive line, Wilson capped his prep career by earning second-team All-America honors from USA Today. Wilson ranks as the 8th-best defensive end by ESPNU and fourth-best defensive end and 29th-best overall prospect by Rivals. Scout lists him as the No. 3 defensive end in the country.

By The Numbers: Wilson recorded 233 tackles, 24 sacks, 58 TFL, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles during his career as a three-year starter and captain.

He earned first-team all-state honors from The Associated Press as a senior and was named to the first-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he posted 75 tackles, nine sacks, 25 TFL, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries last fall.

Brown On Wilson: “Reggie is an outstanding pass rusher. He can really run. He is athletic. Reggie is from the Ivory Coast. He tells a great story about when came, he thought he was playing soccer when they told him to go out for football, and he did not know how to get dressed and put the pads on backwards. He has a great story. He has a wonderful smile. He is really good and will be a lot of fun to watch.”

Connor Wood
Quarterback 
6-4 • 209
Houston, Texas (Second Baptist)

A prep All-American, three-time all-state and three-time first-team all-district selection at quarterback, Wood ranks as the 14th-best quarterback by ESPNU, the sixth-best pro-style quarterback by Rivals and the ninth-best quarterback by Scout.

By The Numbers: As a four-year starter at Second Baptist, Wood posted 8,417 passing yards and 73 touchdowns along with 1,482 rushing yards and 37 more scores during his career while leading the program to a 29-18 record. He earned TAPPS Division II second-team all-state honors as a senior and was also named to the second-team of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team after he passed for 2,669 yards and 19 touchdowns while rushing for 688 yards and 13 touchdowns last fall.

Brown On Wood: “Connor is in school. He is from Second Baptist in Houston. Like Case, he has the ability to run. He is big and is very accurate. We were not concerned about private school or the level of football. Greg (Davis) and Major (Applewhite) really liked what they saw. We really like both Connor and Case, and they understand that. They are good friends, and they are ready to compete.”

Thanks to John Haynesworth for his contribution on Texas football’s 2010 National Signing Day recap for Eyes Of TX.

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Texas’ 2010 Football Recruiting: Locked & (Re)Loaded

If Texas football coach Mack Brown and his staff are still feeling as if they let one get away after last month’s disappointing loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship game, then Wednesday should help put the Longhorns’ coaches in position to make another run at the success that eluded them January 7th in Pasadena.

The title of “Mr. February” has long been retired ever since Brown put to rest the stigma that he “couldn’t win the big one.” Texas’ run to Brown’s first Big 12 and national championships in the 2005 season validated him as a game day coach, and mythical titles have since been replaced by more tangible ones.

But with that said, the first Wednesday of every February is Texas’ time to shine – at least it has been since Brown restored recruiting order in Austin – and this National Signing Day was no different as he and the Longhorns’ staff secured signed letters of intent from 25 of the nation’s top prep athletes en route to another consensus top 5 recruiting class for Texas.

Among the group signees announced on Wednesday, seven were named Parade All-Americans, three earned first-team USA Today All-USA honors and two others earned second-team All-USA honors. All told, 17 players earned All-America status, 15 players were listed among ESPNU’s Top 150 national prospects and 20 were listed among all-state teams.

The 2002 class that would eventually carry Texas during Brown’s memorable 2005 season is considered by many to be the standard by which Mack Brown classes should be evaluated. It featured several impact contributors such as offensive lineman Justin Blalock, Lyle Sendlein, and Kasey Studdard, defensive back Aaron Ross, tight end David Thomas, defensive end Brian Robison and, of course, quarterback Vince Young.

And while Brown isn’t willing to rush to any hasty judgments of a group that hasn’t played a down of collegiate football, he didn’t back down from entertaining such comparisons either.

“Some will want to compare this group to some of the other great classes we’ve had at Texas and based on their accomplishments coming out of high school, they have the potential to be in that conversation,” Brown said Wednesday afternoon during his signing day press conference. “But, as a staff, we’ve been doing this for a long time and we’ll evaluate them in four or five years at the end of their run and not now.”

While the 2010 class’ legacy is yet to be determined, they do stack up well with other top classes in the country. Rivals rated the Longhorns class third behind only Florida and USC.

“Texas’ class is certainly right up there with any program in the country when you factor in how much talent the Longhorns are bringing in and how well they’ve filled their needs,” said Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jeremy Crabtree to Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods.com. “Any other year, this would be the clear No. 1 class in the country.”

For the fourth time in the last five years, Texas finished in Scout’s top 10, also at No. 3 where they followed Florida and Oklahoma. The Longhorns’ most favorable ranking came courtesy of ESPN, which ranked Texas second behind only Florida.

Texas’ class is obviously loaded with plenty of star power capable of supporting its lofty ranking, but according to Brown, the class also carefully addressed key areas of need as the Longhorns look to improve depth throughout the roster.

“Of our 13 classes at Texas, this group addresses every position more so than any other class we’ve had,” Brown said. “We were fortunate enough to sign a talented young player at every position which is very unusual for a class.”

The intent is that improved depth will improve competition as the Longhorns begin preparations for the 2010 season with spring football rapidly approaching.

“We will prepare all of these guys to play this season and I expect many of them will,” the 12-year Texas coach continued. “This class, along with the outstanding young players we have returning next season, will provide immediate help and also be a great foundation for success in years to come.”

Also impressive is the efficiency the Longhorns staff exhibited while identifying and ultimately landing this year’s class. As Brown indicated Wednesday, the Texas coaches extended 30 total offers, and hosted just 25 of the 62 official on-campus visits permitted by the NCAA. All 25 of those official visits resulted in signatures on Wednesday.

No stranger to signing day drama and losses – uttering the name “Ryan Perrilloux” is still liable to spark bitterness among the burnt orange and white nation, Brown was happy to enjoy an uneventful signing day.

“It’s a whole lot worse to be No. 2 in recruiting than it is No. 5,” Brown said. “Because if you lose today, you not only lost the guy you lost, but you lost the guy you would have taken if he hadn’t come. So actually, you lose two or three players when you lose a guy late.

“That’s why we’ve tried to do our recruiting earlier for guys that want to come. We’re very fortunate that we didn’t have drama at the end. All of our guys were honest with us. All of our guys told us exactly what they thought from the beginning, and we really feel like none of our guys wavered. And that’s something that’s very, very important to us.”

This year’s class is predictably dominated by Texas’ top talent as 22 of 25 prospects hail from the Lone Star state. Since taking the Longhorns’ job, Brown has embraced legendary Texas coach Darrell K. Royal’s advice to reestablish ties with the state’s high school coaches, and the program continued its stranglehold in 2010 as all 22 homegrown prospects rank in the state’s top 100 according to the Lone Star Recruiting rankings.

“We look at the young men in the state of Texas first,” Brown noted of his philosophy when it comes to evaluating prospects. “If a young man in the state of Texas is equal in ability with a young man outside the state of Texas, we take the in-state player first. We’ve always done that. We feel that’s very important.”

With regard to evaluating out of state prospects, Brown said that he tries to identify a reason why such a prospect might be interested in Texas. Wednesday, the Horns received signed letters of intent from three out of state prospects, including one ofthe country’s top linebacker prospects in Jordan Hicks from West Chester, OH (his explanation of why he chose Texas). Rarely do blue-chip athletes from Ohio escape Ohio State’s grasp, but in Hicks, Brown landed the first player of his tenure from that talent-rich region.

“This is a proud moment for them, for their parents, high school coaches and teammates who have helped them get to this point,” Brown said of the class. “These kids have worked their whole lives and had a dream to go to college. This is a huge moment for these young people and we’re excited to have them join the Texas family.”

Thanks to John Haynesworth for his contribution on Texas football’s 2010 National Signing Day recap for Eyes Of TX. More to come on Thursday, with in-depth player profiles.

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