Texas Football: In-State Recruits Mack Brown and Longhorns Must Land
Among the reasons Texas has been able to consistently pull in top-10 recruiting classes year after year after year is its ability to bring in the best players in its home state. This year is no different.
What do Vince Young, Colt McCoy, Cedric Benson, Jordan Shipley, Derrick Johnson and Brian Orakpo all have in common other than being Longhorn legends? They were all in-state recruits, as are a majority of Texas' recruits.
This is not to say that only the greats come from right here in Texas, but being able to bring in the best this state has to offer has been a trademark of this program for many years. In fact, 24 of the 28 newcomers from this year's No. 3 recruiting class came from the Lone Star State.
Following is a list of 10 in-state players that the Longhorns must reel in from next year's recruiting class.
WR Ricky Seals-Jones
Surprise, surprise. The highest priority on Texas' list of recruiting targets is still mammoth wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones.
It has been the epitome of a roller coaster ride with Seals-Jones, who de-committed from the 'Horns last month after committing back in February. The feeling seems to be that RSJ reconsidered his commitment because he wants to play football as well as basketball. What a mess.
However, Seals-Jones is worth every ounce of hassle and headache if the Longhorns can snare him. He is a matchup nightmare at 6'5" 230 lbs and has the 4.4 speed to go along with it. In other words, he is the total package.
Most signs seem to point toward RSJ recommitting to Texas. Mack Brown has said he has no problem with his players playing two sports, Seals-Jones already has a great relationship with fellow recruit Tyrone Swoopes, Texas' basketball program is better than most of his alternatives and, most importantly, he has stated numerous times that Texas is still his first choice. If only he would just do it so we can sleep easier.
QB Tyrone Swoopes
He may have taken quite the tumble after his performance at The Opening, but Tyrone Swoopes is still a top-tier prospect in this class.
Swoopes fell from the No. 22 to the No. 100 spot on ESPN's 150 list after struggling mightily throwing the ball in 7-on-7 competition, according to HornsNation's Max Olson. However, he is still 6'5" and runs like a deer, which is what everyone fell in love with in the first place.
Here are the facts. Everyone knew Swoopes' throwing motion was not college-ready, and it was unreasonable for anyone to think he was going to come in as a true freshman looking like the reincarnation of Vince Young. Swoopes, like Young, is going to take at least a year before he will be ready to challenge for the starting job.
You love a guy like Swoopes because of what he can become, not what he already is. And his upside is off the charts.
C Darius James
With center still a point of concern for this team, Darius James comes in as the top-rated player at the position and will immediately provide depth along the offensive line.
The arrival of JUCO transfer Donald Hawkins certainly shores up what would have been a questionable group of big uglies, but center remains questionable behind sophomore Dom Espinosa. Espinosa is still young, but it's hard to ignore what James brings to the table. James not only has size and quickness, but he also plays with such a high motor he often moonlights as a defensive tackle for Harker Heights.
James' motor is what sets him apart and makes him a great fit for this run-first offense. At the very least he comes in and pushes Espinosa to perform at a higher level while also providing depth, but it'd be a shock if he did not find himself starting in 2014.
DE Torrodney Prevot
Of all the prospects Texas is looking at in this recruiting class, Torrodney Prevot is the most intriguing.
At 6'3" and only 210 lbs, Prevot leaves a lot to be desired in the size department when you evaluate him as a defensive end. But what he lacks in size he more than makes up for with his length, speed, work ethic and considerable upside. Once an unknown on the circuit, Prevot has been absolutely vaulting up the recruiting rankings and has the big-time offers as validation.
With Alex Okafor graduating and Jackson Jeffcoat favored to leave a year early to be a top-10 draft pick, this team will need all of the pass-rushers it can get. Prevot may not provide immediate relief because he is very raw, but some quality time with strength coach Bennie Wylie could turn him into a total monster. He is expected to make a commitment any day now.
WR Torii Hunter, Jr.
Nobody helped themselves at The Opening more than WR Torii Hunter, Jr., whose MVP performance in the 7-on-7 championship launched him up 85 spots from No. 136 to No. 51 on the ESPN 150.
Hunter, the son of future Hall of Fame baseball player Torii Hunter, did himself all kinds of favors up in Beaverton by running a 4.57 40 and following that up with jaw-dropping catches all the way through the event's championship game. He may not be a big receiver, but he has incredible hands and scouts agree that he looks faster than 4.57 on the field.
Hunter has not yet received an offer from Texas, but he has not yet committed and he would be a solid consolation prize should Ricky Seals-Jones complete his flake out. Save for Jaxon Shipley, there is not a Texas receiver with better hands than Hunter and he could be the possession receiver this program has sorely missed the last few seasons.
OT Jake Raulerson
Jake Raulerson is another player that did himself a solid at The Opening, establishing himself as a steal of this class for the Longhorns and moving from 81st to 56th in the latest ESPN rankings.
Raulerson impressed scouts with his versatility at the event by performing above expectations at all three positions along the line. Raulerson was already projected as a potential multi-year starter, so offensive line coach Stacy Searels must really be salivating at this commit's potential now.
Raulerson really established himself with his performance at The Opening by showcasing his versatility as the Longhorns could have a logjam at his natural tackle position. Now, he comes in able to provide invaluable depth all along the offensive line and still has potential to be a great tackle. And he has done his part to try to lure in Ricky Seals-Jones, which is just another reason to love this kid.
DT Justin Manning
One of the Longhorns' top targets in the coming months will be defensive tackle prospect Justin Manning, especially since it would irritate their rival Sooners so greatly.
The Sooners seemed to have Manning, the younger brother of former Sooner DeMarcus Granger, all but locked in from the get-go. Then the Sooners irked Manning by offering him late, leaving the door wide open for the Longhorns to take their shot at the 275-lb tackle from Dallas.
Texas is probably not at the top of Manning's list after joining the party a little late, but he would certainly have no problem coming in to make an impact. Manning has some size to add and needs to improve against the run, but he is an exceptional pass rusher. As a freshman, Manning could come in immediately and add depth as a situational pass-rusher as he develops his all-around play at the position.
Irritate the living you-know-what out of the Sooners and get a great defensive tackle in the process? What are we waiting for?!
CB Antwuan Davis
Thought by many to be the best cornerback prospect in the state, Bastrop's Antwuan Davis could be the next great corner here at Texas.
Davis has a very unique blend of size and speed for the corner position, making him a perfect match for guru Duane Akina. And by speed, I mean he runs his 40 in 4.35 seconds. That kind of speed with his very good size for the position makes Davis a can't-miss prospect for this team.
For the sake of Davis' development, you would like to see junior Carrington Byndom stay on and help his similarly built successor. If not, Duane Akina should have no problem taking advantage of Davis' potential and turning this commit into another one of his success stories.
WR Jacorey Warrick
With D.J. Monroe graduating after this season, Jacorey Warrick and his lightning-quick feet are must-have for the Longhorns in 2013.
At 5'10" and 170 lbs, this diminutive speedster may as well be Monroe but with better hands. Incoming freshman Daje Johnson will also be in the fold once Warrick comes to campus, so Warrick probably will not see as many touches out of the backfield as Monroe has throughout his career.
Since there is still no certainty with regard to what Texas has or will have at quarterback, it behooves this team to get as many weapons on the field as possible and Warrick's quickness most definitely falls into that category. Warrick has already committed, so it's safe for fans to start to picture this Houston-area product filling the void left by Monroe.