Texas Football: 2013 Recruiting Class at a Glance
The Alamo Bowl is just days away for the No. 23 Texas Longhorns, and much of their focus is on the preparation for a reputable No. 13 Oregon State. But while college football indeed has an offseason, recruiting is one thing that never takes a break.
In the constant revolving door that is college football, every program has the challenge of evaluating the best high school talent in the country in order to welcome in fresh players down the road.
The Longhorns are no exception, and although they have struggled to maintain their place as one of the top programs in the country, many still see the 'Horns as the gold standard in the state of Texas.
A series of decommits have blemished the once gleaming 2013 recruiting class, but the Longhorns still hold pledges from some of the top players in the state.
With a position-by-position glance, here is a look at the current makeup, commitments and needs of next year's recruiting class:
2013 Scholarship Players: Case McCoy (Sr.), David Ash (Jr.), Connor Brewer (R Fr.), Jalen Overstreet (R Fr.)
2013 Commits: Tyrone Swoopes
Lowdown: There is little debate that quarterback has been a position of interest in the past three seasons for Texas. With the fallout of Garrett Gilbert and the gradual progression of David Ash, the Longhorns have left much to be desired in following the footsteps left behind by Vince Young and Colt McCoy.
Texas is again in a critical year for its quarterback situation, as much of its success likely will depend on how consistent and productive the signal caller can be in multiple phases of the game.
Tyrone Swoopes has the make and mold of a Vince Young and the type of dual-threat quarterback that has become almost necessary to be successful in college football. But hailing from a 2A high school offers some concerns over his readiness. Swoopes looks like a project who will be unveiled in at least a year's time.
2013 Scholarship Players: Malcolm Brown (Jr.), Joe Bergeron (Jr.), Johnathan Gray (So.), Daje Johnson (So.)
2013 Commits: None
Lowdown: The Longhorns are very well off at running back and could even be in a position where not bringing in a tailback in 2013 poses few issues.
Kyle Hicks recently switched his commitment to TCU, leaving the Horns in dire straits concerning their approach to recruiting the position.
At the end of the day, a lineup already featuring Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron, Johnathan Gray and Daje Johnson gives them a leg up on most competition, but Texas will always want the best. It just remains to be seen whether or not the Longhorns will stay quiet at the position or reach out to a late bloomer as signing day looms.
Need: Not desperate.
2013 Scholarship Players: Mike Davis (Sr.), Jaxon Shipley (Jr.), John Harris (Jr.), Bryant Jackson (Jr.), Miles Onyegbule (Jr.), Marcus Johnson (So.), Cayleb Jones (So.), Kendall Sanders (So.)
2013 Commits: Jake Oliver, Jacorey Warrick
Targets: James Clark
Lowdown: Texas' struggles in the passing game, an aspect that took some strides in 2012, is nothing new. The fact that the position yields just two notable contributors is defining enough.
The development of Texas' quarterback is directly connected to how well the aerial attack takes off in 2013. Mike Davis took as big a leap as any offensive performer this past season, and Jaxon Shipley is a fantastic asset for any gunslinger, but the Horns need so much more consistency elsewhere.
Incomers Jake Oliver and Jacorey Warrick are no barn-burners, but the added depth and ball skills are definitely welcomed in a receiver corps that has had few players make a legitimate impact.
2013 Scholarship Players: Trey Graham (Sr.), Greg Daniels (Jr.), M.J. McFarland (So.)
2013 Commits: Geoff Swaim (JUCO)
Lowdown: The best blockers can't catch, and the best catchers can't block.
That has been the issue with the tight end position, and it has not gotten any better.
Texas' most notably player out of the tight end spot has been D.J. Grant, who will play in his final game as a Longhorn this weekend. Behind him are three players who have yet to take the position by storm, even though their opportunities have been plentiful.
The Longhorns recently had Durham Smythe decommit, troubling the position even further. But the addition of Geoff Swaim, a JUCO tight end, could be a quick fix for the upcoming season.
2013 Scholarship Players: OT--Donald Hawkins (Sr.), Josh Cochran (Jr.), Kennedy Estelle (So.); OG--Mason Walters (Sr.), Trey Hopkins (Sr.), Thomas Ashcraft (Sr.), Garrett Porter (Sr.), Sedrick Flowers (So.); C--Dom Espinosa (Jr.); OL--Marcus Hutchins (R Fr.), Curtis Riser (R Fr.), Garrett Greenlea (R Fr.), Taylor Doyle (R Fr.), Camrhon Huges (R Fr.)
2013 Commits: Darius James, Kent Perkins, Jake Raulerson (ATH)
Targets: Desmond Harrison
Lowdown: Still waiting for its offensive line to turn a big corner, Texas has been struggling to develop some of its recruits into the maulers necessary to execute a power running game.
The Longhorns are just now steadying themselves after a series of poor recruiting seasons that left them very thin on the offensive line. With a host of seniors returning for the 2013 season, things definitely look to be on the up and up.
Darius James, Kent Perkins and Jake Raulerson add to a slew of young lineman waiting to move up the depth chart.
There are vacancies to be filled, but there are a number of upperclassmen who have not taken the necessary progressions vying for those positions.
2013 Scholarship Players: DE--Jackson Jeffcoat (Sr.), Reggie Wilson (Sr.), Cedric Reed (Jr.), Shiro Davis (So.), Caleb Bluiett (R Fr.), Hassan Ridgeway (R Fr.), Bryce Cottrell (R Fr.); DT--Ashton Dorsey (Sr.), Brandon Moore (Sr.), Chris Whaley (Sr.), Kyle Kriegel (Sr.), Desmond Jackson (Jr.), Malcolm Brown (So.), Alex Norman (R Fr.), Paul Boyette Jr. (R Fr.)
2013 Commits: A'Shawn Robinson, Jake Raulerson (ATH)
Targets: Andrew Billings, Za'Darius Smith
Lowdown: The Longhorns will lose All-American Alex Okafor to the NFL Draft, but Texas is thick with bodies and talent up front.
Jackson Jeffcoat should return for his senior season after having surgery on a torn pectoral, and he is accompanied by a string of quality players.
A'Shawn Robinson was recruited by virtually every top program in the country, and although his commitment to the Longhorns is reportedly up in the air, Texas is in good shape along its defensive line for now.
Need: Not imminent
2013 Scholarship Players: Demarco Cobbs (Sr.), Jordan Hicks (Jr.), Steve Edmond (Jr.), Kendall Thompson (Jr.), Tevin Jackson (Jr.), Aaron Benson (Jr.), Dalton Santos (So.), Peter Jinkens (So.), Tim Cole (R Fr.)
2013 Commits: Deoundrei Davis, Naashon Hughes
Targets: De'Vondre Campbell
Lowdown: The losses of Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson were very much underestimated entering the 2012 season, and the holes they left behind were hardly filled.
Jordan Hicks' midseason injury vastly cut into the Longhorns' experience at the position, and youth got served tremendously in his absence. On the other hand, the pieces that were forced to grow up quickly look part of a group destined for long-term success.
The best news is that every linebacker will return for the 2013 season, and that means the Longhorns have ample time to evaluate just who else can fit into this recruiting class.
Need: Not imminent
2013 Scholarship Players: CB--Carrington Byndom (Sr.), Quandre Diggs (Jr.), Leroy Scott (Jr.); S--Adrian Phillips (Sr.), Sheroid Evans (Jr.), Josh Turner (Jr.), Mykkele Thompson (Jr.); DB--Kevin Vaccaro (So.), Bryson Echols (R Fr.), Adrian Colbert (R Fr.)
2013 Commits: Erik Huhn, Antwuan Davis, Chevoski Collins
Lowdown: The secondary was strong in 2011, but took plenty of steps backwards in 2012.
Was it because of Blake Gideon's departure? Was it because of the added pressure from an inexperienced linebacker group in front of it?
Those questions were never answered over the course of the season, but if there is one position, other than running back, that has no dearth in talent, it has to be in the secondary.
The Longhorns may have fallen a little behind in their "DB U" moniker, but the additions of Erik Huhn, Antwuan Davis and Chevoski Collins add that much more depth, athleticism and football IQ to the table.
Need: Start looking ahead
2013 Scholarship Players: PK--Anthony Fera (Sr.), Nick Jordan (So.); P--William Russ (Jr.)
2013 Commits: None
Lowdown: By now, virtually every Texas fan should know of the debacle that was Texas' special teams in 2012.
First it was Nick Jordan, a freshman kicker who had to follow in the footsteps of prized asset Justin Tucker. Then, after Jordan struggled, Anthony Fera finally got healthy, but proved to be equally inadequate.
Texas does not look to be seeking out more options in this recruiting season, but the door is definitely always open.
Need: Get one, and get it right.