Texas Football Recruiting: 5 Storylines from the 1st Texas Stampede
Texas football hosted its first-ever Texas Stampede, bringing in recruits from the 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes to help them get familiar with the 40 Acres. The event was highlighted by two new commits, three new offers and one big no-show.
Hired this past March, director of player personnel Patrick Suddes has hit the ground running. He has already led to the first sophomore and freshman offers in school history, and continues to keep Texas fresh on the minds of its recruits.
Texas Stampede is just the latest of Suddes' innovations. Instead of bringing the players to work out, the event was designed to get these players in front of the coaches and get familiar with their potential peers.
Here is what you need to know about the event's debut, starting with the two newest Longhorn commits.
OG Vahe and DB Hall Commit
The first-ever Texas Stampede paid immediate dividends, with the 'Horns adding two commits by the end of the weekend.
The first commit, Jason Hall, was a no-brainer at this event. Since Hall decommitted from Nebraska earlier this month, it was only a matter of time before the three-star safety joined Texas' 2014 group.
The second commit, and the major get of the weekend, was 2015 offensive guard Patrick Vahe, cousin of current commits Sione and Maea Teuhema. Vahe, ranked No. 79 in ESPN's Jr. 300, becomes the fourth offensive lineman in the class.
In spite of his 286-pound frame, Vahe has exceptional feet and projects nicely as a starter in his first two years on campus. On the other hand, Hall is less of a certainty due to questions regarding his speed, though the coaches like his physicality and athleticism.
3 More Offers Go out
In addition to adding three more commits, the Longhorns handed out offers to three impressive prospects. All three will require some wooing, but Texas should be in the mix.
Everyone knew about QB/WR Reggie Hemphill and safety Deontay Anderson, but they are now official. Hemphill is among the most impressive receiver prospects in the 2016 class, proving it when he shredded current commit Jermaine Roberts at camp this summer. Anderson is another rare talent, and already held an offer from Alabama.
Speedy Longview back Ja'Mycal Hasty also received an offer, the sixth 2016 running back the Longhorns have pursued. Texas seems to be on the outside looking in with Hasty, but this running back class will be stacked with or without him.
Landing Hemphill and Anderson will be a top priority moving forward. With the competition circling, Texas needs to start showing it is ready to compete again.
Ketchum Liking Texas
Texas has offered five quarterbacks for the 2015 class, but only one was in attendance on Saturday. And he is listing Texas as his favorite.
J.W. Ketchum, the No. 149 player in his class, is listed as an athlete and is being pursued by Texas as a quarterback. He is an ace running the zone read and has the necessary arm strength to make big time throws. As with most dual-threat quarterbacks, accuracy is a concern.
Ketchum lists Texas as his favorite, according to HornsNation's Max Olson. Whether that feeling is reciprocal is another issue altogether. Fans are looking at Ricky Town and seeing the next Colt McCoy, and dual-threat Chason Virgil impressed the coaches at camp earlier in the summer.
However, the crop will inevitably thin and making a strong impression on Ketchum gives Texas another solid option.
The Coaches Get Needed Time with Key Prospects...
Though neither of them committed, the Texas coaches got some invaluable time in with some of their biggest targets for the 2014 and 2015 classes. One of them could become the face of the 2015 class.
With Hall locked up, Texas was able to shift some attention over to rangy safety John Bonney. This is a prospect that projects to surge up the rankings as he grows into his body, and would be a nice get with Edwin Freeman and Jamal Adams hanging in limbo.
Texas also got some time with athlete Kevin Shorter and TCU-commit Nick Orr. Both are three-star prospects that project as safeties, further proving the theory that Texas is preparing for the worst with its 2014 defensive back haul.
However, the most important one-on-one time came with 2015 defensive tackle Daylon Mack. Mack is the top prospect in the state, according to ESPN, and represents a major recruiting battle with Texas A&M.
The fights for Mack and Bonney will require a lot of effort. If both commit, that alone would make the Stampede well worth it.
...But the No-Shows Hurt
As helpful as the face time Texas with some major targets was on Saturday, missing out on the same opportunity with the no-shows will hurt in the future.
Had 2014 prospect Tony Brown shown up, Texas Stampede would have been all about him. The state's top cornerback is on everybody's list and has the Day 1 talent that the Longhorns' class is lacking. Instead Brown elected to compete in the Junior Olympics, and the 'Horns are no closer to landing one of their top targets.
Texas also missed out on chances to talk with 2014 defensive tackle D.J. Williams and 2015 targets Kris Boyd and Trevor Elbert. But missing a chance to woo Brown hurts the most as Texas inches closer and closer to striking out on a loaded defensive back class.