The No. 24 Texas Longhorns (7-2, 6-0) may be undefeated in Big 12 play, but their performances during their six-game winning streak have been far from perfect.
That's where recruiting plays its role as the perpetuating revolving doors in college football.
It is no surprise that Texas' recent downward spiral, which began in 2010, has affected its recruiting prowess, but there is no denying that the program offers an array of qualities that can still attract some of the best talent in the Lone Star State.
The 'Horns still have four games remaining, including their bowl game. But with the future in mind, let's take a quick look at where Texas stands in its recruiting efforts.
Texas has 14 seniors on scholarship, delivering hits to positions that will need some serious bump in performance and/or depth next season.
Among those 14 are wide receiver Mike Davis, quarterback Case McCoy, punter/kicker Anthony Fera, safety Adrian Phillips, cornerback Carrington Byndom, defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive tackle Chris Whaley and offensive linemen Donald Hawkins, Mason Walters and Trey Hopkins.
With Texas set to see new faces at virtually every position, here is the breakdown for the Longhorns' key needs.
Defensive end: Texas will lose two senior defensive ends and could possibly see junior Cedric Reed make the jump to the NFL as well. Jeffcoat has been the standout, but Reggie Wilson has fallen in Reed's shadow. Still, with the 'Horns losing at least two edge players, they need to strike big in recruiting. Texas currently has three defensive end commits in 2014.
Offensive line: The Longhorns have been far from stellar along their offensive line, but their recent successes have come with a very experienced group up front. They will lose three seniors in Hawkins, Hopkins and Walters. Although Texas has shown some adequate backups, it has underperformed at the position for years. Texas has just one offensive line pledge in 2014.
Quarterback: Quarterback is a position of heavy interest for obvious reasons. Texas will not have a wily veteran in McCoy to pull the Longhorns from the depths next season, which will put a big spotlight on David Ash and Tyrone Swoopes. Texas has not had marked success at quarterback since the Colt McCoy days of 2005-09. The 'Horns have either Ash or Swoopes as their guy for the 2014 class.
Defensive back: Being "Defensive Back U", Texas will look to add more talent to its secondary depth. Losing Byndom and Phillips will pave the way for new names to emerge as Texas' top defensive backs. Texas took just two listed DBs in its 2013 class, so the need for a strong haul in the defensive backfield is necessary. The Longhorns have locked up two verbal commits so far in 2014.
Most Important Commits
|Texas' Most Important Commits in 2014|
Derick Roberson serves as a much-needed addition to a defensive line that will lose at least three players in the offseason. The San Antonio product was Texas' first pledge among its 2014 class. Texas is looking at a trio of Reed, Shiro Davis and Bryce Cottrell at defensive end, which means that if Roberson impresses, he could easily crack the two-deep depth chart by next fall.
The Longhorns may have their future secured in Jerrod Heard, as some have already overlooked Swoopes and are pointing to Heard as the guy for Texas' future fortunes. The dual-threat quarterback is praised for his open-field exploits, but after a strong throwing performance in "The Opening,"—presented by Nike—Heard has already begun turning heads.
Armanti Foreman is the speedy-type of pass-catcher that Texas will want to have on its roster with Mike Davis leaving for the next level. With legit 4.4 speed, Foreman's ability to get behind defenses should correlate to how early he sees the field. The emergence of Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson may ease some of the pressure, but there is little doubt that Texas has found an impact player in Foreman.
Most Important Targets
|Texas' Most Important Targets in 2014|
Leonard Fournette is a War Daddy, plain and simple. The New Orleans product is a consensus national top-10 player and he projects to be a huge difference-maker at the next level with great speed, balance and vision to complement a tough and relentless running style.
Soloman Thomas is exactly what Texas needs at defensive end. The Texas native from Coppell has the size and build to project as a formidable end at the next level, but can the Longhorns close the deal? If Texas can land Thomas alongside Roberson, it will have quite the potential combo down the road.
Tony Brown is just a straight-up baller, but Texas could be on the outside looking in for him, as LSU is a heavy contender for the Beaumont, Texas, native. Brown has speed and athleticism oozing out of him, and with Brown being one of the top-ranked corners in the Lone Star State, securing his signature will be important for any team recruiting the 5-star talent.
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