Texas Football: Future Longhorns to Watch in the Opening

Zach SheltonFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2014

Texas Football: Future Longhorns to Watch in the Opening

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    Dynamic slot receiver and Longhorn lean Ryan Newsome is set to put on a show at The Opening.
    Dynamic slot receiver and Longhorn lean Ryan Newsome is set to put on a show at The Opening.Matt Strasen/Associated Press

    Patrick Vahe has dropped out of The Opening, leaving the Longhorns without a commit in attendance. However, there are three expected commits that are worth monitoring at Nike's prestigious event.

    Receivers Ryan Newsome and John Burt join defensive back Holton Hill as the only attendees that are considered Texas leans at this stage of the process. Both Newsome's and Hill's Crystal Ball predictions peg them as future Longhorns, while Burt recently told 247Sports.com's Luke Stampini (subscription required) that Texas leads the pack.

    There are 162 recruits attending this event, and not a one is committed to Texas. Even if all three of these guys eventually commit, that's still not an impressive number.

    As always, a lot can change by signing day. But for now, these are the only three participants that fans should get excited about.

    Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports.com.

WR John Burt

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    Despite all of the attention he is getting from nearby Florida State, John Burt still appears to be heading to Texas. 

    With Damarkus Lodge off the board, Burt is Texas' best shot at a big receiver in this class. The 6'3" Florida native busted out a 4.25 shuttle time and a 34-inch vertical leap at the Miami NFTC (per ESPN), looking like the complete outside threat Texas will need after Jaxon Shipley graduates.

    Pay close attention to Burt's ability to go up and snatch the ball, as well as how he tests in the 40. If he improves in the latter, he may flirt with a 5-star rating.

DB Holton Hill

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    The Longhorns desperately need Holton Hill and at least two other defensive backs in this class. The Houston product is one of the few that they still have an edge on.

    At 6'2" and boasting 4.56 speed, Hill can play either safety or cornerback for Texas. The same can be said for several of the program's in-state targets, but he is one of the few that's still gettable.

    If the Longhorns land him, he's probably going to be a starter. How he handles some high-level talent at The Opening will give us a good idea of his readiness to play coverage in the Big 12.

WR Ryan Newsome

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    Ryan Newsome has long been considered a Texas lean and placed the 'Horns in his "Fab Phive" that was released in June. However, he has yet to take a visit and could easily end up elsewhere if Texas fails to win him over.

    The diminutive slot man is flat-out electric with the ball in his hands, and his work at the Dallas NFTC (per ESPN) show exactly why. He can lose you in a phone booth, and has the straight-line speed to score every time he gets the rock.

    Newsome's stock is hampered only by his 5'8" frame. We've seen plenty of players succeed at that size, but it requires the proper usage, and you get the sense that Newsome knows that based on his interview with 247Sports.com's Matt Prehm.

    For Texas to remain high on his list, it has to feature current do-it-all receivers Daje Johnson and Jacorey Warrick in its offense this season. 

     

Other Targets to Watch

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    DB Kendall Sheffield: One of the best athletes in the country, there isn't a single program that wouldn't want Sheffield on its roster. The probable Aggie commit is going to put on a show that validates his status as the top recruit in the state.

     

    LB Malik Jefferson: Another freak athlete that looks like he will commit to A&M this summer. Still, the Longhorns need to stay on him.

     

    DB Kris BoydYou get the theme at this point. Great athlete that Texas could really use on defense, who is most likely headed to College Station. He starts as a freshman as a Longhorn though, and you'll see why at this event.