There were six 2015 recruits that are considering the Texas Longhorns in attendance at The Opening, Nike's four-day showcase of the nation's top talent. Each had a strong week in his own right, which makes it almost unbelievable that none may ever wear a Texas uniform.
Guard and top commit Patrick Vahe declined to participate in the event, leaving the Longhorns without a commit in attendance. With 22 Texas natives participating, chalk it up as more evidence that the past four years have ruined the program's equity on the recruiting trail.
The good news is that could change in the near future. Florida receiver John Burt is already talking like a Longhorn, probable commits Ryan Newsome and Holton Hill each had spectacular weeks and any team that has even the slightest chance of landing Malik Jefferson should be excited.
With that said, the biggest takeaway from the national showcase is that Texas needs to start nailing down some of the incredible talent that is there for the taking.
John Burt Sounds Like the Next Commit
The 'Horns secured a commit this week from Louisiana guard Garrett Thomas, but the biggest news has to be the impending commitment of fellow out-of-state target John Burt.
Long considered to be a Texas lean, Burt continues to look like a No. 1 receiver. The 6'3" Florida native declined to run the 40-yard dash, but a four-flat time in the 20-yard shuttle along with a 36.5-inch vertical leap indicate a matchup nightmare. Being that big and explosive with good hands will make him a nice take for whoever lands him.
As expected, that lucky suitor sounds like Texas. Speaking to Scout.com's Chad Simmons, Burt had this to say about recruitment:
Texas is my No. 1 school. They are recruiting me very hard and I talk to them a lot. I like the coaching staff, the facilities, and I was always a fan of Texas growing up with family working there.
I will be spending some time out there the last week of July and I am looking forward to that. Texas is a little ahead right now.
Burt also said that he likes Auburn, but the 'Horns should feel good about where they stand with the future deep threat.
Hill, Newsome Make Names for Themselves
Both cornerback Holton Hill and receiver Ryan Newsome are outside 247Sports' list of the top 175 recruits. That will change when the rankings are updated, and these two are about to get a lot of national attention.
If Charlie Strong isn't waiting on Hill's doorstep when he returns from Oregon, the Texas head coach better have a good excuse. The supposed Texas lean was named a defensive MVP at the event and looks like the do-it-all defensive back the 'Horns need from this class.
On the other side of the ball, Newsome proved he's a stud despite his overanalyzed 5'8" frame. The Aledo product ran a 4.5, had a 40-feet kneeling power ball toss and posted a 37-inch vertical leap to prove he's more than just a jitterbug.
Showing out among such a loaded field means the recruiting process is just getting started with these two. For Texas to remain in the discussion, it needs to bust out the red carpet, especially for Hill.
Malik Jefferson Is Something Else
We're running out of adjectives to describe Malik Jefferson. Beast, man-child, specimen and/or freak no longer cover it.
Jefferson's 4.39 in the 40-yard dash is already the stuff of legend, and rightfully so. That mark is faster than any linebacker has posted at the NFL combine since 2006 and faster than all but seven players at this year's combine, according to SB Nation's Jason Kirk. And he posted an almost 40-inch vertical leap.
Someone the size of Malik Jefferson shouldn't be able to run a sub-4.4 40. It's just not fair.— Wescott Eberts (@SBN_Wescott) July 8, 2014
The scary part is that this is sustainable. Jefferson measured out at 6'2.5" and 215 pounds, which is at least 20-30 pounds heavier than a majority of the pass-catchers in attendance. Even if he plays at 240, he's still going to flirt with 4.4 times.
Jefferson's MVP week, along with the relatively quiet one for Kendall Sheffield, makes his a compelling case for the state's top recruit. He told SB Nation that he likes Texas, along with A&M and Baylor, but it's going to take a big season for the Longhorns to reel in this supreme talent.
Texas Needs to Pick It Up
Go down the roster, check the MVP list below. There's your proof that this event was like a trade show for the state of Texas' bevy of football talent. And none of it was repping the Longhorns.
All-Offense Team: WR Trent Irwin, WR RayRay McCloud, ATH Donte Jackson, WR Calvin Ridley, WR Christian Kirk TE Jackson Harris RB Soso Jamabo— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) July 11, 2014
All-Defense Team: DB Tavaris McFadden, LB Roquan Smith, DB Derwin James, DB Holton Hill, LB Josh Smith, DB Kevin Toliver, DB Justin Dunning— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) July 11, 2014
More All-Defense: DB Xavier Lewis, LB Malik Jefferson, LB Justin Hilliard @TheOpening2014— Brandon Huffman (@BrandonHuffman) July 11, 2014
Sure Vahe was invited, and the Longhorns have several 2015 commits that are better than their ranking. But Jefferson, Sheffield, Newsome, Hill, Kris Boyd and Soso Jamabo are all still out there, and none are total locks to be Longhorns. In truth, all but two of them are distinct long shots.
The 'Horns are downright desperate for defensive backs like Sheffield, Hill and Boyd. They have five linebackers and two powerful running backs that will be seniors in 2014. The replacements for these guys are out there and ready to contribute from the moment they arrive, but they're imaginary at this stage in the process.
Even though winning football games will matter most to Texas' recruiting fortunes, more can be done to reel in the state's elite talent.
Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting data and rankings courtesy of 247Sports.com.
Testing results from The Opening courtesy of StudentSports.com.