Morning Coffee Checks the Recruiting Radar (Updated)

Off the radar, Part I. Besides the major national recruits left on the Longhorn recruiting radar and the possibility of a Tevin Mims offer, the only news items of interest have been minor dalliances with AJ Dugat and speculation about whether Texas would pursue Plano athlete Rex Burkhead or A&M commit Ryan Swope, from Austin's backyard --Westlake. Dugat is an athlete who plays wide receiver and safety for Dayton, but wasn't able to make it down for the Texas A&M game and remains a solid commitment to the University of Houston, although he may take several more visits, possibly to TCU. According to ESPN, he has operated under the radar this season, likely because he isn't a burner. He says that Texas hasn't been in contact recently, meaning there is virtually no chance that he would receive a late offer.

Update: In view of Robertpz's comment below and the poor job analyzing Dugat as a player, this update seeks to provide substantial analysis beyond simply saying that he is "not a burner." In many respects, Dugat is similar to Longhorn commit Greg Timmons, drawing similar grades from ESPN--77 for Timmons and 75 for Dugat. Both are projected as "possession receivers" at the next level, meaning that they don't possess the speed to become consistent vertical threats, but demonstrate advanced understanding of creating space, positioning, and catching the ball in traffic.

Other than the fact that both project as possible slot receivers, their skill sets are reminiscent of Quan Cosby, further aided by the size similarities. Dugat is a polished route runner with capabilities after the catch, using his lateral quickness and decisiveness to avoid the dancing around that plagues many laterally explosiveness athletes and costs yards--the type of plays that frustrate coaches and fans alike. While the top end speed isn't there, initial acceleration is often just as important (and often underrated in receivers) and Dugat certainly possesses that attribute, along with the ability to drive defenders off by his route running.

For an offense that relies on the short passing game and may well continue to do so when Garrett Gilbert takes over, Dugat is the type of player who could easily beat out faster, less polished route runners for playing time. However, Greg Timmons does the same things well and in the evaluation process Longhorn coaches say something from Timmons that led to his offer and only late interest in Dugat. At this point, I can find no real reasons to criticize that decision.

Off the radar, Part II. Burkhead recently committed to Nebraska, but drew some interest from the Longhorns late in the process. The Plano athlete is a tougher version of Brock Fitzhenry, without the top end speed. He does, however, have the capability of playing multiple positions (running back, wide receiver, and safety), something of a jack-of-all-trades. Several other players currently on the roster (Fitzhenry, DeSean Hales, and DJ Monroe) possess the same skill set, albeit with better speed and more fluidity. In other words, the Longhorns already have better athletes currently on scholarship.

Off the radar, Part III. The other player now off the radar for Texas is Westlake running back Ryan Swope, a player who possesses incredible speed, running about a 4.4 flat, and a sturdy frame. The Longhorns promised Chris Whaley he would be the only running back offered in the class and have stayed true to that word, despite some attention paid to Christine Michael and Trent Richardson. A Texas offer would have been as an athlete, as Swope could add weight to become a fullback or a safety/outside linebacker, since he runs with poor pad level and lacks the explosive lateral quickness and change of direction of a good college running back. Once again, despite his speed and strength, Swope just doesn't possess a skill set that the Longhorns don't already have somewhere else, just like with Burkhead.

 

On the radar: Tevin Mims scouting report. The often-cited reason for Mims not showing up on the radar of elite programs like Texas is the torn labrum suffered during his junior season. Considering Mims' physical tools provides a slightly different perspective. In other words, had Mims been healthy last season, he still wouldn't have been an elite prospect like Alex Okafor because he lacks the natural quickness and change of direction, the fast-twitch muscles that distinguish the good from the great.

With that said, Mims has the frame and wingspan to grow into body, making him a candidate to transition inside in Muschamp's defense, much as Aaron Lewis and Lamarr Houston did in 2008. Muschamp favors defensive ends who can translate speed into power (think Brian Orakpo and Sergio Kindle), while the Stony Point product's greatest rush advantage is his pure physicality and using his hands, making him as likely a candidate at Henry Melton's vacant rush end position. He doesn't display a developed repertoire of pass-rushing moves, but then, not many  high schools ends do.

All this, of course, supposes an offer and Mims immediately vaulting Texas into the forefront of considerations for his services. Mims' ESPN page lists Texas Tech, TCU, Louisiana Tech, Arizona, and Iowa State. Of those, Texas Tech and TCU are obviously the best programs and most likely rivals. Suffice it to say, Texas doesn't lose many recruits to either of those schools. Mims won't get an offer, though, unless Kennard commits to USC or Cal in the next several weeks, although Jamarkus McFarland's commitment increases the likelihood of Mims receiving an offer even if Kennard commits to Texas. A Kennard commitment and a Mims offer would indicate the Longhorn coaches think Mims can play inside, likely after a redshirt season to add bulk.

On the radar: Jackson Jeffcoat update. The Longhorns could have four defensive ends in the 2009 class if Devon Kennard chooses Texas, but that doesn't mean that Texas won't offer several of the defensive ends in the 2010 class. Jackson Jeffcoat, son of former Cowboys defensive lineman and current Houston assistant coach Jim Jeffcoat, is the foremost defensive end in the class ($). A 6-5, 235-pounder with incredible speed (self-reported 4.5 40), Jeffcoat will be a national recruit, already possessing more than 30 offers. Just how fast is Jeffcoat? Fast enough to run the second leg on his high school's 4 x 100 relay squad. He also started out at outside linebacker ealry in his high school career before moving to defensive end. Good news for the Longhorns, however, as Jeffcoat currently has a top three of OU, USC, and Texas, with Texas possibly having a slight lead at this point because he knows their coaching staff better than those at OU and USC.

In terms of his skill set, Jeffcoat already possesses solid fundamentals, the result of working with his father, who knows from experience playing in the trenches in the NFL and teaching those techniques to college players at Houston. The younger Jeffcoat is so serious about becoming a technically sound football player that he works on hand drills before he goes to sleep at night.

Jeffcoat also plays basketball, which makes his recruitment slightly more difficult than most, since he might not be able to take the normal Junior Day visits. His football schedule also prevented him from visiting for any football games this fall, which means he will do that next season, likely delaying a decision until late in the process, probably close to Signing Day.

On the radar: Reggie Wilson update. It's not knock on 2010 defensive end prospect Reggie Wilson that he isn't ranked as the number one defensive tackle in Texas. Most years, Wilson would be the best player at his position, but Jackson Jeffcoat is a nationally elite recruit. Despite playing the same position, are as different as defensive ends can be, with Jeffcoat projecting as a rush or quick end and Wilson projecting as a power end, the position that Lamarr Houston and Henry Melton have held down for the Longhorns the last two years, respectively.

Where Jeffcoat uses his speed to take the edge on slower offensive tackles, Wilson uses his strength and power to blow weaker offensive tackles off the line of scrimmage. His size is similar to Jeffcoat, at 6-4 and 240 pounds, but he isn't nearly as fast as Jeffcoat, running a 4.8 40. Still, Wilson shows the motor and speed to make plays from the back side, also displaying long arms and exceptional agility. Wilson showed off that agility as a sophomore at Haltom City (the same year he racked up 80 tackles and six sacks ($)), playing on the soccer team. He also plays basketball at his high school. As might be expected, Wilson lists Texas among his favorites, along with Oklahoma, USC, and Texas A&M.

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