Successful trip for Hicks. It had been some time since Jordan Hicks had set foot on the Texas campus -- some 16 months, but from the sound of things, it was worth the wait. Able for the first time to explore the campus, dorms, and extensively tour the football facilities, Hicks stayed until Monday before returning to Ohio. During his time in Texas, he was hosted by Keenan Robinson, toured the business school, visited with current Texas players like Sam and Emmanuel Acho, Garrett Gilbert, and Sergio Kindle, and even met university president Bill Powers and his wife.
As usual for the Longhorns, the staff worked hard to make him feel at home and seems to have succeeded:
The way the team and the staff welcomed me in, that was the biggest thing for me. I didn't feel like some kid from Ohio, I felt like just another kid. They welcomed me in real well.
Besides making Hicks feel at home, the coaching staff also took the time to talk some football with Hicks, especially Will Muschamp, with whom Hicks already felt comfortable:
We already had a really good relationship and this time we were able to talk a lot of football and where he sees me and how they will use me. It's a good relationship and it keeps growing.
One of the most important things that Muschamp spoke with Hicks about was how he will use him at Texas. It turns out that it should be an easy transition if Hicks decides to don burnt orange in college:
After the game we were talking and he told me that we use Jordan in our defense exactly like they plan on using him. It's a direct fit, obviously, but Jordan's personality is key. Will wants somebody who can execute in their system but that also brings good chemistry to the player-coach relationship. That's what most coaches like about Jordan; it's not just the physical side of things but the chemistry in building the player-coach relationship that people want on their team.
Like most recruitments, the impressions of the mother will be crucial to the final decision, as she is planning on relocating to wherever her son ends up in college. Hicks said that she enjoyed the trip, when she re-acquainted herself with Mad Dog, whom she had known at Colorado.
As for a timetable, Hicks will take a visit to Florida about two months from now and will not take any officials visits after that time -- if he decides to travel to USC or Alabama, it wil be before then. After the visits, Hicks hopes to make a decision soon thereafter and not wait until Signing Day to announce. If the past several seasons are any indication, that's a good sign for the Longhorns.
With the possible exception of Ohio State, Hicks has the best relationship with Muschamp, a fact that should play heavily in his recruitment because it seems unlikely that he can establish that level of trust in one visit to USC or Florida. In fact, even though Hicks did not name a favorite during his conference call this week, it's safe to say that Texas at least narrowed the gap with Ohio State, if not taking an outright lead, although that is just speculation -- the key point here is that the Longhorns greatly improved their chances with Hicks this weeked.
Metoyer once again a long shot for Texas. Generally considered an OU lean early in the recruiting process, star Whitehouse receiver Trey Metoyer's recruitment has taken several drastic turns in less than 10 days. After lagging behind his top group early, Metoyer said early this month that Texas had made progress ($) with him:
Texas is a good team. I feel like I could go there and win something. I know a lot of people that are going there. Bryant Jackson. John Harris is going to Texas. I played against every one of them and they said I should come to Texas. I'm thinking about Texas a lot.
That was good news for Texas fans, as Metoyer may have the best combination of size and explosiveness in the 2011 receiving class -- Jaxon Shipley may be faster and Miles Onyegbule a little bit taller, but neither has the combination of size to go up and catch the ball in traffic and speed to outrun defenders, while also possessing the ability to make defenders miss after the catch.
The bad news is that Metoyer's recruitment has once again taken a sharp turn, and one that may be the final sharp turn, even with well more than a year until the 2011 players can sign their Letters of Intent. Texas A&M moved up on his list after a camp visit this summer and another visit for the Oklahoma State game last weekend made a strong impression ($) on the talented junior:
There is something about A&M and the personal touch that they have. All of their coaches are cool. I'm really liking A&M.
I have a lot of favorites and still have time to narrow it down. I like a lot of schools right now. A&M would probably be my first choice. It helped that they've offered me.
They asked me if I could see myself there. Once I get there, I will probably end up starting. They start their freshmen and I like that.
From the sound of it, Metoyer may be another player like Corey Nelson who places a high priority on being able to play right away, which would be difficult for Metoyer, particularly with other outside receivers like Malcolm Williams, Dan Buckner, and Greg Timmons already on the roster -- in fact, the depth chart may be one of the biggest factors in Metoyer's decision and a reason why he doesn't look at all likely to become a Longhorn. Another problem? After saying that he's thinking about Texas, Metoyer did not name them when asked about his favorites this week.
Griffin takes in second game. South Houston cornerback Leroy Scott is clearly the top cornerback in the state for 2011, but St. Pius X cornerback Kolby Griffin may well rank second on that list. Already 5-11 and 180 pounds, Griffin is a young junior having just turned 16 and possesses better height than the smaller Quandre Diggs, putting him in the height range preferred by Will Muschamp -- his physicality and 4.45 speed are no doubt also traits that endear him to Coach Boom. Here's a scouting report on Griffin ($) from Gerry Hamilton:
Griffin is a legit 5-10.5/5-11 and 175-180 pounds. Griffin, as he has always shown, loves the challenge of playing corner. He embraces press coverage and the physicality of the position. Griffin has long arms and uses them to fight off would be blockers.
Friday night, Griffin only had a couple of passes thrown his way. One was a hitch route that was dropped, but Griffin made the hit and the play would have gone for three or four yards. On one play, Griffin did get away with a hold on a deep route, but there wasn't a flag thrown.
Griffin's speed shows up on kickoff return coverage and on plays away from him where he has to run across the field and play angles. Griffin displayed the quickness, fluid speed turn and change of direction to be a successful corner on the next level.
Griffin can improve in run support and tackling in space. The junior missed three tackles on Friday tackling high. When he gets the feel for breaking down and taking the back out at the knees or below, he'll be solid in run support as well.
Because Griffin is a 15-year old junior and won't turn 16 until mid-October, he has a high ceiling.
A teammate of 2010 commit Greg Daniels, Griffin has now visited Austin for each of the last two games and had this to say after taking in the Colorado game ($):
I loved the game, it was great. They had to fight hard because Colorado showed up but Texas wasn't shell shocked. I was really impressed with the way the defense played the whole game and how the offense was able to come back and do some things in the second half.
I love the way the DBs play. They are real physical and they like to come up and make plays and that's the way I play. I can really see myself playing there.
In the past, Griffin has said that he loves the environment ($) at Texas:
It's like you can feel the excellence in the air - the national championships, conference championships, all-Americans, academic all-Americans, the all-Big 12 players, the academic all-Big 12 players, the Heisman trophies. They just have award after award after award after award that they've won. And you can actually see the hard work they put in because at the camp they coached us hard and showed you exactly what they were doing.
Positively effuse praise there from Griffin, but the other side of the equation is the interest from the Texas coaching staff. To provide insight into that, Griffin relayed an anecdote about his camp visit this summer, saying that Duane Akina picked him to work with Texas commits Bryant Jackson, Adrian Phillips, and Adrian White -- strong evidence that Griffin is high on Akina's list of potential targets.
From the sound of things, Texas stands a strong chance of getting a commitment from Griffin if they choose to offer him in February, as Griffin told Hamilton in May that Texas has always been his favorite ($), and not only that, but his curtains and bedsheet at home are all burnt orange. Throw those horns up, Kolby.
Bergeron likely big-back target. Much of the discussion about the 2011 class at running back has focused on Aaron Green, Malcolm Brown, and Herschel Sims, and for good reason -- those three are exceptional and possibly transcendent talents, but there is another back in the state who deserves attention as well. His name is Joe Bergeron, he plays at North Mesquite, and he's a load at 6-0, 235 pounds, while still possessing 4.6 speed. Texas will probably want to find a short-yardage replacement for Cody Johnson in the 2011 class and Bergeron fits that bill as a player who can get carries at running back, as well as play some fullback.
A physical specimen, Bergeron may have to watch his weight when he gets to Texas and may need to stay away from Mad Dog altogether, or at least whatever "training program" Cody Johnson has been on as a Longhorn. Besides his versatility, the most impressive thing about Bergeron is just how hard he worked ($) this last offseason to improve his speed and quickness, effort that has translated onto the field this fall, as the bruising back has gained 474 yards on 64 carries, good for 7,4 yards each time he totes the rock. Said Bergeron about that work:
I'm much better at running the ball and being explosive through the hole. I've been following my blockers and using my line more. Over the summer I really worked on my speed and my agility. Just getting faster and reading my holes faster.
His current list of favorites demonstrates just how some college teams plan on using him -- traditionally downhill, power running teams like Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan State are interested in his services, as well as Paul Johnson and his flexbone at Georgia Tech. However, despite the overtures from programs that would put the ball in his hands 15 or more times a game, the Longhorns remain Bergeron's favorite and may just oblige with an invite to the first Junior Day and an offer.
From the Land of Miscellany. Oregon athlete Tyson Coleman expressed some early interest in the Longhorns, but ended his recruitment early ($) by accepting an offer from Oregon, saying that not even an offer from Texas would have swayed him, suggesting that his interest was sincere. Best of luck to Tyson...2011 Whitehouse athlete Quincy Aldridge, who plays wide receiver and safety for the Wildcats and has as much potential in the secondary as anyone in the class, says that he hasn't been hearing much ($) from Texas, which is surprising, but still has the Longhorns in his top three with Miami and Texas A&M...How much does DeAndrew White going to Alabama hurt Texas? Very little, in my opinion -- when I broke down the three receivers (White, Darius White, and Bud Sasser) who were on the Texas radar, I came to the conclusion that White's skills were relatively redundant with similar players littering the roster in the classes in front of him -- DJ Monroe, DeSean Hales, Brock Fitzhenry, Marquise Goodwin. Conclusion to the conclusion? No big deal...Evangel Christian defensive end Jermauria Rasco sounded impressed ($) with his visit to Baton Rouge over the weekend -- no surprise there, as LSU will continue to be the major factor in his recruitment -- but the good news is that Texas is still right up there with the Bayou Bengals and Rasco will see the Longhorns play this weekend after making the long drive to Dallas...Evaluations of PL Lindley, Princeton Collins, Jordan Wade, and Kevin White from Weeks 2 and 3.