The three commitments already given to the Texas coaching staff before most players even arrived for the Junior Day today wasn't a big surprise since at least five players were likely to commit this weekend, as has been the case in the last few years.
Trey Hopkins becomes first commitment
Instant scouting report - At 6-4, 260 pounds, the Galena Park North Shore product needs to add some weight and strength to his frame, but the good news is that he isn't carrying excess weight around his middle, like Chad Lindsay, for instance. Though Hopkins plays tackle for North Shore ($), his future at Texas will be in the middle at guard or center, with Mac McWhorter telling Hopkins that center is a strong possibility. He's clearly talented, as the 2010 LSR ranks him as the 17th-best player in a top-heavy group. Hopkins will no doubt add some weight to his frame with two summers left until the 2010 football season, but will probably redshirt unless he manages to put on 40 pounds before enrolling. Hopkins is a tough kid ($) with unusually long arms and good feet, flexibility, and lateral movement.
Instant analysis - As mentioned above, Hopkin's offer and commitment came as a bit of a surprise, as it seemed the coaching staff wanted to take more time evaluating the offensive lineman in the 2010 class -- none of them received early invites to the first Junior Day, leading to speculation that the Longhorns wouldn't offer any offensive lineman until late spring or early summer. With numbers tight on the offensive line, that strategy made some sense, but ended up being nothing more than speculation. Hopkins took an unofficial visit last week to Austin, so the coaches had the chance to meet with him face-to-face, preferring to meet each player in person before extending an offer. A long-time Longhorn fan, Hopkins fits the type of player Mack Brown wants -- a kid who loves the program and has for a long time, as well as a great student, currently ranking fifth in his class and having already received offers from strong academic institutions like Rice, Vanderbilt, and Stanford.
Taylor Bible will be a 'Horn
Instant scouting report - The first thing that jumps out about Taylor Bible is his quickness and explosion ($) off the ball. A kid who played tight end as a sophomore shows off the athleticism that landed him on the offensive side of the ball in his earlier playing days, Bible supplements his quickness with a high motor that allows him to get into the backfield repeatedly to disrupt the running game. Though he's only a junior, he already weighs 280 pounds and uses that mass to push offensive lineman backwards, while also uses his hands violently to create separation. Since he is so much faster and stronger than most opponents. Bible doesn't always play with optimal pad level, often rushing from a nearly vertical position.
Instant analysis - Defensive tackle is always a position of need and Denton Guyer's Taylor Bible is probably the top at the position in the state and one of the best in the country. Even though he hadn't planned on committing ($) when offered, Bible found himself convinced that he wanted to be a Longhorn as soon as he received his offer in person from Mack Brown and made the decision on the spot, describing an emotional scene in Brown's office:
After he offered, he basically said, 'where do we go from here?. I told him that I was coming to Texas and that I wanted to be a Longhorn. It felt pretty good because I've been going over it in my head how it would come out. When it finally was said, I felt like tons of pressure was being lifted off of me. I looked at my mom and she was tearing up. I looked at my dad and he was doing the same thing.
Hopkins is a strong player in his own right, but Bible becomes the first certifiable stud to commit in the 2010 class and was the most important target at the defensive tackle position for Texas. The Longhorns got the best and can now decide how to fill the other spot or two at defensive tackle to finish recruiting there early.
Harris is first receiver commitment
Instant scouting report - Harris' best attributes are his size and hands ($). At close to 6-3, Harris is tall enough to make himself a threat in the red zone and gives the quarterback the angle to make tight throws into traffic. Harris also catches the ball well with his hands away from his body. In addition, for a high school receiver he runs very polished routes -- no easy task for a long strider, but necessary since he doesn't have much quickness or explosion. Harris runs a 4.67 40, which is flat-out slow for a receiver. Since Harris knows how to find openings and make himself available to the quarterback, those skills probably fit better into the current Longhorn offense. Harris is pretty lanky at this point at 195 pounds and needs to get stronger to beat press coverage and has to maximize his explosiveness ($), which isn't naturally overwhelming.
Instant analysis - Even though Trey Hopkins' offer was unexpected, the offer to Harris is the biggest head-scratcher of the three commitments. He's probably not in the top five receivers in the state in 2010 and doesn't have much ability to make plays after the catch. There are other tall receivers who are better than Harris, so the offer to Harris wasn't just to get a tall receiver in the class. With one tall receiver in each of the classes in front of Harris, the Longhorns don't have to recruit multiple tall receivers, but may instead have been better served by recruiting some of the smaller receivers who can actually go the distance after making the catch. I guess the best thing I can say about Harris is that he's long been a Longhorn fan and was an easy get for the coaching staff.
Junior Day invites
The following players are attending the Junior Day today or were in yesterday:
- Connor Wood, quarterback, Houston Second Baptist
- Case McCoy, quarterback, Graham
- Lache Seastrunk, running back, Temple
- Trovon Reed, wide receiver, Thibodaux, LA
- Darius White, wide receiver, Dunbar
- John Harris, wide receiver, Garland Naaman Forest (committed)
- Darius Terrell, wide receiver/tight end, DeSoto (offered)
- Mike Davis, wide receiver, Skyline
- Evan Washington, offensive lineman, DeSoto (late invitee)
- De'Aires Cotton, defensive tackle, Alief Taylor
- Taylor Bible, defensive tackle, Denton Guyer (committed)
- Jackson Jeffcoat, defensive end, Plano West
- Reggie Wilson, defensive end, Haltom
- Corey Nelson, linebacker, Skyline
- Aaron Benson, linebacker, Cedar Hill
- Tevin Jackson, linebacker, Garland
- Adrian White, cornerback, DeSoto
- Carrington Byndom, cornerback, Lufkin
- Ahmad Dixon, safety, Waco Midway
- Dominique Sanders, cornerback, Dunbar
- Toney Hurd, cornerback, Fort Bend Marshall
- Rashad Favors, athlete, Dunbar
- Adrian Phillips, athlete, Garland
The two notable absences from this list are Tulsa Central's DeMarco Cobbs and Gainesville, GA's Tai-ler Jones. Cobbs is hardly blowing off the Longhorns, in whom he is genuinely and deeply interested -- he just couldn't make it down to Austin because his coach was planning on taking him, but had other obligations early Monday morning that would be difficult to fulfill after the drive back from Austin. Cobbs will make it down to the second Junior Day. How much does Cobbs like the Longhorns? His head coach reports that Cobbs was saying, "We're going to be really good," when referring to the Longhorns.
Jones has a baseball game this weekend and could not arrange transportation. It's difficult to say why Jones wasn't able to arrange a way to get to Austin, but he seemed to have waited for the last minute, but says that he will make it to the second Junior Day. The absence for Jones might be more indicative of his feelings towards the Longhorns than Cobbs, but it is positive that he wants to make the second Junior Day.
Most likely to commit
Every year the Longhorns pick up 5-7 commitments during the first Junior Day. Three commitments have already been given to the coaches, so expect three or so more forthcoming. The following players are the most likely to commit:
- Evan Washington - His late invitation implies that he will receive an offer and will probably commit on the spot if that happens, as Washington has long been a Texas fan.
- Darius Terrell - Already with an offer, Terrell has long been a Longhorn lean and could give his commitment to the coaches today are sleeping on the offer for a night.
- Rashod Favors - The three Dunbar teammates all love the Longhorns and could all end up at Texas together, but Favors is the most likely to commit soon if offered.
- Aaron Benson - Cousin Cedric gives Benson ties to the Longhorn program and the Cedar Hill product could end his recruitment this weekend.
Adrian White - A similar talent to Marcus Davis, White could increase the similarities by committing to the Longhorns today, just as Davis did last year at this time.