Recruiting services may fuel early commitments. It seems nearly every article including an interview with a recent or prospective commit discusses their weariness with the process and, in the case of commitments, the huge load off their shoulders. Proliferating recruiting services (there are three for the Longhorns alone) pester recruits for the latest information as avid fans analyze every word and every movement on that players' list of schools.
Certainly, Mack Brown and his coaching staff deserve immense credit for securing so many early commitments, but the increased exposure and subsequent pressure on recruits seems to be taking a toll. Players like Lache Seastrunk, in the public's eye since his sophomore season, begin to refuse interviews or make flippant comments when they do speak. Some, like Jackson Jeffcoat, chose to keep the inner workings of their minds private. Whatever the case, recruits are learning that a lot of responsibility and pressure comes with being a high school football star, particularly in the state of Texas.
The Predator adds to arsenal. After recording 10 sacks last season as a situational pass rusher, it's easy to forget that Sergio Kindle missed spring practice and was thrust into that role during the fall. Equally easy to forget is that Kindle had only one pass-rushing move ($) last season -- the power to speed attack that Will Muschamp teaches as a basis for rushing the quarterback.
Healthy and able to train hard in the off season, Kindle is working to add new moves to his repertoire, working on a speed rush and a rip move, as well as boxing with Lamarr Houston in an effort to increase the speed and violence with which he uses his hands. Opposing coaches and players won't know where to find the Predator, as Will Muschamp plans on moving him around the field to take advantage of his talents, working to create favorable match ups against offenses game planning for the game changing hybrid defensive end/linebacker.
Like Brian Orakpo, whose production Kindle ambitiously is working to surpass in 2009, the Predator refuses to be a one-dimensional defense end, working to stand up and shed blockers in the running game, a necessary skill if offenses decide to run at Kindle with anything approaching the frequency they went after Orakpo.
The work ethic Kindle practices in his effort to surpass Rak's numbers endears him to his coordinator:
He's totally committed to Texas and developing his skills. He's been relentless this spring, and he's learning about leverage and power points. Rushing the passer is like being a pitcher. If you're a fastball pitcher, you want to throw the fastball a lot, but you've got to throw a changeup every now and then.
No doubt those changeups will allow the Predator to catch his prey in the offensive backfield throughout the season.
Falling off the radar: Trovon Reed. Despite his close friendship with Connor Wood, the news on Trovon Reed indicates that the Longhorns are backing away from his recruitment ($) with the wide receiver class almost complete and Darius White seemingly getting closer and closer to a decision that will probably land him at Texas. Reed says that the staff hasn't contacted him for some time, while adding that he isn't even sure if the scholarship offer is still there for him.
Reed is a highly-rated player with obvious talent and versatility after leading Thibodaux High School in rushing, passing, and receiving last year, but the Longhorns need a larger, game-breaking receiver like Darius White more than they need Reed. The reason is simple -- Chris Jones. The rapidly-rising Daingerfield receiver is the same size as Reed, with similarly impressive speed and the ability to take it the distance catching the ball or running it.
In fact, the highlight package for Jones is more impressive than Reed's, which could be the result of Reed moving to quarterback after the starter suffered a season-ending injury, but Jones looks more elusive than Reed, with a better understanding of the geometry of football and how to make himself smaller in tight spaces. After receiving the commitment from Jones, the need for Trovon Reed diminished significantly and resulted in the Longhorns backing off the Louisiana star -- a decision that is understandable considering the scholarship limitations quickly creeping up on the Longhorns. Reed never seemed particularly interested anyway, so the decision for both the Longhorns and Reed to move in other directions seems rather mutual.
Blue chips take in scrimmage. The Spring Game on Sunday will attract some uncommitted recruits like wide receiver Darius White, but the business of the day and coaching staff obligations keeps it from being as important in the recruiting process as the Junior Days. As a result, the coaches invited Lache Seastrunk and Jackson Jeffcoat down for the closed scrimmage held on Saturday. Seastrunk likely made it down with his mother, who will be a major factor in his recruitment, so establishing a comfort level with her was a goal over the weekend for the Longhorn coaches.
Will Muschamp, as he does regularly, probably discussed the schemes in which he would employ the athletic Jeffcoat, with Sergio Kindle no doubt illustrating Muschamp's points on the field. There's still not much word on which direction Jeffcoat is leaning, but it is certain that he has the opportunity to join an incredible defensive class.
- This is a big week for 2009 Longhorn basketball commit Avery Bradley, as he will be the lone future Texas star at the McDonald's All-American game on Wednesday night at 7 pm CT. More on that on Wednesday. As the two squads practiced Sunday and Monday, Bradley has stood out ($) with the gracefulness and fluidity of his game, as well as his sudden explosiveness and tenacious defense.
- After the game, Bradley will hop on a plane to Maryland to participate in the first annual, eight-team ESPN RISE National High School Invitationals, where his Findlay Pilots and 2010 Longhorn commit Tristan Thompson will battle other prep/private schools to be crown national champions, beginning on April 3rd at 3 pm CT on ESPNU.
- Directly following that game will be 2011 commit Myck Kabongo's St. Benedict's squad at 5 pm CT, Tristan Thompson's former team.
- Recaps will follow on both games and any subsequent games both teams may play.