No early favorites for Walsh. Last week, I introduced Denton Guyer quarterback JW Walsh, son of the head coach and top 2011 prospect. A program with a recent history of incredible futility, the sophomore quarterback, along with 2010 defensive tackle commit Taylor Bible, helped the team recover ($) from a 1-19 record the previous two seasons to go 12-3 and make the state semifinals before losing to eventual runner-up Longview.
Walsh shined in the bright spotlight of the state playoffs, leading Guyer from down three touchdowns to edge Mason Walter's Wolfforth Frenship squad, 37-35, on a day when Walsh completed 17-28 passes for 243 and a touchdown each through the air and on the ground. He was just as effective against Longview, going 19-30 for 267 yards and two touchdowns, along with 22 carries for 137 yards, though his teammates couldn't slow down Longview quarterback Aaron Johnson.
In terms of the recruiting process, Walsh admits that he never had a favorite team growing up, but is flattered by the early interest from the Longhorns. Along with Greg Davis, Josh Heupel, and an unnamed OSU coach have already contacted John Walsh about his son.
The question for the Longhorns is whether they will be able to lure another top quarterback with such a crowded group at the position, as Garrett Gilbert, Case McCoy, and Connor Wood will all be enrolled when Walsh is ready to ready to step on a college campus. Wood and McCoy are expected to redshirt, meaning that Walsh would only be able to get one year of separation by redshirting, making it unlikely that he would be a multi-year starter. If the Longhorns choose to target Walsh, will he be as willing to face the competition and potential of having to sit for most of his career, as were Wood and McCoy?
Breaking into the film room: JW Walsh. Even though he doesn't possess the cannon for an arm of a player like Matt Stafford, Walsh displays more than adequate arm strength in the range of Colt McCoy and Garrett Gilbert -- he looks like he can make the throws and does so with an accuracy beyond his years. Walsh even gets on top of the football like Gilbert, dropping his left shoulder, but short-arms the ball a bit, somewhat similar to Connor Wood. Since the Guyer offense spends on almost equal amount of time under center and out of the shotgun, the coach's son displays an advanced ability to deceive the defense on the play-action pass, looking almost as smooth as Tom Brady or Peyton Manning when hiding the football on the fake.
When running the football, Walsh looks a lot like Colt McCoy and has a similar tough streak, eschewing running out of bounds to pick up more yards and willing to stand in the pocket and take big hits to deliver the ball. Call him the white, anti-Terrelle Pryor. As befits his 4.6 speed, which looks legitimate, Walsh has solid acceleration, excellent vision, and some ability to make opponents miss, once again, a lot like Colt McCoy.
Interestingly, Guyer runs the zone read consistently, but does so with a wrinkle I haven't seen before -- the quarterback takes a couple of short, choppy steps in the same direction of the running back, allowing the play more time to develop, a problem in the Longhorn offense. Coach Walsh also uses the Pistol formation to run the zone read, another wrinkle Greg Davis would be wise to adopt. Perhaps the Longhorn offensive coordinator should spend some time studying the offense when he makes it up to north Texas to evaluate the younger Walsh. But I digress.
Overall, Walsh has the combination of accuracy and running ability to make him a perfect fit in the Texas offense -- though I haven't seen film of any other 2011 quarterbacks, for me the evaluation of quarterbacks in the class begins and ends with JW Walsh. Count me as a big fan and unless I see something incredible from the other options, Walsh is the guy that I want in the class.
Familiar name in 2011 at wide receiver. It's still early in the 2011 evaluation process, but there just don't seem to be as many big-time receivers in this class as in 2010, an incredible year for wide receiver talent in Texas. Since the Longhorns are taking a big class in 2010, the staff will probably only target several players in 2011.
One of those names is familiar to Longhorn fans -- Shipley. That would be Jordan's little brother, who will play at Brownwood his junior season after his father Bob left Coppell. Already productive as a sophomore, Shipley the younger caught 61 passes for 855 yards and seven touchdowns.
He certainly has the pedigree to become at the least a solid collegiate player, but the major question is about his speed. His older brother Jordan was always known as a burner in high school, consistently running in the 4.4 range. Jaxon, however, has a 4.55 time listed on his Rivals page, significantly slower than his older brother, though not so slow as to preclude a Longhorn offer.
Given the storyline of continuing the McCoy-Shipley connection, it's a virtual certainty that Texas will offer and Jaxon will accept, but increasing his speed will be a major point of emphasis during his final two years of high school.
Other receivers to watch. Texas will be selective in 2011 at receiver, but Jaxon Shipley will not be the only target. Arlington High School's Miles Onyegbule, 6-3, 190 pounds, is another possible target, though he doesn't have blazing speed -- his 40 time is listed as 4.6. Of course, production matters nearly as much as pure speed and Onyegbule produced as a sophomore, catching 43 passes for 643 yards and five touchdowns.
Another receiver with good size is Whitehouse's Trey Metoyer, who stands 6-2 and weighs 190 pounds, but is faster than Onyegbule, with a 4.5 time in the 40. Perhaps the most impressive receiver in the class in terms of pure production ($), Metoyer caught 74 passes for 1,105 yards and 14 touchdowns -- incredible numbers for a sophomore. Metoyer says that he's a big OU fan, but lists Texas as another favorite. It could be another classic OU-Texas battle for an East Texas product.
Some services list the incredibly fast Daniel Lasco as a receiver, while others consider him a running back. His extremely lanky frame and height (6-2) screams wide receiver, with the possibility of motioning him into the backfield or using him on end arounds at the college level. Texas is increasingly placing emphasis on scheme versatility, which Lasco would definitely provide.
Another prospect in the Longhorns' backyard. Lead by Tevin Mims and Glasco Martin, Round Rock Stony Point made a deep playoff run in 2008 and is a program on the rise. Part of the reason is a strong 2011 class that features athlete Stephen Williams, an all-purpose back with blazing speed that has been clocked consistently in the 4.3s. Tabbed as the MVP of the DeSoto Ultimate 100 Combinelast summer, Williams reminds some observers of Warrick Dunn because of his diminutive size -- he's listed at 5-8 and 170 pounds. Like a smaller Daniel Lasco, Williams provides scheme versatility ($) with his ability to catch passes and run the football, as well as star on kickoff returns, averaging nearly 40 yards per return. Williams gained nearly 650 yards and scored four touchdowns catching the football as a sophomore, while running for over 350 yards and three touchdowns.
Even though he's just a sophomore, Williams has encountered his share of speculation about his eventual destination, acknowledging that most people expect him to join cousin Aaron Williams at Texas and that Texas "is the place to be these days."
That it is, Stephen.