Drama in Waco. No surprise there, but the message boards have been blowing up the last several days about a possible de-commit -- Waco Midway safety Ahmad Dixon is seriously considering a switch to Baylor. As of Wednesday afternoon, no switch had been made yet, but Dixon was not willing to go on record with any of the services confirming his continued commitment to Texas. In fact, when Duane Akina was in Waco yesterday visiting with Dixon, the safety declined to mention to Akina that was recruitment was still open and that he was considering a switch.
Several factors are weighing heavily with Dixon: 1) opposing coaches are waving the depth chart at Dixon and claiming that he has no shot at early playing time, 2) one of Dixon's best friends, Levi, is the committed to Baylor in basketball and the son of the Bears' defensive coordinator and 3) there are rumors that Dixon's parents are so pro-UT that they pressured their son to make a quick decision. About the first point, the strange thing about that negative recruiting tactic is that the opposing coaches are essentially saying that they don't think Dixon is good enough to play early at Texas, yet they still love him as a player. Seems kind of contradictory. On the second point, it may be one of the most significant factors in his indecision. As to the third, only time will tell.
Midway coach Kent Bachtel dislikes his players not keeping their word and says that he can't remember any of his players de-committing. He sat down with Dixon for a heart-to-heart conversation on Wednesday afternoon, with the result being that Dixon was still committed to Texas at that point, with Bachtel telling his star player that he needs to keep the coaches at each school apprised of the current situation. In other words, when a Texas coach visits and you are thinking about reneging on your commitment to his school, you need to tell him about it.
The defensive backfield may be the deepest position on the roster, with a lot of youth at the safety position, particularly with both starters and Christian Scott still possessing three years of eligibility. If the Longhorns can afford to lose a player in the 2010 class, it would be a safety. However, Dixon would not be an easy player to lose, as he is often considered one of the best safety prospects (on par with Craig Loston and Kevin Brent in 2009) to come out of the state in the last 10 years.
As for the appeal of Baylor, it's hard to say without more knowledge of how Dixon felt about the program growing up in Waco. Certainly, a large part of the appeal is Art Briles and the prospect of early playing time, coupled with the ability to change the face of the program. What Dixon must factor into consideration is that Briles may well not be at Baylor in five years when he would be a senior. The most significant factor with Briles possibly leaving for a better job is how much he wants to stay in Texas given his ties to the high school coaching community in the state. It may be that Briles wouldn't leave for a job outside the state, but would rather wait for, say, the Texas A&M job to open up before bolting Waco. I'll just say this: if Briles has given Dixon a guarantee that he will be at Baylor when Dixon matriculates, it isn't worth the breath expended to utter it.
If Dixon does indeed switch his commitment to Baylor, Art Briles is well on his way to sowing a similar amount of animosity among Longhorn fans as his colleague Scott Drew after voting the Longhorns fifth in his final coaches poll last year. Stealing Dixon using negative recruiting tactics could make Briles a bona fide Enemy of the Nation.
Late Wednesday afternoon, things did not look nearly as bad as they did earlier in the day in terms of losing Dixon, but this is still a developing situation and one that does not yet have a definitive ending. Stay tuned, folks.
On the radar: Chuka Ndulue. Dallas Jesuit defensive end Chuka Ndulue might be the early version of Tevin Mims this year. After ankle injuries sidelined him for virtually his entire junior year and left him without film, Ndulue began to generate attention ($) during spring practice as college coaches made their rounds. Just a few weeks ago, only Kansas, Richmond, and Utah were actively recruiting Ndulue, hoping they could gain a commitment before the larger programs took notice. Take notice they did, as Oklahoma offered the Nigerian native who spent most of his sophomore year in the weight room while he put on 30 pounds and grew several inches to his current 6-3, 245-pound frame.
The Longhorns are hoping to get in on the recruitment this week and may offer Ndulue. The only problem? Ndulue is planning on announcing his decision this week, leaving little time for the Texas staff to get him to Austin. It sounds like OU for Ndulue unless something changes drastically.
Just listen to Jim. Reiterating the stance ($) he made public several weeks ago, Jim Jeffcoat once again made it abudantly clear that the only reliable information about the recruitment of his son will come from he or his wife. And they aren't talking much.
The elder Jeffcoat's stance isn't really news, nor are the planned visits to the West Coast to visit USC, UCLA, Cal, and Stanford and the East Coast to visit Florida, Georgia, and Rutgers. Jeffcoat's extensive connections to USC aren't wholly revelatory, either, though it is surprising how deep those roots run. Aiding USC's cause are Jeffcoat's friendship with linebackers coach Ken Norton, Jr. from their championship days as Cowboys. During that time, Jeffcoat also played with Devon Kennard's father, Derek. Defensive line coach Jethro Franklin is another acquaintance from Jeffcoat's NFL days.
Jim Jeffcoat says that his son's decision will entirely be his own, but the deep connections to the USC program are a much stronger connection than anything Jackson has to Texas. Despite those connections, his father says the most important factors will be playing time, academics, and quality coaching. Given the talent of the younger Jeffcoat, playing time shouldn't be a factor at any school. Given the connections to USC, getting Jeffcoat to commit to be a Longhorn might be an uphill battle.
More on the linebackers. The amount of information one some of the linebackers I talked about on Tuesday has increased greatly in the last several days -- guess I should have waited on the linebacker edition for a couple days.
- Latest on Franklin: No indications about an impending offer ($) for Aaron Franklin, the speedy Marshall linebacker who recently ran a 21.7 in the 200 -- his ACL injury is fully healed. He says that he would be open to camping this summer at Texas and that he always followed the Longhorns growing up.
- A few tibits on PL Lindley: It didn't take but a few words ($) from head coach Chris Chessher on PL Lindley to significantly increase the amount of information out there about the 2011 Stony Point linebacker. Lindley runs a 4.71 and currently weighs in at 208 pounds. An all-district selection, Lindley played well against Dallas Skyline in the playoffs, increasing his head coach by covering opposing players down the seam. Chessher says that he has good short-distance explosiveness and has the frame to eventually become a defensive end -- a prediction that carries weight coming from Chessher, who accurately predicted the ability of Tevin Mims to rapidly put on good weight.
Another 2011 linebacker to watch: Denton Guyer's Blake Terry is a 6-0, 190-pounder with the ability to shoot gaps and play with a physicality much greater than his size, similar to Corey Nelson. From the limited highlights available, it doesn't look like Terry is asked to drop back into coverage much, but he plays extremely effectively downhill. One of the problems with smaller, spread linebackers is that they are difficult to block. Terry definitely beras that out, as well the aforementioned ability to quickly and decisively shoot gaps to make plays.