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Horns_bullet_mediumMarcus Thornton set to announce. As mentioned in the FanShot from Tuesday, 2010 Atlanta Westlake forward Marcus Thornton will announce his college of choice on Wednesday at noon at his high school. His four finalists are Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Texas. The Yellow Jackets may effectively be eliminated by a draconian ACC rule that would force him to sit out a season because he had originally signed with Clemson before Oliver Purnell left for DePaul. Also of note is that all 16 players who requested an exception to the rule were turned down by the league.

Conventional wisdom has Alabama and Georgia as the leaders, with the home-state Bulldogs perhaps having a slight edge. However, neither school is known for their basketball program and the Longhorns may hold a slight edge as a program with a growing national reputation under Rick Barnes, facilities already in place like the Cooley Pavilion, and a proven record of putting wings like Kevin Durant into the NBA.

Thornton visited Austin in early May and seemingly came away impressed after meeting TJ Ford (one of his favorite college players), Mack Brown, and President Bill Powers. According to Thornton, the fact that so many former players stay close to the program was a major positive:

I was really impressed that so many of former Texas players (in the NBA) come back to UT to train in the summer.  Guys like Kevin Durant, T. J. Ford, D. J. Augustine and LaMarcus Aldridge are (donating) money so that they can have their own locker room at Texas during the summer.

Strength coach Todd Wright and his basketball-specific training impressed Thornton's father ($), while the facilities and a meeting with Powers helped allay concerns that Texas is a school concerned only with basketball -- it kind of is, though. Shh!

In fact, every aspect of the program, from the coaching staff to the academic support staff seemed to impress Thornton's parents.

The reigning Georgia Mr. Basketball, Thornton averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds as a senior in high school and the 6-7, 215-pound forward has a skillset that would fit well in the up-tempo system preferred by Rick Barnes, something Thornton seemed to recognize:

I really like their style of play; they really get up and down the court. Coach Barnes is not afraid to let his players play, as oppose to forcing them to always run set plays. Coach seems willing to play young players and let them play through their mistakes.

Thornton is also a winner, having led his team to the state championship in the largest classification of Georgia basketball.

A high-energy player ($), Thornton would fit with Texas as a face-up four or combo forward who has the ability to take slower power forwards off the dribble and finish in the lane with his athleticism. To call him a glue guy is to denigrate his ability to some extent, but he is a glue guy who can rebound, defend, and run the floor. His jumpshot is a work in progress, but he can step out to 17 feet and knock down shots with consistency. To fully make the transition to the perimeter -- where he would need to play to make himself a legitimate NBA prospect -- Thornton will have to continue to hone his outside jumpshot.

Marcus Thornton - 2010 Georgia State Championship AAAAA Semifinal (via Johann4660)

2009 Slam Dunk Contest Winner - AJC.com - Marcus Thornton (via Johann4660)

Horns_bullet_mediumBig week for AS-J. Late last week, Gig Harbor (WA) tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins gave his junior film ($) to the Texas coaching staff, the first time that AS-J released his film to anyone. Some time this week, the Longhorn coaches will sit down, watch his film, and decide a further course of action.

Texas almost always chooses to offer a player in person, so AS-J may have to take a visit to get the coveted offer, most likely for the summer camp in June, which he plans to attend. However, CB Josh Turner received an offer before his first visit, so there is a chance, albeit small, that the nation's top tight end could get a Texas offer in the next week or so.

Several aspects of the Texas program appeal to AS-J, including the "classy" way Brown and his coaches conduct themselves ($), the talent at the quarterback position moving forward, and the need for an impact player at the tight end position.

The Longhorns are in his top three, though he didn't know the other two teams besides Texas. One of those schools is most likely Florida, considered to be his leader for some time.

If AS-J seemed like a national recruit simply looking for offers, it's time to put that speculation to rest -- this is serious on both sides and an offer is probably forthcoming within the next several weeks, as long he makes it down for the summer camp.

Horns_bullet_mediumTexas commits excel at state track meet. The Longhorns recruit the best athletes in the state to play football in Austin, so it's no surprise that they dominated at the state track meet.

Here's a list of some of the results:

  • 2011 commit Sheroid Evans won the 100m with a time of 10.39 (video) and also won the 200m in 20.82 (video). In the 200m, Evans finished .5 seconds ahead of last year's champion and one-time Texas target DeAndrew White.
  • 2010 commit Chris Jones won the 2A long jump with a leap of 23-05. He also was a part of the second-place Daingerfield 4x400m
  • 2011 commit Josh Cochran placed third in the 4A shotput at 55-02.
  • 2011 commit Quandre Diggs was a part of Angleton's first-place 4x100m team. Angleton finished third in the 4x200m.
  • 2011 commit Mykkele Thompson placed fifth in the 5A long jump at 23-09.
  • 2011 commit Jaxon Shipley placed fifth in the 3A 110m hurdles, despite having little experience and poor technique. He also finished fifth in the long jump.

Horns_bullet_mediumCharles Jackson's stock continues to rise. Will Muschamp took in a Klein Collins practice recently, scouting rising cornerback Charles Jackson. The Longhorns aren't the only team that has taken notice, as Jackson has recently started picking up numerous offers ($) after a slow start to his recruitment. Oklahoma is the most recent offer, with Michigan, Missouri, and Nebraska all offering over the weekend. He listed Oklahoma, Cal, Nebraska, and Texas Tech as his leaders.

Fortunately for the Longhorns, Jackson does not plan on making a decision in the near future. His current plan is to wait until after his senior season to commit. The physical cornerback will play safety this season for Klein Collins and mentioned that he plans on visitng Texas again. The Longhorns should be able to jump into the mix with him if they offer. More than any other player, the summer camp will be crucial for Jackson and an offer could be forthcoming there if he continues to impress the coaching staff.

Re-watching his film several times has helped change my opinion about Jackson's speed (a strong argument for watching a player's film several times). He's not as fast as Sheroid Evans or Josh Turner, but few players in the country are as fast as those two -- he reports his best 100m time as 10.5. His physicality as a tackler and his ability to finish plays with interceptions make him an extremely appealing prospect. And even though he probably won't get a chance in the return game at Texas, he is a playmaker with the ball in his hands at the high school level.

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