Red River battle for Jackson. No other players in the 2011 class have seen their stock rise as quickly as 2011 Klein Collins cornerback Charles Jackson. Once the back-up plan in case of losing OKC MIllwood stud Josh Turner, Jackson now looks less like a consolation prize and more like a major prize himself. Ranked no. 123 on the last Aggie Yell 125 (updated in late February) and unranked in the last LSR from mid-March, Jackson shot into the top five of the updated Inside Texas top 100, Jackson is the hottest prospect in the entire state, picking up recent offers from Baylor, Cal, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech. Seven offers have come in the last two weeks.
Of those, Oklahoma is the most significant, as Jackson felt "honored ($)" by the scholarship offer from the Sooners, noting, "How much better does it get than an offer from OU?" Well, the obvious answer to that question is an offer from the Longhorns, who are now in a "50-50" tie as his favorites. An offer from Texas, after all, is much harder to secure.
While it's not a great surprise that Oklahoma's recent offer has increased their standing with Jackson, who was a Texas fan growing up, it was surprising to hear from the same article (from the Oklahoma Rivals site) that Jackson not only hasn't heard from the Texas coaches for a while, possibly May 5th when Will Muschamp visited the school, but may not attend the June 5th camp, as has been reported in numerous other places. Inside Texas reported just the other day ($) that Duane Akina also went by the school within the last week or so.
So the Texas coaches are clearly still interested in Jackson as demonstrated from their presence and are limited in their ability to contact Jackson, so it's more likely that Jackson simply hasn't had time to call the coaches rather than a lack of interest on the part of the Longhorns.
When Jackson spoke with Jeff Howe of Inside Texas (published more recently than the OU Rivals article, at least), he sounded much more certain about attending the camp in Austin, noting that he hopes to take away some coaching tips from the event and wants to learn more about the coaches, his main intention moving forward in the recruiting process. He's been told by the coaching staff that he could receive an offer at the camp if he performs well (as is expected), but likely would not commit at that time, preferring to attend other camps this summer, including a visit to Norman and possible visits to Cal and Nebraska.
With Josh Turner's recruitment looking like it could extend into the fall, the Texas coaches likely won't have the opportunity to wait for Turner's decision before deciding whether or not to offer Jackson and the upcoming camp will present the opportune time to offer him in person. The question is how the Longhorns would then handle the situation with limited scholarships available. Are they willing to take two more cornerbacks in the class? It's tricky because Turner is clearly still the top target and a commitment from Jackson before Turner's decision severely complicates the remaining numbers if there are truly only three more spots in the class. Would Turner still have a scholarship available if that occurs? If Turner commits, would Jackson still have an available spot? Are the coaches willing to go to 25 in this class?
Cornerback is arguably the top remaining need in the class -- slightly ahead of running back -- so there is a significant argument to be made for adding two more cornerbacks, especially two who appear ready to contribute early in college. Even if there are only 23 spots in the class, the need at cornerback is so significant that adding another player at the position could take precedence over adding another defensive tackle, for instance, and certainly takes precedence over another defensive end or linebacker.
Whatever the case, the most significant drama at the June 6th Texas camp will certainly be whether or not Jackson receives an offer while in Austin.
Speaking of Turner...There hasn't been much news recently from the aforementioned Turner, really since naming Texas and Miami as his co-favorites after visiting for the second Texas Junior Day. Turner has been saying all along that he will attend the Texas camp on June 6th, but conventional wisdom has Oklahoma (a team consistently named in his top four with Nebraska) losing ground with Turner, which perhaps precipitated the recent offers to Jackson and Mansfield Legacy's Tevin Mitchel, who is an OU legacy himself.
The recent news of note comes from an ESPN article making the rounds on the message boards ($) to which no one has linked (and which I can't find myself). According to the article, Texas and MIami are still tied atop his list, but the Hurricanes have not been actively recruiting the Millwood star recently and have not visited Oklahoma City this spring. Turner plans on taking an official visit to MIami in the fall.
A tweet from Gerry Hamilton confirms that Texas is probably now the leader for Turner:
Texas is the leader for Oklahoma City Millwood CB prospect Josh Turner. Nebraska and Oklahoma in the hunt. Miami fading.
Certainly good news for the Longhorns, although Turner's intention to take an official visit to Miami in the fall extends his timetable past late summer when he originally planned to commit. Unless the Hurricanes decide to begin seriously pursuing Turner, who grew up as a Miami fan, it looks like the star cornerback could well end up in burnt orange.
AS-J recruitment continues positive progress. At this point, only the most skeptical skeptics could doubt the sincerity of Gig Harbor (WA) tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkin's interest in Texas. And now, with tight ends coach Bruce Chambers making the journey out to the Pacific Northwest ($) on Tuesday to watch AS-J practice in person, there's no reason to doubt the sincerity of interest on the part of the Longhorns, either.
Even if most Longhorn fans don't doubt AS-J's interest level, the release of his junior film last week raised some questions about his straight-line speed, which wasn't showcased on the nine-minute long highlight reel. His coach reported AS-J as timing consistently in the 4.7s in workouts and the mammoth tight end helped put to rest some of the speculation with the news that Chambers clocked him at 4.65 on Tuesday during his workout, even better than the recent times reported by his own coach.
Speed questions aside, the next step, as it has been for some time, is for AS-J to make it down to campus, which he plans on doing for the June 13th camp. The current plans have the visit as being for the entire weekend, with the family flying in on Friday evening and spending the next day touring the campus before participating in the camp on Sunday. And the good news seems to keep on coming as AS-J's recruitment develops -- he plans on majoring in business and the quality of the McCombs school should represent a major appeal, in addition to the beautiful campus and exceptional facilities.
There hasn't been much talk about a timetable, but an offer does look like it will be forthcoming during the visit and it's safe to expect that the process will draw out, likely well into the fall with official visits. It's not a stretch to say that if the Longhorns aren't his leader, they are certainly darn close to it.
Wallace, Rasco still on the board? Besides the ongoing developments with AS-J, the most surprising news of the last several weeks is that the Longhorns are still pursuing Skyline linebacker Anthony Wallace and Shreveport Evangel defensive end Jermauria Rasco after both recruitments looked to be finished following commitments from three linebackers and Cedric Reed in the 2011 class.
After not hearing from the Longhorns for some time after the commitment of Kendall Thompson at the second Junior Day, the Texas coaches re-established contact with Wallace ($) during the May evaluation period as Bruce Chambers and Will Muschamp showed up to practice at Skyline (although they surely would have anyway, given the talent at the school) and invited Wallace to the June camp, which the talented linebacker plans to attend. It's hard to believe that the Longhorns will be in a position to take a commitment from Wallace late in the process, but the Texas coaches clearly aren't closing the door on that possibility.
Likewise, Rasco. After Cedric Reed committed in late April, it looked like the Longhorns were done at the position. As with Wallace, the Longhorn coaches showed up in Shreveport ($) to check on Rasco, with Will Muschamp and Oscar Giles making the trip. Rasco isn't naming favorites at this time and doesn't have any camp plans at the moment due to transportation issues, but noted that "everything is still good" with Texas."
The Longhorns have talked with Rasco about playing the Buck position last occupied by Sergio Kindle, on the opposite end of the line from Cedric Reed, who will almost certainly play with his hand on the ground at Texas, possibly even as a five technique or situational three tech, while Alabama wants him as an outside linebacker, a position Rasco hasn't played before and with which he doesn't seem particularly comfortable, to the extent that Alabama could be losing ground with him. So far, there haven't been any rumblings about the Buck position hurting the Longhorns' chances, but having room for Rasco when he makes a decision is still a longshot, as with Wallace.
Talkin' rankings. As mentioned earlier, the major surprise in the latest Inside Texas Top 100 was Charles Jackson vaulting into the fifth position, but there are several other notable elements that deserve discussion. First is the first position in the rankings, now held by Spring Westfield defensive tackle Desmond Jackson, who supplanted Malcolm Brown in the top spot.
It's an unusual ranking in that the national lists from Tom Lemming and Scout both have Jackson ranked behind the top three running backs in the state -- Brown, San Antonio Madison's Aaron Green, and Abilene's Herschel Sims, who is more highly considered by the national experts at this stage than he is by Geoff Ketchum. Lemming, in fact, has eight Texans in front of Jackson at no. 87 -- the three running backs, Steve Edmond, Cedric Reed, Trey Metoyer, Trevon Randle, and Garrett Greenlea, while Scout has Jackson behind only the running backs at no. 17.
Another major discrepancy between the Inside Texas list and the two national lists is the ranking of Galena Park North Shore's Sedrick Flowers, ranked second by Howe and unranked by Lemming, though he comes in at 64 with Scout. Flowers will play his collegiate position of guard as a senior, which should help in the rankings and when the final rankings come out next January, expect Flowers to be among the top several guards in the country, if not the top-ranked player at that position.
On the two national lists, it's worth pointing out that Chandler (AZ) offensive tackle Christian Westerman comes in at no. 8 on Scout's list and ranks 22nd by Lemmning. The rankings suggest that Westerman would clearly be a top-five player in the state of Texas this year and Howe's affinity for him could possibly push him high enough to challenge Jackson for the top spot.
Scout is also high on Garrett Greenlea (no. 21), Steve Edmond (no. 28, no. 41 by Lemming), and Leroy Scott (no. 32), who comes in four spots ahead of Josh Turner. Lemming favors Cedric Reed more than Scout (no. 30 vs. no. 54), as well as Austin Seferian-Jenkins (no. 27 vs. no. 44). AS-J is the second-ranked TE by Lemming and comes in fourth by Scout. Sheroid Evans (pronounced like Sherrod, for clarification purposes), ranked 7th by Inside Texas, does not appear on either national list.