An answer on the 2011 defensive back debate. Going into the June 6th camp, the major intrigue surrounded the competition between Lewisville Hebron defensive back David Jenkins and Klein Collins defensive back Charles Jackson. Though the two did not go against each other at the camp, they were being judged against each other by the coaching staff and the stakes were high -- a coveted Texas offer.
Jenkins and Jackson are two of the fastest-rising prospects in the state and if preliminary reports are correct, David Jenkins impressed the coaching staff enough to land an offer ($) instead of Jackson, long thought to be the favorite to receive any offer going out to a defensive back. However, Jenkins has apparently been visiting relatives in Louisiana and hasn't confirmed that he received his offer late last week, an offer reported by his coach.
On the surface, several possible reasons for Jenkins winning out over Jackson stand out. First and foremost, though it's difficult to speculate with the dearth of information available about the camp, Jenkins most likely outplayed Jackson at the camp. Secondly, Jackson is variously listed at between 5-9 and 5-11, while Jenkins checks in at around 6-1 -- though Jackson is physically ready for college football entering his senior season, Jenkins has the size at the position preferred by defensive coordinator Will Muschamp.
Entering even more deeply into the realm of speculation, it's also possible that even though Jackson has claimed that his grades are improving, the coaching staff may not feel completely comfortable with his progress or decided that he is too much of a risk. However, it's important to point out that many other schools have felt comfortable offering Jackson -- this decision was almost certainly about play on the football field.
Whatever the reason, it certainly must be disappointing for Jackson, who even made his way to Austin for the second camp to demonstrate his interest and did everything that he could to receive an offer that likely is not coming now. Oklahoma is presumably the leader for the talented defensive back, who could make a decision within the next several weeks.
As for Jenkins, the Longhorns are certainly in good shape, but LSU could factor in as well because of family connections to the state. His head coach believes that he will make a decision before the start of the football season and his offer in all likelihood ends the recruitment of Charles Jackson by Texas, especially with the commitment over the weekend by Josh Turner.
Though it's possible that Turner's commitment could result in the Longhorns backing off the newly-escalated recruitment of Jenkins, the only sensible reason for offering Jenkins was if the coaches were willing to take two more defensive backs in the class, especially after having a relatively extended chance to look at Mykkele Thompson and Quandre Diggs at defensive back during the first camp. The calculus fundamentally changed by Turner's commitment is the necessity for a cornerback who can contribute early, giving way to the luxury of taking another defensive back for depth purposes.
OOS recruiting weekend never materialized at second camp. The final summer camp more than a week ago was supposed to be a major recruiting weekend for the Longhorns in the 2011 class, likely the most important weekend remaining until Signing Day with Shreveport Evangel DE Jermauria Rasco, OKC Millwood CB Josh Turner, and Gig Harbor (WA) TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins all expected to make their way to Austin to camp with a large group of 2012 prospects.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, none of the three were able to make it, though Turner's absence certainly did not hurt his recruitment. Rasco suffered through his first experience at linebacker ($) during a 7-on-7 event, incurring several relatively minor injuries that reportedly sealed his disdain for the uncomfortable position and may have greatly hurt Alabama's chances with the Louisiana standout. The Buck position has fewer responsibilities dropping into coverage and doesn't carry a linebacker designation with it, but it remains to be seen how much appeal the position has for Rasco considering his negative experience at linebacker.
As for AS-J, his recruitment continues to be a whirlwind affair that no doubt has heads spinning on the Texas coaching staff. Unable to attend the Texas camp because he couldn't work out the logistics of the trip with his mother, the big tight end now has his tickets purchased for the first weekend in August, when he will have the opportunity to observe practice, spend time with current players, and have that all-important meeting with Mack Brown to receive his offer.
The offer seems like a no-brainer from the Texas side even with limited numbers and AS-J has consistently maintained over the last several weeks that he could commit on the spot if offered -- it now appears that there is an overwhelming chance of Seferian-Jenkins leaving Texas that weekend as a Longhorn, as long as his mother approves of the environment surrounding the program.
Several top running backs in attendance. As expected, the camp featured some of the top 2012 talent in the state, including top running backs Johnathan Gray of Aledo, potentially one of the top recruits in the country and the likely top target at the position, and Kilgore's Ladarius Anthony, another talented runner. Gray did not work out at the event as he recovers from off-season shoulder surgery, while Anthony oddly mentioned TCU ($) as the school he is following most closely, perhaps because he has two cousins who were Horned Frogs.
The recruitment of Gray could be a long one and it's hard to tell if his father's alma mater of Texas Tech will figure prominently into the equation, but early conventional wisdom has Texas and Oklahoma out in front as Gray compares their running games in 2010.
- Quincy Russell was in attendance but did not work out. He continues to decline to give a timeline and appears ready to take some visits in the fall. After his de-commitment, he's been quiet about his favorites, but his desire to stay close to home will help the Longhorns and with no other defensive tackles on the radar, he remains the top target on the interior of the line and the coaching staff seems content to let the process play out with him. I still believe there is a strong chance that he re-commits, although it is pretty unusual for a prospect to do so.
- Klein Forest QB Matt Davis did not attend the camp after suffering from some heat-related complications. A strong runner with developing mechanics, there is little doubt that Davis is the most talented 2012 quarterback in the state.
- DeSoto offensive tackle Curtis Riser was also in attendance. Riser is the early candidate for top offensive linemen in the state in 2012.
- Tyler John Tyler DE Eric Davis, likely one of the top defensive ends in the 2012 class, was in attendance and listed Texas and Oklahoma as two schools in which he has interest.
- Fort Bend Hightower athlete Bralon Addison also made his way to the camp ($). A potential wide receiver or defensive back with incredible upside, he has impressed throughout the summer and looks like a top target. Though he played at running back last season, Addison will play quarterback as a junior.