Needs -- Two or three
||Off the charts athletically, Jinkens is considered raw prospect, as he spent much of junior season at RB. Natural striker with fantastic lateral quickness and short-area burst. Video 1 and 2. Offer from Muschamp tells you everything you need to know about Jinkens. Must have. Skyline connections help both Texas and Oklahoma.
||Drew comparison to Aaron Benson from Hookem.com's Jeff Howe. Good athlete, solid striker, and known as smart, instinctive player. Video. Higher on Texas than teammate Malcolm Brown. Visited Austin in late January. Will likely make spring commitment.
||Son of the Denton Ryan head coach. Smart, tough football player. Only 6-0 tall, 220 pounds. Average athlete. Second-best LB on his team. Would commit on spot if offered. Does not currently report any offers.|
Names to know -- Texas Tech commit Derek David (Rockdale), Damien Neroes (Garland), Jordan Richmond (Denton Ryan), Jeremiah Tshimanga (Richland Hills), Alexander Lyons (DeSoto), Brian Nance (Euless Trinity)
Overview -- This is one of the deepest positional groups in the entire class and there are a number that are probably good enough to get offers from Texas. On the opposite spectrum of a position like tight end, where the evaluations will be focused on just finding some to evaluate, the staff has to decide what skills they are looking for at the linebacker position when making evaluations.
With Tevin Jackson finally cleared, pushing the number of linebackers taken in the last two classes back to six, the Longhorns might be able to get away with only taking two in the class, but three seems like a more likely number. Is there room, then, to throw a scholarship at the undersized De la Torre simply because he's tough and he would commit in a heartbeat? The thought here is no, although it sounds like DLT will be coming in on Saturday, almost assuring he will become one of early commitments in this class.
As an aside, this post was essentially completed when the DLT news broke, so I'm just going to go ahead and continue to live in my constructed version of reality in which he isn't likely to receive an offer and commit this weekend. Read on, if you dare step into my world.
Instead, a better plan of action is to focus on the top two players on the board -- Cole and Jinkens -- and then determine two targets among the second group. Manny Diaz will have to make strong impressions on both, as Jinkens in particular seems like he might have been a Muschamp guy, especially considering that Coach Boom just offered Jinkens recently.
As for Cole, the Brenham ties to Texas A&M are strong and could grow stronger if Malcolm Brown pulls the trigger for the Aggies. The good news is that Cole's interest in Texas seems higher than some of his high school teammates and visiting twice in a matter of weeks is an excellent sign for the Longhorns to at least have a chance with him.
As for the second group, Neroes is probably not much bigger than DLT but is a significantly better athlete. He would be a solid option and draws some comparisons to another Garland star, newly-eligible Tevin Jackson, as a result of his striking ability and overall level of violence as a football player.
Nance is a big physical player at 6-3, 220, plays at a powerhouse program, and is receiving some national interest, though unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any available film on him. Furthermore, Texas hasn't been in contact for unknown and somewhat inexplicable reasons.
Another possibility is Tshimanga, a kid who created an absolute buzz at the Texas State 7-on-7 championships last summer simply because of his chiseled 6-2, 215-pound frame. A bit on the slow side for a linebacker, he might be a good fit at the Buck position and could provide some edge rushing ability to help offset the relative shortage at defensive end in the 2012 class.
Finally, DLT's teammate, Jordan Richmond, would be a solid back-up option. Taller, faster, stronger than DLT, Richmond is a notch down from Cole athletically, but looks like a kid with the tools to play at the major D-1 level.
If Texas separates the targets into those two groups, a commitment from one in the second group seems highly likely andand company are certainly in solid position to eventually land one of Jinkens and Cole, with an outside shot at both.
Wish list --
- Peter Jinkens
- Tim Cole
- Damien Neroes
- Brian Nance
A combination of any of the above three would be a successful class, especially considering the quality talent Texas currently has at the position in front of this group. It's a reality that could impact the Longhorns in the class -- but only as long as the targets buy into the negative recruiting used by other schools regarding the Texas depth chart. If Jinkens and Cole buy into what the new coaching staff is building in Austin, it wouldn't be a surprise to see two such talented players exhibit the same type of confidence competing at Texas that they do on Friday nights and throw themselves into the mix as Longhorns.