In one of the least surprising decisions I've seen, OL/DL Michael Starts committed to Texas Tech over Texas, Baylor, and A&M earlier today. Tech and UT were thought to be the top two, but Texas refused to offer Starts as a defensive lineman—the only of his finalists to do so—and that was ultimately the deciding factor in his commitment to Tech. I can't remember the last time Texas was honest with a player about the position he would have to play when said player decidedly wanted to play on the other side of the ball and UT got the signature. Doesn't bode well for us regarding Kendall Sanders, but he seems less against playing DB than Starts was against playing OL, where people said he evoked images of former Baylor tackle Jason Smith.
More after The Jump.
So why did Texas refuse to offer Starts at DL? Two reasons: One is that we desperately need offensive tackles in this class and can't risk a guy ending up on the other side of the ball. The other is that we are already pretty full at DT in this class unless some big-time OOS stud like Eddie Goldman were to show interest.
Where does this leave Texas with offensive tackles? In an interesting position, to say the least. Texas seems to almost assuredly be in the final grouping for AZ OT Andrus Peat (we're in his top 13 currently), in my opinion the second best player in the country behind Dorial Green-Beckham. Harsin and Connor Brewer are working their asses off to get him to visit soon, and it looks like he will eventually this summer. Fellow consensus 5* OT John Theus has also announced that Texas is in his top 6. Theus has an extremely close relationship with super recruiter Stacy Searels from when Searels recruited his brother to Georgia. Sadly, Theus is expected to follow him to the Bulldogs. Other OOS linemen targets include D.J. Reader, D.J. Humphries, and Vadal Alexander. Alexander is the most likely to give UT a shot, but I wouldn't hold my breath on any of them.
In state, Kennedy Estelle goes from already being a must to start thinking of what to sacrifice to your deity(ies) of choice because we are utterly screwed if this guy doesn't come to UT. Fortunately, things are looking good with the massive and unlimited potential tackle who's only played varsity for a year.
Greg Brantley from Carthage, who Texas has been slow-playing for just this reason, now comes very much into play. He's probably jumping for joy hearing that Starts didn't pick UT. Brantley is yet another guy around 6'7" with a big frame. Texas will look at him even if they get commitments from one of the OOS guys and Estelle.
Two other guys to keep an eye on are Seaver Myers (Friendswood) and Baylor commit Tre'Von Armstead (Port Arthur Memorial). Both have blown up of late, and Armstead has supposedly been listening to what UT and A&M have had to say despite a commitment to Baylor three weeks ago. If Texas swings and misses on all of their OOS targets—and believe me I'm glad we're at least going to bat instead of sitting in the dugout—then expect Texas to go after Estelle, Brantley, and one of Myers or Armstead to round out an OL unit with current commits Camrhon Hughes (OT) and Curtis Riser (OG).