Apologies for the lack of content today (particularly missing on an open thread), but I was unexpectedly away from my computer this morning and came back home to find that my internet wasn't working. This should catch everyone up to speed. --Wescott--
Paradigm shift continues. Even in past years before the paradigm shift that has occurred regarding the lack of commitments at the first Texas Junior Day and the corresponding decrease in offers, there weren't typically many offers extended at the second event, which was mostly a smaller event and included a lot of late cancellations from recruits told they weren't going to get offers.
At the second Texas Junior Day this season, there were more attendees -- 20 in total -- but even fewer offers than normal, with the only offer completely confirmed being that to Lake Highlands OT Kent Perkins, who missed JD1 due to a family emergency and was the only lock coming in. This year, it was about beginning to build relationships and see where Texas stands with the prospects before continuing recruitments, as well as showcasing the program through the second spring practice that the prep players in attendance were able to witness.
The second offer remains mostly unconfirmed right now -- to Livingston ATH Chevoski Collins, which the player and coach have both said was extended today, though it doesn't make a ton of sense. While Collins is a strong athlete and a fine player, he's not clearly better than other options in state like Fort Bend Dulles DB Maurice Smith and Cy Falls ATH Jacorey Warrick, who both seemed more likely to receive on this weekend than Collins.
Offering so few players makes sense with the offensive class coming together and limited spots defensively. It appears the Longhorns will continue to evaluate players throughout the spring period, especially on defense.
It's hard to say that the lack of offers is a surprise, with no other players considered to be in the "lock" category coming in other than Perkins, but it equally would not have been surprising to see offers extended to rising prospects like Alief Taylor DE Torrodney Prevot and Cy Wood LB Deoundrei Davis, perhaps both the best players in the state at their respective positions. Or even West Mesquite S Kameron Miles, probably the best safety prospect.
Offensively, the lack of an offer to West Mesquite WR Eldridge Massington suggests that the 'Horns are committed to waiting for a decision from Dallas Skyline WR Ra'Shaad Samples and may even feel strongly that he will eventually pledge to Texas. The preference here is for Massington because he seems like a better fit in the Harsin offense as a bigger receiver who has better speed at his size than anyone else on the roster (reported 10.6 100m) and projects as a better perimeter blocker than Samples because of that major height and weight advantage.
- Ellis Jefferson, Denton Guyer WR
- Eldridge Massington, West Mesquite WR
- Jeremiah Gaines, Red Oak TE
- Trent Gow, Mansfield TE
- Kent Perkins, Lake Highlands OT (offer)
- Austin Davis, Mansfield OL
- Patrick Morris, Denton Guyer OL
- Josh Thomas, Shreveport Evangel OT
- Vincent Taylor, SA Madison DT
- Torrodney Prevot, Alief Taylor DE
- Daeshon Hall, Lancaster DE
- Mike Mitchell, Plano Prestonwood Christian DE/OLB
- Deon Hollins, Fort Bend Marshall OLB/DE
- Brett Wade, Kennedale LB
- Deoundrei Davis, Cy Woods LB
- Maurice Smith, Fort Bend Dulles DB
- Kameron Miles, West Mesquite S
- Colin Janice, West Orange-Stark S
- Jacorey Warrick, Cy Falls ATH
- Chevoski Collins, Livingston ATH
- Robbie Rhodes, Fort Worth Southwest ATH
- Maurice Porter, Fort Bend Marshall OT
- Christopher Robinson, Shreveport Woodlawn DT
- George Baltimore, Mansfield S
- Antwuan Davis, Bastrop CB
Do the cancellations matter? As far as those were who unable to attend, Porter not making the trip is somewhat surprising given that he was supposed to catch a ride with the Hollins family, but never did for whatever reason. He was unlikely to receive an offer, but could continue to be the darkhorse in the state to receive one, depending on what happens with Harker Heights OL and Lake Highlands OL Kent Perkins.
Davis missed the event due to track commitments and should still be in the mix of guys evaluated, benefiting as well from the fact that he's already spent a fair amount of time on campus and could easily make the trip in for an unofficial visit in the near future.
Other than that, the absences were mostly due to commitments from other sports or a lack of rides. Only Baltimore appears to be a guy who canceled at the last minute for reasons other than a ride or participation in a spring sport and has been increasingly unlikely to receive an offer over recent weeks.
Possible offers this spring? Obviously, the word is that the Texas coaches will make good use of the spring period to continue evaluating prospects both in and out of the state. But there's also some talk that the coaching staff will meet in the near future to discuss what offers will potentially go out soon, so there could be some movement in the coming days, despite the continued nature of evaluations on the defensive side of the ball. At this point, it's hard to know how exactly the Texas staff will play this.
The guys who appear to be on the cusp are Prevot, Hollins, Davis, and Naashon Hughes, with a guy like Kam Miles trailing that leading group, then guys like Warrick or Smith, as well as Collins if he doesn't in fact have an offer. None of those players would be poor takes in any sense, but there isn't a normal year for the 'Horns.
As discussed here before, it's a strategy that make sense in general and even more so because of the lack of available spots in the class. Waiting until the end of the spring also allows the coaches to have a better sense of what the numbers will look like following the typical attrition that happens every year. There's definitely some increased care here in making decisions after years of early offers to some pretty marginal prospects.
Since this new philosophy is still, well, new, it could continue to be jarring for those used to the excitement generated by a number of commitments on Junior Day in the past, but it's hard not to see it as the best choice for the program moving forward.