Kendall Sanders was the Army game co-MVP on defense with two interceptions, but will start out on offense at Texas (Photo by Wescott Eberts).
Name: Kendall Sanders
High School: Athens High School, Athens (TX)
Rating (Rivals): Four out of five (6.0)
- Texas (Committed 12/2/2011)
- Texas A&M
- Texas Tech
- Notre Dame
- Oklahoma State
Sanders is this year's Quandre Diggs—a two-way star in high school who could easily play either way in college, probably projects better to defense, and had Texas fans agonizing for months over why we hadn't offered yet despite both players making it quite clear they wanted to attend UT. Like Quandre, Kendall eventually got his offer and ended up committing the same week as Marcus Johnson. And UT fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Kendall Sanders (senior highlights) (via 247SportsStudio)
For the sake of this evaluation not going on forever, I'm only going to comment on Sanders as a WR, where he is expected to begin his career once he gets to the 40.
- Jukability: A trait UT WRs and RB have been sorely lacking over the past few seasons that has been assuaged with the additions of guys like Johnathan Gray, Daje Johnson, Marcus Johnson, and, of course, Sanders. Although he's not a violent cutter like a Trey Williams, Kendall has an innate ability to slink and slither all over the field while somehow avoiding even being touched. He will be a monster in the screen game and on end-arounds, especially since he played a lot of running back in high school.
- Top speed: Excellent top gear and he makes it look effortless and graceful in the open field. Once he gets by the last defender, it's over because nobody at the high school level can catch the guy. Just a very natural long strider who can get up to top speed in a ridiculously short amount of time. There are guys that supposedly run good 40 times without pads on that don't look that fast on film. Sanders isn't one of them.
- Multi-faceted...ness: When I see Kendall play I think of Percy Harvin. Harvin was listed as a WR at Florida, but in addition to catching the ball on actual pass routes, he was always getting touches in the backfield and on various screen passes. I think Sanders will be that kind of player for Texas. Especially with Thomas Johnson gone to A&M.
- Special teams ability: Sanders is definitely the kind of guy who could swing a game in a heartbeat in the third phase. With his elusiveness, nose for the endzone, vision, and breakaway speed, don't be surprised if you see him returning kicks or punts in the near future. He's probably better suited for the former, where he can see the field clearly and build up a head of steam while lining up his path, while a shorter, more compact player like Daje Johnson who can cut on a dime would be more successful in the PR game. JMO on that one.
- Strength: On tape, Kendall looks like he could use more lower-body strength to be able to slip tackles around his hips better. His arms are pretty skinny too, although he does showcase a couple of nice stiff arms. It's doubtful he will redshirt, so he'll likely have to play his first season at a much weaker physical state than the guys he's going up against. That's no slight against him, it's just a commentary on true freshman having to play early. We saw it last year with guys like Shipley and Malcolm Brown that haven't had enough time to sculpt themselves after arriving on campus, which frequently leads to nagging injuries at the collegiate level.
- Raw receiver skills: Unlike his fellow signees Cayleb Jones and Marcus Johnson, Kendall generally isn't going to be labeled with the "technician" tag at WR. A lot of that is because Athens needed him to play all over the field in order for them to accumulate yardage, which often meant getting the ball in his hands as soon into the play as humanly possible and watching him work wonders. His hands look very good though, as he showed great natural pass-catching ability on two interceptions in the Army AA Bowl.
Sanders is a monster playmaking talent on both sides of the ball, and a kid any UT fan should just be happy we finally offered. Expect him to be on the field early in the season in some capacity, although it remains to be seen just how much he plays with guys like Davis, Shipley, Quise, Harris, Onyay, and possibly the other receivers in the class ahead of him in the rotation. Could be a guy that contributes on special teams like Mykkele Thompson did last year. While many Longhorn fans would have loved to have seen him at CB, the need at slot receiver is certainly far more pressing with Quise and Hales graduating after this coming season, Thomas Johnson gone to Aggie, and a seemingly fully-stocked cupboard of young CBs waiting in the wings.
Finally, I must offer my sincere apologies to Kendall for taking so long to get this out. School is a lot of work sometimes, and with the Super Bowl and the MU/KU game this weekend, I was pretty busy. Also sorry for having this done so late after NSD, as I know most of y'all have already turned your eyes to JD1 this weekend. So psyched!
2012 RECRUITING FEATURES / NEWS
* Expectations of Early Enrollees
* Dorial Green-Beckham Eliminates Texas
* DE Bryce Cottrell Switches to Texas
* Interview with DT Malcolm Brown
* Texas Commits at International Bowl
* Do the Longhorns Have a Championship Caliber Class?
* Thomas Johnson De-Commits from UT
2012 RECRUITING SPOTLIGHTS
QB Connor Brewer, QB Jalen Overstreet, ATH Daje Johnson, WR Cayleb Jones, WR Marcus Johnson, OT Kennedy Estelle, OT Camrhon Huges, OG Curtis Riser, DE Caleb Bluiett, DE Hassan Ridgeway, DT Malcolm Brown, DT Paul Boyette, DT Alex Norman, LB Tim Cole, LB Peter Jinkens, LB Alex De La Torre, LB Dalton Santos, S Adrian Colbert, CB Orlando Thomas, CB Bryson Echols, K Nick Jordan