Will Texas target Ronald Monroe in 2014 at quarterback? (Photo by the author)
With Texas down to a handful of spots in the 2013 class, it's time to take a look at the 2014 class and the potential targets on the offensive side of the ball. Some positions, like quarterback and wide receiver, appear to be reasonably set in terms of the top potential targets, while other positions, like running back, tight end, and offensive line, will likely feature some significant movement or players emerging onto the radar in the fall.
Quarterback: At this point, the debate essentially comes down to Denton Guyer's Jerrod Heard and Fort Bend Bush's Ronald Monroe. The latter has better size, but was encouraged by his coach not to take off and run, despite having athleticism that most coaches would feature heavily in the running game. The shorter Heard hit his stride about halfway through his sophomore season as he attempted to fill the shoes of current Oklahoma State quarterback JW Walsh and is a more proven running threat than Monroe.
The best guess at this point is that Heard will be the guy, as Bryan Harsin has been by Guyer this spring to evaluate Heard in person. The Guyer signal-caller grew up a Longhorn fan, but will he be willing to join what is becoming a crowded quarterback position?
Running back: There's not much separation at the position in state at this point and it may ultimately come down to what type of back Texas wants to take in the class. The coaches have also been on the road checking in on prospects in Louisiana and Nevada, so the ultimate take in the class could come from out of state.
If Texas wants an all-purpose back (a likelihood given the long odds on Dontre Wilson), Lake Travis' Vershaun Nixon is a possibility, while another local product in Samaje Perine from Pflugerville Hendrickson ranks among the best. Despite checking in at around 50 in the state on the first LSR, Aldine Eisenhower running back Donald Catalon may have as much talent/upside at the position as anyone.
Wide receiver: Initially, I didn't see a lot of big-time playmaking talent at the wide receiver position as I watched film on guys like Abilene Wylie's Lorenzo Joe, San Antonio Madison's Byron Daniels, and others. Then I went back and evaluated KD Cannon from Mount Pleasant, Armanti Foreman from Texas City, and Alief Taylor's Keenen Brown.
In what will likely be a small group at the position in 2014 (likely no more than two), those three could well end up being the top targets. Physically, Cannon isn't quite as strong as 2013 prospect Robbie Rhodes, but the two are similar in overall height and athletic ability, as Cannon has the top-end speed and extra gear that makes Rhodes so special, while also bringing some serious ball skills to the table.
In terms of a slot receiver prospect, none in the state are better than Foreman, who is exceptionally quick, could work on jet sweeps in college, and also has some wiggle because of his change of direction ability and lateral quickness.
With the height to play split end, Brown would be the tall receiver option in 2014 in all likelihood, as he combines some smooth athleticism for his height with the ball skills to go up and attack the football. His highlights on Hudl start off with a leaping one-handed grab in the endzone for a touchdown. Impressive.
Tight end: As usual, it's tough to find tight end prospects, with only three on the 2014 LSR -- McNeil's Zach Vaughan, who was out with an injury when I saw the Mavericks play last fall and won't have many pass-catching opportunities in the McNeil option offense, Manvel's Koda Martin, who has his highlights set on private on Hudl, and Euless Trinity's Will Taylor, who projects an H-back and plays in another run-heavy offense, but did lose some weight to improve his speed over the offseason.
Offensive line: This is another difficult position to project. Right now, the only clear target in state seems to be Fort Worth All Saints offensive tackle Demetrius Knox, though he wasn't even ranked on the initial LSR. Knox already holds almost 10 offers, including Alabama, Michigan, Nebraska, and Ohio State.Texas also stopped by to evaluate Ouachita Parish tackle Cameron Robinson, who is ranked fifth overall in the early 247Sports rankings. Unfortunately, his highlights are set on private, too.
Beyond those two, no other prospects have separated themselves, as the current top offensive lineman on the LSR is Nacogdoches' Jacob Bragg, who is an interior prospect at 6-3.