Texas Recruiting 2013: 'Horns Zero In On Final Targets

Ricky Seals-Jones may be able to return this season, pending the results of his MRI (Photo by the author).

There hasn't been as much talk about the 2013 Texas recruiting class recently with the 2014 group receiving most of the attention throughout the month of August following the extension of unprecedented (for Texas) early offers, but there are still a handful of players left on the board for the class that will sign this February.

Here's a look at each of the players on the board:

Sealy wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones -- Dominate at times on ESPNU against Houston St. Piux X on Thursday, including two runs in which he burst through the line of scrimmage and essentially outran the entire defense to the endzone, RSJ was easily on another level from the rest of the competition present, even Texas A&M commit Kohl Stewart, the quarterback pledge with a big-time arm.

Unfortunately, all that work on defense eventually ended poorly for the Sealy star, as he torqued his knee making a tackle and was eventually taken off the field on a stretcher with an air cast on his leg. In the immediate aftermath, it looked like an ACL injury, but his parents eventually revealed that he mostly likely has a dislocated kneecap, confirmed on Monday by RSJ on Twitter after his MRI came back negative.

While that injury won't end his season, the concern is that he could have issues with the kneecap dislocating in the future. Still, that concern won't impact his recruitment.

Throughout the summer and into the fall, the 6-5, 230-pounder has maintained that Texas remains his leader. After a busy summer that included rounds on the camp circuit and AAU basketball, he's still in the process of setting up his visit plans for the fall -- with Texas, LSU, and Texas A&M on tap to receive unofficial visits and official visits planned to USC, Oregon, and others.

Phoenix (AZ) Brophy Prep wide receiver Devon Allen -- The Longhorns have not yet offered the dual-sport star, who sees tremendous appeal in being able to run track at Texas. After landing on the radar back during the summer months, Allen has been busy setting up a trip to Austin, a visit that should result in an offer being extended.

Even though he doesn't have an offer and hasn't yet made his way to Texas, Allen recently listed the Longhorns second behind Stanford as his recruitment hits the final stretch. He will take in the West Virginia game on October 6th and the Longhorns seem to be in serious contention. Allen has also said that he is willing to pull the trigger immediately on a visit if everything feels right.

Prosper wide receiver Torii Hunter, Jr. -- Another two-sport star who spends his springs on the diamond instead of running track, Hunter was one of the breakout performers at The Opening on his way to earn MVP honors and helping his team win the 7-on-7 championship out there in Beaverton.

The junior Hunter has emerged on the Texas radar even more recently and made the journey from the Dallas area to Austin for the New Mexico game this weekend. Back at The Opening, Jake Raulerson told me that he wanted to see Texas recruit his friend, and though it's not clear whether some prompting from the kid known as Maulerson helped to spur the interest, his connections to Hunter should benefit the Longhorns if they decide to get serious about the Prosper star.

Hunter has official visits set up to Arkansas, Nebraska, and Notre Dame this month, but his recruitment seems relatively open for this stage in the process. During the month of August, Hunter visited Arizona, Arizona State, and Utah.

Katy Seven Lakes offensive guard Caleb Benenoch -- Immediately after being offered by Texas following the first summer camp, there were rumblings that the Longhorns had a silent commitment. Judging by his social media offerings, the likely candidate was Benenoch, who appeared at the time to be close to becoming a Longhorn.

It didn't happen, as he opted to take more time with the process for a variety of reasons, the most notable being a thorough assessment of each school's academics and to wait for his father, who lives in Nigeria, to make it to the states to accompany him on a visit or two.

For some time, it looked like OU had narrowed the gap with Texas, but when Benenoch started to look more deeply into the academic situation at Oklahoma, he seemingly soured a bit on the Sooners.

The former Michigan State commit is also friends with Raulerson from the camp circuit. He'd been planning on making his decision at the Seve Lakes homecoming game in late September, but had to push his announcement date back in order to take official visits, several of which will happen after the season. A trip to College Station for the game against Florida made a strong impression on him. Will the Aggies be able to make a late push?

Right now, all signs point to Texas.

Waco lineman Andrew Billings -- There was some speculation that the two-way standout in the trenches for Waco could make his decision before the start of his senior season. However, the 6-1, 320-pounder wasn't ready, so the timetable was pushed back, with an announcement now expected next week on David Smoak's radio show.

Billings is down to a final three of Baylor, Texas, and TCU, with the Bears and Longhorns thought to be out in front of the Horned Frogs. The state powerlifting champion, Billings visited Waco for beatdown of SMU before watching the shutout against New Mexico in Austin on Saturday night.

In recent weeks, the buzz was favorable for Baylor, but that may have changed following the gameday experience for Billings. He told Hookem.com how much it helped Texas ($):

A lot. It really helped them a lot.

Beyond enjoying the atmosphere, Billings said that his father enjoyed the visit as well.

One of the more interesting plotlines involved with Billings? Whether or not the Bears can win another head-to-head recruitment in 2013 against Texas after nabbing Fort Worth Southwest wideout Robbie Rhodes away from the 'Horns back during the summer. A skill position player wanting to play for Art Briles instead of Mack Brown isn't a major shocker given the recent success there, but landing a force in the trenches would be a significant win for the Baylor program on the recruiting trail.

Chandler (AZ) Hamilton cornerback Cole Luke -- Having to wait for a Texas offer hasn't hurt the Longhorns with one of the top cornerbacks in the Southwest, as Hookem.com has been reporting for some time that Luke is favoring Texas.

The 6-0, 165-pound cornerback will visit for the West Virginia game and recently had this to say about the 'Horns ($):

Everything about [Texas] is great. The cornerbacks coach, coach [Duane] Akina -- they are known as DB University -- so he sends them to the league a lot. And that's not including the academics. Academics are great over there.

Luke also plans to travel to Norman for an Oklahoma game and South Bend to watch the Irish in the near future. USC sounds like there are still in the mix with Luke, but it may take some attrition in the class for the Trojans to have a spot for him, as they are currently full with their current scholarship limits from the Reggie Bush fiasco.

Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips safety Marcell Harris -- In the sense that Florida and Texas has been well out in front for the services of the hard-hitting jumbo safety, Harris making his way to Austin for the Wyoming game didn't reveal any significant twists or turns in his recruitment.

His father did, however, note the differences between seeing the campus for a camp setting and on gameday ($):

This time, Marcell got to meet the players. This is the first time being able to take in a game situation, see the preparation of what they do in game day. It was a whole lot different than the other times. The other times were for camp, things like that, this time saw game situations and spent more time with people to see how it fits himself.

It was a lot better this time because we actually did get to see those things. You see them on TV, but having the opportunity to see everything live in person is a lot better. He spent time hanging out with some of the players, so that was good.

Was the experience a game-changer for Harris? Impossible to say. The odds probably still favor Florida, but Texas is still firmly in the mix and it would be hard to be in better position without a commitment. Add in the fact that Harris is a luxury take in this class and it's easy for Longhorn fans to feel good about this one all around.

Livingston athlete Chevoski Collins -- The high school jack-of-all-trades almost didn't make it onto this list, as there's a possibility that Texas isn't actively recruiting him. In any case, Collins doesn't do many interviews or reveal much when he does talk, so his recruitment is a bit of a mystery. Texas would probably take commitments from both Cole Luke and Marcell Harris right now, but a commitment from either of them could be the end of the Longhorns pursuing Collins.

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