Quarterback signee Tyrone Swoopes at The Opening - Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)
Taking a big-picture view at the offensive players who signed with Texas on Wednesday.
The Texas Longhorns signed a relatively small class on National Signing Day after five prospects decommitted during the cycle, many of whom were not replaced.
However, Signing Day is supposed to be an optimistic day to look towards the future and move forward with the player who have signed. In that spirit, let's forge ahead with the offensive prospects who signed.
*The rankings are from the 247Sports composite.
Tyrone Swoopes, Whitewright
6-4, 230 pounds | **** | 195th overall
Quick take: Swoopes was an early five-star prospect and considered one of the top players going into his junior season, but took a tumble the spring after when he had some struggles in camp settings, though he consistently improved in each one. A tough senior season didn't help his stock either, so some services re-classified him as an athlete, something of an odd move given that there's little chance he will play a position other than quarterback at Texas.
An early enrollee, Swoopes will redshirt and continue to refine his mechanics. He may have a low floor, but he's still a prospect with a tremendously high ceiling who could become special if he can maximize his talent at Texas.
Position overview: The Longhorns passed up on other prospects like Ohio State early enrollee JT Barrett and Oklahoma's Cody Thomas, who may end up playing baseball, among others, so there will be plenty of second-guessing in the future if those players go on to have success and Swoopes does not.
The 'Horns also evaluated some junior college quarterbacks late in the process and even offered Nick Marshall, who ended up at Auburn, but backed off when Case McCoy returned to school for the spring semester.
Position overview: The Longhorns completely missed at this position after the decommitment of Kyle Hicks, attempting to secure visits from a number of prospects, including in-state players committed to other schools, but could not manage to do so.
There is the possibility that Texas could add Little Elm's Ke'aun Kinner in the coming weeks if he can score well enough on the ACT.
Otherwise, the lack of depth at the position and the injury history of backs like Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron could become an issue in 2013 with some bad luck.
Jake Oliver, Dallas Jesuit
6-4, 200 pounds | **** | 196th
Quick take: Oliver is a solid prospect who doesn't wow physically in his running ability, but is an outstanding leaper, has really good hands, works hard as a blocker, and runs good routes. As a result, there hasn't been a lot of excitement about him because he committed early and didn't stand out at The Opening or the Army Bowl. Still, there's a decent change he could come in and earn early playing time because of his dependability and effort in the run game.
Jacorey Warrick, Cy Falls
5-11, 170 pounds | **** | 216th
Quick take: Warrick was a little bit of a surprise take at wide receiver when he committed last February, but could be really important to the class as a pass-catcher because he has the ability to make plays on jet sweeps. In summer 7on7 viewing, Warrick was one of the quickest players off the ball in the state, but did at times have some issues with his hands.
Montrel Meander, Amarillo Palo Duro
6-3, 18- pounds | *** | NA
Quick take: The final recruit added to the 2013 class, Meander's recruitment was much quicker than his name would indicate. He started receiving heavy interest on last Friday night, came in for an official visit on Saturday and then committed on Monday. Here's the take on what he means for Texas.
Position overview: Meander may be a consensus three-star prospect, but he was a big addition to the class after the 'Horns missed out on numerous wide receiver targets, none of whom ever made it to campus. The loss of Ricky Seals-Jones still remains significant, though in retrospect with an anti-Texas force like relative Eric Dickerson in his life, the odds were low that he would ever sign with the 'Horns anyway.
Likewise, missing on Baylor signee Robbie Rhodes still stings, too. There are rumors that he was wide receiver coach Darrell Wyatt's top target. Unfortunately for Texas, Rhodes wanted to play in a different type of offense than that run by former co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, so the 'Horns never emerged as a true threat to the Bears in the recruitment of Rhodes, who possesses the type of sick sick that the coaches really wanted in this class and found to an extent with Meander.
Geoff Swaim, Butte CC
6-5, 250 pounds | *** | 85th (JUCO)
Quick take: A Bryan Harsin take because of Boise State connections at Butte, Swaim didn't do much in the passing game in junior college or in high school. Known as a strong blocker, especially on the move, Swaim could fill roles as a blocking in-line tight end, H-back, or fullback, bringing some blocking versatility to the offense. And who knows, maybe the 'Horns could uncover some pass-catching skills, too.
Position overview: The narrative at this position is defined by the loss of longtime commit Durham Smythe, who ended up at Notre Dame. The 6-5, 230-pound Smythe was unique for a Texas tight end recruit in that he had actually played the position extensively in high school and has natural ability as a wide receiver, a combination the Longhons haven't been able to find for years.
Darius James, Harker Heights
6-6, 340 pounds | ***** | 33rd
Quick take: James is an immensely important part of the class because he's the top prospect left after the defections of Ricky Seals-Jones and A'Shawn Robinson. More than that, though, James could end up pushing Dominic Espinosa for the starting center job as soon as this fall if he can get in shape and represents the type of road-grading offensive line that coach Stacy Searels apparently prefers, while also possessing incredible agility for a player of his size.
Desmond Harrison, Contra Costa CC
6-8, 300 pounds | *** | 25th (JUCO)
Quick take: The second JUCO tackle addition in as many years, Harrison is also an important piece of the 2013 class because he has the ability to come in and play right away. In fact, that's what the Texas coaches expect him to do, challenging either Donald Hawkins or Josh Cochran for one of the starting tackle positions, which he is capable of doing because of his athleticism and maturity having already played college football for two seasons.
Kent Perkins, Lake Highlands
6-6, 295 pounds | **** | 38th
Quick take: Perkins can get lost in the shuffle at times in the offensive line class because he's been committed for so long and never wavered with his pledge. A future right tackle, Perkins has excellent feet that he's refined by wrestling and playing basketball. Texas has had plenty of prospects show up on campus lauded as tackles, only to see them have to move inside. Don't expect that to happen with Perkins.
Rami Hammad, Irving
6-5, 320 pounds | **** | 294th
Quick take: The final take in the 2013 offensive line class, Hammad blew up in January after a strong performance at the Semper Fi All-American game, which is extremely rare for prospects. A Baylor commit at the time, Hammad took an official visit to Texas and committed days later.
Where many Texas takes have come under criticism in recent years for committing early and then seemingly failing to make progress, Hammad got substantially better from his junior to his senior season, improving his flexibility in particular. As a result, he's already demonstrated the work ethic to continue to improve and maximize his ability before he gets to Texas.
Jake Raulerson, Celina
6-5, 268 pounds | **** | 118th
Quick take: The so-called bellcow of the 2013 recruiting class, Raulerson was the first commit and spent the rest of the process trying to help the 'Horns land other prospects. Also known as Maulerson for his ferocious hits and high motor, the two-way high school standout loves to compete, is a persistent blocker, and possesses good athleticism.
He's also already added nearly 10 pounds of muscle since he's arrived on campus and will be starting his career as an offensive lineman instead of at defensive end, giving him time to work at the position that was always considered his future. If he can get up into the 290-300 pound range, the Longhorns should have a guard who can excel in space on screens and when pulling.