Needs: One or two
- Jordan Davis, Clear Lake (Texas A&M commit)
After managing to secure Blake Whiteley just after the hire of Charlie Strong, the pressure to take two tight ends in the 2015 class dropped significantly. However, since Texas hasn't taken two tight ends at any point in recent years, establishing some long-term depth at the position would be crucial for the class -- although Whiteley has four years to play three seasons, the lack of that extra year of eligibility does complicate things down the road, as the scholarship chart dries up after the 2016 season.
The good news is that Texas has a more defined plan at this point in the process than they did in the last cycle. The bad news is that the only current plan, Texas A&M commit Jordan Davis, is, well, committed to another school and unlikely to reopen his recruitment.
The other bad news is that the drop off behind Davis in this class currently is steep -- the next highest-rated tight ends are Marble Falls Faith Academy's Hanner Shipley, a cousin of the Texas Shipleys, and Cypress Ranch's Jackson Solbeck, the Nos. 154 and 155 prospects in the state, respectively. And Shipley is already 260 pounds, so the odds of him staying at that position in college are not particularly high.
In other words, unless Texas really likes Solbeck or another prospect in the state emerges, the Longhorns are going to have to go out of state or the junior college route once again. Of course, the problem with the latter route is that it doesn't provide long-term solutions, just stop gaps.
The nation's top prospect at the momentum is committed to UCLA, but there is a good tight end in Florida, Devonaire Clarington, and another good one in Missouri, Hale Hentges. Obviously, targeting prospects in areas where the Texas staff already has connections or in states where there is not a dominant in-state program is ideal, but in looking at the national rankings, there are only 13 four-star prospects at the position right now -- it's hard to find a difference-maker at tight end for every school.
Which is why the new staff would be well served to pick out their target or targets quickly. Otherwise, it's going to have to be another junior college take again this year.