Texas may finally be close to finding a replacement for Marquise Goodwin - John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The long and fruitless search for another 2013 wide receiver may be close to an end.
Contra Costa CC connections weren't enough to help Arizona State land Texas offensive tackle pledge Desmond Harrison, they may help the Longhorns land a 2013 wide receiver in Ronald Butler.
Although the Wednesday news that Texas wide receiver target Sebastian Larue won't be visiting Notre Dame, opening up another visit weekend for him, it was the other news on Wednesday that may be much more important in helping the Longhorns fill that class vacancy wide receiver coach Darrell Wyatt has been working so hard to fill, with basically no success in even getting players on campus.
The story goes that Wyatt was at Contra Costa and ended up watching film on the 6-0, 185-pound Butler, who was the big play threat last season for the run-heavy Contra Costa offensive attack, gaining 870 yards on 55 catches (15.8 yards per catch) and finding the endzone 13 times.
Now Texas is interested and very much in the mix for Butler, who recently took an official visit to Utah State and also has an offer from Iowa State. Wyatt and Bo Davis will stop by Contra Costa on Thursday and could extend an offer at that time and/or set up an official visit.
If Butler does visit, it sounds like there is a strong chance that he comes away a Longhorn -- unlike in other recruitments the 'Horns have tried to enter late in the process, the competition for the New Jersey native is not especially significant.
On film, the single most impressive thing about Butler is his ability to find the endzone. Like former Longhorn Chris Jones, there isn't a lot of wasted movement with him -- he has good enough vision to spot holes on slip screens and hits them quickly and without hesitation. And even though he's not especially strong at making defenders miss in small spaces, he seems to reach back for a little bit extra when he starts getting close to the goalline.
Two other elements of his game stand out as well.
The first is his ability to get open deep by on double moves or with the stems of his routes, often turning defensive backs or eating up their cushion more quickly than they anticipate. In that sense, he's much like current Texas star Mike Davis and fits the profile of the speedy vertical threat Texas has been seeking all along in the efforts to replace Marquise Goodwin.
The second is that Butler has strong ball skills for a receiver of his size (he's listed on his Hudl page as 5-11). It's something that he cited in interviews as his strongest attribute and it's clear on film, aided by the fact that he played outside receiver at Contra Costa, which allowed for more jump balls down the sideline. However, Butler doesn't always time his jumps perfectly.
Since the Longhorns are intent on taking another receiver in the class, Butler fits the mold better than a recent offer/expression of interest like Dannon Cavil. Finding Butler was more fortuitous than the result of hard work uncovering an underrecruited prospect, but none of that matters once a prospect signs -- it's just something for recruiting analysts to talk about.
A finish like that in 2012 isn't likely, but there are positive things happening recruiting right now for the first time in months and that could very well continue with the addition of Ronald Butler to the class in the coming days if Texas does offer.