Nation's top offensive tackle is considering Texas visit. It's been some time since there was much talk about Jake Raulerson and his leadership abilities on the recruiting front, but he may have helped the 'Horns secure a big visit.
Lake City (FL) Columbia's Laremy Tunsil is universally rated one of the top players in the entire country and the top offensive tackle. So Raulerson took the opportunity to get to know him during the Army Bowl week and got Tunsil in touch with the Texas staff.
Though the 6-6, 300-pounder has not yet set a date for a visit, he did tell 247Sports that is considering taking an official visit to Texas before Signing Day. The problem is that he already has visits scheduled on all four weekends remaining prior to when he will ink with his school of choice, so he would have to drop one of those visits or extend his recruitment past Signing Day and pay his own way to Austin.
Last year the Longhorns had a similar flirtation with Arik Armstead, who was also considering a visit, but it never happened. Don't be surprised if the same happens with Tunsil.
Another lineman onto the radar. After a strong performance at the Semper Fi Bowl, Irving offensive guard Rami Hammad has been receiving some interest from Texas. At 6-6 and 320 pounds, he looks a bit like former Texas target Caleb Benenoch, who pledged to UCLA back in December. Like Benenoch, Hammad has the size for tackle but a physique built for the inside. Also like Benenoch, he's rather raw in terms of his technique and perhaps less flexible in his ankles and knees.
The appeal is that Hammad is a fierce run blocker who could become even more effective once he gets rid of issues like coming off the ball too high. To Hammad's credit, those issues didn't keep him from excelling in Los Angeles:
Biggest surprise from today's west practice was Baylor-bound OL Rami Hammad. He was nothing short of dominant against good competition.— Robert Cassidy (@Cassidy_Rob) January 1, 2013
It carried over to the game, as well, as Hammad was named the OL MVP, helping to earn him offers from Cal, UCLA, Michigan St., and Utah.
This time it was Naashon Hughes doing the work ($) and connecting Hammad with Stacy Searels. Hammad also has another Texas link because his head coach is Aaron De La Torre, whose son, Alex, is a freshman fullback for the 'Horns.
A former Oklahoma St. pledge who committed to Baylor in November, Hammad has not yet been offered, but could receive one if he visits. Or perhaps even before then, if Texas is really serious.
Another wide receiver off the radar. New Smyrna Beach (FL) wide receiver James Clark has been on the recruiting radar for some time and was planning on taking an official visit to Texas. New interest from several schools appears to have changed his plans -- where once the competition was schools like Northwestern and Rutgers, the landscape of his recruitment has been altered in recent days:
Florida WR James Clark bumps Texas, Rutgers off his list. Florida, Northwestern, Clemson and Nebraska are his final 4.— Max Olson (@max_olson) January 7, 2013
The new schools are Florida and Clemson, with several others having increased their interest in the speedy Clark over the last several days by extending offers. It's not entirely surprising, as Clark was rather underrecruited when his senior season came to an end, so it's nice to see his number of available options expand to include schools that should have been recruiting him all along.
It also leaves the 'Horns without any real options left on the board as the staff continues efforts to add a speedy wide receiver with the ability to get open deep to the class with the loss of Marquise Goodwin to graduation creating a need there.
JUCO recruiting continues. There hasn't been much news on the recruiting front in terms of the JUCO targets still left out there for the Longhorns. California offensive tackle Desmond Harrison is considered by the staff as a guy who could come in and play early, which explains the offer to a JUCO tackle with two starting tackles set to return for the 2013 season. The consensus at this point seems to be that Texas leads, with Oklahoma and USC giving chase.
As far as Tennessee commit De'Vondre Campbell is concerned, he wasn't giving interviews prior to the false news from Hutchinson CC PR regarding the commitment to Texas that never happened and hasn't been giving any since, leaving his recruitment something of a mystery at this point, though the 'Horns are probably the favorite for him as well.
There's also Garden City CC's Nick Marshall, who recently received his Texas offer and hosted head coach Mack Brown on an in-home visit:
All the interceptions remain a concern for Marshall, who could be an instant-impact player in the secondary as Texas looks to find a replacement for Kenny Vaccaro. Given the fact that Adrian Phillips had such a poor season and decreasing momentum for a move of Quandre Diggs to safety in the spring, Marshall may be the best available answer there after a visit from another JUCO prospect, Georgia commit Shaquille Fluker, never materialized.
And not the worst back-up plan at quarterback in the event that Case McCoy isn't back with the team in the spring and Jalen Overstreet and Connor Brewer don't make progress.