Texas recruiting 2015: Assessing the linebacker needs/targets

Malik Jefferson at Texas State 7on7 - Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)

Looking at 2015 recruiting position by position.

Previously: QB RBWRTEOTOGDTDE

Linebacker

Needs: Three

Offers:

  • Malik Jefferson, Mesquite Poteet
  • Anthony Wheeler, Dallas Skyline
  • Cameron Townsend, Fort Bend Ridge Point

Linebacker is one of the only positions where there has been little movement with the new staff, perhaps in part because Texas hasn't suffered as much from the coaching changes at this position -- the Horns are still thought to be in good position with Wheeler and Townsend.

That isn't the case any more with Jefferson, a five-star prospect and one of the members of the so-called Fab Five, the group of mostly East Texas products who have talked about going to college together. Three of them -- defensive tackle Daylon Mack, outside linebacker Justin Dunning, and safety Larry Pryor -- have already committed to Texas A&M.

At one point, Texas was considered the leader when Jefferson surfaced on the radar after an impressive sophomore season. His relationship with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was a positive for the Longhorns, but Diaz is now long one, so linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary will have to make a quick, positive impression on Jefferson, though it may be hard to tell how much of an impact that makes, as Jefferson has long since gotten to the part of the recruiting process where he's willing to offer little in terms of substantive information about movement among the schools under consideration.

Wheeler is a prospect who projects as a potential edge rusher with an impressive frame that could eventually carry 240 pounds. The Skyline product named Texas the leader back in September and there haven't been any significant changes to his recruitment since that time, though he did pick up an Oklahoma offer on a visit in January.

Townsend is more of a sideline-to-sideline spread linebacker at a little less than 6'1 and about 200 pounds. Not much has changed in his recruitment since naming the Longhorns his leader last summer.

The Crystal Ball predictions are unanimous in favor of Texas for both prospects.

Given where the Horns were at one point with Jefferson, it would be a significant disappointment not to have the five-star prospect join the class, but achieving that feat is going to require breaking up the Fab Five, something that may happen anyway with Longview running back JaMycal Hasty likely not having a spot in the Texas A&M running back class that already features Jay Bradford and Rodney Anderson.

If Hasty commits to Baylor at some point in the near future to officially break up that group, it could be beneficial for Texas, though the pull of playing with Mack, Dunning, and Pryor would certainly still remain.

However, if Texas misses on Jefferson, but lands both Wheeler and Townsend, it would be difficult to feel completely disappointed about the composition of the class, as both are also special prospects.

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