The Texas Longhorns are in serious need of bodies at the tight end position with seniors Geoff Swaim and Greg Daniels graduating this year, but won't add an important junior college target after Iowa Western's Andrew Davis committed to the Illinois Fighting Illini on Sunday evening.
Rated as a consensus three-star prospect, Davis isn't highly-considered by the services, but his low three-star ranking is enough to make him the No. 4 junior-college tight end nationally and the No. 72 player overall. Considering that many prospects at the level emerge during the fall, Davis will likely drop in the overall rankings over the next several months, though that doesn't decrease his importance to the class.
Davis picked up his offer from Texas in April, but never made it to campus, choosing instead to take another visit to Illinois several days ago as a follow-up his trip there in March.
Here's the explanation for his decision:
New commit TE Andrew Davis on #Illini: "I fit into their offense perfectly and I feel like big things are coming for Illinois."— Derek Piper (@DerekPiper247) June 2, 2014
So yeah, the belief that Illinois is ready to find some success is a thing that exists, apparently. Who would have guessed? And this even though current Texas play caller Shawn Watson took advantage of his tight ends at Louisville last year to the tune of 66 catches.
The ability of Davis as a receiver would have seemingly been a good fit for the Horns offense:
Often lined up as a wide receiver for Iowa Western last year, his Rivals page reports six catches for 64 yards last season, but his highlights show many more than that. He's probably a better athlete than Geoff Swaim and similar to Blake Whiteley -- in fact, he was a good enough athlete for Iowa Western to use him in the wide receiver screen game.
His best attribute as a wide receiver is probably his ball skills, as he was a consistent threat last season down the sideline on fade routes, where his height made him a major mismatch against smaller defensive backs.
Davis was also effective on play-action passes where he would pass set before going out on a seam route.
The Horns are now left with Arkansas targets Will Gragg and CJ O'Grady after Missouri target Hale Hentges committed to Alabama recently. Florida prospect Devonaire Clarington is also on the board, but has not yet visited.
At this point, Gragg looks like the best bet to join the class, but he's still basically an Arkansas legacy since this brother went there and landing his services would qualify as a significant upset. As a result, this is a position where the coaching staff needs to continue evaluating prospects and perhaps extend another offer or two in the near future.
The stakes are not having any tight ends past Blake Whiteley for the 2015 season.