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Morning Coffee Hits the Recruiting Trail

Texas remains in race for Kirkpatrick. Following the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game, five-star cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick discussed ($) his five top schools, a veritable who's who of college football powerhouses: Texas, USC, LSU, Alabama, and Florida. Kirkpatrick won't make a decision until around Signing Day, with an official visit to Texas scheduled for January 23rd, but will find himself on Texas soil 20 days earlier at the US Army All-American Game in San Antonio. As for the All-Star game just completed,  Kirkpatrick made his mark on his first defensive play of the game, catching a deep pass at its highest point from Mississippi State recruit Tyler Russell, returning the ball 30 yards out of the end zone.

There's a reason Kirkpatrick just moved to No. 2 on the ESPNU 150: a description of his physical traits reads like a defensive coordinator's dream cornerback. Kirkpatrick is the type of guy you can create on Madden if you have an unlimited amount of money. He's 6-2, with long arms and incredible quickness, ball skills, and the ability to mirror receivers. Consider this: Given the chance to talk to Duane Akina or any defensive coordinator about the traits that they want in a cornerback, that coach would describe Kirkpatrick.

Versatility defines 2010 prospect. It isn't clear whether Dunbar junior Rashad Favors can throw the football. Whatever the case, there isn't much that Favors can't do ($) on the football field. He scored nine touchdowns on only 29 carries, gaining 189 yards in the process, while spending time rushing the quarterback at defensive end, playing linebacker, and lining up in the defensive backfield at his long-time position of safety. It's the combination of size, speed, and strength that allows Favors to play so many positions.

At 6-1, 215 pounds and with 4.5 speed, Favors likely projects as a linebacker in college, the position he has played at Dunbar since informing his coach of his current 215-pound weight. Think Travis Lewis. With the highest priority in the current Big12 climate being the ability for linebackers or safeties to defend in space, Favors is the type of athlete that Will Muschamp undoubtedly covets, as demonstrated by the somewhat surprising offer to the undersized Patrick Nkwopara as a linebacker. Spread offenses require a redefinition of the linebacker position and Rashad Favors looks like the type of players whose picture would accompany just such a definition.

D Money and a Dunbar pipeline? Favors isn't the only impressive prospect from the Fort Worth high school. Receiver Darius White is known as "D Money" to his friends, but "Spare Change" to his coach, who wasn't convinced of his nickname early on. Any skepticism was allayed ($) by White's 1,100 yard junior season, during which he averaged 26.4 yards per reception and scored 16 touchdowns. A multi-sport star in track and basketball, the 6-4 White is ranked ($) as the No. 3 receiver in the 2010 class by IT's Jeff Howe and will be a national recruit in a class the Longhorns will look to add greater numbers than the one receiver they took in 2009.

Speaking of Nkwopara...Like Pacific Islanders finding homes in college football programs across the West Coast, the University of Texas has established a Nigerian pipeline to Austin. That group includes Brian Orakpo, Chris Ogbonnaya, and Frank Okam. Next fall, Texas fans hope that South Grand Prairie linebacker Patrick Nkwopara will be the next Nigerian star ($). Despite being undersized at 5-11, Nkwopara is too fast and too productive to end up as another Rashad Bobino. With 4.5 speed and the ability to play sideline to sideline--instead of kamikaze launches into the backfield or blockers--Nkwopara registered 100 tackles, earning District 7-5A Defensive Player of the Year distinction. Nkwopara isn't highly regarded by the scouting services, earning 3 stars from Rivals, but he was one of the first personal defensive selections by Will Muschamp after arriving at Texas. With a new paradigm developing for linebackers, is there any reason to doubt Muschamp's wisdom?

McFarland update. Bob Stoops took his in-home visit ($) on Wednesday night with Jamarkus McFarland, but there has been no commitment forthcoming, which bodes well for Texas. As mentioned in Tuesday's Morning Coffee, the longer the process draws out with no commitment to OU, the better the chances look for the Longhorns.