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Final Junior Day Thoughts Before the Weekend

Horns_bullet_mediumFour recruits already on campus. Mack Brown and his staff like to bring in several players each Junior Day to meet with the coaches privately and, on this Junior Day, to also observe the first day of spring practice. There are four confirmed players who will be at practice today. Jake Matthews is in town with his Hall of Fame father, Bruce, and the Texas coaches will undoubtedly be making their best sell to both of them this evening.

Ross Apo, the Mormon receiver who stands a strong chance of receiving an offer today is also at practice. Since Apo is also considering BYU, it's unlikely that he makes a commitment, but the word from practice is that Garrett Gilbert is there and speaking with Apo, who will also probably meet with the Texas coaches, at which time he could receive an offer. Even with an offer, a commitment from Apo this weekend is highly unlikely.

Cedar Park's Dominic Espinosa is also at practice today, though it is less likely that he will receive an offer for 2010 with the numbers so tight and an offer out to Matthews. However, there is a lot of talk around the Longhorn interwebs that Espinosa could receive a grey shirt offer, meaning that he would enroll in school in the fall of 2010, but would not receive a scholarship until the following year. Espinosa likes the Longhorns so much that he would consider a grey shirt offer much more seriously than the last player who received such an offer -- Austin High's Emory Blake. If the Longhorns decided to offer Espinosa a scholarship for 2010, he would likely commit without hesitation.

Sulphur Spring's Bryant Jackson isn't yet in town, but is expected to meet with the coaches tonight, making an offer to him quite likely, as the coaches really like Jackson and Lancaster's Tyler Stephenson, the two most likely players in the defensive backfield to receive an offer at the Junior Day. Jackson is a lifelong Longhorn fan and would probably commit on the spot if offered.

Even though he hasn't received an offer yet, Cayuga's Traylon Shead has been informed that he will be offered this weekend, but I'm not sure if he is in town right now. If he is in town, Mack Brown would offer him this evening in a private meeting and Shead would probably commit either during that meeting or later in the weekend. Were Shead to receive an offer and either not commit to the Longhorns at all or wait for several weeks, it would be a big surprise, though Shead could decide that there are so many other running backs on campus that there are better situations for him elsewhere, which is quite true. It will be interesting to see what happens with him.

Being invited to a Texas Junior Day is quite an honor, particularly for the first one. Mack Brown and staff have come up with a way to indicate to players that they are even more important than the rest of the attendees by inviting a select group onto campus the day before the actual Junior Day occurs. I think that resonates with players and will continue to be a recruiting tactic that will pay dividends for the football team.

Horns_bullet_mediumFinal list of attendees:

  • Dontae Williams, running back, Aldine - It's a numbers game and Williams is on the outside looking in.
  • Traylon Shead, running back, Cayuga - Will receive an offer and could well commit.
  • DeMarco Cobbs, wide receiver, Tulsa Central - Likes the Longhorns a lot, but won't be in town this evening, as he is staying in Dallas tonight. Unlikely that he commits, as he is a huge national recruit and will probably take some more visits.
  • Ross Apo, wide receiver, Arlington Oakridge - He is the most likely receiver to get an offer this weekend, but a commitment is unlikely.
  • Chris Hawkins, wide receiver, Channelview - The coaches like him a lot, but he has some academic issues that the Texas coaches don't like to mess with.
  • DeAndrew White, wide receiver, North Shore - Also has grade problems and made some ridiculous comment recently about waiting until the US Army game to commit. Not the way to get a Texas offer.
  • Trey Franks, athlete, WOS - No chance.
  • Eddie Johnson, wide receiver, Midlothian - Already have commitments from better versions of Eddie Johnson. No chance for an offer.
  • Quentin Parks, wide receiver/h-back, Atascosita - Almost no chance, as the Longhorns aren't likely to offer a player who projects at his position.
  • DeAndre Perry, wide receiver/tight end, Austin Bowie - See above.
  • Jake Matthews, offensive line, Fort Bend Elkins - The Longhorns will wait for him, but it's not clear how much he likes Texas at this point. His visit today will have to make a big impression on him for Texas to have a seirous chance at his services.
  • Ahston Dorsey, defensive tackle, Tyler John Tyler - Brother plays for the Aggies and Dorsey probably isn't as highly-rated as the other two defensive tackles attending, making an offer unlikely.
  • Torrea Peterson, defensive tackle, San Antonio East Central - AD's cousin just recently registered on the Longhorns' radar, which makes me think an offer is relatively unlikely, though he is more athletic than Dorsey.
  • Cedric Steward, defensive tackle, Channelivew - Steward is already a big kid at 290, but could get even bigger, but still has remarkable athleticism for his size. For my money, he's the most likely DT to receive an offer and would probably commit soon before too long afterwards.
  • Clarence Lee, defensive end, Jefferson - With so many defensive ends taken in 2009, the Longhorns may just wait for the decisions from Jackson Jeffcoat and Reggie Wilson. Lee, however, is different from most defensive ends, as he can play some linebacker as well, a trait that may well endear himself enough to Will Muschamp to receive an offer at some point, though probably not tomorrow.
  • Earl Hines, linebacker, Port Arthur Memorial - Kris Catliln indicated that the Longhorn coaches ranked another linebacker higher than him, leading to his decision to attend the Tech Junior Day, but the identity of that linebacker is not clear. It could be Hines, who said early in the process that he wanted to leave the state. Hines is perhaps the toughest call of any player attending about whether or not he will receive an offer. With landing Corey Nelson and Jordan Hicks unlikely, another linebacker will probably receive an offer at some point. Whether it's Hines tomorrow remains to be seen.
  • Tyler Stephenson, cornerback, Lancaster - Numbers are tight at defensive back and I just don't have a good feeling that Stephenson will receive an offer.
  • Bryant Jackson, cornerback, Sulpur Springs - Jackson is the most likely player to receive an offer and will probably commit if that happens.
  • Jeremy Johnson, athlete, Silsbee - Johnson plays quarterback in high school and wants to stay at that position, which he has no chance of doing at Texas. An offer seems unlikely and a commitment even more unlikely, as there are schools willing to let him play quarterback.
  • Dominic Espinosa, offensive line, Cedar Park - As discussed above, a 2010 offer is unlikely, but he could get a grey shirt offer, which he would take seriously.
  • James Haynes, athlete, WOS - Recently with an offer from Florida as a defensive back, Haynes is clearly a good prospect, but the numbers game probably keeps him from receiving an offer. It's not clear if the Longhorns will offer any more athletes after receiving a commitment from Adrian Phillips, but Haynes is the most likely athlete to receive one.
  • Darius Lazard, athlete, Pearland Dawson - Nothing to see here. Move along.

Horns_bullet_mediumPlayers not attending:

  • Princeton Collins, running back, Westwood - The proverbial writing is on the proverbial wall. He could be a late target, however, if Lache Seastrunk actually makes a decision before Signing Day. Not very likely.
  • Tai-ler Jones, wide receiver, Gainesville, GA - When word came out about Jones not attending again, it seemed like the Longhorns would probably move on. However, Jones is planing on visiting OU and Texas at the end of March, but is considering so many other teams that even receiving an offer is a longshot. But not as much of a longshot as it seemed when he confirmed that he wouldn't make the second Junior Day.
  • Rashod Favors, athlete, Fort Worth Dunbar - Attending the Oklahoma State Junior Day. Once again, that decision doesn't bode well for any chance at an offer, indicating a lack of interest on one or both parts. Whatever.

Horns_bullet_mediumLow percentage of offers, high percentage of commitments. There's little doubt that the Longhorns will fail to add 3-4 players this weekend, likely the majority of players offered. Jake Matthews and DeMarco Cobbs don't count because they already have their offers in hand. Traylon Shead will get an offer, with Bryant Jackson, Ross Apo, and Cedric Steward probably also in line to get an offer. Apo is the only player from that group who would likely wait to make a decision. It's also possible that an athlete could receive an offer, with Haynes highly likely to commit if he does indeed receive one. This Junior Day certainly doesn't have the high drama and talent of the first, but it will be an interesting weekend nonetheless.