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Morning Coffee Is All About the Lists

Horns_bullet_mediumBigs on 2010 wish list. Daniel Bejarano and Tristan Thompson by themselves make quite a pair for the 2010 Longhorn basketball class, but Rick Barnes and company aren't finished, looking for a back-to-the-basket big to compliment the two players already committed. The two foremost names are Josh Smith, a center from Kent, Washington and Brazilian native Fabricio de Melo, who goes by Fab Melo.

Josh Smith defines the term "big body." At 6-9, 275 pounds, he's a beast on the block, averaging 21 points and nearly 10 rebounds on 74% shooting as a sophomore. Making use of his good hands around the basket and soft shooting touch, Smith is dominant on the offensive end, but also plays good positional defense and blocks his share of shots, aided by surprising agility and ups for his size.

With talent to compliment his girth, Smith has received offers from nearly every program in the country, listing UCLA and Washington as his favorites. Texas rounds out his top three, but securing a commitment from the big man would be a major upset. Rick Barnes is making Smith a priority, as one of his first stops of the off-season after losing to Duke was a trip out to the Seattle area to recruit the Kentwood big.

Warning: The music is horrible, muting is advisable.

Josh Smith - @ Mission Prep Christmas Classic (via Ballislifedotcom)

The 7-0 foot, 270-pound Melo burst onto the recruiting scene after an impressive performance at the King James Classic in April. It's not often that players with the size and skill set of Melo go unnoticed for so long, but Melo did so because he wasn't allowed to play for his Florida high school as a junior because of international transfer rules.

His high school coach, Adam Ross, has this to say about his talented big:

He's very good,. Fab is a tremendous talent because not only does he have tremendous size but he has a very advanced skill set. For a high school junior who's 7-feet tall, his potential is limitless. He has all the tools college coaches look for to build on.

Despite not being in top condition, Melo has the total package -- the ability to run the floor, score on the block, handle the ball, and shoot with some range.

Unfortunately for the Longhorns, Rick Pitino and Jim Calhoun were in on Melo early, leading many to believe that Louisville and UConn are the leaders. Melo visited Syracuse last weekend and plans to take in Florida next weekend, but those are the only visits the big Brazilian has planned, so the Longhorns are an extreme outside shot on this one.

Fab Melo Sagemont 2010 (via gatorcourt)

The Longhorns will have trouble landing either one of these talented bigs for the 2010 class and it's not clear if the coaching staff is pursuing any other frontcourt players for the class, though California's Richard Solomon, a lanky and relatively late developing prospect is a name that has surfaced recently.

Horns_bullet_medium2010 position rankings: defensive line. In a strong recruiting class full of talent, the defensive line may have more committed talent than any other spot on the field:

  • Taylor Bible (no. 2 defensive tackle) - At the risk of sounding repetitive, a dominant season from Bible should vault him into serious contention for a fifth star and the honor of being the top defensive tackle in the country.
  • Ashton Dorsey (no. 5 defensive tackle) - Somewhat overlooked because he committed after De'Aires Cotton and Bible, Dorsey is extremely talented in his own right and should end up as the most successful of the three brothers as a collegiate athlete. He's certainly the most highly-rated out of high school.
  • De'Aires Cotton (no. 42 defensive tackle) - If Cotton works hard in the weight room during the off-season to increase his strength, he should have a chance to move up the list as a senior.
  • Reggie Wilson (no. 4 strongside defensive end) - The highest-ranked four star in the group, Wilson is still learning to play the game, meaning that he has as much upside, if not more, than other players on the list. A likely five star by the time his reaches the end of his senior season, Wilson may have a quicker first step than the no. 1-ranked player on this list, Jackson Jeffcoat.
  • Greg Daniels (no. 17 strongside defensive end) - Something of a sleeper despite his advanced physical development, Daniels is probably hurt by the level of competition that he faces at a private school, much like Connor Wood and Ross Apo. Credit the Longhorn coaching staff for finding this relative unknown.

Horns_bullet_medium2010 position rankings: linebackers and defensive backs. It might have been something of an exaggeration to say that the defensive line has as much talent as any other positions. The two talented linebackers probably aren't enough to displace the defensive line, but the five members of the secondary (including Adrian Phillips) might bg the most talented group ever recruited at Texas in a single class.

  • Aaron Benson (no. 9 outside linebacker) - Even though he isn't as highly rated as Corey Nelson, Benson is cut from a similar mold as an extremely fast linebacker with sideline-to-sideline range. Where Benson surpasses Nelson is in his physicality, with a body that will need much less work to be ready for college. Texas target Jordan Hicks is no. 1 on the list.
  • Tevin Jackson (no. 13 outside linebacker) - His infamous Rivals picture says everything you need to know about Tevin Jackson -- he's one big, bad motherf*cker. Physical and with excellent range, Jackson is my top candidate for a monster senior year and a leap up the rankings.
  • Carrington Byndom (no. 10 cornerback) - Blessed with excellent speed, Byndom will have to work hard in the weight room to become ready for college football, while also making the adjustment to the cornerback position after playing safety in high school. Considering the lack of experience at cornerback, his high ranking is mostly a projection.
  • Adrian White (no. 13 cornerback) - Long pegged as the top cover corner in the state of Texas, White probably has top-five physical skills, but struggles with his consistency. If he can perform up to his talent level from play-to-play, he may be able to reach that top-five raking.
  • Ahmad Dixon (no. 7 safety) - One of the best and most physical run-stoppers in the country at his position, Dixon likely falls in the rankings due to his need to work on his coverage skills.
  • Bryant Jackson (no. 12 safety) - There is probably as much uncertainty surrounding where Jackson will end up as a college player as anyone in the class. Rivals probably has him projected as a safety because of his height (6-3), but Jackson has the speed and hips to play corner and will probably have his first opportunity there at Texas because of his need to put on strength.
  • Adrian Phillips (no. 27 athlete) - The lowest-ranked four star on the list, Phillips probably falls because it's difficult to project him in college and there are a lot of talented players who fall into the same category. Given his ability to change direction, he might get a chance on the offensive side of the ball, but the deep pool of talent will probably force him to make a permanent switch to defense.

Horns_bullet_mediumA few major moves on new LSR 100. Continuing the theme of looking at rankings, Orangebloods recently released the newest LSR 100, which feature a few notable movements among the Longhorn commitments. A few notables:

  • Tevin Jackson moved up a spot in the rankings and stayed in front of Corey Nelson as DeAndrew White dropped out of the top 10.
  • The newest member of the top 10 is Chris Jones, as the buzz continues to grow around the Daingerfield star who is now drawing comparisons to Jeremy Maclin. Another great find by the Texas coaching staff.
  • Ross Apo made the biggest leap on the list, vaulting from 97 to 21, presumably because more film is now available, though his strong performances on the combine circuit last summer may now be a larger factor.
  • Adrian White continues to slide, down to 26 from his debut ranking at 9. Consistency, Adrian!
  • Traylon Shead remains ranked higher than DJ Jones, despite Jones being ranked ahead of Shead in the position rankings. Clearly some disagreement between Ketchum and the rest of Rivals, perhaps lending more creedence to accusations of Ketchum ranking Longhorn commits higher than he should.
  • Case McCoy dropped several spots after an inconsistent performance at the TCU Elite 11 camp and concerns about his athleticism when compared to his brother. From the film I've seen, he looks to have similar speed to his brother.
  • De'Aires Cotton drops to 60 from a high of 26, though it's not clear why he has dropped -- his blurb doesn't feature any criticism.