In an amazing turn of events, the Longhorns managed to retain all 19 commitments over the weekend. A little bit of sarcasm there, but given the two recent defections, right now it's more about keeping everyone than gaining new commitments, especially considering the fact that most of the remaining targets aren't expected to make decisions until after their senior seasons.
All snark aside, the news from the weekend was a mixed bag -- some good news, some bad news. First, with the bad news. The first summer camp was supposed to be a major opportunity to get several major recruits back to Austin to let them bond with the rest of the class. For Lache Seastrunk, that never happened. With recent visits to Auburn leaving Seastrunk raving about the small town in Alabama, the hopeful storyline was that Seastrunk would visit and be reminded why he has long had Texas high on his list. Didn't happen.
Right now it's unclear why Seastrunk did not attend, as expected, but his absence speaks volumes about his current priorities. As Mack Brown always says, he only wants to recruit kids who want to be at Texas and right now it seems that Seastrunk is moving in other directions. It might not be long before Texas does the same. Do the Longhorns pursue another running back in the class if they stop recruiting Seastrunk? My money says no.
Given Seastrunk's absence, it wasn't surprising to learn that his close friend Trovon Reed also did not make it to Austin, choosing to camp in Baton Rouge on Sunday. Reed had already fallen off the Texas radar some time ago, but probably sealed the end of his recruitment by the Longhorns by his choice of camping at LSU.
Jackson Jeffcoat also did not make it down for the camp, but there were never any particular rumors that he was, so his absence was not surprising. As he has already made several trips to Austin this spring, getting him to the camp was not nearly as important as getting Lache Seastrunk and Darius White into town.
Only 17 recruits made it down to Austin, as Ashton Dorsey had a family emergency of some sort and Carrington Byndom is a major contributor to the Lufkin baseball team that is still playing. Neither absence should raise worries about the status of Dorsey or Byndom as Texas commits.
Now for the good news. Despite rumors that he might not attend, Darius White did make the trip down for the camp. Since the Seastrunk recruitment has been tilting to Auburn for some time, White's visit was perhaps even more important than getting Seastrunk into town, especially since White would have the opportunity to catch passes from Connor Wood and Case McCoy. Wood reportedly performed extremely well at the camp, showing off his accuracy on intermediate passes and his arm strength on deeper balls, which should help convince White that he can be successful at Texas. According to Wood, White seemed " pretty excited" to be there and both committed quarterbacks said they spent every available opportunity encouraging him to commit if he wanted to be at Texas.
For five players at the camp, it was an opportunity to show that they have the talent to play at Texas. More on the other four later, but, judging from word coming out of the camp, the day belonged especially to Aaron Franklin. The Marshall linebacker so impressed Coach Boom ($) that the Longhorn defensive coordinator told Franklin he wanted to extend an offer on the spot, but needed to discuss the situation with Mack Brown. A decision by the Texas coaches could come as soon as the next few days or take as long as several weeks.
Though Franklin is only recently receiving interest from Texas due to the ACL injury that kept him from playing during his junior season, his 4.55 speed (and a 21.78 200m ($) in track) makes him a perfect fit for a defense that faces spread offenses every week in the Big 12. However, he is not a lock to commit if offered, as many schools are becoming interested in his services and Franklin says that he wants to take some more visits, with one to OU in the works, and plans on making a decision at the end of the summer. Franklin currently lists his favorites as Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas A&M, and TCU, but the Longhorns would enter the mix if the Texas coaches extend an offer.
Two of the other recruits with a lot to prove on Sunday both hail from West Orange-Stark: cornerback/receiver Trey Franks and safety/receiver James Haynes. Both players had a big weekend ($), helping their track team win the state championship, with Franks winning the 100m with a time of 10.36 seconds and both Franks and Haynes combining with two other track teammtes to win the 4x100m state championship. Both players worked at defensive back during the camp. Neither player received a Longhorn offer or even discussed the possibility with any coaches, so Franks will probably end at OU some time in the near future and Haynes is a virtual LSU lock if the Tigers extend an offer.
On the offensive side of the ball, an unexpected attendee impressed on the day. At 6-2, 185 pounds, Denton Ryan's Bud Sasser is another big receiver ($) from the mold that Bobby Kennedy prefers. Sasser lists offers from Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Purdue, Tulsa, and Texas Tech after making 64 catches for 1,1250 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior. Sasser reportedly had a strong camp and may be a possibility to receive an offer if DeMarco Cobbs fails to make it down to Austin next week. As far as Sasser is concerned, an offer from the Longhorns would instantly make them the favorites for his services.
The final impressive and unexpected visitor was 2011 offensive lineman Christian Westerman of Chandler, Arizona, whose resume probably speaks for itself -- many think he is the best offensive lineman in the 2011 class. Not previously on the radar, the athletic 6-5, 285-pounder is widely considered one of the top several players in Arizona for 2011 and took the initiative to make the trip to Austin after becoming impressed with the Longhorns during the Fiesta Bowl win over Ohio State. Though USC is giving Westerman a lot of attention, his mother doesn't like the school, preferring the focus on academics that Mac McWhorter preaches. Westerman is a potential five-star ($) with the ability to move in space and a nasty streak, no doubt inherited from his father, who played on the offensive line at Cal. Expect the Longhorn coaches to make evaluating and recruiting Westerman a top priority in the 2011 class -- at the very least, they would be stupid not to do so.
Very little news on the other 2011 players in attendance, other than the fact aht JW Walsh reportedly enjoyed himself and one of Greg Daniels' teammates at St. Pius, Kolby Griffin, was also in attendance ($) and "went up against receivers from Lake Travis, Daingerfield, Branham and Austin Bowie."