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Morning Coffee Goes Camping To Escape From Realignment

2011 Texas commit David Ash began to establish a rapport with wide receiver commit Jaxon Shipley during the June 6th camp (photo by the author).
2011 Texas commit David Ash began to establish a rapport with wide receiver commit Jaxon Shipley during the June 6th camp (photo by the author).

Horns_bullet_mediumJune 6th camp overview. All of the committed prospects were able to attend the camp, with the exception of Miles Onyegbule, Sedrick Flowers, and Leroy Scott. It's not currently known if Sheroid Evans was in attendance or not. No reason for concern with any of them -- they simply were not able to secure transportation to the event and most of them will be in town next weekend.

Here's a list of confirmed attendees at the camp:

Uncommitted 2011 prospects:

  • Steele RB Malcolm Brown (did not work out)
  • Skyline LB Anthony Wallace (did not work out)
  • Klein Collins CB Charles Jackson
  • Lewisville Hebron CB David Jenkins
  • Coppell CB Bennett Okotcha
  • Chris Barnett (de-committed from Oklahoma after the camp)

2012 prospects:

  • San Antonio Reagan QB Trevor Knight
  • Angleton ATH Ryan Jackson
  • Port Arthur Memorial ATH Nathan Holmes

Horns_bullet_mediumCamp objectives. The Texas summer camps serve various purposes -- the first camp generally provides an opportunity for the committed recruits to receive coaching and bond with their future teammates, solidifying their commitments, while the second camp is a spotlight for the juniors-to-be and a chance for them to register on the Texas radar. Going back to the first camp, it's also a chance for players without offers to make their case to the coaches.

At $45 per player, it's also a chance for the athletic department to make a little bit of revenue. For aspiring high school players, even if they never receive a Texas offer, the chance to learn from one of the best coaching staffs in the country is something that rarely comes along. Both the university and the high school athletes benefit.

It's worth emphasizing that the summer camps are virtually the only opportunities the coaches have to work prospects out in a controlled setting until they enroll. Last year, a strong performance by David Ash attracted the attention of Greg Davis and Kolby Griffin's apparently unsatisfactory performance when paired with several 2010 Texas commits seems to have impacted his lack of an offer. It was make or break time for players like David Jenkins and Charles Jackson, and will be as well for 2012 prospects hoping to land on the staff's radar.

Horns_bullet_mediumSeveral prospects shine at Texas camp. Besides providing a bonding and learning experience for the commits, the camp was an extremely important opportunity for players like Jackson and Jenkins to convince the coaching staff that they are Texas good. If Jeff Howe's evaluation over at Inside Texas is any evidence, Jackson certainly qualifies. Other than Jackson, Jenkins is the hottest defensive back is the state and may also be approved by the coaching staff for an offer -- it will just come down to numbers for him and Jackson certainly appears to be first in line for the next defensive back offer.

Jenkins came away feeling positive about his performance ($) at the camp, but the buzz about Jackson will be hard to surpass. A long, rangy athlete with excellent speed and the added positive of a strong track record in the classroom, Jenkins showed an appealing level-headedness in a post-camp interview with Inside Texas, noting that he could only perform his best -- which he felt he did -- and then leave the rest up to the coaches. It sounds like Jenkins may have helped his cause, but Jackson most likely remains the top cornerback on the board after Josh Turner.

Several one-on-one matchups reportedly stood out during the camp -- Desmond Jackson going against Christian Westerman once and Quandre Diggs against Jaxon Shipley. Those who follow Texas recruiting closely are about as high on Jackson as any other defensive tackle prospect in the last several years and the big tackle from Arizona had a chance to go against the Westfield star as he cross-trained inside at guard. The battle against Jackson wasn't his only victory -- Westerman reportedly did not give up a sack on the day, despite going against an impressive edge-rusher like Cedric Reed, who reportedly stood out as well.

Ranked as the top cornerback in the country by ESPNU, Diggs faced off against Shipley, no doubt one of the best route-runners in the class. As he did last year, Shipley drew praise from all of those in attendance and Diggs echoed a sentiment voiced by anyone who follows Shipley closely -- the younger brother of former Texas star Jordan deserves a higher ranking nationally, but has been hurt by his injury last season, lack of highlight film, and lack of exposure in camps. Regardless of what the national scouts think, Shipley can flat-out play the receiver position.

NCAA rules limit the amount of recruiting that coaches can do at camps and forbid the coaches from offering at the event, so Jackson will have to continue waiting. Josh Turner is scheduled to attend the second camp and while he's not likely to commit at that time, Texas is still atop his leader board with Miami and the coaching staff must come to a decision about whether to offer another cornerback.

The appearances of Brown and Wallace were surprises, although there were some rumblings that Wallace would attend. It's certainly difficult to determine exactly how much a camp visit means, but  the fact that Brown had not announced any camp plans, but showed up to watch his potential future teammates bodes well for the Longhorns, long reputed to be the leader for nation's top back and consensus top-10 national prospect.

As for Wallace, his visit likely confirms earlier reports that there is still interest from both parties and the coaches have not told him that they are finished recruiting at the position. However, smart money still has Wallace joining former teammates Joe Powell and Corey Nelson, and current teammate Franklin Shannon north of the Red River.

June 13 camp to highlight the future, OOS visitors.The June 13th camp will mainly feature 2012 prospects, as well as OKC Millwood cornerback Josh Turner, Shreveport Evangel defensive end Jermauria Rasco, and possibly Gig Harbor (WA) tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Rasco visited Alabama last weekend and though he speaks often about wanting to visit other schools besides Alabama, Texas, and LSU, may not be able to do so until he takes his official visits in the fall. Right now, it looks like his timetable extends to Signing Day,  which probably suits the Texas staff just fine. Once considered one of the top targets in the class, the hype around Rasco has died considerably over the last year with concerns about his ability to play defensive end in college and a lack of highlights showing his burst off the edge, resulting in a failure to crack Rivals' top 100.

Of the 2012 prospects, the three Brenham stars -- defensive tackle Malcolm Brown, linebacker Tim Cole, and linebacker/running back Troy Green will be in the attendance, as well as Klein Forest quarterback Matt Davis, Carthage safety Edward Pope, and many others. Austin High wide receiver Cayleb Jones is on vacation and will not be at the camp.

Horns_bullet_mediumOdd saga of Chris Barnett continues. The recruitment of A. Maceo Smith tight end Chris Barnett, the younger brother of Texas cornerback Eryon, has been strange almost since the beginning. First, he failed to mention Texas as one of his favorites, then claimed that his statements were only a subterfuge to ensure that schools did not assume that he was a lock to commit to Texas.

Add in performances on the field and at combines consistent only in their inconsistency results in quite the eclectic mix. Without receiving an invite to either Texas Junior Day, Barnett committed to Oklahoma, but at the time sounded unsure about his decision, saying that he would continue to visit other schools. Then, Barnett transferred from Euless Trinity without having ever played a down at the north Texas powerhouse as his dad said that his son had "been through hell" there.

The latest twist is perhaps less surprising than most of the others -- after seeming like a strong candidate to de-commit ever since his commitment, Barnett finally decided to officially open up his recruitment to other schools. After the commitment of Klein Oak TE Max Stevenson, Barnett's decision seemed like only a matter of time. He did so in an email to Kevin Wilson, which seems like something best done over the phone, but whatever.

Coincidentally or not, Barnett's announcement came on the same day that he appeared at the Texas camp, a team he ranked second on his list of favorites ($) behind, oddly, Oklahoma. Burgeoning interest on both sides has been the story with Gig Harbor (WA) TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins over the last month or so after it appeared that recruiting at the tight end position was finished, but there is no indication (besides the possible invite to the camp) that the Longhorns would be willing to pursue Barnett, even if things fall through with Seferian-Jenkins.

The fact of the matter is that despite his obvious talent and family connections to the program, Barnett represents a major risk for Texas because of his high ceiling and low basement and there just isn't a compelling reason right now for that high ceiling to override the low basement.

Horns_bullet_mediumAS-J must work out logistics of visit. It seems like a long time since the interest between the Longhorns and Austin Seferian-Jenkins picked up. However, it was not that long ago that he was simply a blip on the radar. How things have changed. The next step in the process has continued to be a visit to campus.

The plan for some time has been to visit for the second camp next weekend, but AS-J has yet to buy his tickets is waiting until his mother returns from a business trip on Wednesday night to make that decision based on her availability. If he isn't able to attend this weekend, do not fear BONizens, as AS-J is on the record as saying that he will make it down to Austin in the near future if he is not able to attend the camp this weekend.

In a recent interview ($) AS-J indicated that he would be disappointed if he is not able to attend the June 13th camp:

I think there's a good chance I'll be able to make it in (for the camp). If not, I'd feel terrible. I wouldn't be happy at all. If I didn't make it, I'll go the following week. It's not like I'm not going to visit. I would go the following week.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both the camp visit and a visit occurring at a later time. The Texas coaches no doubt would like the opportunity to watch Seferian-Jenkins work out before extending an offer -- particularly Greg Davis and Mack Brown, as Bruce Chambers traveled to Washington several weeks ago. However, the Longhorns would not be able to offer at the camp and would have to wait until a later time.

If Seferian-Jenkins is forced to postpone his visit, he will not have the chance to work out for the staff, which could conceivably hurt his chances to get an offer, but let's be honest here -- there surely is enough on film and from what Chambers saw in person to determine whether the staff is blown away to the extent that it would be a bad decision not to offer. Unlike at the camp, the Longhorns would be able to offer Seferian-Jenkins during a later visit and receiving that offer in Mack Brown's office is the type of environment much more likely to secure an on-the-spot commitment from the talented tight end.

In fact, it sounds like Seferian-Jenkins could jump on the chance to commit upon receiving the clearly-coveted offer:

If I get an offer from Texas and I don't commit on the spot, then I'll take some official visits. I'll visit Texas and Florida, then probably decide on my birthday day (late September) or something. We'll see. There's a good chance if I get that offer from Texas I'll go ahead and commit.

A pure attached tight end with the potential to excel as a pass-catcher and blocker at the next level, AS-J would be the most talented big tight end signed by Texas since Tony Hills and if there is one thing that has become clear over the nearly two seasons since Blaine Irby went down, it's that the Texas offense is most dynamic when possessing a tight end who can block and stretch the seam. Arguably the top tight end in the country and a player generally considered to be among the 30-40 best players in the country, Seferian-Jenkins is simply too good not to offer, even with limited scholarships available.