For college coaches, the spring evaluation period, which runs from the middle of April until the end of May, is one of the most important times for recruiting, offering an in-person look at prospects during athletic periods or spring practices.
At Texas, that means stopping by the school of committed players to re-affirm commitments and make sure that the players know how valuable they are to the class, continue to evaluate positions with openings (like defensive back in 2012), as well as get an early look at some of the top 2013 talent.
The evaluation period kicked off Friday and so far the Longhorn staff has already been busy. Oscar Giles and Bo Davis stopped by Brenham last week to check in on Malcom Brown and Tim Cole, the most recent Texas commits. Humble defensive tackle Paul Boyette and Skyline teammates Thomas Johnson, a wide receiver, and linebacker Peter Jinkens also received visits Monday.
The assistant coach who will undoubtedly log the most miles is offensive line coach Stacy Searels, who has an extremely important task at hand as Texas attempts to land at least two more offensive tackles in the 2012 class, in addition to tackle Camrhon Hughes, who is already in the fold after his verbal pledge at the second Junior Day.
On Monday, Seareles and co-offensive coordinator made the trip to Houston to see Pearland Dawson offensive tackle Kennedy Estelle work out with his teammates. Along with Aledo running back Johnathan Gray, who is set to announce his decision on Friday, Estelle is the top target left on the board for the Longhorns and is still deciding whether he will make a visit to Auburn and Alabama or visit Florida State before he commits. Estelle's father was already in the Horns' corner after a visit for the first Junior Day and after a spring game visit that included his mother, it sounds like both parents now support their son making a commitment to Texas.
Searels also stopped by Harker Heights Monday to check in on the aforementioned Hughes and likely to get a look at a big-time 2013 in teammate Darius James, a 6-5, 315-pound manchild who will play center this season after starring at defensive tackle in 2010.
Tuesday, Weimar is the destination for Searels and the prospect of interest is Ja'Braylin Thomas, an all-state performer as a sophomore and an early candidate as one of the top 2013 prospects in the state . At 6-7, 310 pounds, Thomas already has the size college coaches covet and the athleticism as well, in addition to a seven-foot wingspan.
Then the serious travel for Searels begins, with a Wednesday visit to Arizona to check in on stud tackle Andrus Peat, a Thursday visit to Florida to see John Theus, and a Friday visit to Georgia for Vadal Alexander. It will be an important week for Texas with those out-of-state prospects, as Peat is probably the only one who might make a summer unofficial visit to Austin -- the Longhorns are probably battling to receive an official visit in the fall from the other two, if that even happens.
For Duane Akina, the task will be deciding which prospect will receive the final offer at defensive back in the class. Oklahoma State commit Kendall Sanders might be a possibility, but the staff would have to convince him that he would either get a shot on offense or that he could be a superstar on defense.
JD1 visitor LaDarrell McNeil, the A. Maceo Smith star safety, is a possibility, as is SA Sam Houston S Leo Thomas, another JD1 visitor.
Keep an eye on Mesquite Horn cornerback DeVante Harris, a player whose stock is rising this spring. In addition to being a rising talent, he also has the bloodlines, as his father Rod played in the NFL as a wide receiver. Harris visited Austin for the Texas spring game.