I'd like to first thank Wescott Eberts (Ghost of Big Roy), Peter Bean and The Burnt Orange Nation Authors for this opportunity. I gathered that I had a following here and on The Recruitocosm, but I had no idea that I had gained the respect and admiration of these fine writers. I am humbled that they asked me to become a contributor on such a popular and well known site that remains required reading for all Texas fans.
To briefly introduce myself, my legal name is not Bill. Bill is an old nickname that has just stuck over the years. Yes my family does reside in Lake Travis; however, I'm currently living in Dallas. This might come as a shock to some of you and I apologize. Hey it's my handle, not a mortgage application. I graduated from the University of Texas College of Communications in 2009. I did write for the Daily Texan in 2005. Feel free to dig up my old articles. Anything else pertinent about me is on my profile page. Mandatory Twitter plug before the jump: please follow on Twitter @BFLT_at_BON. Let's get on to the business of 2013 recruiting.
This article will focus on the 2013 recruits that I believe are no-brainer, early offers. I would be fine with every player on this list holding a Texas offer right now.
The 2013 Class is extremely deep at certain positions, namely DT, WR and OL. WR is perhaps the deepest I've seen in all my years of following recruiting. I could see Texas, Aggie, Tech, OU and TCU taking excellent WR classes in 2013. The size of the 2013 wide receivers really jumps out at you, the top guys average about 6'2'' to 6'3." There are 16 wide receivers in the Rivals LSR 2013 100. Coach Wyatt has his work cut out for him. Don't expect any wide receivers on this list, as there are just too many options to narrow it down at this point.
I believe we'll see fewer Junior Day offers in February 2012, and a longer, more thorough evaluation of the 2013 class. I predict Texas will offer no more than 12 recruits at the Junior Days. The coaches will be firmly entrenched in their positions, and won't have to rush evaluations next year. Hence, Mack's Chosen Few:
* Tyrone Swoopes, QB, Whitewright, 6'5'' 220 4.59 40.
Junior Day Invitation? Definitely
Swoopes allegedly already holds a Texas offer or has been promised a Texas offer in February. Regardless, Swoopes appears to be the guy for 2013. He attended a 3 day camp at Texas in June. I believe his 40 time is legit as he was clocked in the high 4.5s at the camp. Swoopes needs to add some polish as a passer, but he is a true dual threat quarterback. Swoopes ran and threw for over 1,000 yards each as a sophomore. Swoopes thoroughly impressed Coach Harsin at the Texas camp, so much so that he was likely promised a Texas offer by Mack. TCU could make this one interesting, but the coaching staff is confident that Texas will land Swoopes.
*Josh Thomas, OT, Shreveport Evangel Christian, 6'7'' 330.
Junior Day Invitation: Definitely
Thomas somehow sneaked into Austin unnoticed by the media outlets at the June 5th Summer Camp. Given his height and weight, that seems extremely difficult. Texas has been quietly recruiting Thomas since the Rasco recruitment last year. Rasco and Thomas were high school teammates. As always, it will be a battle with LSU for a Louisiana recruit. However, Texas has gotten in on Thomas very early and has possibly offered him before LSU. A recruit always remembers his first scholarship offer.
*Jake Raulerson, OT / DE, Celina, 6'5'' 250 5.09 40 Bench max: 395, Shuttle: 4.35, Vertical: 29."
Junior Day Invitation: Is the Pope Catholic?
Raulerson already holds 10 offers, expect that list to grow to 30 or more by the time Celina's season is over. Bama and Florida are the ones to worry about here, but The Recruitocosm guys are supremely confident as they have spoken to Raulerson's father on multiple occasions. The biggest concern with Raulerson is his ability to gain "good weight." I'd like to see Raulerson in the 260 – 270 range by February 2012. This will be no easy task as most players lose weight in season, and Celina is expected, as always, to make a deep playoff run. If Raulerson is unable to gain weight, he could help Texas at DE. Coach Giles allegedly went so far as to tell Raulerson that he would get reps at DE for Texas this season. High praise for a soon to be high school junior. Coach Searels and Mack are also enamored with Raulerson. Mack allegedly told Raulerson to keep his grades up, stay out of trouble and an offer will be waiting for him in February. Texas will try to get Raulerson early to start momentum for the 2013 class. Johnathan Gray is said to be recruiting Raulerson to Texas.
* A'Shawn Robinson, OT / DT. Arlington Heights, 6'4'' 302.
Junior Day Invitation: Definitely.
Robinson attended the 3 day Texas summer camp in June. All accounts are that the visit went well. Robinson has tremendous upside at DT, but the early word is that Coach Searels wants Robinson all to himself. Robinson is an excellent basketball player, possesses great feet and agility, and the needed size to play OT at the next level. If Texas is able to get Robinson and Raulerson along with 2012 commits Camrhon Hughes and Kennedy Estelle, it could erase the ugly MacWhorter era in a few short years. With Raulerson's weight currently in question, Robinson becomes even more important for the 2013 class.
* Darius James, OT / C, Harker Heights, 6'5'' 319.
Junior Day Invitation: Definitely
James attended the Texas Summer Camp in June. James is very high on Texas, and there is some talk that he could be an early commit. Texas could possibly be building a pipeline to Harker Heights with Hughes already in the fold, and James possibly committing to Texas early next year. Also an excellent basketball player, James shows excellent athleticism for his size. Some believe that James can play outside, but the Texas staff likes James as a center. I believe strongly that James has NFL upside at the center position. I wouldn't call him a Pouncey Brother, but there are similarities.
* Ricky Seals – Jones, WR /TE, Sealy, 6'6'' 220.
Junior Day Invitation: Definitely.
RSJ attended a portion of the Texas 3 day summer camp. RSJ will play quarterback this year at Sealy, so he worked out at both QB and WR / TE during his visit. RSJ is not likely to play quarterback at the college level. RSJ at QB is another case of a high school team putting their best athlete at QB. RSJ is said to be very high on Texas, but basketball is a real threat. I believe football is RSJ's better sport, but the young man plays both well. The thinking with RSJ is that if he continues to grow that he will ultimately choose basketball. Some have questioned whether RSJ will play WR or TE at the next level, I tend to think he will play TE. RSJ is already at 220 pounds and carrying it well at 15-16 years old. It's very reasonable that he continues to add weight and gets into the desired 240 range as a college TE. Eric Dickerson is RSJ's uncle. There are some concerns that Dickerson could steer RSJ away from Texas, but RSJ has said in interviews that his uncle has instructed him to choose the school the school that is best for him. RSJ could be the next game changing TE at Texas.
* Marcell Harris, DB, South Lake High Groveland, FL, 6'2'' 193 4.4 40 Vertical: 31."
Junior Day Invitation: Definitely
Harris was one of the headliners at June 13th Summer Camp. Harris and his father visited Texas, and it is believed that Mack promised Harris an offer in February. Coach Akina has allegedly said that Harris is the best sophomore DB he has seen this year. High praise for an authority on DBs. Texas put themselves in excellent position getting Harris on campus early. Harris gave his visit to Texas a 9 out 10, taking one point off for the heat. What are you going do, it's hot as hell in Texas. Harris' father was also impressed. The former Gator player told Florida 247 that he might not have chosen Florida if he had visited Texas as a recruit. It's safe to assume that Texas and Florida are Harris' top 2. It certainly helps that Harris' coach at South Lake Terrance Larmond worked the Texas summer camp. Larmond had very positive things to say about his and Harris' experience at Texas.
*Antwuan Davis, DB, Bastrop, 5'11'' 170, 4.4 40.
Junior Day Invitation: Probable.
Davis makes my no brainer list because I believe he is a must get. Davis attended the Texas Summer Camp in June. Davis runs a sub 10.4 100 and has lock down corner skills at 5'11." Davis attended a summer camp and his proximity to Austin is a plus. Mack has said before he wants to lock up the Greater Austin Area. Davis currently favors Aggie because of their track team, but allegedly grew up a Texas fan.
Dallas Kimball DT Justin Manning belongs on this list because he is an extremely talented player, but Texas has some ground to make up. Manning's brother is former Sooner DeMarcus Granger. Granger's career at OU was marred by injuries. Manning could be 2013's Malcom Brown, Bo Davis will certainly have his work cut out for him. I do think there's enough time between now and February to get Manning to one of the Junior Days. Depending on who you ask, Manning is an OU, LSU or Aggie lean, certainly not a Texas lean. Manning skipped both Texas Summer Camps.
Bastrop LB Paul Whitmill also warrants mention amongst these elite players. I believe Whitmill is head and shoulders above a shallow State of Texas LB class in 2013. Whitmill has sideline to sideline range, and is a tremendous hitter. He could be a great MLB at the next level. With Texas opting not to pursue Dalton Santos this year, Whitmill becomes even more important next year. Whitmill is currently a strong OU lean. Whitmill has the best film of any 2013 defender I have seen thus far. Judge for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wh8SZOQT7XI . Manny Diaz has a great deal of ground to make up on Whitmill, but proximity will help. Diaz should be a frequent visitor to Bastrop High. If Texas can get Antwuan Davis, this will certainly help with Whitmill's recruitment.
I believe the plan for the 2013 class is to get a commitment from Jake Raulerson before the First Junior Day. Jake could then be 2013's Connor Brewer and assist the coaches in the recruitment of other players. Other than Raulerson, I believe Darius James is the most likely to commit at a Junior Day.
I will go into more detail about other 2013 targets in future pieces. I will also put together some film and photographs of top DFW targets and current commits as the high school season starts.
Thanks to all of you who have enjoyed my comments over these past 2 years. I would not be a contributor to Burnt Orange Nation without your support and kind words. You can now follow me on Twitter @BFLT_at_BON.