Scholarships in the 2013 Texas recruiting class, currently sitting at a baker's dozen following the early March commitment of Belton tight end Durham Smythe, are tighter than most cycles, especially at the defensive back position.
Prior to Monday evening, only two prospects had received an offer in 2013 -- Florida safety Marcell Harris, who has already made several visits to Texas, and Georgie safety Vonn Bell, who visited for the Orange-White game as part of an extensive spring road trip that will see him visit several other schools.
Notably absent were the top two defensive backs in the state in Bastrop cornerback Antwuan Davis and Fort Bend Dulles defensive back Maurice Smith. Fortunately for both, whatever frustrations they experienced during their wait were alleviated unexpectedly on Monday evening:
Breaking recruiting news: Maurice Smith tells me he and Antwuan Davis have been offered by Texas. Finally. #longhorns— Max Olson (@max_olson) April 3, 2012
All three were in attendance for the scrimmage on Sunday, in addition to Arizona cornerback Cole Luke, who made the long trip, but did not receive an offer of his own:
Cole Luke on if he's still interested in UT: "Yeah I am, but if they offer it will be a big interest." Enjoyed the trip despite no offer.— Eric Nahlin (@EricNahlin) April 2, 2012
Nahlin agreed with me that it was surprising that Akina didn't have Luke higher than Davis and/or Smith on his board, as was previously assumed, but the offers out to Smith and Davis further illustrate the likelihood of that belief.
With Smith and Davis both heavily favoring Texas early in the process and prior to their offers, the odds are high that the 'Horns can land both. Where does that leave Bell, who is the most talented of the four?
Nahlin indicated that the number for defensive backs right now is currently three:
The number makes sense, as Bell is good enough to reserve a spot for him no matter what -- at this point, there doesn't seem to be a reason to take the offers to Smith and Davis stemming from a lack of serious interest from Bell. Where the 'Horns stand with Bell isn't clear at the moment and won't be known until after he completes the rest of his visits. Suffice it to say, however, that the initial impression was positive, as expected:
Georgia S Vonn Bell loved his visit to Texas. Biggest reasons: "The coaching staff, their families and most of all Coach Akina!" #longhorns— Max Olson (@max_olson) April 1, 2012
But where does Texas really stand with Smith and Davis, beyond that early, intense interest that only resulted in that long wait.
Prior to receiving his offer, Davis called his lack of an offer "frustrating" ($) and indicated that he wouldn't be willing to consider the Longhorns if he were to commit somewhere else. Was that just a defensive posture from a kid trying to protect himself in case he didn't receive that coveted offer? Perhaps so.
As for Smith, his national profile has increased significantly of late -- to the point where it's not a stretch to consider him a better prospect than Luke -- which is beginning to provide the Longhorns some serious competition for his services. Smith now holds offers from national powers like Alabama, LSU, and Oklahoma.
However, the trump card for Texas may be the fact that Davis and Smith have become friends during the recruiting process and the ability to play together in college at a school Smith has been high on since his childhood and Davis has had surge into the lead after initial early interest in Texas A&M due to his time spent in College Station running track.
The chance to play together in college in their home state at the flagship university could be too much or both to pass up.
There doesn't seem to be a firm timetable for either one, but their recruitments could easily go down in favor of the 'Horns at any time.
As for Bell, he remains the luxury take that he's always been.
Movement in recruiting at the defensive back position. Finally.