A new in-state wide receiver offer went out for the Texas Longhorns last Thursday evening, as Dallas Skyline pass-catcher Carlos Strickland spoke with head coach Charlie Strong following the Skyline spring game:
The football program's official Twitter seemingly billed it as an offer that grew out of the performance that evening, but more than likely it was a result of a evaluations done by the staff throughout the spring.
The 6'4, 194-pounder is a consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 14 wide receiver nationally and the No. 17 player in the state of Texas, as well as the No. 132 player in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
With offers from the likes of Alabama, California, Connecticut, Clemson, Illinois, Kansas State, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech, and Wisconsin, among others, Strickland is a highly-coveted recruit.
About a month ago, Strickland named a top five of Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma State, and Ohio State, so the question is whether Texas can make a move into that top group with the offer, belated as it may be. Right now, the favorite appears to be LSU by a wide margin in the 247Sports Crystal Ball projections, with six of the 10 votes there. It's probably also worth noting that there are several predictions still for Cal, despite the fact that the Golden Bears didn't end up in his top five.
The good news is that the Horns have longstanding ties to Skyline and still have one product of the school in the program currently -- junior linebacker Peter Jinkens. And tight ends coach Bruce Chambers is the area recruiter and should have a relationship with Strickland, as he evaluated the big wide receiver in person last fall.
With 33 catches as a junior, Strickland was not he most productive receiver in the state, but he did take considerable advantage of those opportunities, scoring 10 touchdowns and averaging nearly 22 yards per catch.
On film, Strickland looks faster than he has tested, though his agility numbers are good. At a Nike event, a ran a 4.72 40, with a 4.28 shuttle, and a 28.7-inch vertical.
Strickland is a vertical threat who can run by defenders despite his lack of ideal testing speed and is especially effective in the red zone on fade routes, as his height, length, and solid leaping ability make him a mismatch for cornerbacks who give up a lot of size to the Skyline receiver. Able to finish plays because he can extend outside of his frame to make catches, Strickland has good enough hands to make difficult catches while twisting or diving for the football.
Besides his physical attributes in the red zone, he does a nice job of shaking defenders at the line of scrimmage by using the agility that tests well in the short shuttle. However, he may have to become more physical with his hands to beat press coverage in college, as he typically doesn't have to use them in high school.
Strickland's size also makes him effective on man-beater routes like slants. The same size makes him an effective blocker, as his combination of effort and physical dominance allow him to plant opposing players.
The biggest weaknesses in his game are his route-running ability when he has a change direction, like out routes, deep comebacks, and square ins and he's not a dynamic player with his change-of-direction after the catch either. However, he does do a nice job of picking up extra yardage with the ball in his hands with good vision.
Strickland's pure speed and need to refine his route running may limit him in college, but his other attributes should give him a chance to remain a threat on deep passes and in the red zone.
The Longhorns clearly want to add a tall, outside receiver in the class and are going to miss on Cedar Hill's Damarkus Lodge, who is a bit shorter than Strickland but a better overall talent. Does this offer say anything about the current status with Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln's John Burt, who has said this spring that Texas is his leader? Perhaps not, as the Horns haven't traditionally been able to pull many players from the state of Florida.
There are not currently any commitments at the position in the 2015 class in what should be a small group -- the Horns may take as many as three, but could only take two after the large pass-catching class in 2014.