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Texas Longhorn Recruits: Week 11 Recap, Playoff Round 1 Preview

The regular season is over and most of the Longhorn commits will begin (hopefully long) playoff runs this week.

Texas football signee Collin Johnson poses with classmate and Texas track signee Elena Bruckner on November 11, 2015 during a Fall signing day ceremony at San Jose's Valley Christian High School
Texas football signee Collin Johnson poses with classmate and Texas track signee Elena Bruckner on November 11, 2015 during a Fall signing day ceremony at San Jose's Valley Christian High School

Week 11 concluded the regular seasons for all of the Texas Longhorns recruits in the states of Texas and Louisiana. All of the commits' teams qualified for the playoffs and all but one (not counting the injured Collin Johnson) will be in action between today and Saturday. A few of the commits play for teams certainly capable of making long playoff runs, but some of those same teams (e.g. Manvel, Southlake Carroll, Austin Westlake, and Destrehan) will face tough opponents right out of the chute and will have to be on their A game in order to still be playing next week, let alone in December.

Since last week's post, Texas has gained two defensive end commits for 2016 (more on them below), and lost a wide receiver commit from the same class (that player appears in this post about as briefly as Josh Holloway appeared in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol). So the overall word count for this week's post is still about what regular readers should expect by now.

In non-UT recruiting news, I'll also profile two junior offensive linemen whose development has almost certainly been aided by their participation in lacrosse.

Before we move on, one statistic on UT's two quarterback commits: despite the fact that they rarely had to play into the 4th quarter for their respective teams' games, Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger combined to produce 74 touchdowns and only had 3 interceptions (all by Buechele) in the regular season.

2016 commits

QB Shane Buechele (Arlington Lamar)

Last week: Completed 3 of 8 passes for 61 yards and one touchown, and rushed five times for 68 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-6 win over Arlington Sam Houston

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:30, vs. Abilene (Arlington's Cravens Field)

Notes: With its playoff and district seeding already secure, Lamar raced out to a 41-6 halftime lead over Sam Houston last Thursday, then coasted through a scoreless second half. Sam Houston scored first to take a 6-0 lead after a touchdown and missed two-point conversion attempt four minutes into the game, but Lamar took the lead three minutes later on a 12-yard scoring run by Buechele, and never trailed again. Buechele's 35-yard touchdown pass to Draven Cantly a minute into the 2nd quarter pushed  Lamar's lead to 21-6, and before halftime they reached the end zone three more times via a pick six, a six-yard run by Buechele, and a 30-yard return of a blocked punt. The box score suggests this was a game the two teams just wanted to get over with and move on. The teams combined to make only 18 first downs, and both kept their offensive games primarily on the ground, as the game saw a total of 62 rushes and just 21 pass attempts.

Buechele finished the 2015 regular season having completed 118 of 185 passes (63.8%) for 1,855 yards, 20 TDs and 3 INTs, and rushed 73 times for 616 yards and 7 TDs, and in at least five games he played few or no snaps in the 4th quarter. Lamar concluded the regular season with a 9-1 overall record and 6-1 record in district play. They are the top seed out of district 4-6A in the 6A Division II playoff bracket, and in the bi-district round they will face Abilene, and will get to play on their home field to boot. Abilene finished its regular season 7-3, with lopsided losses to Southlake Carroll and Odessa Permian, and a one-point defeat at the hands of Midland Lee.

Let's hope Lamar's offensive coordinator doesn't call any quarterback draws designed for Buechele to run in the general direction of Abilene's senior linebacker Ronnell Wilson, because ouch!

WR Reggie Hemphill-Mapps (Manvel)

Last week: Caught three passes for 29 yards in a 27-24 loss to Pearland

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:00, vs. Channelview (Alvin Memorial Stadium)

Notes: Hemphill-Mapps got back onto the stat sheet after being absent from it in Manvel's previous two games. Manvel finished its regular season 8-2 after dropping a tight district contest to undefeated Pearland. Manvel led 24-10 with 5:44 remaining in the third quarter, but Pearland scored two TDs to tie the game. Manvel had a chance to take back the lead on their final drive, getting into a 4th and goal from the Pearland two-yard line, but they opted to go for the touchdown rather than attempt a field goal, and when Pearland forced a fumble that rolled out the back of the end zone, it gave Pearland the ball back at their own 20 with 2:11 left in the game, and they won the game on a 37-yard field goal as time expired. Going into the game, Manvel was ranked sixth and Pearland 10th in the AP's Class 6A poll, but this week they swapped spots.

Manvel gets its district's top seed in the 6A Division II playoff bracket, and in the bi-district round they will face 7-3 Channelview, whose quarterback, four-star Alabama commit Jalen Hurts, has produced over 3,400 total yards and 50 touchdowns while throwing just two interceptions for the season.

WR Collin Johnson (Valley Christian - San Jose, CA)

Notes: Johnson suffered a shoulder injury in his team's Week 3 game and he will miss the rest of the season. He officially signed with Texas yesterday at an Early Period signing day ceremony at his school, and he'll enroll at UT in January. Next fall he'll be joined in Austin not only by older brother and Longhorn running back Kirk Johnson, but also by Valley Christian classmate and elite track athlete Elena Bruckner, who also signed with Texas on Wednesday. Bruckner is arguably the nation's top throwers among high school girls, as she had the top national throw in the discus (182'8", nearly 10 feet better than the second-best thrower) and was a half-inch away from having the top distance in the shot put (53'5.5") during the 2015 outdoor season.

TE Peyton Aucoin (Brother Martin - New Orleans, LA)

Last week: Team defeated New Orleans Jesuit 49-46

This week: bye

Notes: Brother Martin finished the regular season with a 8-2 record and will get a bye this week in the first round of the playoffs. Brother Martin is the third seed in the Division I (large school) private school playoff bracket.

Based on published reports, their shootout win over Jesuit last week sounds like it was a classic. Jesuit, last year's winner of the Division I state championship, led 17-14 at halftime, but Brother Martin took the lead on the strength of three third--quarter touchdowns, and another score early in the fourth quarter gave them a seemingly commanding 42-24 lead. But Jesuit scored on its next three possessions, the last of which put them ahead 46-42 with 1:17 left in regulation. Brother Martin answered with an 83-yard scoring drive capped off by an honest-to-Chris Peterson hook-and-ladder from a wide receiver to star junior running back Bruce Jordan-Swilling. (Jordan-Swilling, who was offered by LSU last month, is the son of five-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker Pat Swilling. His brother Tre Swilling is a junior cornerback at Brother Martin and has also been offered by LSU.)

The Division I playoff bracket has only 10 teams, which means the top six seeds all get a bye in round one, though Brother Martin already knows its first opponent: sixth seed Catholic-B.R., a Baton Rouge school. That game is scheduled for Friday, November 20 at 7:00.

OL Tope Imade (Arlington Bowie)

Last week: Team gained 571 yards on 74 plays in a 55-15 win over Weatherford

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:00, vs.Odessa Permian (at Odessa's Ratliff Stadium)

Notes: Needing a win over Weatherford to secure a playoff spot, Bowie fell behind 8-0 after a Weatherford touchdown with 8:42 left in the first quarter, but they scored the game's next 35 points and outscored Weatherford 37-7 in the second half to win in a blowout. Imade and the rest of Bowie's offensive line paved the way for the team to rush for 431 yards and six touchdowns, and Bowie's defense forced five turnovers.

Bowie is the second seed from district 4-6A in the 6A Division I bracket and will face Odessa Permian, which was undefeated before losing last week to San Angelo Central in a battle for the district 3-6A crown. Permian has outscored opponents by an average of 40 points this season.

DT Gerald Wilbon (Destrehan, LA)

Last week: idle

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:00, vs. Denham Springs (at Destrehan)

Notes: Destrehan had a bye in Week 11 and finished their regular season with a 9-0 record and a No. 3 ranking in the final LSWA Class 5A poll.The state uses a power ranking formula to determine the seeding of its playoff brackets, and Destrehan is seeded third out of the 32 teams in the Class 5A playoff bracket. Their first round opponent, No. 30 seed Denham Springs, was 5-5 in the regular season and lost four of its last five games, though the first three of those losses came by a combined 5 points. Denham Springs did not have any common opponents with Destrehan, but one of their losses was a two-point defeat to Zachary, which goes into the 5A playoffs as the No. 2 seed.

DE Andrew Fitzgerald (Flower Mound Marcus)

Last week: Team defeated Plano 34-31

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:30, vs. Keller Fossil Ridge (at Flower Mound's Marauder Stadium)

Notes: Fitzgerald committed to the good guys this morning, becoming the second defensive end to join their 2016 recruiting class in the past week. He is a teammate of elite 2016 tight end Kaden Smith, a Stanford commit who has long held a Texas offer. Marcus finished the regular season 9-1, with their only blemish being a 38-28 loss to three-time defending 5A/6A Division I state champion Allen.

Their defense has had to face a variety of high-level offensive weapons, such as Mansfield's 2017 running back Kennedy Brooks, to Allen's collection of athletes, Plano East's stud 2016 receiver Audie Omotosho (perhaps the best receiver in the state that UT has never shown reported interest in), and Plano's senior running back Brandon Stephens, a Stanford commit who held a Texas offer. Marcus has allowed 20 points per game and hasn't blown out every opponent, but they've done enough to win 90% of the time.

They open the 6A Division II playoffs against a 5-5 Keller Fossil Ridge team that lost three of its final five games but did just enough to get its district's final playoff berth. If you're relatively unfamiliar with Fitzgerald and haven't read Wescott's post on his commitment, get to know him via his senior highlights below.

DE Malcolm Roach (Madison Prep Academy - Baton Rouge, LA)

Last week: Team defeated Baton Rouge Christian Life 45-7

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:00, vs. Archbishop Hannan (at Glen Oaks High School in Baton Rouge)

Notes: Roach was the surprise commit who prompted a #LetsRide tweet from Charlie Strong last Friday. He had some quality offers already but wasn't publicly known to have a Texas offer at the time of his commitment. Naturally, this is the first time for him to be mentioned in these recap posts. he plays for a very small private school, which, for classification purposes competes in Class 2A, but since Louisiana separates its public and private schools into their own football playoff brackets, Madison Prep is in the Division III field, the second smallest of the four private school playoff tournaments. His father, Michael Roach, is the head football coach at Madison Prep.

Madison Prep went 10-0-1 in the regular season, if Maxpreps is correct. Despite being a 2A school they played a varied schedule that included a 1A team, a 4A team, a 5A team, and a handful of private schools classified in 2A. In the LSWA's final poll, Madison Prep was ranked 7th in Class 2A, and in the Division III bracket they are the 4th seed and begin the playoffs by facing 13th seed Archbishop Hannan. Last year, Madison Prep was in the Division IV bracket and advanced to the third round before falling to eventual runner-up Southern Lab.

I have not seen Roach's stats for the 2015 season reported anywhere, but in 2014 he recorded 134 total tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 20 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 3 defensive touchdowns. For his junior year exploits he was named All-Baton Rouge Small Schools Defensive Player of the Year by the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

LB DeMarco Boyd (Gilmer)

Last week: Had four carries for 40 yards and one touchdown, two receptions for 39 yards and one touchdown, and made three tackles in a 49-22 win over Emory Rains

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:30, vs. Texarkana Pleasant Grove (Mount Pleasant's Sam Parker Field)

Notes: With the win last Friday, Gilmer completed an undefeated regular season and was the second-ranked team in the final AP poll, though they won't get to face top-ranked Navasota and former Longhorn commit Tren'Davian Dickson, as that team is in the 4A Division I playoffs, while Gilmer is in 4A Division II. Gilmer's opponent in the bi-district round of the playoffs is 6-4 Pleasant Grove, which finished 4th in district 6-4A Division II and suffered all four of its losses at the hands of teams now in the playoffs. They had one opponent in common with Gilmer: Tatum, a team that advanced three rounds into the playoffs in 2014 but went winless this season. Pleasant Grove defeated Tatum 42-21 last week, and Gilmer beat them 23-0 back in week 3.

DB Obi Eboh (Southlake Carroll)

Last week: Team defeated Hurst L.D. Bell 56-7

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:30, vs. Cedar Hill (Southlake's Dragon Stadium)

Notes: Carroll led L.D. Bell 42-0 at halftime and the game's outcome was never in doubt. Carroll's defense did not force any turnovers but limited Bell to 151 total yards and just five first downs, and half of their yardage came on their sole scoring play, a 75-yard touchdown run to end the third quarter.

After a two-point loss to undefeated Euless Trinity in Week 8, Carroll barely broke a sweat in dispatching their final three regular season opponents by a combined score of 164-21. But they'll be in for a much stronger challenge this week, as they get a bi-district playoff date with 8th ranked Cedar Hill, which won the 6A Division II state title a year ago and the 5A Division II championship (the last year before the addition of the 6A classification) in 2013. The two teams had one common opponent this season in Coppell, who Cedar Hill beat 36-21 in September, and who Carroll beat 38-37 in overtime two weeks later.

Among the Cedar Hill players Eboh and the rest of Carroll's defense will have to contend with are: junior quarterback Avery Davis (who has been offered by Notre Dame, among others), four-star junior running back Kaegun Williams, senior wide receiver Josh Stewart (a Nevada commit), four-star junior wide receiver Charleston Rambo (who holds over a dozen offers), and four-star junior wide receiver Camron Buckley (who holds a Texas offer).

2017 commits

QB Sam Ehlinger (Austin Westlake)

Last week: Completed 11 of 14 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns, and rushed six times for 51 yards in a 66-14 win over Kyle Lehman

This week: Friday, November 13 at 7:00, vs. Round Rock (at Westlake's Chaparral Stadium)

Notes: Westlake made quick work of lowly Lehman, racing out to a 35-7 lead by the end of the 1st quarter. All four of Ehlinger's TD passes came in that 1st quarter. Ehlinger finished the regular season of his junior year having produced over 3,200 total yards and 47 touchdowns (34 passing, 13 rushing) while throwing zero interceptions and playing all four quarters in less than half of his team's games.

Westlake finished the regular season 9-1 and was ranked nith in the AP's final Class 6A poll. For their bi-district matchup Westlake gets to host a very solid 8-2 Round Rock team, whose two losses came by a combined nine points and at the hands of an eight-win Pflugerville Hendrickson team and Temple, Class 5A's fifth-ranked team. Round Rock boasts an impressively balanced offense that averages 215 yards rushing and 207 yards passing per game, and its secondary includes at least one future D1 player in Northwestern commit Brian Bullock. Temple is the one common opponent for Westlake and Round Rock; Round Rock lost to Temple by three points in Week one, and Westlake beat Temple by 11 the following week.

WR Damion Miller (Tyler John Tyler)

Last week: Caught four passes for 113 yards and one touchdown in a 28-16 win over Nacogdoches

This week: Saturday, November 14 at 2:00, vs. Texarkana Texas High (at Longview's Lobo Stadium)

Notes: Jones's highlights from the win over Nacogdoches have not been displayed on Hudl as of this writing, so how many of his four catches came at the expense of five-star safety Brandon Jones, I don't know. Regardless, John Tyler is peaking at the right time as it enters the 5A Division I playoffs, having won seven straight after dropping its first three contests. And Miller, after a rather slow start to his junior season, statistically speaking, has amped up his production of late and finished the regular season with 33 receptions for a team-leading 765 yards and seven touchdowns.

John Tyler will play 8-2 Texas High out of Texarkana in the bi-district round. Texas High and John Tyler had two common opponents this season: Whitehouse and Longview. Against Whitehouse, Texas won 48-20 in Week 1, and John Tyler won 65-32 in Week 5. Against Longview, John Tyler lost 31-14 in week two, and Texas lost 35-14 in Week 8.

TE Major Tennison (Bullard)

Last week: Caught one pass for a 49-yard touchdown in a 34-14 win over Canton

This week: Saturday, November 14 at 2:00, vs. Atlanta (Hallsville's Bobcat Stadium)

Notes: Tennison's long touchdown reception against Canton was his only catch of the game, and it came with 1:31 left in the first half and helped give Bullard a 20-0 halftime lead. Two Canton touchodwns in the third quarter got them to within 27-14 by the end of the 3rd quarter and got the ball back after forcing a Bullard punt early in the fourth quarter, but fumbled the ball into their own end zone and Bullard recovered to push their lead to 34-14.

Tennison reportedly finished the regular season with 24 catches for 541 yards and sevne touchdowns. It's almost as if he and Damion Miller are competing to see who can get more yards and touchdowns on the fewest number of receptions. Bullard's bi-district opponent in the 4A Division II playoffs is Atlanta, a team whose talent is probably better than their 6-4 record would suggest. Atlanta did lose by 23 to Center and by 26 to Pittsburg (teams that won eight and nine games, respectively), but they also lost by one to a Henderson team that won seven games, and had another one-point loss on the road against Class 4A's ninth-ranked team, Texarkana Liberty-Eylau. They should be a very stiff first round challenge for Bullard.

Also worth noting: Tennison picked up an offer from Michigan on Wednesday.

DE Lagaryonn Carson (Texarkana Liberty-Eylau)

Last week: Team defeated Princeton 46-21

This week: Thursday, November 12 at 7:00, vs.Van (Longview's Pine Tree Pirate Stadium)

Notes: Liberty-Eylau has won nine straight games after a five-point loss to Gilmer to open its season, and the win over Princeton made them champions of district 7-4A Division I. Their bi-district opponent, Van, is another team probably better than their 6-4 record. During one stretch of the season they lost three out of five games, but those three losses were in games decided by a combined 10 points. Carson will be the first Longhorn commit to play in the playoffs on Thursday night, while the rest of the commits will play on Friday or Saturday.

Two 2017 offensive linemen to watch

When football recruits are multi-sport athletes, it's usually easier to do a more full evaluation of their athletic abilities and movement skills, and there are abilities or traits in certain sports that can translate well to football. Everyone loves wide receivers who are also high-flying shooting guards, offensive tackles who are also mobile power forwards or centers, defensive backs who are all-district center fielders, or athletes at any skill position who have legitimate sprinter's speed or the explosiveness to excel in the long jump or triple jump. There's also some notable examples of future defensive ends who were good high school high jumpers, and linemen on both sides of the ball who excelled at discus and/or shot put. On a more micro level, there's the phenomenon of immigrant or first generation American kids of African families who spent much of their youth playing soccer, and the skills they gain through that can help them later if they grow to be 6'4" 270+ pound football recruits. (Inside Texas recruiting editor Eric Nahlin often makes it a point to ask athletes of that background if they grew up playing soccer.)

An example I'll add to the list (though there's still a pretty small sample size to draw from) is offensive tackles who have recent experience playing lacrosse, a sport that can demand the stamina of a soccer player and the lateral movement of a basketball player. I know of two talented juniors who check that box: Brenden Jaimes (Lake Travis) and Luke McCleery (Grapevine Faith Christian).

Jaimes is listed at 6'6" and 260 pounds and is the left tackle for undefeated Lake Travis, the 5th-ranked team in Class 6A. In his junior year Hudl clips (which have been set to private since I last watched them) he looked like an outstanding pass protector with good length. He played right tackle as a sophomore and the notes I took on him back in the summer said, "quick hands and can move his feet, but plays high". From what I remember of his junior film he has played this year with a better pad level. Lake Travis's spread offense has produced a handful of recent D1 quarterbacks -- Todd Reesing (Kansas), Garrett Gilbert (Texas/SMU), Baker Mayfield (Texas Tech/Oklahoma), Michael Brewer (Texas Tech/Virginia Tech), Dominic DeLira (Iowa State), and current junior starter Charlie Brewer (who has a SMU offer) -- but their offense is more balanced than you might think, as they have averaged about 30 more yards per game on the ground than through the air this season, which should say something about the type of plays Jaimes has to block for.

This past summer Jaimes camped at Texas, Oklahoma, LSU, and SMU, and was named Offensive Line MVP at a Next Level Athlete 2017 Elite Showcase event in Hurst. According to his 247Sports profile he visited Texas on September 19 for the Cal game, but that site has no other news on his recruitment, and Rivals has yet to create a profile for him.

If you'd like to get an in-person look at Brenden Jaimes, you can see Lake Travis take on Pflugerville in the bi-district round of the 6A Division II playoffs tomorrow (November 13) at 7:00 at Lake Travis ISD Stadium. In lieu of his non-available football highlights, here are some freshman-year highlights of Jaimes playing lacrosse. He has grown since then, but it's easy to see how his movements as a defender in lacrosse could easily translate to the football field and be put to good use at offensive tackle.

Luke McCleery is of similar size but plays for a far less prestigious program. He is listed at 6'6" and 250 pounds and I wouldn't argue against him actually being that size. After playing tight end, right tackle, and defensive end on varsity as a sophomore, he has started at both left tackle and defensive tackle as a junior. I saw McCleery in person before I'd seen any film on him when I watched Grapevine Faith host Class 3A public school Blooming Grove in September. I came away from that game thinking he had a great frame and was a natural knee-bender who moved very well at left tackle.

McCleery has also played lacrosse for six years and is serious enough about the sport that he attended U.S. Naval Academy Lacrosse camps in the summers before his freshman and sophomore years, and he played for the Keller Lacrosse club team this past spring. His extensive experience in playing the sport against athletes from 5A and 6A schools in DFW will no doubt prove valuable in a few years when he's 30-40 pounds heavier and preparing to block FBS-level defensive linemen, players of such caliber being rarely seen at the TAPPS Division II level, where Grapevine Faith Christian competes.

As for his recruitment, Rivals is the only site with a profile for him, but it lists very little info, and the only recruiting-related tweets he has sent out recently were from an early October visit to SMU. I expect interest in him from D1 schools to really pick up by this spring. Worth noting: one of his more recent Twitter followers is Mike Giglio, UT's Director of Player Personnel.

Faith Christian is 9-1 on the season, with its only loss a four-point defeat to defending TAPPS Division II state champion Dallas Parish Episcopal. They open the playoffs by hosting San Antonio Cornerstone Christian on Friday (November 13) at 7:00. Below you can watch Luke McCleery's impressive mid-season highlights.