Two days of rumors about a big commitment for the Texas Longhorns ended on Monday evening when Arlington Lamar quarterback Shane Buechele announced his pledge to head coach Charlie Strong's program:
The news of the No. 2 quarterback in the state of Texas ending his recruitment in favor of his home-state Horns came after a flurry of Texas offers at the position. The 6'1, 185-pounder pledged after the staff extended 10 other quarterback offers, many of them in recent days.
The Crystal Ball for Buechele trended heavily towards Texas on Monday after the rumors of a major pledge started circulating on Sunday:
Since Buechele's older siblings all attend or attended Oklahoma and his father, Steve, played for Stanford in college, Texas wasn't considered the favorite to land the Lamar product's services until news of his impending pledge started to circulate.
Getting him on campus several times in recent months, including for the BYU game last fall, played a major role in selling the program to Buechele.
The No. 2 quarterback in the state of Texas behind DeSoto's Tristen Wallace, Buechele is a consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 184 player nationally, the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback, and the No. 27 player in Texas.
He also held offers from California, Houston, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, SMU, TCU, and Texas Tech.
A capable runner who has drawn comparisons to current Oklahoma State quarterback JW Walsh, Buechele had a strong junior season, throwing for 2,504 yards, 30 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Efficiency and decision making were both hallmarks of Buechele's game in 2014, completing 68.1% of his passes and a strong interception rate just over two percent. He also added 609 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground, averaging 7.6 yards per carry.
Buechele has available testing numbers from an appearance at the Dallas NFTC that provides legitimate measurements of his height and athleticism. A 4.79 40-yard dash from Buechele and a 4.38 shuttle are signs of above-average movement abilities, along with a solid 31.3-inch vertical jump.
On the field, Buechele is considered a relatively polished passer, a positive development for the program after taking a 2015 prospect in Kai Locksley viewed more as a developmental project. Despite the comparison to Walsh, Buechele probably has better arm strength that allows him to hit the deep passes that Walsh struggles to complete at Oklahoma State. And in an unsurprising development given his pedigree as the son of a major league infielder, Buechele is comfortable throwing on the run.
He can move in the pocket to avoid rushers and generally has solid footwork, while also possessing enough arm strength to make some passes flat-footed. With such a high completion percentage and evidence of changing speed with touch passes to spots, Buechele is capable of making most throws.
Running with the ball in his hands, Buechele's top-end speed doesn't suggest an inaccurate 40 time from Dallas last year -- he'll still be able to find some yards when the creases present themselves in the quarterback run game in college, but he's not quite as good of an athlete as Colt McCoy unless there's some continued physical upside for the Texas strength and conditioning program to bring out at the next level.
Overall, he's a prospect who doesn't have the same ceiling as the more athletic Locksley, but he also has a higher floor, a fact that makes him a solid and easy take for the Texas offensive brain trust. In fact, since Wallace may not even end up at quarterback, landing Buechele is the ideal scenario for the Horns in 2016 in terms of in-state passers.
The commitment of Buechele gives the Horns four pledges in the 2016 class, including two wide receivers. Now featuring a leader at the most important position on the field, the group ranks No. 21 nationally in the 247Sports Composite team rankings and No. 3 in the Big 12, behind the Horned Frogs and Bears.
With a planned grayshirt from the 2015 class set to enroll with the 2016 group -- Irving Cistercian's Matthew Merrick -- it's not clear whether Texas will take another quarterback in the class.