On Monday evening, the Texas Longhorns picked up a major pledge from Arlington Lamar quarterback Shane Buechele, a consensus four-star prospect ranked as the No. 2 passer in the state.
Here's more on what Buechele brings to the class and how his recruitment went down.
He has a whole lot of what Shawn Watson looks for in a quarterback; intelligence, good footwork, quick feet, and a solid, accurate arm. Only 6-foot-1 at this time, Buechele makes up for that relative lack of height with a classic delivery. He gets the ball up and out quickly. He also reads the field quickly and anticipates well. When you talk about running packaged plays, you need a quarterback who is fast in his head and fast in his delivery and that's Buechele. He may not become a star in college, but he could play a big piece in a flourishing and balanced offense. If UT runs the ball as hoped, Shane should make a living on the deep ball where his accuracy shines. - Ian Boyd
From a coach (as told to IT):
This kid is a player, plain and simple. I've watched his tape a handful of times now and every time I watch I come away more impressed. He can really spin and he has great touch on his deep ball and also has the ability to dial up the velocity to fit it into tight spaces. Does a great job of leading his receivers, he will murder a defense from the pocket and just when you least expect it he will pick some yards with his feet. Decent enough athlete that you have to respect his wheels. You can tell he's well-coached.
What separates Buechele from Kai Locksley or even Jerrod Heard at this stage of the game is Buechele is an athletic quarterback who can picks his spots in the passing game. He is more of a polished passer entering his senior season than either of the Longhorns' previous two quarterback takes. He threw the best ball of all of the quarterbacks present at Texas' Under the Lights camp last summer in a group of quarterbacks that included Locksley and then-Texas commit Zach Gentry, a performance that capped off a good summer, so he's shown he's got the goods with his arm.
The JW Walsh comparison
More from Howe:
When you tie all of Buechele's skills together it adds up to what I saw similarly from J.W. Walsh at the same stage of his development. He probably doesn't have as strong of an arm, and he's not as dynamic as an athlete as Walsh, but he's similar to the current Oklahoma State quarterback in that regard and the combination of feel for the game, command of an offense and the ability to present a legitimate run/pass threat are similar.
The take here continues to be that while Walsh may have a stronger arm than Buechele on intermediate passes, Buechele is better at stretching the field vertically, an area where Walsh's somewhat flat throwing style doesn't lend itself to making accurate passes, a major criticism of Walsh from Oklahoma State fans.
And the flat mechanics of Walsh also mean that Buechele is better at changing speeds and throwing touch passes like the fade routes to the corner of the end zone.
Aside from the injuries, it seems clear at this point that there are some limitations that keep Walsh from becoming an all-conference caliber quarterback, but he's the type of passer that Texas would've been happy to have over the last two seasons.
Considering the continued struggles to find adequate play since 2010 at quarterback in Austin, if Buechele can approximate Walsh's production in college, that would be a highly acceptable result for Strong and company.
A safer take than Wallace
Discussing the commitment of Buechele as the No. 2 passer in the state isn't as sexy as landing the top quarterback, but the current Texas Tech commit still faces major questions about his future position. As much as those questions also surrounded Kai Locksley and even continue to surround Tryone Swoopes to a certain fringe extent, having seen Wallace play both wide receiver and quarterback within the last several years, he's even more raw than both of those players as recruits.
So to call the DeSoto star the top quarterback in the state is to place significant faith in his long-term developmental ability. Based on his size and athleticism, he could refine those skills into an impactful package. Or it could be much easier to move him to wide receiver/tight end and reap the benefits of his superior movement abilities without the pains associated with his growth as a quarterback.
Swoopes also demonstrated just enough in the passing game to maintain interest throughout his high school career. The flashes from Wallace are fewer and further between with Wallace and while Swoopes isn't as good of an athlete, the advantage there makes a bigger argument for Wallace as an athlete than as a quarterback.
To be fair, there are definitely signs that the Texas Tech commit can remain at the position. And he would still represent a major addition to the Texas class if the Horns can flip him. But forced to choose between the two, Buechele makes more sense for Texas right now.
Other quarterbacks still on the board
Besides what may be a continued pursuit of Wallace as a quarterback/athlete, it's easy to imagine that Texas will continue to work on the recruiting trail to foster the competition in the quarterback room that simply wasn't present in 2014 for a lack of numbers.
Transfers happen at quarterback. It's the nature of the position and while it's difficult to predict how the battle will shake out over the next several years, the staff will likely focus on numbers at this point and not worry about running off a loser in those continued competitions.
Maryland product Dwayne Haskins should be on campus this weekend for the Junior Day unless he for some reason decides to cancel his planned trip and the Longhorns will probably continue to target the Florida quarterbacks who picked up offers and would be development projects.
Are any likely to end up as members of the 2016 class? At this point, Wallace still looks like the most likely bet because he was so high on the Horns early in the process and has an older sister attending school in Texas. In fact, there was some possible movement for head coach Charlie Strong's program in Wallace's Crystal Ball after he picked up his offer:
Of course, as Buechele's case proves, those type of ties aren't always the deciding factor in a recruitment...
Bucking family ties
The youngest of five children, Buechele's father went to Stanford and two of his older siblings are at Oklahoma, including his sisters Jordan and Amber:
LOOKS LIKE LITTLE @BGShaneBuechele IS BRINGING HIS TALENTS TO UT!!!!!!!! CAN'T BELIEVE I AM SAYING THIS....HOOK EM' HORNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Jordan Buechele (@JTBuechele) February 24, 2015
I guess I'm gonna have to start liking the burnt orange a little more since little Shane Shane is a… https://t.co/UxnfSlDPEl— Amber Buechele (@AmberBuechele) February 24, 2015
The somewhat underrated aspect of the youngest Buechele's recruitment was his independence to make his own business decision aside from his family's ties to those two institutions:
I talked to my dad a lot for this decision and he obviously just told me to do what's best for me. My siblings were the exact same. My two sisters and two brothers just said to do what was best for me and that they were going to follow me throughout this journey. For me, Texas was that pick.
Ultimately, the takeaway in this recruitment, and any recruitment, is that family ties remain strong regardless when set against breaking legacy ties that don't define family as much as family does.
And so in a family full of Sooners, the youngest will become a Longhorn.