Since last week's Longhorn recruit recap was posted, Texas gained a defensive back commit for 2016 and lost a lot of momentum for the early part of the 2015 season by taking a Swoopes on the fan base with their putrid performance in South Bend. With that in mind, this week's recruit recap can be alternately titled "Help is on the way!", or "Is it too late for Sam Ehlinger to take some extra courses and graduate in time to enroll at UT next fall?"
Both of UT's quarterback commits performed well in week 2. 2016 commit Shane Buechele had his top receiving target back, and 2017's Ehlinger led his team to victory while having a surprising statistical steak snapped (more on that later). It remains to be seen who will be calling plays for them when they reach the 40 Acres, but after what each has shown on film it's hard to imagine them going through progressions and reading defenses as slowly as Tyrone Swoopes has over his past few games.
Overall, teams featuring Longhorn commits lost only two games in week two. Collin Johnson did Collin Johnson things, linebacker DeMarco Boyd seemingly made a bigger impact on offense than defense, and wide receiver commit Tren'Davian Dickson scored a TD on defense.
Read on for a full recap of week two as it concerns UT's commits, and I'll also throw in some thoughts on early season overreactions and highlight an under-the-radar recruit whose work I like.
QB Shane Buechele (Arlington Lamar)
Last week: Completed 12 of 18 passes for 264 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, and rushed 5 times for 5 yards and one lost fumble in a 38-14 win over Keller Central.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:30, vs. Justin Northwest
Notes: Buechele surpassed his pedestrian stats from week one by the time this game was 14 minutes old. Lamar's first drive stalled near midfield, but the results of its next four possessions were: touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, and field goal as time expired in the 2nd quarter. Buechele passed for 204 yards and 2 TDs in the first half alone. He lost a fumble just beyond midfield on Lamar's first possession of the 3rd quarter, but on the next possession he finished off a 93-yard drive with a 19-yard TD pass to Kofi Boateng. Boateng, a 2016 Arkansas commit who was held out of Lamar's week one contest, caught two of Buechele's three TD passes on the night. Below you can watch some clips of Buechele in action vs. Keller Central.
This Friday, Buechele will attempt to go 3-0 in his career against Justin Northwest, a team Lamar defeated 41-20 a year ago, and beat 36-29 in the bi-district round of the playoffs in 2013. In those two games, Buechele produced 8 total TDs and threw only 1 interception.
WR Tren'Davian Dickson (Navasota)
Last week: Had a 38-yard TD reception and a 51-yard interception return for a TD in a 70-12 win over Houston Yates.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:00, at Coldspring-Oakhurst
Notes: I haven't seen complete stats for this game listed, but with a final score like that, it really doesn't matter. Reportedly, Dickson's one receiving TD of the night came on a screen pass, and his interception that he returned to the house came on Yates's next possession.
WR Reggie Hemphill-Mapps (Manvel)
Last week: Caught 3 passes for 66 yards in a 43-40 win over Galena Park North Shore.
This week: Idle
Notes: Manvel came out on top in a wild game between two recently talent-rich programs. North Shore led for much of the game, and was up 34-21 after a field goal with 1:56 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Two Manvel TDs gave them a 35-34 lead with 8:06 left in the 4th, then a North Shore drive deep into Manvel territory went the other way when Deontay Anderson returned a fumble 97 yards for a TD to put Manvel up 41-34 with 5:26 left in regulation. North Shore reached the end zone again with 1:35 remaining and a chance to tie the game with an extra point or take the lead with a 2-point conversion. Neither happened, as Manvel intercepted the 2-point conversion attempt and returned it 95 yards to tack on two points to Manvel's total and give them an eventual 3-point victory. After beginning the season against two highly talented foes in Spring Westfield and North Shore, Manvel has a bye in week three and gets an extra week to prepare for Pasadena Dobie in week four.
WR Collin Johnson (Valley Christian - San Jose, CA)
Last week:Caught 4 passes for 101 yards and a TD in a 54-0 win over San Jose Pioneer.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:30, vs. San Jose Oak Grove
Notes: Expect this to be a typical Collin Johnson line this season, a few catches for lots of yards per catch and a score or two. Valley Christian attempted 36 runs and only 7 passes in Friday's blowout win, with Johnson on the receiving end of four of the team's six completions. Oak Grove, Valley Christian's next opponent, allowed only two completions in its first game (a 28-13 loss), though those two completions produced 122 yards and a score.
TE Peyton Aucoin (Brother Martin - New Orleans, LA)
Last week:Team defeated Plaquemine 58-34.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:00, at Bay St. Louis (Mississippi) St. Stanislaus
Notes: I haven't seen a box score for this game but local reports did not mention Aucoin. He's known primarily as a blocker, so don't expect many catches from him this season.
OL Tope Imade (Arlington Bowie)
Last week: Offense gained 377 yards and 21 first downs in a 28-17 loss to Cedar Hill.
This week: Idle
Notes: A week after getting shut out by Dallas Jesuit, a team they'd scored 72 points against in 2014, Bowie scored the first 11 points in its match-up with defending 6A Division II state champion Cedar Hill. Bowie led 11-7 at the half and didn't surrender the lead until a Cedar Hill TD with 4:55 left in the 3rd quarter. Bowie got within 21-17 after another TD with 6:36 left in regulation, but a Cedar Hill score three minutes later made it a two-possession game again.
As a team Bowie rushed for 281 yards and averaged nearly 6 yards per carry for the night. Their second possession of the game ended with a lost fumble shortly after crossing midfield, and their first possession of the 3rd quarter stalled when they were stopped on 4th-and-1 from their own 47 yard line. Cedar Hill scored on its ensuing possession to take a 14-11 lead and wouldn't trail again.
DT Gerald Wilbon (Destrehan, LA)
Last week: Team defeated Slidell 33-23.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:00, vs. Woodlawn
Notes: Destrehan scored the game's first 26 points, before three Slidell TDs in the 3rd and 4th quarters brought them to within 26-23. Destrehan would score another TD to put them ahead by ten. The New Orleans Times-Picayune's recap of the game mentioned Wilbon and four-star defensive tackle Glen Logan (who holds a Texas offer) as being among the Destrehan defenders who "gave [Slidell's QB] fits". Below you can see two examples of Wilbon lining up at the nose and pushing the opposing center into the backfield.
LB DeMarco Boyd (Gilmer)
Last week: Had 10 carries for 46 yards and 2 TDs, 3 receptions for 46 yards, and was credited with 2 tackles in a 35-19 win over Longview Pine Tree.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:30, vs. Tatum
Notes: Gilmer's offense has spread the ball around in its first two games. Against Pine Tree, 12 different players had touches on offense, and 8 different players had at least one carry. Boyd again was targeted in the passing game, and at this rate he'll finish the season with more catches than any Texas Longhorn tight end, fullback, or H-back has had in a season in a very long time. Gilmer's defense was dominant in the first half, holding Pine Tree to 14 total yards, but Pine Tree's offense came alive to the tune of 326 second-half yards.
DB Obi Eboh (Southlake Carroll)
Last week: Team defeated Tulsa Union 34-30.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:30, vs. Midland Lee
Notes: I haven't seen any defensive stats reported for the game, but Carroll's defense limited Union's QB to 13 completions on 28 attempts for 139 yards and 1 TD. Carroll won a tight contest versus Oklahoma power Tulsa Union for the second straight year. In 2014, the teams met at AT&T Stadium in Arlington for a game that Carroll won 42-41 in overtime. In last week's game, Carroll trailed 23-7 at halftime, but they outscored Union 27-7 in the second half, and Lil'Jordan Humphrey's 3-yard TD run with 2:27 left gave Carroll a 34-30 lead that its defense would hold. Humphrey, a Texas target, finished the game with 24 carries for 88 yards and a TD on the ground, plus five receptions for 89 yards.
Next, Carroll hosts Midland Lee, who they beat 56-6 in last year's meeting.
QB Sam Ehlinger (Austin Westlake)
Last week: completed 24 of 35 passes for 271 yards, 2 TDs and no INTs, and rushed 16 times for 57 yards and 2 TDs in a 28-17 win over Temple.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:30, at Austin Anderson (House Park Stadium)
Notes: This Friday's game will be played at House Park Stadium, which saw its playing surface badly damaged during flooding this past Memorial Day, during which the waters rose as high as the second row of the bleachers. There was concern at the time that repairs might not be done in time for the football season and it could cause scheduling complications, as House Park is one of Austin ISD's three stadiums. But thankfully, repairs were done in time for the start of the 2015 season.
Oh, you were here to read about Sam Ehlinger? Sorry about that digression. What a contrast it was to watch his highlights from Westlake's week one tilt with Southlake Carroll, and see the patience, poise, and escapability he showed against a perennial powerhouse, then to have to watch UT's current starting QB begin the 2015 season with such a cover-your-eyes bad performance that showed none of those traits and might have even made some fans wonder if Case McCoy had any eligibility left.
Ehlinger had another efficient performance last week, tossing no interceptions and producing four total touchdowns. Temple led 17-14 after a third quarter TD, but Westlake took a 21-17 lead follwing a Ehlinger pass that was deflected then caught for a 43-yard TD with 4:28 left in the game. After a defensive stand gave Westlake the ball back, they faced 3rd down near midfield with Temple holding one timeout. On a play called "Vegas", Ehlinger found a receiver for a 38-yard pass and a first down, then Ehlinger scored on a 12-yard run two plays later, extending Westlake's lead to 28-17 with 47 seconds left. According to the Austin American-Statesman's recap of the game, it was the first time in 13 games that Ehlinger was not Westlake's leading rusher.
WR Damion Miller (Tyler John Tyler)
Last week: Did not record a catch in a 31-14 loss to Longview.
This week: Friday, September 11 at 7:30, vs.Tyler Lee
Notes: Box scores I've seen from the John Tyler-Longview game do not mention Damion Miller contributing any stats, though somehow there were pictures of him carrying the ball during the game. The game was a crazy affair before it even began, as the assigned officiating crew didn't show up and replacement refs had to be found, on the Saturday night of Labor Day weekend no less. Because of that and the stadium's game clock malfunctioning, the game's start was delayed for an hour. John Tyler next faces cross-town rival Tyler Lee in a battle of winless teams. Lee has scored 84 points through two games, but has also surrendered 111.
Early season overreactions
UT's humiliating loss to Notre Dame over the weekend bought the team and coaching staff no shortage of emotional, fire-spitting reactions from fans and writers who follow the Longhorn football program. It might be fair to say that most of these were overreactions were it not for the fact that they had already seen this show before in UT's last two games of the 2014 season, and at least some level of improvement over that was expected. The QB situation is obviously still a mess, and the play-calling situation along with it, but with the number of freshmen who are already playing significant roles or seem poised to do so, it's a good time to remember that it's still early in the season and this team could look a lot different (for better or worse) two months from now.
Like restaurants and touring bands, football players, coaches, and teams will have off days from time to time. Between this past Saturday and Monday, I ate at three different restaurants that all seemed to be off their game. Drink orders were taken much later than normal and re-fills came just as slowly, or a member of my group had their food order lost somehow or never received a salad they ordered. These things happen. I've had much better experiences at all three of those restaurants and would gladly eat at any of them again. A server forgetting to bring pre-meal rolls and cornbread for a table isn't in the same league as a QB and offensive line looking utterly unprepared for a defense they had months to get ready for. But moving away from UT football for a bit, I'll caution against overreacting to week one performances in September.
Shane Buechele had a very sub-par performance in week one, due in large part to his team missing some key starters at receiver and on the offensive line. In week two, he had a much better game against a much better opponent than he faced in week one.
Tope Imade's Arlington Bowie team went from getting shut out and embarrassed in week one, to leading the defending 6A Division II state champs for two and a half quarters in week two, a lead they might have held longer had they converted on a big 4th-and-1 situation early in the 3rd quarter.
Kennedy Brooks (Mansfield), a highly-touted 2017 running back, broke out late last season after taking over as the starter (impressively, on a team that had two eventual FBS signees who'd played the position a year before) and rushing for well over 300 yards in an upset win over eventual state champion Cedar Hill, and later for 230 yards in a playoff loss to Southlake Carroll. He was high on my list of 2017 players to watch, but in week one vs. Flower Mound Marcus he carried the ball 20 times for only 25 yards. (Shawn Watson just read that and said, "Running backs are allowed to have 20 carries?") He showed that that performance was a fluke when he carried the ball 37 (!) times for 317 yards in week two against Waco Midway.
Other teams and players who got off to underwhelming starts to the 2015 season similarly redeemed themselves in week two, or will this week. Let's hope we've seen UT football at its lowest point for 2015 and that the Longhorns have a turnaround of their own in the offing.
An under the radar out-of-state prospect I like
One method I sometimes use when seeking out new players to watch film on is to do random searches of Maxpreps's stats leaders database, sometimes limiting the search to Texas student-athletes, other times searching in other states or widening the search field and looking nationwide. That was how I learned about several of the out of state class of 2015 tight ends I wrote about nine months ago. Of course stats aren't created equal, and some 300-yard passing games or 4-sack performances are inherently more impressive than others. Still, if I see a kid listed at a good size who's piling up tackles, accruing lots of total yards, or producing other stats to an impressive degree (or one that suggests a varied skill set), I'll at least want to take a look at his work.
Which brings me to senior defensive lineman Charles Cameron of Morton, Mississippi, a player I first learned about last week. He plays defensive end for his team and is listed as 6'2" 260, and looks like he may actually be around that size. As a junior he was credited with 163 tackles and 13 sacks. Through Morton High's first two games, Cameron was credited with 39 total tackles (21 solo), 7 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. He also has two highly-rated junior teammates: four-star athlete D.D. Bowie, who is committed to Alabama, and three-star linebacker Freddie Hartz, who reportedly has an offer from Alabama.
So he has good size, very impressive stats, and at least two teammates who are being recruited by SEC programs, so it would seem that college coaches in the region don't have a problem locating Morton, Mississippi. Yet as of this writing, Cameron does not have a recruit profile on any of the major sites, a Google search reveals almost no articles that mention him, and his junior highlight video has but 61 views. As such, I have no idea if he is being seriously recruited by anyone, but I've seen enough FBS-level defensive linemen to be very confident in saying that Charles Cameron looks like he has what it takes to play at that level.
Take a look for yourself and tell me what you think.