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Texas has a recruiting hotbed in Brenham

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Why the Longhorns should exploit the talent at Blinn College on the recruiting trail.

D’Anthony Hopkins runs all over Tyler Junior College

Khiry Robinson was a Division II All-American, and has had a moderately successful NFL career.

Quincy Morgan caught 100 passes in two year at Kansas State. He is one of only seven players in Kansas State history to catch 100 passes (including four year athletes). He is ranked sixth on the all-time Kansas State receiving yardage list.

Michael Bishop won the Davey O’Brien award as college football’s best quarterback.

Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy and a BCS National Championship.

None of these players attended the University of Texas, so why are they listed in a Burnt Orange Nation article? In fact, while only one of these players (Robinson) finished his NCAA career in Texas, they all spent time about 90 miles from the 40 Acres at Blinn College in Brenham.

For years, Blinn College has been a hotbed for underrated college football recruits. The football program offers a second chance for many transfer players or those who do not meet the required NCAA academic guidelines.

In fact, Blinn has won NJCAA football championships in its history (1995, 1996, 2006, 2009). Earlier this week, new a member of new Longhorns head coach Tom Herman’s staff made a stop at Blinn College.

What a brilliant move. While the Longhorns’ stop in Brenham apparently was centered around former five-star cornerback Kendall Sheffield, who picked up an offer on the visit, the school’s football program is traditionally rich in talent, and not unlike many previous seasons, there is plenty of talent on the Buccaneers’ roster this season.

Safety Corrion Ballard was named defensive conference Co-MVP in 2016 after playing safety for only two years. Ballard stands 6’3 and weighs in at 200 pounds. While no official 40 time is listed for Ballard, he currently holds offers from rival Texas Tech and has also visited UNLV. Ballard’s spring highlight recruiting video is posted below:

One of the most important attributes a safety must have is football instincts. The safety must be able to read the play, to support in the run while still maintaining their primary deep coverage responsibility. Ballard has the ability to do both.

He is physical enough to play against offensive linemen in the run game and to dominate wide receivers in press coverage. Ballard also possesses the speed to cover the deep ball and has a quick break on the ball, both against the run and the pass. He gets to the point of attack quickly. Ballard also has good height at 6’3 and has the athleticism to high point the ball, although his 200-pound frame could use a little more bulk.

Joining Ballard is another safety prospect, Javier Edwards. Edwards is a 6’2, 330-pound nose tackle. In the 3-4 defense Herman is projected to run, the nose guard position is a vital position as playing only three down linemen requires 2-gap player at this position for effective run defense.

A dominant nose will also force double teams up front, freeing up linebackers like Malik Jefferson and Jeffery McCulloh to run sideline to sideline. A wise coach once said “behind every good linebacker is a good tackle”, and that statement is so true.

The highlight video of Edwards is also quite impressive:

Obviously, Edwards has Division I size at 6’2, 330 pounds, but what is most impressive is his athletic ability — he uses his quickness to make tackles on skill players and provide an effective pass rush.

While the big nose tackle is not going to outrun skill players at the Division I level, he has adequate speed and agility to tackle in space and provide backside pursuit. Edwards also has a motor that never stops, and takes good tackling angles, allowing him to provide additional support in the run game.

Offenses will not be able to ignore Edward’s presence in the middle of a defense. While ESPN lists only five offers for Edwards, which includes Big 12 rival, Kansas State, rumors of recruiting efforts by Arkansas and Florida have surfaced around the lineman’s recruiting. He is currently listed as a commit to Texas State, but an offer from the 40 Acres is sure to lure the Texas native.

On the offensive side of the ball, Blinn College also has some talent.

Former Texas commit Devonaire Clarington is attending the school after failing to meet NCAA academic requirements.

D’Anthony Hopkins is fourth in rushing yards in NJCAA, collecting 1,114 yards on only 130 carries. Hopkins also led NJCAA in yard per carry (8.6) and touchdowns (18). He collected a whopping 369 yards this season against Tyler Junior college. Hopkins is listed at 6’2, 220 pounds and while no 40 time is listed for him, speed is a question mark for Hopkins, which may be why is not being heavily recruited. However, anyone who leads the NJCAA ranks in yards per carry is worth a look.

In addition to the four major talents from Blinn, these five payers are good reasons why Coach Herman should take a closer look at Blinn College talent, not only in the 2016 recruiting season, but for recruiting seasons to come.