Every year, ESPN releases a feature that draws on the recruiting knowledge of Big 12 coaches and staffers who thoughts on their favorite recruits in the classes of conference rivals.
For the Texas Longhorns in the 2017 class, quarterback Sam Ehlinger and tight ends Cade Brewer and Reese Leitao all made the list:
Texas TE Cade Brewer: “Brewer can run and get vertical. He can do a lot. A gifted, athletic big guy.”
Texas TE Reese Leitao: “He's an incredible kid with a ton of ability to play in every offensive set. His dad is a coach. He has the ability to line up as an attached tight end and flex out. Good balance of power and speed.”
Texas QB Sam Ehlinger: “He’s got everything you need in a championship-level quarterback. He’s got all the physical tools, really competitive, tough, smart, a leader. He’s got some moxie to him. These are all clichés, but it’s true.”
Texas quarterback moxie alert!
Aside from any flashbacks to the term that became cliche after such liberal application to Case McCoy during his days in burnt orange, the Big 12 coach/staffer hits on what makes Ehlinger such an appealing prospect — he checks all the boxes.
Those are the reasons why head coach Tom Herman is already in love with him.
The inclusion of Brewer on the list is interesting because he’s ranked as the fourth-lowest signee in the class among the position players, but has a larger value to the class as a future H-back who can also split out wide and create mismatches against linebackers or smaller nickel backs.
“Really, really athletic,” head coach Tom Herman said of Brewer on National Signing Day. “He's undersized right now. If we had to play a game tomorrow, he would not be physically ready. But tremendous ball skills; tremendous athleticism. You can see the frame is there to carry the weight necessary.”
Listed at 210 pounds by the school, Brewer will spend the coming months working on adding the strength necessary to compete at the college level.
Unfortunately, he won’t be on campus to work with strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight. Fortunately, he does have good facilities at Lake Travis and can get on the same workout plan that McKnight is using with current Longhorns.
Leitao is not a surprising addition to the list, even though he’s ranked as a mid three-star prospect. After committing to football as a junior, he made a big leap as a senior, which vaulted him up the rankings before the recruiting process closed with his signature.
Like Ehlinger, he has a lot of intangible qualities that make him a special prospect, including intelligence and maturity on top of his immense physical skills.
As Herman pointed out on National Signing Day, Leitao is also a player who was formerly committed to Nebraska, a school that knows how to evaluate tight ends.
“We're excited about both those guys. Because the tight end in this offense is very, very critical,” Herman said.