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Texas recruiting 2015: Assessing the defensive end needs/targets

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Looking at 2015 recruiting position by position.

James Lockhart on a Texas visit
James Lockhart on a Texas visit
via @James_Lockhart9

Previously: QB RBWRTEOTOGDT

Defensive end

Needs: Two or three

Offers:

  • Jashon Cornell, St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin Durham Hall
  • Keisean Lucier-South, Orange (Calif.) Lutheran-Orange County
  • Natrez Patrick, Atlanta (Ga.) Mays
  • Jalen Dalton, Clemmons (N.C.) West Forsyth
  • Darian Roseboro, Lincolnton (N.C.)
  • James Lockhart, Ennis
  • Sterling Johnson, Clayton (N.C.) Cleveland
  • Chauncey Rivers, Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson (Georgia commit)

The in-state defensive tackle class is a little better than last year, but there aren't a lot of highly-rated defensive ends in Texas in 2015 so far. In fact, Lockhart is the only four-star prospect at this time, making Lockhart perhaps the most important target in the class at the position.

Unfortunately, the decent position that the Horns found themselves in entering last football season has eroded to the point that Lockhart is now considered a heavy Baylor lean after declaring the Bears his favorite on January 2. Even though Baylor has been recruiting much better, especially defensively, it's still unusual for Baylor to land a defensive prospect of Lockhart's caliber without any grade issues, so the question remains, can the Bears close with Lockhart?

The hope, as exists across the board, is that the new staff can make up ground during the spring.

As a result of the dearth of in-state talent, the new staff has been busy offering national prospects, several of them in the North Carolina area, one that defensive line coach Chris Rumph is familiar with having recruited there for Alabama and Clemson. It's more ACC country than pure SEC country, which is  a positive sign for Texas.

As with any out-of-state recruitments, the Longhorns are facing an uphill battle to seriously enter the fray of any of the national prospects, though battling NC State for a star like Roseboro seems like a reasonable proposition.

There are also some rising prospects in the state who will be attending the first Texas Junior Day this weekend, including Rowlett's Charles Omenihu, a prospect who just received a mid three-star rating from 247Sports.

The strategy that Strong opts to adopt with recruits like Omenihu will be interesting to watch -- if he thinks they're absolutely good enough, does he offer early in the hopes of landing a quick commitment or slow play in hopes of landing more highly-rated prospects?

After adding a potentially elite weak side defensive end last year in Derick Roberson, adding an elite strong side piece this season in Lockhart would make for nicely complementary classes.

Beyond that, another storyline to watch is whether the staff opts to take one or two pure edge rushers, the type that could play the rush linebacker position beside a three-man defensive front, as such a take or takes would provide some insight into what Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford have planned for the defense.