clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texas Longhorns recruiting: Spring game helps net five commitments

The weekend of the Texas spring game made for one of the biggest recruiting weekends in years.

The weekend in recruiting was deserving of a few claps
The weekend in recruiting was deserving of a few claps
Erich Schlegel

Not so long ago, the Texas Longhorns would routinely receive commitments from a handful of prospects on Junior Days in February, a process that has now slowed down to vault a weekend like that just experienced by the 'Horns into the rarefied air of those deserving all the superlatives one might muster.

By the time Monday morning had come and gone, the Longhorns had picked up five total commitments in the 2014 and 2015 classes, as well as extended a number of offers in the 2014 and 2015 classes.

Without further ado, let's break down the wild weekend that was.

2014 pledges

The Longhorns got much better in the 2014 class over the course of less than three days and nearly managed to catch the Aggies in the 247Sports composite team rankings, though the star power of the A&M group has kept them a bit above the 'Horns.

Terrell Cuney, Jasper center

6'3.5 | 260 pounds | *** | no. 6 center | no. 66 in state of Texas

It had been building for a while and the Longhorns finally closed with Cuney over the weekend after experiencing little competition from other schools, including TCU and Texas Tech, the two schools that had extended offers to this point in the process.

And though the composite numbers for Cuney are not particularly inspiring, 247Sports does have a better opinion of him than the industry overall, ranking him as the top center prospect in the country and listing him as a four-star prospect among the top 30 players in the state.

Kids from East Texas are known for their toughness and Cuney is no exception, even though he is light for an offensive lineman. His persistence and athleticism allow him to hold his own both at the point of attack and at the second level.

The new up-tempo Texas offense needs players who have the athleticism and the conditioning to handle a no-huddle attack with little time to rest or substitute and Cuney fits the bill there.

Trey Lealaimatafao, San Antonio Warren defensive tackle

6'1 | 300 pounds | *** | no. 37 defensive tackle | no. 65 player in Texas

The rankings may not be overly impressive for the prospect Inside Texas recruiting analyst likes to call LMFAO, but his film is impressive and his offer list is equally impressive -- it may just take some time for the opinion in the recruiting industry to catch up with the opinion of college coaches, the latter of which seems to be significantly higher.

Landing Lealaimatafao is also a major coup for the Longhorns in this recruiting class both because of pure need after failing to sign a defensive tackle in 2013, but also because the Warren product is probably a top-three defensive tackle in the state and the best remaining on the board after the commitments of Zaycoven Henderson and DeShawn Washington.

A prospect with a similar build to former Texas star Roy Miller and current bowling ball Desmond Jackson, Lealaimatafao has a nice combination of excellent quickness for his size, striking ability aided by his mass, and a motor that helps him chase down plays.

Jake McMillon, Abilene defensive end

6'3 | 240 pounds | *** | no. 29 strongside defensive end | no. 104 player in Texas

Another three-star prospect, McMillon chose the 'Horns over the Horned Frogs, a school that has done an excellent job of evaluating and developing prospects, especially on the defensive side of the ball. If Gary Patterson thought that McMillon was good enough to play at TCU, that's pretty high praise for any prospect.

A five-tech defensive end in the three-man fronts that Abilene often employs, McMillon also has some experience playing further inside, making him a likely swing candidate at Texas.

2013 Oklahoma signee Matt Dimon, a star at Katy High School, is a solid comparison for McMillon, as both of prospects who could have futures inside in college and make up for a lack of high-level athleticism with strong motors and a willingness to play to the whistle.

The pick up may not be a sexy one, but it is one that ensures some depth in the class, which is a major priority.

2015 pledges

Bryce English, DeSoto defensive tackle

5'11 | 310 pounds | N/A | N/A | N/A

Currently ranked no. 76 in the first LSR for the 2015 class, English is a likely three-star prospect because of his size, but is known as more than just a space eater because he has strong disruptive quickness. However, those statements are hard to verify because there isn't any film of him out yet.

The godson of recruiting coordinator Bruce Chamber, his ties to the program and the Texas-friendly nature of DeSoto probably combined to help net him the offer and commit on the spot.

Jalen Campbell, Corpus Christi Flour Bluff cornerback

5'11 | 175 pounds | N/A | N/A | N/A

A visitor for the Sophomore Day last week, Campbell picked up his offer at that time and decided to end his recruitment during a visit for the spring game, just before the scrimmage commenced.

The early headliner of the three 2015 pledges, Campbell is a top-10 player in the state according to the first LSR, in large part because he impressed at the Houston Rivals Camp ($) several weeks ago, drawing honors as the second-best defensive player overall, ahead of prospects like A&M commit Hoza Scott and standout Louisiana cornerback Jermaine Roberts, a Texas target:

There were a few cornerbacks in pure lockdown but Campbell stood out above the rest. He put together a complete camp from beginning to end. He showed great footwork and hips and most importantly ball skills. When he did get beat he used tremendous leaping ability to high point the ball, making one of the top plays of the day against one of the top offensive performers on the day by making a leaping over the shoulder interception.

The odds are significant that Campbell could become a highly-recruited prospect by the end of the spring evaluation period, shedding light on why the Longhorns were right in extending early offers, despite the fact that prospects like Campbell don't have any other offers at this time.

'Horns offer Leonard

The targets at the wide receiver position looked pretty locked in heading into the weekend, but that changed with the offer for Longivview wide receiver Dorian Leonard, a big target at 6'4 and about 200 pounds. At first blush, the offer didn't make that much sense, but upon further inspection, it seems like it may have a lot to do with the suspension of Cayleb Jones, who may not return to the team following his arrest for felony assault.

After landing Lorenzo Joe back last August, Texas had declined to offer another tall receiver, instead targeting slot types like Speedy Noil, Armanti Foreman, or a possible flanker like Kd Cannon.

In that sense, Leonard is a major departure from previous targets. He's a bit like a more lanky version of John Harris in that he's at his best taking hitches and making the first defender miss to pick up extra yardage and looks pretty smooth coming in and out of his breaks on those routes, though he does seem to be missing that extra gear in the open field and tends to get tackled from behind instead of scoring long touchdowns.

Leonard holds offers from Oklahoma, Florida State, Oregon State, and Texas Tech.

Other 2015 offers extended

The Longhorns weren't finished extending offers after the first Sophomore Day, in part because some top targets were not able to attend. On Saturday, Texas put out five offers:

Fort Bend Marshall quarterback JW Ketchum: Offered by Texas A&M as an athlete and Baylor as a quarterback, Ketchum is undersized for the quarterback position at 6'0 and doesn't have any available highlights, as his Hudl account is set on private. He ran a 4.77 40 when tested by SpeedRank.

Plano West running back Soso Jamabo: The big back prospect is the no. 2 player in the state on the LSR and seems to have Texas high on his list, posting a picture on Instagram with Texas cheerleaders and noting that it's difficult to say no to the Longhorns. Judging by the lack of a commitment, the 'Horns failed to send in Texas Pom as closers, a remarkable oversight. After he received his offer, Jamabo noted that it's one that he's been working for "since day 1" and that he "couldn't be happier." So, yeah, it looks like the 'Horns are in good shape there.

West-Orange Stark safety Deionte Thompson: The Alabama pledge is one of the hardest hitters in the state regardless of class and received his Texas offer after the game on Saturday.

Sulphur Springs safety Larry Pryor -- Another important target as a top-10 player in the state. The Texas offer is his first and may have helped produce this late-night tweet from the early hours of Sunday morning:

Dallas Skyline defensive end Anthony Wheeler: A part-time high school linebacker, Wheeler looks a bit like former Skyline star Anthony Wallace in that his athleticism looks like it would play better closer to the line of scrimmage rather than at the linebacker position. The 'Horns are his first offer and early leader.

Commitment watch

-- Brenham cornerback Darrion Johnson is one of the underrecruited players in the state, a situation that may not change before he makes his decision. Johnson nearly pledged to the 'Horns on Saturday night, then at one point appeared likely to make a Monday commitment. It didn't happen, but it may only be a matter of time before Johnson becomes a member of the 2014 class.

-- Cy Falls linebacker Otaro Alaka made it in for the spring game as well and though there haven't been any updates on his status following the visit, he's still expected to choose between Texas and Texas A&M in the near future, with the Longhorns the likely favorite.

-- The tease from Inside Texas was questioning whether the 'Horns are back in front for Katy Seven Lakes defensive end Jarrett Johnson in advance of his own announcement that should come within the next two weeks.