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Texas Longhorns recruiting: Which quarterback in 2016 will become the top target?

There aren't any strong early candidates in the state.

Jacob Eason
Jacob Eason
Student Sports

Over the last few seasons, the top quarterback target for the Texas Longhorns has been apparent in every year except for 2015 by the start of the summer..

Going through the years, the Horns have targeted and landed David Ash, Connor Brewer, Tyrone Swoopes, and Jerrod Heard, receiving commitments from most of them early in the process. However, the 2016 recruiting class is shaping up much more like the 2015 class than the previous groups.

In the 2016 class there aren't any clear in-state prospects who look like the top quarterback in the state and a nationally-elite prospect -- in the top 33 players in the 247Sports rankings, the only quarterback is DeSoto dual-threat prospect Tristen Wallace, who is extremely raw at this time and may have a brighter future at wide receiver in college.

The LSR put out by Orangebloods futures several quarterbacks in that range, including Channelview's Jalen Hurts (No. 23), Rowlett's Logan Bonner (No. 25), West-Orange Stark's Dillon Sterling-Cole (No. 26), and Marble Falls' Brennan Wooten (No. 32).

Physically, the biggest problem those quarterbacks face in potential recruitments by Texas is the fact that all stand under 6'3, which doesn't seem to be the preference of play caller and quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson, who instead seems to favor tall pro-style quarterbacks like 6'7 2015 commit Zach Gentry.

With enough athleticism, it's possible that Watson could offer smaller prospects, but he never really pursued West Mesquite's Chason Virgil in 2015 and he's about 6'2. In that regard, Sterling-Cole is probably the best bet in that group at 6'3.

Most likely, though, Watson will be looking out of state unless a top in-state quarterback emerges at some point this fall or next spring, which could happen, even though it's relatively unusual for someone to shoot way up the recruiting rankings that late.

One potential target is Lake Stevens (Wash) pro-style prospect Jacob Eason, a 6'5, 205-pounder oozing with arm talent who is currently ranked as the top pro-style quarterback in the country. He visited Austin in early May prior to the Dallas Elite 11 and had positive things to say about the Horns, but did not pick up an offer. With 13 offers already in hand from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, and Notre Dame, it wouldn't be a bad idea to offer him in the near future if he's going to be a serious target.

Interestingly enough, the No. 2 pro-style quarterback is also a prospective target -- Shreveport (La.) Calvary Baptist's Shea Patterson, who is currently committed to Arizona, but is keeping his options open in the recruiting process and just visited Texas for this week's quarterback camp. At 6'2, he's a bit on the small side for what Watson normally likes, though his ranking attests to his talent level.

Patterson has even more offers than Eason, including from Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ole Miss, so there could be some pressure with Patterson as well to enter his recruitment sooner rather than later.

There's less pressure in the recruitment of Marietta (Ga.) Walton pro-style quarterback Josh White, who attended the first Texas summer camp and was in for a Junior Day as well -- there's clearly serious interest on his part in the Horns. And at 6'5 and 225 pounds, he has the prototypical build that Watson likes. His recruitment has yet to take off in earnest, as his sole offer at this point is from Mississippi State, so Texas can afford to wait with him given his high level of interest and lack of other options.

Another visitor this week along with Patterson is Dayton (Ohio) Trotwood-Madison pro-style quarterback Messiah deWeaver, a top-10 pro-style quarterback nationally with offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Louisville. There's not a lot of rush with him either given his offer list.

The recruitment of Gentry by Texas was relatively short with only one visit, but his recruitment by Watson and Charlie Strong lasted for nearly a year. With offers going out around the country, sorting out the quarterback board should be a priority of the coaching staff, with the quarterback camp a possible game-changing for the quarterbacks who made it to campus.