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Texas recruiting: Horns still looking for wide receivers

After taking a big class in 2014, the Horns will take a small class in 2015.

Ryan Newsome at the state track meet in 2014
Ryan Newsome at the state track meet in 2014
Wescott Eberts (SB Nation)


Needs: Two

Commitments: None


  • New Orleans (La.) Warren Easton's Tyron Johnson
  • Cedar Hill's Damarkus Lodge (committed to Texas A&M)
  • Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro's Christian Kirk
  • Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln's John Burt
  • Dallas Skyline's Carlos Strickland
  • Cypress Ridge's Kemah Siverand (committed to Texas A&M)
  • Temple's Chad President (committed to Baylor)
  • Aledo's Ryan Newsome

Moving forward: Texas has already missed on two top in-state prospects in Lodge and Siverand. Once considered a Texas lean, Lodge committed to Texas A&M on Thursday after never seriously considering the Horns following the coaching change, a major miss as Lodge fulfilled the massive expectations that were put on him last spring with a monster junior season.

As for Siverand, he decided to follow Allen quarterback Kyler Murray the day after the star five-star dual-threat prospect committed and had nearly left Texas out of his top five in the hours before his pledge. It wasn't clear at the time of his commitment why exactly the Horns weren't as competitive in his recruitment as many thought, but it all amounted to the same thing.

Lodge is the No. 1 receiver in the state and Siverand is the No. 3 receiver in the state, with the former possessing the type of game-breaking elite talent that the Horns haven't been able to land in years. Darius White was supposed to be capable of that, but his work ethic and attitude problems never allowed him to maximize his talent. Otherwise, Texas hasn't had a truly dominant receiver in years and none of the 2014 project that favorably.

There's an argument out there that losing on Lodge doesn't matter because Texas is the leader for John Burt, but Lodge is both a better wide receiver right now and the Horns haven't traditionally had success recruiting in the state of Florida. Burt's a good player and has significant upside, he's just not as polished as a wide receiver and where Lodge's highlights are of him scoring touchdowns at the highest level, much of what Burt has on film is making plays on special teams, which is impressive, but not how he's going to earn his scholarship in college.

The last offer to go out was to Carlos Strickland and it doesn't sound like it will have much impact on his recruitment because he's thinking about leaving the state and didn't mention the Horns as ranking among his top schools. When he eventually releases his top five at some point this summer, Texas probably won't make it.

So the two targets still seriously on the board for the Longhorns are Burt and Ryan Newsome.

As mentioned above, history suggests that the odds of pulling Burt out of Florida and away from the hometown Seminoles, though he did declare the Horns as his leader back at the end of May. The 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions still hasn't moved tremendously for him, as Florida State still leads. However, all but one of the recent projections has been for Texas, including two that were switched from Florida State.

Texas may be in even better shape with Newsome even though the Aledo product hasn't been willing to name any favorites. A top five list should come out from the speedster in the next several days and will certainly include Texas. The bigger question is whether the consensus four-star prospect will include any order in his top five, a practice that has become increasingly rare as many prospects go through their entire recruitments without ever naming a leader.

Having a longtime relationship with Texas running backs coach Tommie Robinson is something that is playing well with Newsome for Texas and he seems to genuinely like the city and the school, too, which is why the Longhorns are currently dominating his Crystal Ball at 72%.

The 5'8, 175-pounder just got back from a long West Coast trip that saw him visit numerous schools, including UCLA and Oregon. As a result, both schools could seriously figure into his recruitment if he's truly open to being that far away from home. Besides proximity, the advantage that Texas has there is that Newsome is so much more familiar with Austin and the Longhorns and won't have an opportunity to spend that much time at either place before making his decision.

Landing both is the ideal scenario at this point in the recruiting process and, unlike some other positions, Texas is in position to do so. Missing on one could mean a wide receiver class of only one player, while missing on both would be something of a disaster with the lack of other available options.