The Texas Longhorns weren't able to pick up several big commitments like the Baylor Bears at their camp on Friday evening, but from all reports, the first Under The Lights camp was a success for new head coach Charlie Strong and his staff.
Since NCAA rules dictate that coaches can't extend offers during camps, there weren't any to report coming out of the event, but there could well be several that go out in the near future as the staff completes evaluations from the camp.
There was, however, some unfortunate news -- Converse Judson safety commit Keivon Ramsey suffered a knee injury at the camp that he will have evaluated on Monday.
Texas DB commit Keivon Ramsey (@KeivonRamsey) will work out at Under the Lights camp pic.twitter.com/sM2GkdwTFY— Max Olson (@max_olson) July 18, 2014
On the positive side of things, the camp marked the first visit to Austin for four-star dual-threat quarterback Kai Locksley, the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley:
Top nat' QB Kai Locksley (@LOCKSnLOADED_3) after tonight's #UT #Longhorns camp. pic.twitter.com/JydAri0c8c— Jason Suchomel (@OB_JasonS) July 19, 2014
Texas is now in the top three for the 6'3, 190-pounder, with Maryland and Florida State both in the mix as well. In a significant reversal from the narrative surrounding Locksley's recruitment following the commitment of quarterback Zach Gentry to the Horns back in May, there's some thought out there that Texas could be the leader.
If Locksley decides that he doesn't want to play for his father with no guarantees that the elder Locksley would even be at Maryland by the time that his son would graduate from the program, then the choice might easily be Texas.
How is that after a positive visit to Florida State back in June? Well, the Seminoles staff apparently doesn't believe that Locksley is a pure quarterback take and is thought to be higher on Orlando product Deondre Francois.
But the Horns are recruiting Locksley at the position he would prefer to play in college and Inside Texas' Justin Wells thought he performed well enough at the camp to stick there at the next level. The staff seems to agree with that evaluation.
Locksley will announce his decision publicly at halftime of his season opener on the ESPN family of networks and it's becoming increasingly possible that his pick could be Texas, a state of affairs that would have been hard to believe several months ago when his recruitment by the Horns started in earnest.
A prospect Texas has been in strong shape with for some time is Cy Falls defensive tackle Du'Vonta Lampkin, the former Oklahoma commit who also has LSU in his final three along with the Horns and Sooners. In fact, Lampkin said that Texas is still his leader in advance of an official visit for the BYU game and a decision shortly thereafter on September 15.
Even though he doesn't project as a player with difference-making upside, he may be the most important target in the state right now purely because he's the most likely to end up a Longhorn -- the staff can't afford to miss on him because of that.
The higher ceiling prospect in attendance was Dallas Bishop Dunne's Darrion Daniels, the top uncommitted defensive tackle in the state. Still in the process of formulating a top 10 before putting out a top five and then committing in December, there's clearly a long way to go for Daniels to solidify things in his recruitment.
Suffice it to say that getting Daniels on campus and working with defensive line coach Chris Rumph was hugely important in the final months of his recruitment. Now the Horns have to get him back for an official visit.
Wide reciever target Ryan Newsome was back in Austin for yet another visit. He'll be back again this fall:
ESPN 300 WR Ryan Newsome (@NewBoi17) impressed by academic tour he got. He'll be back for official visit pic.twitter.com/kh4o0kMpX7— Max Olson (@max_olson) July 19, 2014
After talking to him at The Opening, it seemed that the UCLA visit was the one on the West Coast that had the greatest impact, especially Bruins head coach Jim Mora, Jr. If his recruitment comes down to which head coach he connects with the best, don't be surprised if the choice is UCLA. However, the familiarity and clear interest in Texas all continue to bode well for the Horns -- that's nothing new with Newsome.
In the 2015 class, Tyler John Tyler cornerback Isaac Warren was perhaps the breakout star of the event. Currently committed to Sam Houston State, the 6'0, 188-pounder has major-college size and could potentially earn an offer down the road based on his performance. At the least, he's one to watch and could quickly become a hit with smaller regional programs:
John Tyler DB Isaac Warren @Xx_Warren_xX owned the WRs at #UTL, impressed UT coaches. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/lFeRN407UP— Justin Wells (@justinwells2424) July 19, 2014
One 2016 prospect who had a less active weekend than expected was Hyattsville (Mary.) offensive tackle JP Urquidez, who visited both Baylor and Texas on Friday and was briefly scheduled to announce his commitment late Saturday afternoon before deciding that he needed more time:
Tough to say this but I'm not ready just yet to make my decision sorry to all fans just need more time to think about this— JP Urquidez (@JP_OT2016) July 19, 2014
The four-star prospect had been down to the Bears and Horns, with the industry believing that Texas has the advantage at this time. Will the extended timeline work for or against Texas? Will other schools seriously enter the mix as a result?
A couple of important potential wide receiver targets were in attendance along with Manvel's Reggie Hemphil. Houston Bellaire's Courtney Lark is drawing some buzz as potentially the top wide receiver in the state, while Houston Westfield's Tyrie Cleveland comes from a school that is producing plenty of talent, is a four-star prospect, and could end up committing to Texas A&M soon if Texas waits too long to offer.
Another note on Lark -- he came in with Hemphill. Point being, the two have a relationship and that could potentially mean an increased likelihood they end up playing together in college.
As for Hemphill himself, he still holds one of the few offers given out in the class and told me at Texas State 7-on-7 that he wasn't frustrated by the Horns pulling his offer and then extending it again, choosing instead to look at it as a learning experience.
Combine those two with Sachse's Devin Duvernay and it would be an impressively balanced wide receiver class. Make no mistake, the Horns are a long way from anything like that coming together, but that could be the ideal at the moment barring the feelings of the Texas staff, which could start extending offers to camp attendees this week after some evaluations.
One position where the evaluation process is definitely continuing is at quarterback. Since Louisiana product Shea Patterson camped at Texas in June and had a chance to throw for the staff, the fact that he wasn't able to make it Friday wasn't too big of a deal, especially since he told me that he'll be back for a game this fall.
He may be first in line for an offer, but another prospect to watch is Arlington Lamar's Shane Buechele. If his name sounds familiar, it's because his father Steve played baseball for the Rangers back in the '90s. Buechele already has offers from Kentucky, Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas Tech, so he has some suitors already, but the fact that he's generously listed at 6'2 may not bode well for his offer chances from a staff that seems to prefer taller quarterbacks.
And there's also Marble Falls product Brennen Wooten, another camp attendee. However, he's also on the small side.
Of course, Patterson is listed at 6'2 just like the other two quarterbacks, but the thought here is that his talent is a level or two above Buechele and Wooten, hence his early consensus five-star rating.
So stay tuned, Texas fans, as there could be some developments afoot with the 2016 class in the next week or so.