Friday, February 29, 2008

Team Recruiting Countdown: No. 11 Texas Longhorns

No. 11 Texas Longhorns (Big 12 No. 2)

2008 Haul: 20 signees, 5 Athlon Consensus 100

Scouting Report:

Mack Brown and the Longhorn coaching staff have turned recruiting into an everyday chore. They have gone out and recruited so well over the past five years that there are no glaring areas of weakness on this roster. Brown has to be commended for the wonderful job he does year in and year out on the recruiting trail and 2008 is no exception.

With the early departure of Jamaal Charles to the NFL, the running back spot is one position that could use some depth. Vondrell McGee has basically staked his claim on the starting spot, so Texas fans should not expect any of the incoming freshmen to start. It is one of the most talented running back classes in the nation, however, so there should be some impact. Of the five ’08 running back prospects Texas signed, DeSean Hales (Klein, Texas) and Jeremy Hills (Alief, Texas) are the two to watch out for. Both are smaller backs that can explode for the big play at any time. Hales is a more complete runner and is certainly the future of the running back spot for the Horns.

On the outside, the Horns bring in two more big, rangy pass catchers. Dan Buckner (Allen, Texas) is the most physically gifted prospect in this class and is not shy about making sure his opponents know it. The verbose Buckner has the tools to back his mouth up, though. D.J. Grant (Austin, Texas) should be another talented, lanky target for future Longhorn quarterbacks.

For all the NFL talent that has been in the Texas’ secondary over the past few seasons (four NFL first day picks and one to be this April), the pass defense has struggled. Texas finished 10th in the Big 12 in pass defense and 99th and 109th nationally in each of the last two seasons. Aaron Williams (Round Rock, Texas) and D.J. Monroe (Angleton, Texas) will look to change that recent trend. Williams is as solid a defensive back prospect as any in the nation and could play corner or safety. Monroe is small but makes up for his lack of size with tremendous tenacity and speed. Nolan Brewster (Denver, Colo.), the son of a coach, is a heady addition to the defense. He is a classic safety/linebacker tweener and should make a big impact wherever he ends up.

The Longhorns added three linebacker prospects as well – not counting Brewster. Dravannti Johnson (Nederland, Texas) headlines this group. With most of the starting spots already accounted for, do not expect any immediate impact from this group.

Along the offensive line, two stellar prospects are headed to the Forty Acres. David Snow (Gilmer, Texas) and Mark Buchanan (Austin, Texas) look to continue Texas’ tradition of strong offensive line play.

As expected, Mack Brown made his living in the football crazed state of Texas once again. All but one prospect in this class is from the Lone Star State (Brewster-Colo.)
Top Prospect: Dan Buckner – WR – Allen, Texas (6-4, 210) AC100 No. 40

As has been stated many times, the 2008 class is loaded will big, fast wide receivers. Buckner fits the mold perfectly. He uses his huge wingspan to high point most passes. He uses tenacious ball skills and solid leaping ability to outwork defensive backs for most balls thrown his way. He will be a great red zone target. Buckner shows great body positioning and control; playing in traffic does not phase the big wideout.

He is at his best in the vertical passing game, using his size and leaping ability to beat smaller corners. He has solid straight-line speed but will never be a slot-type, open-field playmaker. He will, though, make an immediate impact in the deep passing game and in the red zone.

Most of the time, Buckner’s physical ability is a huge advantage. At times, however, he can be too physical. He will need to be careful when putting his hands on smaller defensive backs. Officials on the next level will not be as kind as the Texas high school zebras.

Buckner’s fabulous ball skills were on display in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl when he made a spectacular touchdown reception over Boubacar Cissoko. He is the next in a recent line of big, powerful NFL-type wide receivers (Roy Williams, Limas Sweed).

Best of the Rest:

Aaron Williams – Round Rock, Texas (6-1, 180) AC100 No. 62
Jarvis Humphrey – DT – Cedar Hill, Texas (6-2, 295) AC100 No. 64
DeSean Hales – RB – Klein, Texas (5-10, 165) AC100 No. 77
D.J. Monroe – CB – Angleton, Texas (5-9, 170) AC100 No. 87
David Snow – OL Gilmer, Texas (6-4, 300)
Dravannti Johnson – LB – Nederland, Texas (6-2, 230)
D.J. Grant – WR – Austin, Texas (6-3, 200)
Nolan Brewster – DB – Denver, Colo. (6-1, 200)
Jeremy Hills – RB – Alief, Texas (5-10, 180)
Mark Buchanan – OL – Austin, Texas (6-6, 280)

Sleeper: Antoine Hicks — ATH — Mansfield, Texas (6-3, 200)

Watching film on this young athlete, one thing is very apparent: he is a playmaker. No matter what position he plays, look for Mack Brown to put the ball in his hands. He is impossible to tackle in the open field. His position in high school was quarterback. He is very familiar with the ever-so-popular spread-zone-read-option that won a national championship in Austin three years ago. He also throws a nice deep ball so it would not be shocking to see him get reps at quarterback.

No comments: