Shawn Robinson

Texas head coach Mack Brown briefed the media Wednesday afternoon at his national signing day press conference. Brown and the Longhorns welcomed 15 recruits but missed on several high-profile players. 

Photo Credit: Pearce Murphy | Daily Texan Staff

Wednesday, national signing day, was a day high school football players and coaching staffs alike circled on their calendars, the end to the madness that is open recruiting season. When the dust finally settled — sans another decommit — the Longhorns had inked 15 for their class of 2013.

“The fifteen we got are very passionate about being at Texas,” head coach Mack Brown said at his Wednesday press conference. “And that’s what you want. You want people who want to be at your school, and then when somebody decides to back out on you, you’ve got to go look forsomebody else.”

Among them is a defensive back, Bastrop’s Antwuan Davis, who Brown called “one of the fastest in the country,” a trio of wideouts and perhaps a Vince Young doppleganger in Tyrone Swoopes. But for all the flash, it’s the big-uglies up front who have Brown most excited.

“The highlight of this class is the offensive line,” he said. “They average over 6-foot-5 feet tall and 300 pounds and they can all move their feet.”

With a hectic few weeks that included the decommitment of star defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson and fellow defensive tackle Andrew Billings’s decision to go to Baylor, Brown said he’s still pleased with the batch he’s got at the end of this year’s recruiting process.

“We’ve had some top-ranked signing classes before that didn’t pan out,” Brown said. “We looked at a few that didn’t want to come, but if you look at that it’s happening across the country.  Worry about the ones you get, because you’ve got them for five years, 365 days a year.” 

With coaches recruiting earlier and earlier to attain top talent, Brown said he’s focused on building relationships with high school coaches and finding players genuinely interested in bringing their talent to Texas.

“I think it’s very important for me to have presence in high schools, so I like to go to the schools and see the coach,” he said. “I need to go see those guys and shake their hands and tell them we’re not backing out on kids.”

Those new talents will join a roster of returning 19 starters and other veteran players who are eager to extend their leadership to the newest members of the team.

“The strength of this team are the sophomores and the juniors,” Brown said. “I’m seeing more leadership than I have the last two years.”

He was also quick to point out that there will be ample opportunities for young players to showcase their talents early on.

“All of our jobs are always open,” he said. “We’re going to play all the best players. They’re really getting after each other. There’s more accountability now.”

A core focus is returning to a sharp offense that illuminate the scoreboard in the fall, Brown said.

“Right now in the Big 12, it’s a speed game,” Brown said.  “We’ve got to get back to the upper 40 and 50 points offensively, and to do that in this league, you’ve got to have great speed.”

Despite the hullaballoo that commonly surrounds signing day, Brown cited history as a reminder that what’s to come is much more significant.

“Marquise [Goodwin]  wasn’t talked about on this day, [Alex] Okafor was projected to be a really good football player and nobody even knew who Kenny Vaccaro was,” he said. “Those are our three guys that will probably be drafted the highest [in the NFL.] Today isn’t as important as what happens after today.”

 Rachel Thompson

 

* * *

 

Texas may have officially closed out another recruiting cycle yesterday, but the story isn’t over for the class of 2013. Here’s a quick look at Mack Brown’s group of 15.

Strongest position

Offensive line

“We got some speed that we needed, but the highlight is the offensive line,” coach Mack Brown said at Wednesday’s signing day press conference. Rami Hammad, Kent Perkins, Darius James, Jake Raulerson and Desmond Harrison comprise one of the best offensive line classes in the country. Though they may not all see the field immediately, the 2013 linemen are sure to have left their mark on Texas by the time they’re through.

Biggest need left unfilled

Defensive tackle

What was formerly a strength of the class turned into a glaring deficiency once A’Shawn Robinson decommitted. Texas simply did not have enough time to replace Robinson and Waco defensive tackle Andrew Billings poured salt in the wound by picking Baylor on Tuesday. Alhough Brown claimed Wednesday that defensive tackle “wasn’t a position of need,” it still hurts to miss out on such highly-touted prospects.

Most likely to play early: Jake Oliver (wide receiver, Dallas Jesuit)

Besides junior college recruits Geoff Swaim and Desmond Harrison (who will assuredly play right away), wide receiver Jake Oliver, who caught a state-record 308 balls in high school for 4,567 yards receiving and 56 touchdowns, has the best chance of any incoming freshman to see thefield immediately.  

 Most likely to redshirt: Tyrone Swoopes (quarterback, Whitewright)

Swoopes is a lock to sit out the 2013 season. The Whitewright product needs to become a more polished passer, and with five quarterbacks on the roster, Texas can afford to give him a year just to learn. Swoopes’ only chance to play this year is an injury epidemic or in a gadget package, neither of which are likely. Swoopes should come into the 2014 season ready to compete for the backup job.

 When considering the 2013 recruiting cycle in totality, there’s plenty to like, quality-wise. However, one can’t help but wonder what could have been. Five decommitments hurt, but so does losing recruiting battles to Baylor and Texas A&M.

“It’s really important that the guys who commit to us stay committed to us,” Brown said.

In large part, they did. But because of those who didn’t, Brown’s program is at a crossroads. Texas has already jumped out to a historic start for 2014, with seven current high school juniors on board. If on-field success can yield success on the recruiting trail, the Longhorns should have no problem adding to that tally. If not, underwhelming years like 2013 will start to become the rule, and not the exception.

— Michael Marks

 

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The last time Texas signed a recruiting class this small was in 2005.

Current NFL players Colt McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Quan Cosby and Jermichael Finley were among the 15 players that signed with the Longhorns less than a month after they captured the program’s fourth national title.

That was then, this is now. Texas isn’t coming off a national title. It’s coming off a 9-4 season, having lost 16 games over the past three years. And there’s no McCoy in this year’s 15-member recruiting class. The only quarterback in the class, Tyrone Swoopes, completed just 42 percent of his passes for 1-9 Whitewright last year.

Five guys decommitted from Texas over the past eight months — exactly as many as committed to it during that span. But if you ask Longhorns head coach Mack Brown, his team is better off without them.

“I don’t want anybody here that doesn’t want to be here,” Brown said. “If you’re committed to us, be committed. If you look around, we’ll look around ... You want people that want to be at your school. If someone backs out on you, you’ve got to look for somebody else. That’s what happens in this world.”

If you’re searching for what’s wrong with the Longhorns’ recruiting philosophy, you don’t have to look very long anymore. When Sealy receiver Ricky Seals-Jones, one of the nation’s best wideout prospects, decommitted from Texas in June, the Longhorns stopped going after him.

Texas A&M, which also picked up former Texas commit Daeshon Hall on Wednesday, ended up signing Seals-Jones.

“Texas is very, very picky,” rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. “They dropped Ricky Seals-Jones. They stopped recruiting him. In past years, that wouldn’t be a concern. But now Texas A&M is the one in the Top 10 and Texas is outside of the Top 10 nationally I think that’s something you wouldn’t have seen a few years ago when Texas was a BCS title contender and things were going really good.”

Texas has let far too many highly touted players slip through its fingers because of misplaced pride and a harmful desire to take only those who are dying to come to the 40 Acres.

It’s why Belton tight end Durham Smythe, a former high school teammate of David Ash, decommitted from the Longhorns and signed with Notre Dame. It’s why Arlington Martin running back Kyle Hicks decommitted from Texas for TCU. It’s why Fort Worth Arlington Heights defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, a five-star prospect, according to rivals.com, decommitted from Texas and signed with Alabama on Wednesday, leaving the Longhorns without any defensive lineman in their 2013 recruiting class.

It’s why — if Brown doesn’t swallow his pride and start fighting for players that are “looking around” — it will be a while before Texas is nationally relevant again.

Christian Corona

 

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Chevoski Collins,  ATH, Livingson HS, Livingston, TX

“He can run and he’s tough. He’s got great speed...We’re trying to upgrade our speed across the board and he helps us do that,” - Mack Brown 

 

Antwuan Davis, DB, Bastrop HS, Bastrop, TX

“He is one of the fastest young men in the country...he’s powerful, strong...he could have gone anywhere in America.” - Mack Brown

 

Deoundrei Davis, LB, Cypress Woods HS, Cypress, TX

“He’s tall and he can run... He’s the type of linebacker you want in this league because he can play Sam [strongside linebacker], Mike [middle linebacker], play in space, cover backs and he probably can cover receivers. We feel like he has a chance to be really good.” - Mack Brown 

 

Rami Hammad, OL, Irving HS, Irving, TX

“He’s very, very physical. He got stronger, bigger and is in great shape. You can see here he’s really, really powerful. We were very, very fortunate to find him and find him late and follow his progress.” - Mack Brown 

 

Desmond Harrison, OL, Contra Costa Community College, Houston, TX

“He’s so athletic and big with long arms. We think he has a chance to be a great tackle at this level, not a good tackle. You see he’s got so much athletic ability. He knocks one down, but he can run downfield and knock another one down. We feel like he can come in and help us immediately.” - Mack Brown 

 

Naashon Hughes, LB, Harker Heights HS, Harker Heights, TX

“He can play inside or outside, because of his length with his arms and his speed and the ability to play some safety. He can be in there, instead of your nickel back, because he plays so well in space. There’s no telling how big he can get. He’s a guy that’s got long arms and can really run, very quick.” - Mack Brown 

 

Erik Huhn, S, Steele HS, Cibolo, TX

“He’s a guy that’s very, very physical. Has a physical presence in the secondary. He can play up around the line of scrimmage, but he can cover. He’s just a guy that makes some great plays.” - Mack Brown

 

Darius James, OL, Harker Heights HS, Kileen, TX

“Some had him rated the number one center in the country. He’ll probably play guard for us, but he can play all five spots. He can just run and he’s so athletic.” - Mack Brown 

 

Montrel Meander, ATH, Palo Duro HS, Amarillo, TX

“He can run the speed sweeps, big enough to block. He’s a guy that can gain so much more strength in the weight room, but he’s tall and fast.” - Mack Brown

 

Jake Oliver, WR, Jesuit HS, Dallas, TX

“He has excellent hands, but also really, really fast. He runs great routes. You can tell he’s a coach’s son. He’s a guy that you can move around as a blocker, especially a great catcher in the red zone with his height because he’s really tall.” - Mack Brown 

 

Kent Perkins, OL, Lake Highlands HS, Dallas, TX

“He has great feet, good package and he blocks with good leverage. We feel like he has a chance to be a special player. He will be a tackle for us and can really run.” - Mack Brown 

 

Jake Raulerson, OL/DE, Celina HS, Celina, TX

“He is a guy that played everywhere in high school... He can really run, and he’s very aggressive as you’ll watch him. He’s a very bright young man, very driven.” - Mack Brown 

 

Geoff Swaim, TE, Butte Community College, Chico, CA

“We wanted a stronger presence at tight end with our blocking...He can run. As we watched him, he’s exactly what we’re looking for to be more physical at the line of scrimmage. I think he’s gotten the other tight ends’ attention with how physical he’s been.” - Mack Brown

 

Tyrone Swoopes, QB, Whitewright HS, Whitewright, TX

“His body fat is very little, so he’s in great shape. But he’s big at about 6’5”, 250. He can run. Guys have been impressed with him in the workouts.” - Mack Brown 

 

Jacorey Warrick, WR, Cypress Falls HS, Houston, TX 

“He is a great student... He’s got good speed and good hands. A special teams guy.” - Mack Brown 

When it comes to recruiting a batch of defenders for the 2013 season, Mack Brown has had his share of disappointments. 

First there was A’Shawn Robinson, a five-star lineman who recently decommitted from Texas, perhaps in favor of carting his defensive gifts to the home of the Crimson Tide. 

While the loss of Robinson was a significant blow for a Texas team in dire need of defensive strength, Robinson wasn’t too thrilled about the spread of his decommitment news. 

“Texas leaking that story made me kind of mad,” Robinson said, according to an interview with Max Olson of ESPN. “They kind of tried to ruin the moment for me.”

Having a moment of his own Tuesday was Andrew Billings, whose collegiate choice was also grim news for the Longhorns. Prior to his decision, the nation’s No. 13 defensive tackle was grappling with the choice between Texas and Baylor. In the end, he picked the Bears. 

Texas had good reason to lust after him: Without his commitment, Texas has no defensive tackle in its recruiting class for the first time in more than 10 years. That’s a gaping hole defensive coordinator Manny Diaz surely hopes to fill.

With junior Brandon Moore gone to the NFL draft, and two more key defenders, Chris Whaley and Ashton Dorsey, set to leave next season, filling the defensive rotation is crucial. 

Despite the bubbling disappointment after Robinson’s choice to go elsewhere and Billings’ Baylor decision, the incoming offensive line is shaping up well. Offensive guard Rami Hammad’s commitment was the cherry on top of a shining string of players Texas has managed to rope together. There’s Darius James, whose quick feet and agility make him a welcome addition.

There’s Jake Raulerson, Texas’ very first commit, a coveted center whose excitement for Texas has led him to try and recruit other top players to follow his burnt orange lead. 

“I’m just trying to get the best guys to come to Texas,” Raulerson said in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “I’m trying to be that guy, that leader.”

Defensive-end wise, Texas still has Jackson Jeffcoat and Reggie Wilson, both of whom will graduate after this year.

There’s Kent Perkins, an offensive tackle who ranks 76th on the list of ESPN’s top 150 recruits, and Desmond Harrison, a junior college transfer who will strive to make his mark in his remaining two years
of eligibility. 

Cornerback Antwuan Davis brings a resume of accomplishments with him to Texas. The speedy Bastrop product is the top defensive back in the state and a talented sprinter. Chevoski Collins committed back in October and is set to debut as a defensive back. While Texas still has starting cornerback Carrington Byndom, a rising senior, as well as Quandre Diggs, Diggs may swap his spot to fill the need for a safety. 

Deoundrei Davis and Naashon Hughes are both committed to fill the linebacker slots, though Davis is nursing a torn ACL. Hughes originally committed as a grey shirt and was recently offered a full scholarship. They’ll join linebackers Jordan Hicks and Demarco Cobbs. 

Despite a few setbacks, Texas boasts a solid stack of commits and can look forward to what it’ll bring to the 40 Acres as the 2013 season edges closer.

Published on February 6, 2013 as "Despite challenges, defensive class stands strong". 

Antwuan Davis, a defensive back from Bastrop High School, is among six defensive recruits currently committed to Texas and one of the most important assets of the 2013 class.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

The accolades pile up quickly for Texas’ 2013 defensive recruits.

Of the six who are currently committed to Texas, three of them were U.S. Army All-American Bowl honorees.

One of them made the state semifinals, was first runner-up and won a state title in three varsity seasons.

Another accepted Texas’ grayshirt offer nearly a year ago, turned down full rides from other schools, then finally earned a full scholarship from Texas in December.

For everything they are, however, the 2013 defensive recruits may be remembered more for what they are not.

They are not 6-foot-5, 304 pounds. They do not play defensive tackle. And they are not named A’Shawn Robinson.

Fair or not, Robinson’s decommitment is the story of the 2013 class, and it casts a pall over an otherwise small but promising set of defensive recruits.

This isn’t to say that athlete Chevoski Collins, defensive end Jake Raulerson, outside linebackers Naashon Hughes and Deoundrei Davis, safety Erik Huhn and corner Antwuan Davis lack talent or potential. But without Robinson (who was the most highly-rated member of the class), the task of making people forget about last year’s worst defense in school history becomes that much more difficult.

Ultimately, Robinson’s last decommitment turned what was previously considered to be a strong defensive crop into one which faces more questions than answers.

Take for example the two members of the class who will learn new positions, Collins and Raulerson. Both of them exhibited superior athletic ability in high school, but will take on completely different roles in college.

Collins, a former dual-threat quarterback, will play in the Longhorn secondary. Though there’s a precedent at Texas of converting high school quarterbacks to defensive backs (Adrian Colbert, Quandre Diggs, Adrian Phillips and Josh Turner all saw time under center before they were Longhorns), it’s never guaranteed that a player will thrive at a new position.

The same goes for Raulerson, who will likely move from offensive tackle to the other side of the ball.

“They are trying me out wherever I fit, and they are going to start me out at defensive end and see how I do,” Raulerson said in an April interview with hornsports.com

Meanwhile, though Collins and Raulerson face uphill transitions, they at least enter their first collegiate seasons without questions about their health.

The same cannot be said for two of their classmates, Huhn and Deoundrei Davis, who both tore an ACL in their senior seasons. Neither injury was career-threatening, and rehabilitation is reportedly going smoothly for both of them. Nonetheless, their recoveries will be important for the long-term trajectory of the class.

The recruit most likely to see the field in his first year besides Deoundrei Davis is Antwuan Davis, who developed into one of the best corner prospects in the country this year. Antwuan Davis showcased his ability in the AAA Bowl, where he blocked a field goal and broke up a pass in the end zone.

“I think Antwuan Davis is a guy that can push for playing time at nickel back or safety,” rivals.com’s national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said.

Without Robinson, Antwuan Davis becomes the most heralded recruit of the class, a responsibility for which he seems ready.

“I don’t know if I’ll start right away or anything, but I know that I’ll be ready to start if [the coaches] ask me to,” Antwuan Davis told The Daily Texan in September.

Whether that opportunity comes this year or later, it will be here soon.

When it comes, the Texas class of 2013 will have a chance to remind the college football world who it is.

More importantly, the Longhorns will try to make it forget who they are not.

Published on February 6, 2013 as "Robinson leaves shadow". 

Five class of 2013 prospects the Texas Longhorns missed out on

It’s been an abnormally tough recruiting season for Mack Brown and company. Arlington Heights defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson became the fifth major decommitment from Texas this year, reducing the class size to a paltry 15. A Longhorns program that routinely lands Top 5 classes now finds itself outside of the Top 20, according to rivals.com. The recruiting season has been marred by tough breaks and unfortunate incidents. Here are the top five players Texas missed out on that could have changed its fortunes for the better:

1. A’Shawn Robinson, DT
As mentioned above, Robinson just decommitted Sunday and is expected to sign with the University of Alabama. This one hurts. Robinson was one of the highest commits on the board for Texas and he was the only defensive lineman in the entire class. Deep classes in 2011 and 2012 will mitigate some of the damage of his departure, but you can’t make a habit out of having zero stud defensive line commits and expect to compete at a high level in the Big 12.

2. Dontre Wilson, RB/ATH
Wilson is a Mr. Do-Everything player (think Daje Johnson). You can line him up in the backfield, as a receiver on the outside, or in the slot. The DeSoto High School star rushed for an eye-popping 1,892 yards and 37 touchdowns, and caught 37 passes for 752 yards and nine more scores. He also had two returns for touchdowns. Wilson was originally an Oregon commit, but re-opened his recruitment after head coach Chip Kelly left Oregon to take the same position with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Longhorns were one of his final three choices, but the all-purpose back committed to Ohio State on Monday.

3. Ricky Seals-Jones, WR/ATH
Another former Texas commit, Seals-Jones is considered by many to be the best wide receiver in his class. The Sealy product decommitted from the Longhorns last June and poured salt in the wounds of Texas fans everywhere by choosing to commit to the Aggies six months later. Seals-Jones is a big physical receiver who can go up and get the ball, someone who could have been of great use to David Ash, who likes to sling the ball in the air and let his receivers make plays.

4. Daeshon Hall, DE
Like Robinson and Seals-Jones on this list, Hall was once a Texas commit. The Lancaster, Texas, product was dominant all season leading his team to the 4A state championship game and winning the Dallas Morning News Defensive Player of the Year award. Hall is lean and quick, but despite his wiry frame, is also an excellent run stopper. He is originally from Seattle and committed to Washington to be closer to family, but is reportedly still open to switching his commitment to Texas A&M.

5. Nick Marshall, QB
Yes, there are already five quarterbacks on the roster, but two, Case McCoy and Connor Brewer, have gotten themselves into a bit of trouble recently. A third, early enrollee Tyrone Swoopes, struggled so mightily his senior year in high school that ESPN decided to stop classifying him as a quarterback altogether. Marshall threw for nearly 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns last season for Garden City Community College. He could have immediately pushed Ash competitively, and been a viable backup option in case Ash went down with an injury or had to be benched like he was in the Kansas game this past season. Instead, the dual-threat junior college transfer will suit up for the Auburn Tigers next year.

A'Shawn Robinson decommits from Texas, caps tough stretch for Longhorns

The hits just keep coming for Texas.

A day after Texas athletic director DeLoss Dodds released a statement which admonished co-offensive coordinator Major Applewhite for “inappropriate, consensual behavior with an adult student” at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl, Arlington Heights defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson decommitted from Texas. He will likely sign with Alabama.

Even though Robinson committed to play for Texas last February, he also took official visits to Florida State, Southern California, and Alabama. Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban met went to Arlington to meet with Robinson earlier this week. Burntorangenation.com reports that Robinson informed Texas defensive tackle coach Bo Davis of his decomittment during an in-home visit on Saturday.

Davis’ decision comes on the heels of the Applewhite scandal, which may have contributed to Robinson’s choice.

Davis is the fifth former member of Texas’ 2013 class to decommit. Sealy athlete Ricky Seals-Jones, Lancaster defensive end Daeshon Hall, Belton tight end Durham Smythe, and Arlington Martin running back Kyle Hicks all decommitted earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, Texas is already working on replacing Robinson with another exceptionally talented defensive lineman.

Memphis Central defensive end Frank Herron is visiting Austin this weekend, as the Texas coaching staff makes a last-ditch effort to bring him on board. Herron is rated as a five-star by rivals.com, and is currently committed to Louisiana State. He is joined by two other prospects who have also made verbal commitments elsewhere: DeSoto running back Dontre Wilson (committed to Oregon), and Palo Duro safety/wide receiver Montrel Meander (committed to Washington State).

Texas is expected to add approximately three more members to the 2013 class, which now stands at 14.

Illustrations by Colin Zelinski.

At the start of the 2013 recruiting cycle, Mack Brown and company knew they needed a ton of help in this class. And they got it. Almost.

1,810 pounds will have to do.

That’s the combined weight of the six 2013 linemen who have verbally committed to Texas: defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, defensive end Jake Raulerson, center Darius James, offensive tackle Kent Perkins, offensive tackle Desmond Harrison and guard Rami Hammad.

Those six will throw their weight around with the other 14 offensive lineman and 15 defensive linemen on scholarship for the 2013 season.

Consequently, it may be a while before some members of the incoming class get the chance to carry their share of the load. Even though Hammad, Robinson, James, Perkins and Raulerson are all listed by rivals.com as the best prospects in Texas at their respective positions, their playing time could be scarce.

The Texas lines are packed with more experienced commodities (the only starter Texas will lose from either line is defensive end Alex Okafor), and acclimating the incoming freshmen to the speed of the college game will take time. Hammad, James, and Perkins especially are early candidates for redshirts.    

Harrison, however, is a notable exception. A junior college transfer, Harrison has only two years of eligibility left and is under pressure to make an immediate impact. Although he may not be a starter from Day One (like fellow junior college transfer Donald Hawkins), Harrison should provide valuable depth at both tackle positions.

Although Harrison’s niche is already well established, the same cannot be said for the class’ two defensive linemen, Robinson and Raulerson.

Robinson could be the cream of the crop in their class if he indeed makes it to Austin. Even though he has been committed to Texas since Feb. 16 of last year, Robinson has taken official visits to Southern California, Florida State and as of last weekend, Alabama.

If he signs with Texas on Feb. 6, he has the talent to find playing time in a crowded Longhorn defensive front. Rated by rivals.com as the best prospect in Texas, Robinson could cause just as much disruption as Malcolm Brown or Brandon Moore did in their first years at Texas.

Alternatively, Raulerson has been committed to Texas longer than any other member of the 2013 class. He is already taking classes at UT and will participate in Spring Practice. Unlike Robinson, Raulerson’s future as a Longhorn is secure; what role he will play is murkier.

Raulerson is listed by Texas as a defensive end, but he played offensive tackle throughout high school. At 6 feet 5 inches and 262 pounds, Raulerson would need to put on considerable weight to be effective at that position at this level.

As an early enrollee, Raulerson will have a head start on learning the system as well as access to Texas’ strength and conditioning program. Even so, with all the returning talent on the defensive line, Raulerson will have to make quite an impression to avoid a redshirt position in his first season.

Although it’s always difficult to project a recruit’s impact, this is particularly true with linemen. Discerning how a recruit will develop both physically and mentally is a tricky business.

Still, the potential for this group to be a force in the Texas trenches is real. And while that opportunity may still be a few years off, the Longhorns should be optimistic about the big things coming to Austin.

Whitewright High’s Tyrone Swoopes, a 6-foot-5 dual threat quarterback, is just one piece of the Longhorns’ 2013 recruiting class. Swoopes has enrolled early this spring to join the team.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Photo | Daily Texan Staff

The end of the year was marred by decommitments and missed opportunities for the Longhorns’ 2013 recruiting class, despite strong showings by UT commits at end-of-the-year All-America games.

The class of 2013 now has only 13 members. Arlington Martin running back Kyle Hicks switched his commitment to TCU, and Belton tight end Durham Smythe decommitted from Texas to entertain other offers.

Although decommitments are an expected part of the recruiting process for any school, Texas has yet to fill the spots vacated by Smythe and Hicks.

Katy Seven Lakes offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch, Auburn athlete Cameron Echols-Luper and East Mississippi Community College defensive end Za’Darius Smith all recently spurned the Longhorns. Benenoch, who was once thought to favor UT, committed to UCLA Dec. 10. Marshall was offered a scholarship but committed to Auburn on Monday. Texas offered a scholarship to Echols-Luper on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough to prevent him from committing to TCU over the weekend. Smith visited Austin for the Dec. 7 Football Banquet (according to burntorangenation.com), only to commit to Kentucky Dec. 19.

Meanwhile, speculation continues that Arlington Heights defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson may also decommit. Robinson committed to Texas on Feb. 16, but has since made visits to Florida State, Southern California and Alabama. Robinson is rated as Texas’ best 2013 commitment by rivals.com.

Nonetheless, Robinson asserted his allegiance to Texas at the 2013 Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio Jan. 5.

Robinson was joined by five other 2013 Longhorn commitments in San Antonio: Whitewright quarterback Tyrone Swoopes, Bastrop cornerback Antwuan Davis, Dallas Jesuit wide receiver Jake Oliver, Lake Highlands offensive tackle Kent Perkins and Celina athlete Jake Raulerson. Cypress Woods linebacker Deoundrei Davis was also selected for the game, but is still healing from an ACL tear. Swoopes, Raulerson and Deoundrei Davis have already enrolled.

Bastrop’s Davis made the biggest splash of any future Longhorn. Davis broke up what would have been a sure touchdown in the second quarter, and came off the edge to block a field goal in the same drive.

The other major high school all-star game, the Under Armour All-America Game, also had a representative from Texas. Harker Heights center Darius James missed most of his senior season with a broken foot, but showed off his versatility by playing a few snaps at offensive tackle. Even so, James may not have had even the best month in his own school.

Fellow Harker Heights Knight and Texas commit Naashon Hughes, who played out his senior season expecting a grayshirt, was rewarded by the Longhorns with a full scholarship in mid-December. The outside linebacker will now start classes this coming fall.

Who else will join him in the class of 2013, however, is unclear. While potential candidates include Waco offensive lineman Andrew Billings, Hutchinson Community College outside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell and Contra Costa Community College offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, to say that any of those players will sign with Texas on National Signing Day would be shortsighted.

To be more accurate, as National Signing Day looms and the Texas coaching staff scrambles for a handful of commitments, the only certainty in this class is how much remains uncertain.