Mack Brown better make the most of the nine days between now and Signing Day and be glad that he’ll have a wealth of starters returning next season.
Because, while he will still welcome plenty of highly-touted, wide-eyed freshman soon, this February’s haul won’t do for him what last February’s did. The quality is there, but the quantity isn’t.
Half of the players committed to play for Texas next year are in the Rivals 250, something that couldn’t be said of last year’s recruiting class.
Then again, this year’s haul is half the size of last year’s. So the fact that Texas has nine starters returning on both offense and defense bodes well for the Longhorns. They have the potential to get more impact out of the new class than they did from the 28 they recruited last year.
There are currently 14 players verbally committed to play for Texas next season, making for a class that’s rated as the 19th-best in the country by rivals.com. If it stays that way, the Longhorns would sign their worst recruiting class since 2005, when rivals.com had Texas’ class ranked No. 20.
As far as offensive skill position players go, about as many prospects have pledged to play for the Longhorns as those that have spurned them. Texas nabbed Whitewright quarterback Tyrone Swoopes but lost out on junior college stud Nick Marshall.
Swoopes, a 6-foot-5-inch, 229-pounder that has drawn comparisons to Longhorn legend Vince Young, went 1-9 as Whitewright’s starter this year. ESPN reclassified him as an athlete, rather than a quarterback, although Swoopes, one of four to enroll early at UT, seems eager to prove he can be an elite college quarterback.
Jake Oliver and Jacorey Warrick should be solid wide receivers, but the Longhorns could have used Bastrop’s Robbie Rhodes, who committed to Baylor, or Ra’Shaad Samples, who chose Oklahoma State over Texas. Losing former Texas pledge Ricky Seals-Jones to Texas A&M really hurt.
Jones made it the second straight year that the nation’s top receiver prospect, according to rivals.com, turned down an offer to play for the Longhorns. Dorial Green-Beckham, who rivals.com labeled the top prospect at any position, picked Missouri over Texas. Jones de-committed from Texas last June and has since pledged to play for Texas A&M.
Tight end play has been a major weakness for the Longhorns, lately. Butte Community College tight end Geoff Swaim is a nice addition, but Belton tight end Durham Smythe recently joined Jones among those to decommit from Texas.
The Longhorns should improve along the line of scrimmage, thanks to pledges like A’Shawn Robinson, Jake Raulerson, Darius James, Kent Perkins and 6-foot-8-inch junior college offensive lineman Desmond Harrison.
Those players will fill big needs but leaves only nine players to contribute elsewhere. Thankfully, Texas has brought in plenty of blue-chippers over the last two years. But the Longhorns can’t make 14-member recruiting classes a trend.
Published on January 23, 2013 as "Strong recruits needed to bolster Longhorns' success".