A strange recruiting season for the Longhorns has been defined more by who they didn’t get than who they did. Litanies of misses and decommits have cause headaches for the entire coaching staff. Here are the top five recruits most likely to make those headaches worse in the near future:
1. Keith Ford, RB, Oklahoma
Ford is one of the most college-ready backs in this class. The top-rated back in the state of Texas, according to rivals.com, the Cypress Ranch star rushed for more than 1,700 yards and 20 scores as a senior and is likely to create an immediate 1-2 punch for the Sooners with established starter Damien Williams. His combination of strength and elusiveness and have garnered favorable comparisons to Trent Richardson. If he comes close to delivering on that comparison, it’ll be a major problem for a Texas defense that missed more than 100 tackles this past season.
2. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss
Treadwell is the only non-Big12 player mentioned on the list. Texas will meet him early next season in the last non-conference game and can only hope he hasn’t found his footing by then, because his impending ascendancy isn’t a matter of if, but when. The No. 1 ranked receiving prospect by rivals.com, Treadwell has the height and speed that recruiters drool over. His great hands and ability to catch in traffic make his quarterback’s job a lot easier. The Longhorns were one of many teams to throw their hat in the ring for him in the recruiting process, but the Illinois native surprised many by choosing to commit to an upstart Rebels team.
3. Robbie Rhodes, WR, Baylor
Rhodes averaged 30.4 yards per reception in his senior season at Fort Worth Southwest, and no, that is not a typo. Rhodes loves the deep ball and should fit right in at Baylor, who has produced arguably the most productive receiving corps in the nation the last two seasons. All-Americans Kendall Wright and Terrance Williams gave the Longhorns defense fits the past two seasons and Rhodes is the next big receiver in the pipeline for the Bears.
4. DJ Ward, DE, Oklahoma
Ward is an explosive pass-rusher and shows the versatility desperately needed by an Oklahoma staff that is considering switching to a 3-4 defense. Transfer issues kept the 6-foot-3 defensive end off the field his senior season of high school, but he amassed 169 tackles and 20 sacks his previous two seasons of varsity football. He has all the tools to become dominant in quarterback pursuit and wreak havoc on any offensive tackle forced to guard him.
5. Kyle Hicks, RB, TCU
The list both starts and ends with a running back and you can blame the Texas defense for that. The Longhorns manned the 88th ranked run defense last season, allowing nearly 200 yards rushing per game. Hicks, originally a Longhorns commit, changed his pledge to TCU to stay closer to home, and Texas’ loss was the Horned Frogs' gain. The Arlington Martin product is easily the top offensive recruit for TCU and has the opportunity to make an immediate impact, something that would have been difficult to do at Texas, who already have a logjam at the running back spot.