Texas Longhorns: North Carolina Tar Heels

MESQUITE, Texas -- Class of 2015 quarterback Kyler Murray (Allen, Texas/Allen) has five offers so far, and his list of interested schools continues to grow.

Murray took in a satellite camp hosted by Sam Houston State and assisted by Arizona State, one of the schools to have offered, on Thursday afternoon. While he chose to watch the camp and not participate, Murray said he was a fan of what he saw from the Arizona State coaches.

"I've been talking to [offensive coordinator] Coach [Mike] Norvell, and he told me they liked me," Murray said. "I like what they're doing over there. I'm definitely interested."


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#BlueChipBattles: ESPN 150 release edition

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Speedy Noil, Adoree Jackson, Da'Shawn HandStudent Sports, ESPN, ESPNSpeedy Noil, Adoree Jackson and Da'Shawn Hand are three of the most coveted recruits in the Class of 2014.
#BlueChipBattles Insider: RecruitingNation summoned its writers from around the country to outline the recruiting battles for the ESPN 150's top 10 prospects.

Plus, rank the battles in SportsNation.

#TopFBMixtapes: Athlete mixtapes are all the rage in this highlight-crazed era of sports. We reached out to our Twitter followers to find out which 2014 football stars had the best highlight reels on YouTube, then had our staff rank and comment on the top submissions.

Tom Luginbill writes Insider: After talking to many coaches across the country and hearing their frustrations, here are their five biggest complaints about homemade highlight videos.

Two lead for ESPN 150 Tyrone Crowder 

October, 12, 2012
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ESPN 150 offensive lineman Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond) would love to be able to get his recruitment over with as soon as possible. But unfortunately, he has not been able to fit any of his official visits into his schedule during his senior season. The 6-foot-2, 325-pound senior acknowledged his decision might not be made until signing day, depending on how quickly he can get his visits done.

Tyrone Crowder
Scott Drucker/IntersportTyrone Crowder says two teams have taken the lead in his recruitment.
The four-star prospect says two key factors stand out right now, with location not being one of them.

“A great coaching staff and a nice campus lifestyle,” Crowder said. “My family tells me that distance does not matter when it comes to me trying to achieve my goals.”

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Julius Randle names Top 10 

August, 27, 2012
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Power forward Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian), ESPN's No. 3 ranked player, has narrowed his choices to 10 schools. The Dallas native Tweeted out his list on Monday and the news has been confirmed by mulitiple sources.

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Maurice SmithTom Hauck for ESPN.com2013 DB Maurice Smith from Texas enjoyed his trip to Tuscaloosa for A-Day.
Tide on top for ESPN 150 Watch List member CB Smith after visit

When Texas offered Lone State cornerback Maurice Smith last month, the University of Alabama knew it had an uphill road to climb, but the Crimson Tide made up some ground and more during the weekend when Smith visited Tuscaloosa for A-Day.

“It was great,” Smith said. “We got to talk to Coach (Doug) Nussmeier, the coach out of my area. He really took me under his wing and showed me around the place. I loved the campus and the people around the campus. The environment was great.

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Video: Texas-UNC highlights

December, 21, 2011
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas has won seven in a row and had five different leading scorers during the streak.

But while the younger players might be stepping up their games, Texas is still a team that can only go as far as junior J'Covan Brown can take it. The guard's minutes have jumped from 21.5 last season to 33.6. Not surprisingly, Brown is averaging nearly nine more points a game, and taking twice as many shots. He leads the team in scoring with 19.3 points per game.

But where his impact is clearly felt most is in shot selection. When Brown is in the game, he takes 31.6 percent of the team's shots. That's the third-highest total in the Big 12.

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Rick Barnes sees potential.

Five freshmen, each with a unique talent; a junior guard in J'Covan Brown who is a proven scorer and is becoming a more adept passer every game; and a big man, Clint Chapman, who after three years of watching is now snatching his opportunity ... and rebounds.

[+] EnlargeClint Chapman
Brendan Maloney/US PresswireJaylen Bond (2) and Clint Chapman have picked up their performances recently for Texas.
“We've shown a lot of things that we can do,” the Texas coach said. “I keep thinking that we have got so much room to improve, it's amazing.”

There is room to improve and then there is the gulf of experience that appears to separate Texas from its next opponent, North Carolina. The No. 6 Tar Heels return much of the team that made the Elite Eight last season before being knocked out by Kentucky.

Texas starts three freshmen, and it could be a long and frustrating learning experience for Barnes' team inside the Dean Dome Wednesday night. But the key is, Texas is learning. Truth be told, this game is not make-or-break for the Longhorns. It's a nonconference test that fits perfectly into the schedule.

Barnes built this schedule with youth in mind, knowing he would have to allow his young players to grow into games such as this one at North Carolina and, later, the Big 12 schedule. Had it not been for a huge second-half collapse against North Carolina State and an overtime loss to Oregon State -- both games away from the Frank Erwin Center -- Texas would be exactly where Barnes wanted it.

As it is, there are indications that the Longhorns are maturing at a rapid rate and getting better play out of certain players who, at this point, were not supposed to be difference-makers. Take Jaylen Bond, for instance.

The freshman had been in a support role for the first couple weeks of the season. He averages just 15 minutes a game. But he is fourth on the team in rebounding and first in rebounds per minute played, and both numbers are rising. Just in the past two games, Bond, a 6-foot-7 forward, has pulled down 20 rebounds.

“What he has done on the boards is exactly what he did when we started preseason practice,” Barnes said. “The last two games he is really starting to do some good things we need from him.”

Bond said that is just part of the maturation process.

“As I get more confident in my offense and defense, I am able to help my team win,” he said.

His offense, more than his rebounding, has been the most surprising aspect of his game in the last two contests.

Bond scored 18 against Nicholls State. It was a season high. In the next game, against Temple, Bond put up 12 points. Many of those were high-percentage putbacks.

Bond said he has always had the ability to read the ball out of shooter's hands and correctly slice for the rebound. That ability should help him as he goes up against the 7-foot Tyler Zeller and 6-foot-11 John Henson when banging the boards at North Carolina.

What could help Texas as a team is the knowledge that while the players in Longhorns uniforms have changed throughout the years, their program does hold a four-game winning streak over the Tar Heels.

“We have beaten them twice in the last couple of years, so I know they are going to come into this game having something to prove,” point guard Myck Kabongo said. “We have something to prove, too.”

What the Longhorns have to prove is that the potential Barnes sees is real.

Texas gets a steal with Connor Lammert 

October, 3, 2011
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Shooting 3's ...

Lammert is barely 17, and that's good news for Texas
Connor Lammert (San Antonio/Churchill) isn’t in our ESPNU 100. Maybe he should be. Lammert committed to the University of Texas after considering Big 12 brethren Texas Tech and Texas A&M, in addition to Vanderbilt.

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