Riser (6-foot-4, 290 pounds) is the No. 6 offensive guard and the No. 78 player overall in the ESPNU 150. His high school teammate, cornerback Bryson Echols, is also committed to the Longhorns.
Riser has been committed to Texas since Feb. 13, 2011. He chose the Longhorns over offers from Notre Dame, LSU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech.
Travis L. Brown/ESPN.comDeSoto offensive tackle Curtis Riser did not allow a sack during his senior season.
Riser is one of four offensive linemen in this class along with fellow Under Armour All-American Kennedy Estelle (Pearland, Texas/Dawson), early enrollee Camrhon Hughes (Harker Heights, Texas/Harker Heights) and junior college transfer Donald Hawkins (Northwest Mississippi Community College).
Scouts take: “Riser is a very strong run blocker both on and off the line of scrimmage; will need to polish aspects of pass protection. However we like the nimble feet he displays. Although Riser does not appear to be an immediate starter and it’s possible he could end up inside at the offensive guard position, we feel his size and playing strength are worth evaluating at the offensive tackle spot.”
Importance to class: There is never a class that doesn’t have the need for offensive linemen. They are just too vital to a team’s success. Riser proved this season to be the best offensive guard prospect in the state, and Texas couldn’t let him go anywhere else. He’s the only one of the Longhorns’ four linemen commitments that projects as a guard, though he has said he wouldn’t mind playing tackle if given the chance.
How soon can he make an impact? Riser doesn’t care who is in front of him. He’s going to give it his all. That’s just who he is. But Texas is only losing one starter off the line in David Snow, and his backup at left guard is Luke Poehlmann, who saw significant minutes is special packages last season. Then there is the addition of junior college transfer Donald Hawkins, who will surely see early playing time. Texas doesn’t bring JUCO players into the mix often, so you’ve got to believe he was brought here for immediate help. So Riser is going to have to beat out several players to crack the rotation. But you can never count him out. Not with his skill set and motivation.
Riser on signing with Texas: “I’m proud to be a Longhorn and ready to get down there and show what I have and win a national championship in these next couple of years. I’m going to go down there and show the coaches what I have. No one wants to sit on the bench, regardless of their age. So I definitely want early playing time. If I don’t succeed with that then I will redshirt and get better. But I definitely want to go down there and, if not start, have early playing time.”
Jones (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) is the No. 21 receiver and the No. 147 prospect overall in the ESPNU 150. Prior to the latest rankings, Jones was rated as the No. 3 receiver in the country.
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comWR Cayleb Jones is the son of a Super Bowl champ and will bring a physical presence to the receiver corps.
Jones, whose father, Robert Jones, was a linebacker for multiple teams in the NFL, is one of three receivers in this class along with Kendall Sanders (Athens, Texas/Athens) and Marcus Johnson (League City, Texas/Clear Springs).
Scouts take: “Considering Jones’ size, he is a very gifted overall prospect in terms of athleticism, change-of-direction and speed. He is similar in tools to last year’s Trey Metoyer, who signed with Oklahoma. He is one of the more fluid receivers with size to come out of Texas in recent memory, which is why he is highly coveted, but is not a sudden, explosive player.”
Importance to class: The Longhorns will return their top four pass catchers in Mike Davis, Jaxon Shipley, Marquise Goodwin and D.J. Grant. So the importance of Jones might not seem so great at first. But, because of injury, poor quarterback play or other, none of those receivers really had standout seasons. There wasn’t that one receiver for Texas that had defenses losing sleep at night. But Jones has that ability with his physical presence and mental makeup. He’s been around the game for a long time because of his father, who introduced him to some of the NFL’s all-time great wide receivers specifically so he could shine at this stage of his life. He grew up in the shadows of the university and already has great friendships with several members on the team. Texas couldn’t let one of the nation’s best receivers get out of its own backyard. He was a must get, and they got him.
How soon can he make an impact? Jones will see plenty of playing time as a freshman. It’s just a matter of how soon he’ll see it. Miles Onyegbule was able to see playing time as a freshman last season and Jones appears to be much more polished than Onyegbule was at this stage in their careers. Given how Bryan Harsin likes to shuffle so many players in to the offense, look for Jones to be on the field in some capacity from Day 1.
Jones on signing with Texas: "It means a lot. A lot of people wish they could be a part of Texas and Longhorn Nation. It means a lot to me and a lot to my family and the people I grew up with. I’m excited."
Santos (6-foot-2, 240 pounds) is a four-star recruit rated as the No. 1 inside linebacker in the nation and No. 14 among in-state prospects by ESPNU.
Santos is one of four linebackers in this recruiting class along with Peter Jinkens (Dallas/Skyline), Timothy Cole (Brenham, Texas/Brenham) and Alex De La Torre (Denton, Texas/Ryan).
As a senior at Van, the Under Armour All-American recorded 101 tackles (19 for loss), three sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and an interception.
Scouts take: Santos is a dominant run stopper from inside to the edge; his excellent instincts and immediate reactions allow him to create havoc in the backfield. Has the size and athleticism for the inside linebacker position at the major level of competition. This guy is a tough customer; displays very good balance and explosion when tackling; will punish and knock ball carriers back where they came from. This an athlete who brings it all to the field, resulting in momentum changing plays. Santos' size, toughness and intellect could get him early situational playing time on defense as his collegiate career begins.
Importance to class: Texas already had three commits from linebackers when it made a last-second push for Santos. Maybe their interest began when Mario Edwards Jr. said no to UT. More likely, the Longhorns’ need for a top-flight in-state linebacker came from the realization that seniors Keenan Robinson and Emmaunel Acho are gone and leave behind an inexperienced group in much need of playmakers. Either way, flipping Santos was an absolute steal for Texas.
How soon he can make an impact? On Sunday, Santos proudly told HornsNation he’s coming in to take over the starting job at middle linebacker, no matter who stands in his way. Right now, his biggest competitor is sophomore-to-be Steve Edmond. Whether he secures the starting spot in the middle or not, Santos has all the traits of a standout hitman on special teams, a role he could adopt right away this fall.
Quote: “I felt like I had to stay close to home and do what I do right here in the great state of Texas, in front of all my friends and family. … I want to bring a nasty mentality to that Texas defense like it should be. I don’t care who stands in my way, I’m going to do what I have to do.”
Boyette (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) is a four-star recruit rated as the No. 21 defensive tackle and 32nd-best prospect in the state of Texas by ESPNU. As a senior at Humble, Boyette racked up 45 tackles and four sacks this fall.
He has been committed to the Longhorns since Feb. 26, 2011, and chose Texas over offers from Texas A&M, Baylor, Alabama, Florida State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Tennessee, among others.
Boyette is one of four defensive tackles in this 2012 recruiting class along with Malcom Brown (Brenham, Texas/Brenham), Alex Norman (Dallas/Bishop Dunne) and East Mississippi Community College transfer Brandon Moore.
Scouts take: Boyette has the tools to be a productive presence in the interior of the defensive line. He is a kid with good height and bulk and should be able to pack on more good size with time in a college weight program. Not a kid that will wow you with great first-step quickness, but he gets off the ball well and will show some flashes. He can be tough and productive against the run. He flashes the ability to fire out of his stance low and get under a blocker's pads, and when does and generates power from his lower body he can stand a blocker up and knock him back.
Importance to class: Defensive tackle was a bit of a question mark for Texas coming into 2011, and while Kheeston Randall struggled in his senior year others gained valuable experience. Still, it was a position UT coaches targeted in this class, and they brought in probably the best high schooler they could get in Brown and a strong JUCO transfer in Moore. That’s probably good for Boyette -- it gives him more time to develop.
How soon he can make an impact? Boyette might be a candidate for a redshirt in his first year on campus, but that’s to be expected. Having Ashton Dorsey, Desmond Jackson, Moore and Brown means Boyette would really have to stand out from day one to get on the two-deep and see the field this fall.
Jordan (6-foot-1, 170 pounds) is a three-star recruit rated as the No. 4 kicker in the nation by ESPNU.
The U.S. Army All-American has been committed to the Longhorns since June 27, 2011, and picked Texas over offers from Oklahoma, Illinois, Texas Tech and Iowa State.
Jordan is the only kicker in Texas’ 2012 recruiting class. The Longhorns lost kicker/punter Justin Tucker to graduation but return redshirt sophomores William Russ and Grant Sirgo and walk-on redshirt freshman Ben Pruitt.
As a senior at Coppell, Jordan connected on five of his nine field-goal attempts.
Scouts take: His leg strength is at a D1 level. Field goals have improved, his height is excellent, and it will be exciting to see how much better he can get. The ball explodes off his foot as fast as anyone in the 2012 class.
Importance to class: This was a smart get by Major Applewhite. Texas needs at least one kicker and perhaps two to take over for Tucker, and the Longhorns went out and got arguably the state’s best.
How soon he can make an impact? The day he gets on campus. Mack Brown has hinted that the Longhorns’ future kicker might not be on campus yet. He’s going to give Jordan a shot of taking over some or all of the kicking duties.
Quote: “I’ve been committed for a while, so it’s going to be nice to officially say I’m a Longhorn. Obviously I’m going to have to work for that position to see if I can get it. I really like the coaching staff, they’re very inviting. Everything about Texas just feels right.”
Cottrell (6-foot-3, 225 pounds) switched his commitment from Oregon to the Longhorns on Monday after taking an official visit to Texas over the weekend.
Cottrell is one of four defensive ends committed to the Longhorns along with Caleb Bluiett (Beaumont, Texas/West Brook) and Hassan Ridgeway (Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield).
He chose Texas over offers from Oregon, Arkansas, Arizona State, Boston College, Ole Miss, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Baylor, Mississippi State, and Purdue.
Scouts take: “An active player against the run, particularly chasing down ball carrier from a weak side technique. Has good height and muscular build with plenty of room for growth. Improved upper body strength will benefit his ability to stand his ground and create more separation when up on the line in college. Overall, Cottrell has good upside and physical tools develop into the outside linebacker position. With refinement of technique, improved read and recognition skills and coverage experience he could grow into a solid BCS level player.”
Importance to class: Texas was desperate for another defensive end after losing out on Mario Edwards and thinking Torshiro Davis was firm in with LSU. So it went out and got Cottrell after little to no contact between either party. Cottrell is the lowest-rated player in Texas’ class but is important nonetheless. The Longhorns return five defensive ends, including both starters in Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor. But only one of those (Cedric Reed) will be an underclassmen next season. It was important for Texas to build some depth at that position in this class, and it did so with Cottrell.
How soon can he make an impact? He’s probably going to redshirt due to the numbers in front of him. Jeffcoat, Okafor, Reed, Chris Whaley and Reggie Wilson all return.
Cottrell on signing with Texas: “It was best for me and my family. Their scheme fit me better. The [Texas] coaches sat me down and showed me everything, and it truly did fit the way I play.”
Cole (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) is the No. 27 outside linebacker in the nation and the No. 44 player in Texas, according to ESPNU. His high school teammate, Malcom Brown, is also committed to the Longhorns.
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comIncoming freshman Tim Cole wants to play early and often for the Longhorns in 2012.
Cole is one of three linebackers in this class along with Peter Jinkens (Dallas/Skyline) and Alex De La Torre (Denton, Texas/Ryan).
Scouts take: “Cole is an athlete with the physical strength and playing speed necessary to dominate at the point of attack. Has the size and athleticism for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. We see a strong wrap tackler with the balance and explosion required to knock ball carriers back where they came from.”
Importance to class: This kid is a football player through and through. One of the things that Brenham coach Glen West’s likes most about Cole is his ability to run through ball carriers at the point of impact. Most players, West will tell you, like to gather themselves at that time and don’t follow through completely. Not Cole. He’s one of the purer tacklers in the state and has good size with room to add more bulk under Bennie Wylie.
How soon can he make an impact? The Longhorns will need to find replacements for Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson, and probably have them in some combination of Jordan Hicks, Steve Edmond and Demarco Cobbs. But the Longhorns will have to add depth behind backups Tevin Jackson and Aaron Benson and Cole could find his way into the mix, though he will have to beat out fellow incoming freshmen Peter Jinkens and Alex De La Torre, who is already enrolled.
Cole on signing with Texas: “It feels good. I can get a free education and get to pursue my career in whatever I want to do. It’s a blessing and I’m glad I got to get recruited by them. My dream’s coming true and I’m glad I’m going to play for college team I love and finally be a Longhorn.”
Brown has been committed to Texas since April 3, 2011. He chose the Longhorns over offers from Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas A&M, Kansas State, TCU, Tennessee and Texas Tech.
Brown is one of four defensive tackles committed in this class along with fellow Under Armour All-American Alex Norman (Dallas, Texas/Bishop Dunne), Paul Boyette Jr. (Humble, Texas/Humble) and junior college transfer Brandon Moore (East Mississippi Community College).
Scouts take: “When you are going against Brown you better keep your pads down because this defensive tackle prospect is going to get low. Brown is an active player who could be a disruptive and productive interior defender at the college level.”
Importance to class: It’s hard to imagine a defensive player creating as much buzz around himself as a running back like Gray, who holds the national high school career touchdown mark with 205. But Brown has managed to do that. He is one of the premiere tackles in the country and proved as much at the Under Armour All-America Game. Many thought he was going to go to Texas A&M because it was the only college campus he’d really ever known. But that changed when he visited Texas, and the Longhorns couldn’t be happier about his decision to come to Austin.
How soon can he make an impact? The Longhorns haven’t had a truly dominating defensive tackle since Shaun Rogers and Casey Hampton in 2000. Brown has an opportunity to lump his name in with those two, and his path to doing so should start as soon as he gets to Austin.
Who is he? Well, Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, Mo./Hillcrest), of course.
Longhorns fans, set your alarms to tune in to his announcement at 9:15 a.m. CT on ESPNU.
After that? Kick back and relax.
National signing day means a crazy and exciting day for the players, teams and their fans, but for Texas, there appears to be no pending drama.
While adding DGB would almost certainly vault Texas to the top recruiting class, it seems almost as certain that the 6-foot-6 receiver will not be in burnt orange.
Meanwhile, Mack Brown and Co. have already finished their work for 2012. A mad finish to the recruiting year might have been one of the better recruiting weekends for the Longhorns.
After a week of in-home visits, Daje Johnson (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) and Dalton Santos (Van, Texas/Van) both made officials visits while being committed to other schools.
That visit was all it took for the two ESPNU 150 players to switch their commitments. Added to that was the surprise commitment of two-star defensive end Bryce Cottrell (Plano, Texas/West), and by Monday, the Longhorns had pretty much wrapped up a class featuring 11 members of the ESPNU 150.
While today’s excitement will be reserved for other schools, sit back and enjoy the show Texas fans.
At Texas, it took all of six months. By then it was established that the class of 2011 would be the most mature and utilized freshman class in the Mack Brown era. By mid-August 2011 it had become clear several freshmen would play significant roles during the season. Malcolm Brown lived up to the hype at running back. Jaxon Shipley was a carbon copy of his brother Jordan. Quandre Diggs was better than anyone suspected at cornerback. Even unheralded quarterback David Ash was getting attention from the coaches.
By the end of the 2011 season, 18 true freshmen played for Texas. No other team in the country played as many. And while the record (8-5) was not up to Texas’ standards the thought of the potential carried on the shoulders of these young players was enough to keep the fans at bay and the athletic director writing a new contract extension.
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The excitement around recruiting in Texas couldn't be higher, right? Yes, recruits are followed on Twitter and friended on Facebook and announce their decisions on nation TV, but ...
Have the Longhorns (or any other school for that matter) called on a former U.S. President to persuade a prospect?
As Ivan Maisel writes, former president Lyndon Johnson tried desperately to get Joe Washington to sign with the Longhorns.
LBJ was known for his power of persuasion, failed and the Port Arthur, Texas product signed with Oklahoma.
As national signing day unfolds Feb. 1, ESPN.com's RecruitingNation will size up the talent in the 2012 class. But who will be household names as college seniors? The Mag asked RN's scouts to project the favorites for the top awards -- if these guys aren't already playing on Sundays.
Here are some awards Longhorns fans can look forward to in 2015:
RB Johnathan Gray, Texas Longhorns
2012's top back set the national record for career rushing touchdowns (205) at Aledo (Texas) High using a blend of speed (4.53 40), power (5'10", 205 pounds) and vision. "He'll remind UT fans of Ricky Williams," says RN recruiting coordinator Billy Tucker.
Runner up: QB Ford Childress, West Virginia Mountaineers
This 6'4" gunslinger from Houston's Kinkaid High (3,588 yards, 47 TDs, 5 INTs as a senior) enrolled early to get a head start on Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid offense.
DOAK WALKER (Best running back)
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Green-Beckham has been described as a hybrid of Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, he possesses the size and speed to be a significant deep threat and formidable red-zone target.
Any program in the nation would be happy to land Green-Beckham, but he has narrowed his list to five schools -- Arkansas, Texas, Missouri, Alabama and Oklahoma –- all of which have significant holes at wide receiver.