AUSTIN, Texas -- Manny Diaz will build his Texas defense on his own terms.
The second-year defensive coordinator has brought in 15 potential defenders for the Longhorns’ 2013 class during UT’s first two junior days. Only three have received scholarship offers.
On a day when UT appeared to have brought in most of its favorite in-state defensive targets, all went home empty-handed. What gives?
If we can infer anything from Texas’ rather uneventful second junior day, it’s that Diaz and Texas’ defensive coaches are attempting to stay as selective as possible when it comes to locking up this batch of junior recruits.
A total of 11 in-state juniors who could become future Longhorn defenders made the trip to Austin on Saturday, and the results of the day could’ve been telling.
Did Texas like Deoundrei Davis, Mike Mitchell or Brett Wade best at linebacker? Would athletes Chevoski Collins and Jacorey Warrick fit in as defensive backs? And is Torrodney Prevot the best pass rusher on the board, or does UT prefer Daeshon Hall or Deon Hollins Jr.?
There’s one easy answer to those questions: Saturday wasn’t the day to decide. Maybe it’s another sign of the times, that Texas will no longer accept pledges from just anyone who will show up to a junior day and say yes.
Most likely, the statement Texas coaches are sending is that in a year when Texas must sign a smaller class than normal, every spot is more valuable than ever.
Some recruits understand that and still left Austin impressed with the program. Others will feel understandably insecure about where they stand on Texas’ wish list.
Recruiting foes like Oklahoma, Texas A&M and LSU have already offered many of the Texans they want. By not offering, Diaz is betting the guys he wants will stay patient and remain uncommitted until whenever he’s ready for them.
You saw hints of that message in recruits’ descriptions of the speech Mack Brown made to end Saturday’s junior day.
Brown insisted he’s interested in those who made it down but urged them to think about if they really want to be Longhorns. He needs to know soon if Texas should spend more time evaluating each of them.
Texas has less room for error than usual with this 2013 group, so its coaches must demand patience – even if that flies in the face of their notoriously fast-paced recruiting habits.
Of course, this point could be moot by Monday morning if Texas makes offers to a few standout defenders – Prevot, Collins and Davis immediately come to mind – and begins to put its plan into action.