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Thursday, December 20, 2012
The Heard: UT recruiting news and notes

By William Wilkerson and Max Olson

Welcome to The Heard, HornsNation’s weekly in-depth look inside the never-ending world of Longhorns recruiting with news, notes and interesting tidbits on the latest happenings around the program. We’ll release this every Thursday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

A few of the notes in today's The Heard:
Read The Heard after the jump.

De’Vondre Campbell: What happened?

When the dust settled on Wednesday morning, we finally got some clarity on the De’Vondre Campbell situation. Here’s what we know.

Courtesy of Andrew Carpenter/HCC Sports
Three-star junior college linebacker De'Vondre Campbell still wants to take two more official visits.

Campbell is not committed to Texas, though it sure seems like the Longhorns remain the favorite going forward. For now, Campbell -- who hasn’t said a word to any reporter since Texas offered a scholarship a month ago -- is putting his decision on hold.

He’ll take his two final official visits in January and then sign with a school in February. At this point, he hasn’t decided which schools will get visits. What changed everything and created this mess? The answer appears to be academic issues.

Campbell was expected to graduate from Hutchinson this month and enroll at a school in January. It looks like he came up short of that goal, since his position coach now says he’s on pace to graduate in May.

People I’d spoken with earlier this week told me that even if Campbell did commit to Texas or another school this week, nobody knew if he could even sign a letter of intent. Texas planned to send him a letter of intent, but there were steps he still needed to take with his academics and eligibility before that could happen.

Had Campbell indeed signed with a school this week, his letter of intent would’ve been voided by the fact that he did not graduate this semester.

Not graduating means Campbell has no reason to make a choice now and plenty of time to consider other options.

Will Texas still want him now that he’s not an early enrollee? Right now, I’d guess yes. There isn’t another juco target on the board at that position, and it’s pretty clear there needs to be more competition at outside linebacker.
Campbell could still be a Longhorn. It’s just not happening this week or anytime soon. – Max Olson

Race for Adams just got tougher

The chase for ESPN Watch List safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) got a lot more complicated on Thursday when he received an offer from Florida.

“It’s really a blessing to have that one,” Adams said. “That one was one I have really been waiting on.”

Gators defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson stopped by Hebron last week and watched film with the Hawks coaching staff. Robinson left his card with the staff, who gave it to Adams, who then called Robinson that night.

“He said that he had just seen the best 2014 safety in the class,” Adams said. “He really liked my aggressiveness and play on the field. He just said I am an overall complete package and that he and Coach [Will] Muschamp handpicked me and that they only hand pick the good ones. It was a blessing to hear that.”

Adams had a lot to contemplate before the Gators came around with offers from schools like, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and West Virginia. With Florida now in the mix, things just got a lot more complicated.

“Really it is just a lot of options,” Adams said. “I am not going to lay on one and say they are my top right now because I really don’t know until I visit. Right now I have options. It’s going to be a hard decision.”

So what about the Longhorns?

“They will always be up there,” Adams said.

He said Darrell Wyatt stopped by Hebron last week, and he’ll be attending Texas’ junior day.

One school that has really made an impression on him lately is Texas A&M. Adams said he'll also attend the Aggies' junior day.

“I love the Aggies right now,” Adams said.

The thing that worries him about A&M is all of the recruits it has verbally committed in 2013.

“What me and my father have been talking about is how many people they are going to take right now,” he said. “I have so much love for them. I just have to see how many people they get. I just have to check the numbers out and see if I can make the team better.”

In addition to the old rivals, Adams said he will also attend junior days at Florida and Oklahoma.

“It really is a blessing,” Adams said of the attention he has received. “I pray every day that god can make me a better person every day, really. Not in just sports but in academics and just making a better man.” – William Wilkerson

Did Hughes consider OU?

Max Olson/
Linebacker Naashon Hughes thought about visiting Oklahoma this month.

Naashon Hughes has plenty of reasons to like the Longhorns.

Namely, his brother, Camrhon Hughes, is currently on the team, redshirting after an offseason basketball injury, and his best friend, Darius James, is a fellow 2013 commitment.

But up until Dec. 8 the outside linebacker from Harker Heights, Texas, was only guaranteed a grayshirt in the 2013 class meaning he wouldn’t be able to enroll at Texas until January of 2014.

The three-star linebacker’s love for the Longhorns was always thought to be strong enough to not warrant interest from those programs that had offered him full rides. They included Baylor, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and South Carolina.

But that wasn’t necessarily always the case.

“The day before I left [for my official visit to Texas], Oklahoma came down and wanted me to come up for an official visit this weekend,” Hughes said. “I told them I would consider it a little bit but once I left on Friday I was sold on Texas.”

Hughes got to Texas on Friday along with the majority of the 2013 commitments for their official visits. On Saturday, while at breakfast at Mack Brown’s house, Texas’ head coach Mack Brown surprised Hughes by telling him he had earned a full scholarship. That ended any contemplation of an Oklahoma visit.

“When I got the full offer it was just a done deal,” Hughes said.

Had he not gotten the offer, though, who knows? – William Wilkerson

OT Harrison’s plan

Coveted three-star offensive tackle Desmond Harrison is back home in North Carolina for the next three weeks. By the time he gets back to Contra Costa (Calif.) College, he could have his decision.

The 6-foot-8, 310-pound tackle is down to four schools -- Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona State and USC. While Harrison is back home, Texas will send coaches out to do an in-home visit with he and his mother.

So will USC and Arizona State. The Sooners already took care of their in-home visit earlier this fall.

Right now, it’s looking like a three-team race between Texas, OU and USC following Harrison’s official visit to Los Angeles last weekend. The Trojans made a big move off this visit.

“He came away surprised and had a great visit and enjoyed the tempo of their practice,” Contra Costa coach Alonzo Carter said. “He came away very impressed with their staff, but that doesn’t surprise me.”

Carter said Harrison will return to school on Jan. 13. He’s expecting the lineman to make a decision right before or right after he gets back to Contra Costa.

“Since he’s not a midyear guy, he has time -- but not a whole bunch of time,” Carter said.

Arizona State might not be in the top three right now but is still a bit of a wild card considering the Sun Devils landed a pledge from best friend and roommate Demetrius Cherry.

That wasn’t unexpected, and Carter does think it could be a factor for Harrison but won’t be a serous one. In a perfect world, he said, they’d like to stick together. You can expect ASU will be selling that during their in-home.

Texas is still in good shape for Harrison, but right now it’s a close call. A strong in-home visit will make the difference. There’s no winning Harrison without winning over his mother. – Max Olson

Darrion Johnson talks offer

Back when Texas started offering 2014 prospects in August, Brenham’s Darrion Johnson was surprised he didn’t make the cut.

After a strong junior season, he got the offer he was looking for last Friday when assistant coach Oscar Giles stopped by the school to deliver the good news.

“He was talking to me and said he and Mack Brown wanted to tell me something, and that I have an offer,” Johnson said.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound athlete said he was offered as a defensive back and would prefer to play safety in college. He recorded six interceptions as a junior this season.

Johnson attended several Texas games on unofficial visits this season and also took in the spring game.

“They’re pretty good,” Johnson said. “I like their defense, especially Quandre Diggs.”

Johnson still stays in touch with former Brenham teammates and Texas freshmen Malcom Brown and Tim Cole. They’ve told him they’re happy at Texas and he would be too.

Two others schools have offered and are atop his list with Texas: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

“Honestly, everybody is equal right now,” he said.

Johnson wants to attend junior days at Texas, OU, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and possibly Alabama and Oregon. At this point, he’s not looking to make a decision until after his senior season.

Considering how this loaded 2014 defensive back class is starting to shake out, Johnson could end up being one of Texas’ more serious targets. With Nick Harvey, Chris Hardeman and Cedric Collins already committed elsewhere, and Ed Paris and possibly Tony Brown leaning elsewhere, Johnson seems to be one of Texas’ more likely defensive back targets of those offered for next year’s class. – Max Olson

Top three for Freeman?

We spoke with Arlington Bowie head coach Kenny Perry yesterday about his ESPN Watch List linebacker/safety Edwin Freeman. But we wanted to share the juiciest information for The Heard.

There has been some dispute as to whether Freeman actually had an offer from the Longhorns or not. Perry was adamant that Texas has offered.

“Everybody in the state of Texas has offered Edwin,” he said. “Then you got USC, UCLA, Oregon, Ohio State, Florida, Ole Miss, etc.”

Perry then singled out three teams that he think will end up being the ones Freeman chooses from.

“I think right now there are three schools he is focused on and that is Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M,” he said. “I will be shocked if he goes far away because his support network is right here. I don’t see that being the case. If so, though, he could definitely handle it.”

This one has a long way to go. Freeman isn’t a flashy individual. He takes care of his business on the field and isn’t much for talking off of it. Once he makes up his mind, which will likely come after he visits some schools over the summer, he’s going to stick with that pick regardless of who else is still coming after him. – William Wilkerson

More on RB Ke’aun Kinner

We wrote on Wednesday about Little Elm (Texas) running back Ke’aun Kinner, a real sleeper who could end up being a late add to Texas’ class if he can get his grades in order.

UT has sought a replacement for Kyle Hicks, and Kinner could be the guy. First off, would Kinner commit on the spot if Texas did ultimately decided to offer him a scholarship?

“I would see what my parents have to say and if it’s OK with them,” he said. “But my intention would be yes.”

Courtesy of Little Elm High School
Running back Ke'aun Kinner had a big senior season but currently has no offers.

That’s no surprise, considering he doesn’t have any other offers. Schools have stayed away due to his academic situation. Right now, Kinner’s status seems to hinge on his ACT score. He’ll have at least another chance to improve it, and eligibility is judged on a sliding scale with GPA so good grades would only help.

“From evaluating his transcripts and looking at his ACT scores, he has a chance if he buckles down and really focuses on what he has to do between now and the end of the school year,” Little Elm coach Donald Stowers said. “He’s taken some college-level courses and is capable of doing the work. I think he’ll get it if he focuses on what he’s got to do. It’s really about how bad he wants to get to that type of a school.”

Since signing day is in February, Kinner essentially needs to prove that he’s making progress and has a good enough ACT score to pull off getting eligible.

What would Texas be getting in Kinner? First, for a small guy he’s awfully durable. He carried the ball 374 times and still averaged 7.8 per run.

“He can do whatever,” Stowers said. “He can grind it out and give you 4-to-5 yards a pop. Or if he gets to the second level and the secondary, he’s a nightmare to tackle for a high school player. He’ll make you miss. He does some things that are pretty extraordinary.”

Added Kinner: “I proved that being a small back with speed, you can have power too. I have a mixture of that. Even though I’m 5-9 and 178, I’ll still run you over. It’s hard to take me to the ground.”

Stowers said Darrell Wyatt mentioned during his visit to Little Elm that Texas thinks Kinner is one of the state’s top five backs. Of course, Texas has a knack for signing the state’s No. 1 running back in recent years.

You have to think that played a role in Hicks’ decision. What would Kinner think of coming in and backing up Johnathan Gray, Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron?

“I like competition,” he said. “I believe I can take anybody.”

At this point, Texas does continue to evaluate its other options at running back for the 2013 class. Katy’s Adam Taylor, a Nebraska commit, is a name that has been floated, but he told me he has yet to hear from the Longhorns.

Kinner said he knows Texas giving him a spot in its 2013 class would, in his opinion, “shock a lot of people.” Though the grade issues are a complication, he’s a guy to keep an eye on going forward. – Max Olson

Searels stops by to see 2014 OL

Junior center Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper) appears to be growing on Texas. Longhorns offensive line coach Stacy Searels stopped by his high school last week for each parties first introductions with the other.

“Coach Searels showed up at the field house during workouts and I was on power cleans going hard,” Cuney said. “I didn’t even notice him at first. Then I turned around and this big, tall man was standing behind me. I got nervous and turned it up a notch.

“At the end of our workout we run a quarter and break it out. So after that he said he is going to try to get me to a junior day in February.”

Cuney (6-foot-4, 257 pounds) would jump at the opportunity to come to Texas’ junior day if he is invited. The Longhorns and Oklahoma State are two schools he particularly has his eyes on. – William Wilkerson