Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Four downs: Class of 2009 unfulfilled
By Sean Adams
Each week Sean Adams looks at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.
First down: Recruiting of unfulfilled promise
Kenny Vacarro called the small number of seniors in 2012, "The few, the proud -- the seniors." Depending on whether players redshirt or not, there are always at least two classes for a recruiting class to finish their eligibility.
Garrett Gilbert was perhaps the highest-profile Class of '09 recruit to leave the Longhorns.
Texas had the No. 3-ranked recruiting class of 2009, but only six of those prospects will play out their full eligibility as Longhorns.
We received this statement from the University of Texas, "Rising fifth-year seniors OG Thomas Ashcraft, TE Trey Graham and DT Kyle Kriegel have all either graduated or will graduate this spring and have elected to give up their remaining football eligibility to prepare for their futures."
Couple that group leaving with eligibility left after the transfer of recruiting class bell cow Garrett Gilbert, the transfers or attrition of other projected studs like Marcus Davis, Calvin Howell, Derrick Johnson and Greg Timmons and this recruiting class is seen ultimately as unfulfilled.
As much as we might not like those numbers, this recruiting class still might have two early-round draft picks in Vacarro and Alex Okafor.
Second down: Early enrollee with eyes on him
There are four early enrollees this month, and while a couple might contribute early, all eyes will be on what might project as the future of the quarterback position in Tyrone Swoopes from Whitewright, Texas.
Swoopes was a star and stud in the making during his junior year, but during the summer before his senior year, 7-on-7 took him down a road that did not display his best skill set. He played at a 2A school and probably was not used to playing with the caliber of athletes he was playing with when traveling during the summer.
He had an average senior year. His team had a horrible season. By the time he checked into school at Texas he was transitioned by ESPN from quarterback to athlete and probably was on the downside of momentum in most people's minds.
The facts still remain that he is a dynamic athlete and can play the quarterback position. Texas has to bring him along slowly and allow him to grow into the position mentally and physically.
He is the first athlete that I want to see in the spring.
Third down: Walking into spring
Texas has to grow the quarterback position this spring. The teams needs to grow and develop the offensive line. It needs to figure out the defensive backfield if it is going to move Quandre Diggs to safety permanently.
This Texas team has a lot to do this spring, but the main thing they need to do has nothing to do with the football field. This team needs a different attitude.
Mack Brown, Major Applewhite and Manny Diaz need to get on the same page and need to, as Applewhite said in the Alamo Bowl postgame, get uncomfortable.
Without filling 2013 with too much hyperbole, this football season is monumentally important for the Brown, Applewhite and Diaz. They need to demand a lot, expect a lot and hold everyone accountable when the demands are not met.
Whatever the Longhorns did before the Alamo Bowl should start the spring and flow through to the season. It will be a failure for everyone if Texas is bragging at some point next year how hard practices got during the course of the season.
Fourth down: Around the Big 12
Casey Pachall is back at TCU. He threw for 2,921 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2011 as the starting quarterback.
He completed 66 percent of his passes for 948 yards, 10 touchdowns and one interception in four games last season before he was arrested for suspicion of DUI. When TCU put that together with previous issues, he was out of school and checking himself into a rehabilitation facility.
He has completed his rehab time and is back in school this semester. Some feel TCU could be the favorite to win the Big 12 in 2013 with Pachall back at the helm.