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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Top Texas Longhorns sleepers

By Carter Strickland

Looking back at Texas' recent recruiting hits on prospects who were rated low but had stellar careers:

Colt McCoy
Colt McCoy is one of the winningest quarterbacks in college football history.
1. Colt McCoy, quarterback, 2005: McCoy was a reach. He was a 6-foot quarterback from a small school, Jim Ned, who didn’t have a big arm and wasn’t highly sought after by most of the big boys. Texas A&M offered but beyond that Texas just had to beat out the also-rans in the Big 12. That’s how it came to pass that Texas was able to offer so late, get an official visit from McCoy in January and get his commitment just two days later on Jan. 23, 2005.

After a redshirt season, McCoy grew to be one of the winningest and most decorated quarterbacks in Texas history. He is the only quarterback in NCAA history to win 10 or more games in four straight seasons.

In 2008-09, McCoy led Texas to a 25-2 record. He was knocked out of the BCS title loss against Alabama in 2009 early in the first quarter.

2. Michael Griffin, defensive back, 2003: It wasn’t that people didn’t know about Griffin. It’s just that most knew of him as an offensive star. The Bowie (Austin) High product was one of the most explosive running backs in central Texas. His final two seasons Griffin had more than 2,100 rushing yards, 25 touchdowns and averaged more than 24 yards per reception.

But that was not where he would make his mark in college. Griffin was recruited as a defensive back and while not considered one of the premier guys at that position -- fellow signee Tarell Brown was considered better -- nationally he was still sought after by more than just Texas.

As it turned out the only defensive back in the 2003 selected ahead of Griffin in the NFL draft was Donte Whitner. (The Ohio State product went No. 8 to the Buffalo Bills in 2006.) Antonio Cromartie, who was also rated higher than Griffin, went No. 19 in 2006, the same position where Griffin was selected in 2007.

At Texas, Griffin started 25 of his last 26 games including the national championship in which he had eight tackles, broke up a pass and intercepted a USC pass in the end zone.

3. Marcus Tubbs, defensive lineman, 1999: In a class stacked with known quantities, Tubbs may have been considered a reach. He didn’t play football until his junior year in high school. Even after his senior year he was only an all-district player and that was as a tight end.

That was not the position where he would make his mark at Texas. By his sophomore season at Texas, Tubbs started 12 of 13 games and was named the team’s most outstanding defensive lineman. At the end of his senior year Tubbs had worked his way into the first round of the NFL draft where he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks.

4. Brian Robison, defensive end, 2002: Robison was dominant in 3A. The only problem was it was 3A. But what he had was size and speed. So Texas decided to add him to a class that was already loaded with defensive linemen. Maybe, the thought was, he could develop into something.

Robison developed into a full-time starter at defensive end in 2004-2005. In his junior season, 2005, Robinson led the team in tackles for loss (15) and sacks (seven). Robison finished his career with 181 tackles, 42 TFL, 50 pressures, 14 sacks, eight PBD, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an INT. He also holds the Texas record for blocked kicks with six.

5. Will Allen, offensive line, 2001: Maybe it was because he added 25 pounds between his junior and senior years in high school that nobody noticed Will Allen until late in the recruiting process. But Texas noticed the offensive line. They looked at his lineage – his father Bill, played at Indiana – and his frame – 6-6 – and knew they might have something.

After his redshirt freshman season Allen took over the right guard position. He started 31 games over the next three seasons, ending with 13 straight starts and a national title in 2005.