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Thursday, January 31, 2013
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.

RecruitingNation’s thoughts on Wilson

William Wilkerson/
ESPN 150 tailback Dontre Wilson will be in Austin this weekend.

We broke the news on four-star Oregon commitment Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) making his decision between the Ducks, Texas and Ohio State on Sunday after he takes his official visit to Texas.

That came from his father, Don Wilson, who was quick to remind everyone who they are dealing with.

"You're dealing with an 18-year-old here, but that's what he told me [Tuesday] morning,” Don Wilson said. “I don't know if he's going to announce it publicly, but he said he'll have his mind made up."

The visit to Texas has sent shockwaves throughout the Northwest as Ducks fans learn they’ll now have to sweat through another visit from their star commitment, who took an official visit to Ohio State last weekend.

We’ve reached out to DuckNation’s Brandon Oliver and BuckeyeNation’s Brad Bournival to get their take on Wilson.

Brandon Oliver, DuckNation:
“Wilson has been committed to Oregon since May and the Ducks feel confident in their ability to keep him as a part of this class. His relationship with Ducks' RB coach Gary Campbell might be too much for Ohio State or Texas to overcome. In addition to his close bond with Campbell, Wilson's understanding that Oregon's offense will utilize his diverse skill set better than anywhere else, should keep the Ducks in line for his signature.”

Brad Bournival, BuckeyeNation:
“If Wilson was going to go anywhere, I think it would have already happened. The Ducks survived an official visit to Ohio State last weekend without the ESPN 150 athlete committing, and just have to survive this one. When Oregon came out in force for an in-home visit last weekend, it helped as well. Then again, so did the coaching hire in moving former offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich into the head-coaching role for the Ducks.”

Ranked No. 55 in the ESPN 150, Wilson rushed for 1,895 yards and 37 touchdowns and caught 37 passes for 750 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. He led DeSoto to the Texas Class 5A Division I state semifinals. – William Wilkerson

Bama making push for 2014 recruit

Longhorn fans near and fro collectively gulped earlier this week when Nick Saban showed up at Fort Worth (Texas) Arlington Heights to visit with Texas commitment A'Shawn Robinson.

As if that wasn’t enough stomach turning for Texas, Saban and recruiting coordinator Mike Groh then traveled a few minutes east to Fort Worth All Saints to check in on 2014 offensive line commitment Demetrius Knox.

“Bama just wanted to come by and check on me and everything,” Knox said. “They were in my top three when I was picking schools and wanted to see if I was still interested in the University of Alabama.”

Well, Knox, would you entertain the idea of a visit?

“I mean they just won the national championship,” Knox said. “A visit sometime down the road could never hurt. Maybe my senior year you never know.”

That said, Knox said is 100 percent firm with his commitment to Texas. He proudly donned a Longhorns cap at the Next Level Athlete Top 100 combine in Lancaster on Sunday.

“It is a great feeling knowing that in about 17 months I’m going to be a part of the program,” Knox said. – William Wilkerson

Hammad no Sooner fan

Texas picked up its 15th verbal commit last week from Irving (Texas) lineman Rami Hammad. We had a feature on him up on HornsNation earlier this week, but here’s more on what Texas is getting in the mammoth lineman.

Hammad is very confident about his chances of playing as a freshman, even with Mason Walters going into his fourth year of starting at right guard. Offensive line coach Stacy Searels reassured Hammad he’ll get every opportunity to fight for a job.

“He’s going to play the best five. In his opinion, he said he thinks I can go in and start at right guard right away,” Hammad said. “But it’s still going to be a competition with the guy who’s already there, No. 72.”

Damon Sayles/ESPN
New Texas commit Rami Hammad has little love for Oklahoma.

Irving coach Aaron De La Torre knows Hammad fared quite well at right tackle in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, but he still thinks the 6-foot-5, 314-pound lineman is best served focusing his time on guard in college.

That being said, De La Torre points out that Hammad doesn’t turn 18 until May 4. He’s still got a ways to go in his physical and mental maturation and has a chance to get even bigger.

“Most offenses now want extremely athletic offensive tackles. I’m not saying that’s beyond his reach, but honestly best spot for him is being a guard,” De La Torre said. “In today’s recruiting, nobody wants to recruit a guard. Everybody wants to recruit a tackle and then the ones they don’t like at tackle they move down to guard.”

Last and certainly not least, remember that Hammad canceled his official visit to Oklahoma to visit Texas. The Sooner staff made it very clear they knew he was going to end up at UT. Here’s what Hammad had to say about that:

"I don’t like OU. I called and they were like, ‘Well, we’ll enjoying beating you guys for the next couple years. You’ll wish you would’ve came here.’ I was like, OK, thank you for recruiting me, and I hung up on them."

Gotta love a little Red River Rivalry trash talk on the recruiting trail. - Max Olson

Three-star RB not interested

I checked in with Houston Nimitz running back Dre'Vian Young this week to see if Texas has entered the picture at all in recent weeks.

The three-star Utah commit has the kind of ties that might merit him getting noticed: His older brother is former Texas running back Selvin Young.

There’s less than a week left before signing day, and Young said he’s never heard from the Longhorns coaching staff and he’s not expecting to.

“I’m solid with Utah,” he said. “I’m going to Utah.”

Young has learned plenty about playing running back from his brother, who started 16 games at Texas. After a two-year stint with the Denver Broncos, he’s now an entrepreneur, and his brother is trying to live up to his legacy.

“I mean, I’m trying to start my own,” he said. “I do listen to him and ask for advice. I’ll call him and we’ll talk for hours, and he gives me advice. We’re different people. I’m not trying to be like him, I’m just trying to be myself.”

A 5-foot-10, 180-pound back who rushed for 1,140 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior, Young chose Utah over offers from Boise State and Louisiana-Lafayette. Kansas State also showed interest early on.

What would happen if Texas did give him a call this week? He considered UT his dream school growing up, but it’s too late at this point for an offer.

“I’m still going to Utah,” he said flatly.

At this point, if Texas is serious about landing a 2013 running back, it’s going to have to be Dontre Wilson or, eventually, Ke'aun Kinner. – Max Olson

2014 DBs: Who does Texas covet?

After signing day passes, it’s time to focus on the biggest story in the state for 2014 recruiting: The defensive back class. William wrote a bit about them on Wednesday, and it's a topic we'll talk about plenty over the next year.

William Wilkerson/
Class of 2014 defensive back Tony Brown is one of Texas' top targets.

Texas had 15 defensive backs make the 300-man ESPN Watch List. To put that number in perspective, there’s a combined 43 corners and safeties on that list. Only 39 Texans made the 300. It’s a group strong in both elite quality and quantity.

What’s Texas’ plan of action with this group? Here’s what a source told me last week.

The No. 1 coveted corner on Texas’ board right now is, as expected, Beaumont Ozen’s Tony Brown.

As for the No. 1 safety? Two guys are ahead of the rest: Lewisville Hebron’s Jamal Adams and Dylan Sumner-Gardner, the Clemson commit from West Mesquite. Texas still feels very good about where it stand with landing Adams. Sumner-Gardner has elicited some comparisons to Kenny Vaccaro for how far ahead he is in his knowledge of coverage schemes.

Texas sees Ed Paris playing corner, not safety. That’s going to make the Mansfield Timberview star happy, as he’s quick to correct anyone who refers to him a safety.

And believe me when I say the Texas staff realizes this is, in the source’s words, the “most loaded” class of defensive backs they’ve ever seen. In most years, for example, a guy like Dallas Skyline’s Derrick Dixon might be considered the best safety in the state. This year, he could be a second-tier target for top programs.

One final thought: Last year, we saw a very clear divide when it came to the first and second junior day. Every guy who attended the first one ended up getting an offer. Every guy who visited for the second went home without one. That won’t be the case this year.

I’m told secondary coach Duane Akina would prefer to have most of his defensive back targets come for the Feb. 23 junior day. That way, the visitors are given a chance to experience a live Texas spring practice and get a better feel for how the defense runs and how defensive backs are coached up.

Akina did the same thing last year, asking guys like Antwuan Davis and Maurice Smith to attend junior day No. 2. He did hold off on offering them for a while. This year, expect to see some big names from this secondary class in town for the second junior day. – Max Olson

Clark still waiting on first offer

Class of 2014 defensive end Sekou Clark (Denton, Texas/Ryan) has speed for days. You can’t teach the type of get-off he possesses from the line of scrimmage.

“I’m faster off the ball than anybody else,” he said. “I am faster than all the O-linemen. I have good hands. I feel like I am a really good pass-rusher. That’s my specialty. That’s what I do.”

His speed was down right unstoppable in 1-on-1 drills at the Next Level Athlete Top 100 combine in Lancaster on Sunday.

“I didn’t lose a rep,” said Clark, who is 6-foot-3 and 217 pounds.

It was getting to the point where it almost seemed unfair. Clark even got his left contact knocked out in one of the reps and was still able to win two reps after that.

Given what he proved on Sunday he has to be overloaded with offers, right?

“I don’t have a single offer actually,” he said. “I don’t know what it is. They are just taking their time.”

Asked what schools he’d like to get in the mix, Clark said, “LSU, A&M, OU, Oklahoma State, Tech, Alabama, Florida State is showing me a lot of love. Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Arizona State. They’ve [all] sent me letters and contacted me on Facebook.”

One school Clark didn’t mention is Texas. His reasoning?

“Texas seems like they don’t really want me,” Clark said. “It just seems like they don’t really care whether I go there or not. That’s what I’ve picked up. Because I went down for the Iowa State game and talked to them there. But I haven’t heard a word since. They don’t send me mail, talk to me on the phone.”

Clark, who will attend LSU and Baylor junior days, did say he would be more than happy to hear from the Longhorns though.

“Oh, yeah, definitely. I’d consider them,” he said. “They are a great school and send people to the league every year.”

Texas has several offers out to DEs, including a commitment from Derick Roberson, so it will be interesting to see if it ever gets in the mix for Clark. Whether it does or not, Clark will enjoy the process as it comes.

“It’s fun. I’m enjoying the ride,” he said. “Its fun going to all these schools and watching them cater to you and let you know what they have to offer and why they are better than the next school. The whole thing is real fun.” – William Wilkerson

UT looking at Waxahachie RB as LB

Class of 2014 prospect Treyvon Hughes (Waxahachie, Texas/Waxahachie) is more than capable of stabilizing the running game for a college program in the future.

The 6-foot, 200-pound Hughes rushed 190 times for 1,351 yards and 16 touchdowns as a junior. That’s 7.11 yards per carry.

Baylor and Boise State have both inquired about him as a running back already.

“Baylor came to the school once but I wasn’t there and Boise State has mailed me,” he said. “Baylor is supposed to come back and talk to me sometime this week.”

Texas has also looked into Hughes but the Longhorns are recruiting him as a linebacker.

That was the message given to Hughes by his coaches last week after Texas coaches stopped by his school. He had the flu so he wasn’t able to go to school.

Hughes told me at the Next Level Athlete Top 100 combine in Lancaster on Sunday that he would prefer to play running back at the next level, but wouldn’t mind being a linebacker either. He plays both for Waxahachie.

“I’ve just been playing running back for most of my life so I know it really well. I prefer the offensive side,” said Hughes, who will reach out to Texas. “[But] yeah I think I can play linebacker. I think I have the body for it personally, so I’ll play it.”

Two of the five linebackers Texas has offered have already committed to Texas A&M [Hoza Scott and Josh Walker] and a third [Raekwon McMillan] is a long shot to leave SEC country.

That could put Hughes in a position to garner more attention from the Longhorns with a solid summer of camps and an equally productive senior campaign.

The NLA camp was only the second camp he’d ever been to.

“I was hard on myself at first but I went home and thought about it and thought that maybe I was a little too hard on myself and think I did OK,” Hughes said.

Hughes felt the other backs had quicker feet and were in-and-out of the dummies faster than he was. - William Wilkerson

Slot receiver attending Texas' second junior day

Texas now has two 2014 receiver pledges in Roderick Bernard and Lorenzo Joe. We know K.D. Cannon is a major priority, but what other wideouts are on the radar?

Texas coaches stopped by Sulphur Springs (Texas) this week to invite athlete Willy Ivery to the Feb. 23 junior day.
The 5-foot-8, 177-pound junior can play running back or receiver at the next level. He picked up his first offer from Texas State this week but is interested to see whether Texas would considering offering after the junior day visit.

“I think it’s going to be pretty fun. I’m anxious to go and visit Texas,” he said. “They’re in my top 3 along with TCU and Texas Tech. I’m pretty pleased to get a junior day invite from them and excited to see Austin again.”

Of those three, Texas and Texas Tech have pulled ahead. Ivery said he’s built up a good relationship with Tech assistant Trey Haverty, who recruited Ivery a bit while at TCU, and also spoke with Texas receivers coach Darrell Wyatt recently.

Ivery went into the 2012 season planning to play receiver. He moved to running back early on and the results were promising: 914 rushing yards and 22 rushing touchdowns, plus 674 yards and six touchdowns receiving.

“I’ve been talking to my coaches about it and my previous coaches, and they all see me as a running back who can play receiver,” Ivery said. “I feel like I can pretty much go into any school and play running back and then also play some receiver. You know, like Tavon Austin.”

In addition to Texas, Ivery has junior day invites to TCU, Texas Tech, TCU, Texas State and Colorado. As tempting as it may be, Ivery said he won’t commit on the spot to his first Big 12 offer. He wants to see how his recruitment plays out.

He also wants to see what direction Texas goes in offensively under new playcaller Major Applewhite.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for Texas to run a little more spread,” he said. “That would help me out, since I’ve run spread all my life. Being able to go in and play in that would be pretty nice.”

Mike Davis is Texas’ only senior receiver in 2013, so it’s hard to see UT taking more than three wideouts for next year’s class. Ivery’s versatility is a major plus, but we’ll see how the Longhorn staff is about him after their second junior day. – Max Olson