Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Texas class poised to end with whimper
By William Wilkerson
AUSTIN, Texas -- When the Longhorns began to recruit ESPN 300 lineman Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas/Waco) as a defensive lineman, his preferred position, rather than at offensive lineman, where they originally sought him, they seemed to have put themselves in position to garner his commitment, which he announced today.
“Oh, they probably went to third in the bunch to ... they went up from third, I’ll tell you that much,” Waco High coach Marty Herbst said a few weeks ago.
The Longhorns aren't signing any defensive linemen after ESPN 300 prospect Andrew Billings spurned Texas for Baylor.
In the end, though, Texas actually finished third in the sweepstakes for the reigning state power lifting champion.
So unless some type of signing day surprise unfolds in the final minutes of the 11th hour (highly unlikely), the Longhorns are going to be without a single defensive line commitment in their 2013 recruiting class.
Not only are there no defensive linemen -- though Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) could potentially play there -- Texas is also without a running back (Little Elm’s Ke’aun Kinner could eventually sign after signing day) and its only tight end will be gone in two seasons.
Each of those positions were filled at one point or another, but each suffered decommitments.
ESPN 150 defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights) recently dropped Texas, to which he’d been committed for almost a year, and will likely sign with Alabama. Four-star defensive end Daeshon Hall (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) decommitted from the Horns in the summer in favor of Washington, but might flip to Texas A&M on Wednesday. ESPN 300 running back Kyle Hicks (Arlington, Texas/Martin) wanted to stay close to home and opted for TCU, and four-star TE Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas/Belton) switched his commitment to Notre Dame.
Those are gaping holes at major positions, results of which might be felt for some time.
What it does is put immense pressure on Texas’ staff to produce wins on the field in 2013, which should, in turn, lead to more victories on the trail in 2014.
The problem with that, at least from an in-state prospects prospective, is that tight ends are not especially strong as a group in Texas in 2014.
So the Longhorns are either going to have to get on the Koda Martin (Manvel, Texas/Manvel) train right now and hope for the best (Oklahoma and Texas A&M already have), hope for a late bloomer, or seek help from out of state, which is never easy.
As for defensive tackles, well, Texas has offered a 2015 DT but has yet to offer a 2014 interior lineman, which either speaks to the skills of sophomore stud Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater) or to the talent level of DTs in the state. Or both.
Texas already has two running back commitments in 2014 and is in decent standing with a few out-of-state RBs, who are more long shots. So it does have that going for them.
It could have had a lot more going for itself had Billings opted for Texas today. But a bronze medal is all it took home.