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Friday, February 8, 2013
Roundtable: Key Texas junior day visitors

By Max Olson and William Wilkerson

Every Friday, HornsNation recruiting writers William Wilkerson and Max Olson will answer a question about the Longhorns.

This week’s question: Who is Texas’ most important junior day visitor?

Solomon Thomas
Solomon Thomas, a 6-foot-3 DE prospect, is wanted by programs from all over the country.
William Wilkerson: There are five or so recruits that this could go to but I’m going to take linebacker Cameron Hampton (Dallas/Carter).

This is a golden opportunity for the Longhorns to put some more distance between themselves and one-time leader Texas A&M.

He told me a few weeks back that Texas and Oklahoma were his top two schools, which came as quite a surprise, because the Aggies had always been the heavy favorite in conversations we’ve had.

But he said Texas A&M hadn’t really been talking with him much of late, which could have something to do with the fact that it already has two 2014 linebacker commitments in Hoza Scott and Josh Walker, both of whom also had Texas offers.

Hampton wants to feel like he’s wanted, as any recruit does, and the Longhorns are doing a good job of that right now. Mack Brown and Bruce Chambers stopped by his school a few weeks back.

The selling points for Texas appear pretty simple on the surface. Come 2014, Steve Edmond, Aaron Benson, Tevin Jackson and Kendall Thompson will all be seniors. Peter Jinkens and Dalton Santos will be juniors, and Tim Cole will be a sophomore.

So Texas is going to need to stock the cupboard in a big way in 2014, and Hampton would go a long way toward doing that.

As good a job as Texas seems to be doing with Hampton, Oklahoma and co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell are doing just as well. He has made Carter a routine stop, which included a visit the same week that Brown and Chambers stopped by.

That just places even more importance on this junior day. This staff has gone through these several times before, but they’ve never gone through one together at Texas with this many commitments.

All seven commitments should be in Austin this weekend, and they need to make sure Hampton feels at home.

Max Olson: Cameron Hampton is a very good answer to this one. I’m going with Solomon Thomas for a similar reason.

Everybody wants the Coppell (Texas) defensive end, and with good reason. If you’re putting together a list of the state’s top 10 prospects for 2014, Thomas is on your list.

He’s coming off a visit to Oklahoma’s junior day. He has been offered by the likes of LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame. He’s developed a strong relationship with the staff at Stanford and already has visited Palo Alto.

If there were ever a time for Texas to reassert itself and attempt a jump to No. 1 on Thomas’ list, it’s right now.

Like Hampton, Thomas would be walking into a fairly favorable situation if he becomes a Longhorn in 2014.

Jackson Jeffcoat and Reggie Wilson both will be seniors this fall. Cedric Reed is going into his junior day. Their backups are young and, with the exception of the limited snaps Shiro Davis has played, rather unproven. Texas didn’t sign any defensive linemen for its 2013 recruiting class.

So, yeah, defensive end is a position of need.

Texas already has a verbal pledge from San Antonio/Brennan end Derick Roberson, but he made it in August. Getting a kid to stay committed for 18 months is never easy, and big-time programs won’t stop recruiting him.

With Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin) more than likely ending up at Texas A&M, Texas would be wise to go all-in on its efforts for Thomas.

He’s the kind of recruit and person who can help anchor a recruiting class, and Texas’ failure to sign any true defensive linemen in 2013 makes Thomas all the more valuable.