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Saturday, February 23, 2013
5 things we learned from Texas junior day

By Max Olson

AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas didn’t land any verbal commits during or after its second junior day on Saturday, but plenty still went down. Here are five things you need to know coming out of the day.

1. Six receive new Texas offers

At least six new offers were confirmed on Saturday, though several were to prospects whose offer status was fairly guaranteed going into the day.

Armanti Foreman
Texas offered Oklahoma receiver commit Armanti Foreman at its junior day.
Jasper (Texas) center Terrell Cuney and West Mesquite (Texas) safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner both went home with offers as expected. So did New Orleans Edna Karr defensive end Gerald Willis III, an ESPN Watch List prospect whose offer became official when he arrived on campus for the visit.

The other two offers that went out are intriguing. One went to Abilene (Texas) defensive end Jake McMillon, whose only other offers have come from SMU and Texas State. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound lineman stayed in Austin overnight but decided against committing at the end of the junior day.

And then there’s Armanti Foreman, the ESPN Watch List wide receiver from Texas City (Texas) who committed to Oklahoma in October. Should he be considered a soft commit at this point? Hard to say. He did give his Texas junior visit good reviews but remains pledged to OU.

Finally, New Orleans St. Augustine cornerback Jermaine Roberts confirmed he officially received an offer from Texas.

2. Making a move in the Bayou

Texas’ efforts to bring in several of New Orleans’ best prospects this weekend paid strong dividends.

Though elite running back Leonard Fournette and receiver Speedy Noil did not make the trip due to a track meet, the Longhorns coaching staff had to be happy with the major move they made for Roberts and St. Augustine teammate Joseph Paul on Saturday.

Roberts and Paul, who was offered earlier this week, each told HornsNation they now consider Texas their No. 1 school. Both are ESPN Watch List prospects with impressive offer lists, and landing either could greatly benefit Texas in its efforts to stay in the race for the coveted Fournette.

Texas also earned rave reviews Saturday from Willis III, a coveted defensive end who’s considering, among others, LSU, Florida, Alabama and Texas A&M. He went so far as to say this: “Anybody that steps on that campus and checks it out won’t have a negative thing to say about Texas.” Willis plans to return to Austin this summer, likely for a UT camp, and said he’s now seriously considering Texas following his visit and offer.

3. The no-shows

Failing to get Fournette and Noil on campus Saturday wasn’t a significant surprise, but the absence of two other major targets were notable.

The first was Darrion Johnson, the Brenham (Texas) athlete who’d made the surprising decision to attend both Texas junior days. A family emergency prevented the defensive back prospect from making it to Austin, but expect Johnson to be back for the Orange-White spring game.

Another prospect many had their eye on this weekend was Dallas Bishop Dunne offensive lineman Jovan Pruitt. While the tackle prospect maintains he was offered a long time ago by the UT staff, this visit would’ve been the one that confirmed he has a committable offer to the Longhorns.

Why Pruitt wasn’t in town is an unusual story. He traveled to College Station for a Bishop Dunne girls basketball game on Friday, but ended up stuck in town and without a ride Saturday morning. Pruitt didn’t visit Texas A&M this weekend, but he also didn’t make it to Texas.

Like Johnson, he’ll be back for the spring game. Where Pruitt stands with a UT offer, though, is still a bit up in the air.

4. The waiting game

Many in-state prospects drove home Saturday evening without the offers they'd been hoping for.

The most glaring omission from Texas’ list of new offers might be Houston Cypress Falls outside linebacker Otaro Alaka. He’d said he would consider committing this weekend if he received an offer. That didn’t happen, but Alaka was told Texas has serious interest in him and an offer could come soon. Alaka will visit Texas A&M next weekend.

Several other key defensive line prospects went home empty-handed, including San Antonio (Texas) Madison end C.J. Reese, Rowlett (Texas) tackle Cedric Johnson and Dallas South Oak Cliff end Silvester Hayes.

Reese and Johnson told HornsNation that Texas will continue to evaluate them this spring, and they remain hopeful an offer will come eventually.

5. Commitments coming?

Texas didn’t pick up any commitments on Saturday, but the weekend isn’t over.

Mack Brown has taken a low-pressure philosophy lately when it comes to visitors. He wants recruits to go home, talk to their parents and think things over before considering making a commitment. That thinking time is more important than ever now that Brown won’t permit his commits to visit other schools.

So don’t be surprised if someone like McMillon takes a day -- or several more -- to think things over. Others, like Cuney and Nederland (Texas) defensive tackle DeShawn Washington, have said they’d like to slow down their process now that the offers are rolling in.

Texas could collect several new pledges over the next week -- especially if more new offers go out -- but right now most of its top targets aren’t close to reaching decisions.