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Friday, May 3, 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 release this every Friday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

In this week's edition of The Heard:

Read The Heard after the jump.

Georgia DE intrigued by Longhorns

Four-star defensive end Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) hears it from the lunch lady.

Fellow classmates and their parents all have an opinion on where he should play college ball. Casual trips and daily activities turn into recruiting pitches.

Andrew Williams
Four-star defensive end Andrew Williams, who has offers from across the country, wants to visit Texas this summer.
Though people in Georgia want him to stay close and play in the SEC, the 6-foot-4, 243-pound edge rusher says he's going to give Texas a long, hard look.

Williams, the No. 14 defensive end overall and No. 12 player in the state of Georgia, has several offers, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, Texas A&M and USC. He said he and his family will trim that list to a more manageable number soon.

“At this point my family and I are trying to make a top 10 so we can shorten down our list,” he said. “I don’t want to prolong any relationships with coaches that I’m not going to visit. It’s going to happen very soon.”

The Longhorns, according to Williams, will have a prominent place on that list thanks to the efforts of their coaching staff for showing him just how interested they are in him coming to Texas.

“Oh absolutely, Coach [Stacy] Searels came by on [April 25],” Williams said. “We couldn’t talk very much but it was great seeing him and Coach [Oscar] Giles. They told me, which really surprised me, that I was their No. 1 DE. It didn’t register with me. Texas has a lot of great athletes. Our relationship has grown a lot this year so that was great.”

Williams knows the history of Texas’ program enough to know that the Longhorns haven’t ventured beyond their borders much in the past for defensive ends. That made Searels' and Giles’ trek to Georgia that much more meaningful.

“Absolutely that is huge,” Williams said. “The fact that they came all the way to Georgia to tell me I was their No. 1 defensive end really speaks volumes. Texas is definitely one of the schools that I want to visit this summer.”

He said LSU, Texas, Georgia, Florida, Clemson and Florida State are coming after him the hardest.

There’s also the fact that Texas already has two defensive end commits in Derick Roberson (San Antonio/Brennan) and Jake McMillon (Abilene, Texas/Abilene). You just never know what kind of impact that will have on Williams or any of the other seven DE’s offered in 2014.

But Williams could be willing to overlook that for several reasons, namely the persistence of the coaching staff.

“A school like Texas, what got me interested in them, without knowing anything about the school, was when Coach Giles and Coach Searels put themselves in the school,” Williams said. “That really caught my eye and makes me want to visit them.”

Aside from coaching compatibility, Williams is also looking for a program that will offer early playing time and that has a perfect scheme for his abilities.

For now, though, his focus is to create a top 10 and go from there. – William Wilkerson

Gresham still solid

Nearly two weeks have passed since Demetrius Knox decommitted from Texas, and teammate Daniel Gresham’s plans are unchanged.

“I’m a Longhorn,” he said. “I’m glad to have it out of the way and I’m ready to play ball.”

Spring practice at Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints start up next week, and Gresham knows Knox reopening his recruitment means the school will be flooded with coaches from big-time programs.

He’s not worried about that temptation. Knox’s recruitment, at least at the moment, doesn’t affect him much.

“I mean, we’re still teammates and want the best for each other,” Gresham said. “But like we’ve said from the beginning, in the end we have to do what’s best for both of us.”

Gresham is looking forward to spring ball starting and has the SPC state track meet in Houston this weekend. He’s not sure if he’ll be back in Austin next weekend to attend the UIL state track meet. He said his parents want to hold off on visits until the school year is over.

It’s important to remember, when talking about Gresham’s pledge, that running backs coach Larry Porter wasn’t in the picture when the four-star back committed last August. Porter has worked hard to develop a good relationship with Gresham since then.

“I talk to coach Porter every couple weeks,” Gresham said. “It’s getting better and better. Coach [Major] Applewhite was really my guy, but I’m trying to get to know him better and everything. Coach Applewhite was really the biggest factor in my commitment.”

Gresham’s commitment to Texas still seems solid. Obviously, the way Knox’s final decision plays out will have some effect, but don’t expect Gresham to be joining him on any visits this summer. He knows one more trip elsewhere could cost him his spot in the UT class. – Max Olson

Checking in on Heard

Name any major BCS program and there’s a good chance they’ve called or stopped by Denton (Texas) Guyer to ask about Jerrod Heard.

That’s according to Guyer coach John Walsh. As he put it, “You can’t name one that hasn’t.”

This week, USC and Ohio State were among the many who stopped by the school to inquire about Texas’ ESPN 150 quarterback commit. How does Heard feel about that? Any interest?

Jerrod Heard
ESPN 150 quarterback Jerrod Heard, who is taking on more of a leadership role for his team, is solid to Texas.
“He wasn’t too fond of the courting process or the recruiting,” Walsh said. “Texas was his school. When they offered, I figured it was going to be a shut-door deal, and that’s how he’s handled it. He’s not interested in any of that recruiting stuff.”

Walsh is hardly surprised. He says Heard is as high character a kid as you’ll find in high school football, and he remains impressed by how his state title-winning quarterback has handled himself since committing last August.

Texas also sent Major Applewhite and Darrell Wyatt to Guyer on Monday to watch Heard practice and talk with the coaching staff.

One question the staff has brought up in recent months is the possibility of Heard graduating from Guyer in December and enrolling early at UT, just as David Ash, Connor Brewer and Tyrone Swoopes did.

Right now, that’s not in the plans for Heard.

“I think there was talk,” Walsh said, “and I don’t want to speak for him, but last I heard he’s going to finish up high school and not enroll early.”

Added Heard: “No, not right now. But it’s still on my mind.”

Getting on campus early would give Heard a chance to speed up his development, but Walsh is already pleased by the progress he’s showing this spring.

“He’s looking good. I don’t think he’s missed too much of a beat,” Walsh said. “He’s gotten stronger. We’ve only had three workouts already, and we don’t let him do a whole lot, so he’s really just concentrating on the throwing part of things. We’re not letting him run and get hit.”

The running was never something he needed to focus on much. Walsh did want to see Heard take the next step in his leadership going into his senior season. The early results are promising.

“He’s always been strong and he’s got a big arm and can make all the throws, but I think the biggest thing that’s different than previous offseasons is he’s a lot more vocal,” Walsh said. “He’s always been a leader by example and now he’s taking on some vocal leadership. I noticed it in the weight room and the locker room, but it’s on the field now too.” – Max Olson

Gators commit will visit Texas

The decommitment of Knox left many Longhorns fans wondering where Texas will look next.

One place to keep an eye on happens to be a place that the Longhorns have had great success at in 2014: New Orleans Saint Augustine High School.

Texas already has commitments from Saint Augustine’s Jermaine Roberts and Courtney Garnett, but Mack Brown and Co. wouldn’t mind a few more.

Leonard Fournette, the nation’s top recruit, might be a bit of a stretch but that’s not particularly the case with three-star offensive guard Joseph Paul, even though he’s a Florida pledge.

Paul, who is 6-4 and 340 pounds, is the No. 26 guard in the country and No. 19 player in the state of Louisiana. In addition to the Gators and Longhorns he also has offers from Florida State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and Tulane.

He’s solid with his commitment to Florida but the Longhorns figure to be a player in his recruitment until he puts ink to paper on national signing day next February.

Reason being is Paul spent time living in Texas after Hurricane Katrina and feels comfortable in the state. It’s where he would like to settle down after his playing days are over.

Texas hopes that it’ll be the place he wants to play college ball and the Longhorns will have their chance to sale that to him when he visits Austin over the summer.

“At this point I am all Florida,” Paul said. “But wherever I am going for the next four to five years of my life I want to make sure it’s the place I want to go so I am going to take as many visits as I can.”

Paul will visit Texas and Texas A&M on the same weekend at some point this summer. He’ll likely travel to Texas with Roberts and Garnett, two guys who are definitely selling the Longhorns to Paul.

“Jermaine, he gets on my nerves sometimes,” Paul said. “He always wants me to go to Texas. 'Come to Texas. Come with the winning team.' I’m like 'Dog, leave me alone.' It’s all in fun.”

In addition to Texas and Texas A&M, Paul said he would also like to visit the West Coast, particularly UCLA. But that won’t likely come until his senior season so he can take an official visit. – William Wilkerson

Decision coming soon for brothers

If you’re wondering where Texas’ next commitments will come from, there’s a very good chance the answer is Keller (Texas) High brothers Sione Teuhema and Maea Teuhema.

After checking out LSU late last month, the 2014 defensive end and 2015 offensive tackle are most likely done taking visits and are still on track to announce their decision at the end of May.

Texas still seems to be the favorite for the duo, whose top five (in no particular order) currently consists of UT, LSU, TCU, Oklahoma State and Alabama.

Maea Teuhema, Sione Teuhema
Maea Teuhema (left) and Sione Teuhema have a top five of Texas, LSU, TCU, Oklahoma State and Alabama.
According to their guardian, Robert Taliaferro, communication with the Tide -- who have yet to offer -- has increased recently, but a visit might be not be possible this month. If there was any school the two would consider without visiting, it would be Alabama.

“You have to consider it,” Taliaferro said.

With those five schools, he said, the Teuhemas feel they’re in good shape right now in this recruitment and aren’t waiting for more schools to jump into the mix. After all, they did visit eight schools this spring.

“The visits were really cool,” Maea Teuhema said. “We got to learn a lot of stuff about the colleges we visited and it gives us better chance to make educated decision.”

Keller recently started up its spring schedule, and Maea has been working primarily at right tackle. Sione is still playing baseball -- he’s a left fielder for Keller -- and will get to work on football next week. He’s skipping summer baseball to focus on football, too, and is looking forward to putting more focus on his college decision starting next week.

“I’m really excited,” Sione said. “Right now, I just want to finish this baseball season and then really think about and I go to football next week.”

They’ll likely make their decision soon, but the brothers will not announce it until after spring ball wraps up at the end of May. That way, the college recruiters will keep coming to Keller this month and their teammates will get more exposure.

If you ask Taliaferro, Texas remains in great shape to land the package deal. He won’t say any one school is No. 1 right now, but the Longhorn coaching staff has to feel confident right now.

“They’re in the same place they’ve been in. They’re right at the top,” Taliaferro said. “It’s going to come down to one of those five. We’re trying to figure out. Each school has pluses and minuses. LSU and Alabama are eight to ten hours away, but they’re the top teams in the SEC. Texas is only 2 hours away, but they’re in a rebuilding year.”

And no matter what Texas’ offense appears to be heading toward, the guardian said he knows Maea will get to block for an elite rushing attack if he ends up in Austin. That’s potentially a big selling point.

“Maea would be blocking for arguably one of the best running backs in the nation, Johnathan Gray. So that would be hard to turn down too. Clearly they’re planning to run the ball. When you look at their recruiting and the backs they’re getting, they’re going to run. That’s an O-line’s dream. Is it worth going to the SEC and driving 10 hours away when Texas churns out just as many pros as they do? I don’t know.”

It’s safe to say we’ll know the answer to that question in only a few weeks. – Max Olson

2016 ATH a big fan of Texas

You’d be hard-pressed to find a recruit more proactive in getting their name out to college coaches than Kameron Martin (Port Arthur, Texas/Memorial).

He’ll write. He’ll call. He’ll travel wherever he needs to in order to get his name in the memory banks of college programs.

Well, his perseverance has paid off and he no longer has to go out of his way to try and get noticed. He’s now known.
Take his trip to Baylor three weeks ago as an example.

“Earlier that week I had called a coach to see if I could come up to the game,” Martin said. “He said I could and then later that week I called and he was like, 'Golly Kam we were just talking about you in the meeting. The head coach just asked about you.' "

Once on campus Martin had a meeting with Bears head coach Art Briles.

“He said, ‘Man you don’t even have to tell me your name, I’ve been doing my research,' " Martin said.

Then last week he made his second trip to LSU where he caught up with Tigers head coach Les Miles and a few assistants.

“They said they would stop by this spring to watch me,” he said. “They also told me to come to their camp. He said 85 percent of the players get offered. I think it is June 17.”

Martin really likes what he’s seen from the Tigers and constantly hears about them living in Port Arthur.

“I really like the feeling of playing with an SEC team,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to play with any team but to play with a team like LSU that stays at the top of the BCS, it’s a really good feeling. I’m blessed to be seeing all the things I’m seeing as a freshman. But LSU is a good place.”

Then there is Texas Tech, which is a school he’s really grown close to since it stopped by the week of national signing day.

“I talk to Texas Tech all the time,” he said. “Matter of fact I’m going to call them after I talk with you. Me and Coach [Kevin] Curtis keep a good relationship. He said they might not offer me right now but that I am their top choice for 2016. He just tells me to keep working hard and keep doing what I’m doing.”

Martin has really enjoyed building relationships with those three schools but there is one in particular he is really hoping to start hearing more from.

“I hate to say this but if Texas ever offered me a scholarship I’m going to commit,” Martin said. “Nobody that I ever talked to ever knew that I liked Texas. My whole room is Texas. My room is painted orange. I have two banners up, Jamal Charles’ signature. Everything in my room is Texas.”

Martin is expected to attend one of the Longhorns’ summer camps with hopes of jumping on their radar. He and former Port Arthur Memorial graduate Jamaal Charles speak often. – William Wilkerson

Lynch a 2015 QB to watch

No matter what position he ends up playing in college, quarterback/receiver Chad President’s decision to commit to Baylor this week actually has an interesting ripple effect for 2015 quarterback recruiting.

The Temple (Texas) High standout chose the Bears over Texas in one of Art Briles’ better recruiting coups. It’s not on the same level as snagging ESPN 150 receiver Robbie Rhodes last year, but it’s a big move and one that sophomore quarterbacks in the state will notice.

One recruit affected by the pledge is Blake Lynch (Troup, Texas/Troup). The 2015 has been getting interest from Texas, Alabama and Mississippi State but says the Bears are still No. 1 on his list right now.

Lynch has even been pondering an early commitment to BU and reached out to the staff following President’s decision.

“He’s a receiver-slash-QB, but his primary position is receiver,” Lynch said. “I asked a Baylor coach. Baylor is still my favorite school.”

While there’s no clear top target for Texas when it comes to 2015 quarterback, Lynch is one guy on the radar. The 6-2, 291-pound dual-threat recruit attended the Longhorns’ spring game last month and was impressed by what he saw.

“It was good, I liked the game,” Lynch said. “I talked to coach [Major] Applewhite and I liked that a lot. I enjoyed seeing Jalen Overstreet, because he’s from my district and I watched him growing up. I think they’ve got the athletes to run the spread. I think they’ll be more effective with that.”

At the time of that game, Lynch considered Mississippi State his top school. The Bulldogs have been recruiting him for more than four months and have worked hard to show they want him.

“It fits me more as a quarterback and I’ve talked to all the coaches and I like them a lot,” he said. “They have a winning atmosphere and work hard every single day and are determined to get better. They’ve proven to me that they want to win.”

MSU has yet to offer Lynch, but they’re one of many schools who have shown strong interest this spring. Alabama and Texas Tech both wanted Lynch to attend their spring games on the same weekend, but he missed out on both.

Would Texas look at Lynch as a QB? He’s not sure. Applewhite talked to him about quarterback, he said, but Manny Diaz has also mentioned UT could take him as an athlete.

Lynch said he’s open to playing anywhere if it will get him on the field early, but there’s another hurdle in his Texas recruitment.

“Well, my mom’s an Aggie,” he said. “She graduated from A&M. So ...”

Lynch hasn’t made his summer camp plans yet but there’s a good chance he’ll be back to Austin. He said there’s also a distinct possibility he’ll end up transferring to Tyler High School this summer after having moved away from Troup.

That would definitely lead to more exposure for Lynch. While it’s entirely possible he could commit to Baylor soon, if he waits he could end up being one of the state’s more coveted passers. – Max Olson