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Friday, June 21, 2013
The Heard: UT recruiting news and notes

By Max Olson and William Wilkerson

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 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.

Foremans ready to commit?

One Foreman brother is ready to officially become a Texas commit. But it’s apparently a lot more complicated than that.

Three-star running back D'Onta Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) said he recently called Texas running backs coach Larry Porter to deliver his commitment. He wants to be a Longhorn, and he’s confident that now is the right time.

“I told him that I want to commit, and he was proud and happy,” D’Onta said. “He said they really like me and they’re glad I committed, but he couldn’t accept my commitment yet because he had to go through Mack [Brown], because everything goes through Mack first.”

D'Onta Foreman
Three-star running back D'Onta Foreman wants to commit to Texas soon.
Foreman was told he’d be hearing from coach Mack Brown soon -- after the coaches return from vacation -- to make the commitment official, but in fact it might not be that simple.

D’Onta and ESPN 300 receiver Armanti Foreman have said all along they plan to play together in college. Texas essentially has one spot left at wide receiver for this class, and the staff wants Armanti to commit with D’Onta. And that could be an issue.

Welcome to the problems with package deals. The brothers want to play together. The brothers don’t necessarily want to decide together.

Armanti Foreman wants to continue this process, take official visits this fall and commit in December or January. He’s not ready to end the recruitment just yet.

“I really don’t know what he’ll do,” D’Onta said. “I talked to him about it and he’d really like to play with me, but he has a lot of options. He doesn’t want to choose right now. It’s kind of crazy, because he knows Texas is a wonderful fit for him. But he’s been saying, ‘I want to weight my options. I want to take my visits.’ That’s mostly what it is, he wants to take his visits.”

The Longhorns, with five receiver commits already on board, might not have room for him by then. And they don’t want to see Armanti commit elsewhere and end up losing D’Onta to that school at the last second -- hence the need for Armanti to commit now and prevent these potential hazards.

The brothers’ mother and grandmother visited Texas last weekend and came away impressed. They’d love to see D’Onta and Armanti together at Texas.

“To me, I think it’s going to come down to Texas or Texas A&M for Armanti,” D’Onta said. “It would kind of surprise me if he went to another school. I honestly feel like he wants to go to Texas. I honestly feel that he’s eventually going to say, ‘Forget it, I want to play with you and we’re going to do this thing together.’

“He wants to play at Texas, but he also wants to weigh his options. He’s stuck in between those two things and he’s really in a hard place. He told me he’s been thinking about it a lot. He really doesn’t know.”

Make no mistake, Texas likes D’Onta Foreman. They’ve fully offered him and would take him on his own merits. But the Longhorns might not be ready to take his commitment until Armanti makes up his mind about his own plan. It’s a tricky situation, but one that still appears likely to produce at least one commitment in the near future. – Max Olson

Hall still priority for Texas

As he walked out of the Texas practice bubble following the June 9 minicamp, Jason Hall proudly told me he was ready to commit to Texas just as soon as he took care of decommitting from Nebraska.

The three-star safety from South Grand Prairie (Texas) was understandably excited after Texas had just offered him a scholarship. He’s cooled off since then and remains committed to the Huskers, but Hall is legitimately torn about this decision.

“Right now, I couldn’t really tell you the heads or tails of it,” Hall said. “It’s still the summer. I don’t know. I’m still committed. I’ll just lay the things out and see how things work out.”

He was confident about how he fared at the camp. In fact, the 6-foot-2, 192-pound safety thought he was near-flawless. He wanted to wow secondary coach Duane Akina, and he did just that.

“It was a big thing,” Hall said. “As a kid watching Texas football and living in Texas, I’m not saying the offer was a shocker, but it was an overwhelming feeling.”

Hall said he’ll seriously consider Nebraska, Texas and Oklahoma going forward. He’d like to make his final decision before his senior season begins and get this all out of the way going into the fall.

“I feel like some people are putting me on the spot with, ‘Is he gonna decommit? Is he going to stay committed?’” Hall said. “People are making a big scene about it. Texas and Nebraska are both great schools, don’t get me wrong.”

Hall doesn’t know exactly what it’s going to come down to right now, and he admits judging whether Nebraska or Texas is a better fit for him is challenging.

“They both have great attributes of what I’m looking for,” he said. “It’s going to be a hard thing to decide on. I really couldn’t tell you right now.”

Hall also holds offers from Baylor, Iowa, Utah, Nevada and North Texas. Ever since committing to the Huskers in May, Hall said more and more schools have been showing him interest. After such a quiet spring on the recruiting front, he’s enjoying the attention.

Texas is still heavily pursuing Hall for one of the defensive back spots in its class, and the safety has a strong appreciation for Akina and his coaching style following camp. But he needs more time, and he’s not going to tip his hand just yet. – Max Olson

UT gets plenty of time with Lodge

By now you’ve heard the numbers: six catches, 59 yards and zero touchdowns.

That’s all 2015 wide receiver Damarkus Lodge (Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill) had to show for his sophomore season.

He’ll likely exceed that in the matter of a few quarters this year. There’s no denying that.

If Cedar Hill wasn’t so loaded with offensive skill players last season, Lodge would have been the main target. It was just hard to spread the ball around on an offense with Ole Miss signee Quincy Adeboyejo, Texas A&M signee LaQuvionte Gonzalez and Oregon signee Damion Hobbs.

DaMarkus Lodge
Class of 2015 receiver Damarkus Lodge is planning a few visits this summer.
That won’t be the case this season, though, as Lodge is set for a huge season that college coaches are already clamoring about.

One of the schools that will be paying close attention is Texas, which had the opportunity to host Lodge during its three-day camp last week.

There weren’t a lot of highly-regarded prospects in attendance when Lodge came to town on Friday. That gave Texas coaches, in particular receivers coach Darrell Wyatt, the opportunity for plenty of 1-on-1 time.

“I’m just excited,” Lodge said of his time at Texas. “I’ve been here a lot so I’ve already seen the facilities. I just came here to work out. It’s going great. They are great coaches. It’s going real great.”

Lodge made the trip with his parents, who he said, “love Texas. Love Texas. It is just a family spirit. Everybody is nice.”

But there are plenty of programs seeking the Lodge’s attention.

Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Iowa, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Utah have all offered. So where does Texas stand?

“Basically things are pretty even,” he said. “I am basically still searching and taking my time with the process. There is no rush.”

When Lodge does start to narrow things down you can expect Texas to be in the mix, and that’s largely because it encompasses the main three traits he’s looking for.

“Education first,” he said. “Texas has a great education. A great receivers coach and a lot of tradition.”

Lodge is a big fan of Wyatt, who spoke with the budding star for roughly 30 minutes after 1-on-1 drills were over with.

“He is a great coach and I know how he coaches,” Lodge said. “I know his coaching style because I’ve worked with him before.”

While Texas put in plenty of work on Lodge last week, the staff is going to have to stay persistent with him over the next two seasons if he’s going to land in Austin.

Next up with a chance to sway Lodge will be Ohio State, LSU and Oklahoma. The dates haven’t been set but he wants to visit those schools soon. – William Wilkerson

2014 DB trying to make name for himself

Class of 2014 defensive back Garrett Davis (Red Oak, Texas/Red Oak) is well aware of the offers his former teammate Payton Hendrix has picked up since transferring to Dallas Bishop Dunne.

“I think he’s up to 18 offers,” Davis said. “I stayed at Red Oak because, I don’t know, I think if D-I football is what God has in store for me then I’m going D-I football where I am.”

Davis only has a North Texas offer, but is putting in the leg work to at least give himself the opportunity to get noticed by other programs. That included going to Texas’ camp on June 9.

“I did really good with footwork and agility drills and stuff like that,” Davis said. “I think I did good in 1-on-1s against Texas commit Lorenzo Joe. I think I did pretty good. He was the best receiver that was there. He has great moves off the line. He caught one good fade on me but other than that I thought I did pretty well.”

Davis did well enough to catch the eye of Longhorns defensive backs coach Duane Akina.

“Coach Akina talked to me afterward,” Davis said. “He first noticed me when I ran my 40. I ran a 4.53. After that he kept an eye on me and said he liked what I did on 1-on-1s. They follow me on Twitter. I think I caught their eye.”

Apparently Akina was impressed with the way Davis, a taller corner at 6-0, 182 pounds, was able to move.

“Coach Akina told me that when he first saw me and thought I was a big, muscular guy who was athletic,” he said. “But then he saw me in my drills and noticed that I was also quick and could transition. I think my height plays a big roll in my recruiting.”

Davis seemed to have accomplished his goal of at least getting on the radar of Texas’ coaching staff, which has only one secondary commitment in 2014.

If it doesn’t work out at Texas, Davis is sure to get looked at elsewhere. Missouri defensive coordinator Dave Steckel reached out to him not long after the Texas camp.

“Missouri is real nice,” Davis said. “The DC really wanted me to come out. We drove out there, matter of fact. It was a horrible ride. He was on me before I even got there.

“He stayed with me afterwards and I did some 1-on-1 drills with him. That was a last-minute camp that they’ll be evaluating this summer. The defensive coordinator told me he wants me to call him.” – William Wilkerson

Keep eye on 2015 DT Boone

Texas has a commitment from Bryce English (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) and has also offered Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater). Who else is on the radar for the defensive tackle spot in 2015?

Cleburne (Texas) sophomore Tevin Boone is one name definitely worth knowing. He checked in at 6-1 and 303 pounds at Texas’ June 9 camp, and then he went out and showed he could develop into a dominant interior lineman.

“I think I showed off my quickness when I’m playing and stuff like that,” Boone said. “I think it went really good.”

Texas is really the only school Boone is hearing from so far. He doesn’t have an offer from the Longhorns yet, but the staff is going to continue evaluating Boone this fall.

“Bo Davis told me they really like me and they’re going to come check me out in the fall,” Boone said. “They came to watch me a couple weeks ago at school during a practice.”

Getting to see how Davis coached up the defensive tackles at camp was one of the highlights of the day for Boone. Davis hasn’t said much to Boone about an offer other than that Texas will be watching him closely this fall.

Boone has attended Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech camps thus far this summer but said he didn’t think any other schools were close to offering yet. He’s been enjoying the 1-on-1 competition and the chance to show he’s worth of their interest.

“I was just trying to prove myself and get my name out there at Texas camp,” Boone said. “They told me I got their attention.” – Max Olson

What’s next for Mack?

Last week, we reported that 2015 defensive tackle Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater) was close to committed to Texas A&M. Well, once again, Mack has not committed.

He’d said he was going to do so last Friday or Saturday. Mack said he was really serious this time, that he was ready to make it official. And then he didn’t commit.

So what comes next? Mack said his parents don’t want him to commit yet. The one school he’d really like to visit in the near future is Texas Tech, and their young coaching staff has made a big impression on him.

Whether or not Mack does end up committing to Texas A&M at some point in the future, Texas might be wise to stay in touch with him. He’ll be keeping a close eye on the 2013 season and how the Longhorns fare.

“The reason I didn’t make my decision earlier was Texas,” Mack said. “Texas did tell me they’re going to get it turned around, so I want to see for myself if it does get turned around. They told me they’re on the rise and they’re going to be good. They said, ‘Don’t commit early. Watch us and see for yourself.’”

Mack said Texas had the best facilities and weight room of any school he has visited. He has good relationships with Bo Davis and Stacy Searles. And he grew up a big Texas fan. Mack has genuine interest in Texas.

But right now, the SEC seems impossible for him to pass up. Still, there’s a good chance that if Texas has a truly breakout 2013 season, it will get Mack’s attention. When asked last month what could change his plans of going to A&M, he said it’s simple: Winning.

“Winning could really change that,” he said. “If Texas comes on with it and has a good, winning season, I just might change my mind. I really am thinking about going there, even if they don’t win the national championship. Even if they have an 8-5 season I’m still considering them because they were my childhood favorite team growing up.”

Mack went on to mention that a lot can change in the next two years, and he did tell me he’ll likely take a few visits elsewhere even if he does commit early.

Right now, Mack seems 99 percent sure he’ll end up committing to Texas A&M. But he still hasn’t. If he waits until after this season, it’s safe to say the situation could change considerably. – Max Olson

2016 DB impresses at camp

One of the few 2016 prospects to attend either of Texas’ two minicamps was defensive back Bailey Phillips (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite), and he didn’t disappoint.

Phillips (5-9, 157 pounds) attended Texas’ second minicamp on June 9, which was intended for mostly underclassmen.

Bailey Phillips
Class of 2016 defensive back Bailey Phillips is planning to attend more camps this summer.
“It went really well,” he said. “We went through individuals and I did pretty good and then when we went to 1-on-1s the first time they put me with the smaller group and I got three breakups in a row. So they moved me to the bigger group. I got two breakups and had the ball caught on me once.”

In all, Phillips said he had two passes caught on him the whole time.

“I hope I opened some eyes,” he said. “The coach wasn’t saying much to me. He was paying attention to a tall corner but I think I made a name for myself.

“I’m pretty happy because, me honestly, most of the people there weren’t good. They were overrated. Some of them were good but most were just hype.”

Phillips said he stood out in “every sense” but also said there was plenty of things to work on, including route recognition and playing with more technique.

“I play with technique but sometimes I have a mental error,” he said. “They don’t catch the ball but I know in my mind I didn’t do it right.”

Phillips said he notices these habits when watching film every day for 30 to 40 minutes.

The Longhorns haven’t offered any 2016 prospects yet but Phillips figures to be one they’ll look at considerably when they begin to.

Asked for his thoughts on the Longhorns in general and Phillips replied, “It was nice but I’m not going to say that I would go there right now because my recruiting is still starting,” he said. “I liked it.”

Phillips also camped at Texas A&M where he said he got two interceptions and only gave up one completion. He also said he was asked to work individually with Aggies defensive backs coach Marcel Yates.

Next up for Phillips will be camps at LSU, Auburn and UCLA. – William Wilkerson

Calif. athlete faces pressure daily

If you think Class of 2015 athlete Lavan Alston (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) has it easy catching passes from teammate Ricky Town, who is arguably the top quarterback in the country in 2015, then think again.

It’s actually Alston who is in the pressure situation. If he doesn’t catch the passes thrown his way, then Town will have a difficult time accumulating the absurd numbers he’s expected to tally.

“There are big expectations so I have to step up and catch everything that is thrown at me,” he said. “You have to step up your game. You have no choice. Just knowing I have to put on a show every time I step on the field. I have to make my team look good.”

Judging from how he performed during the first two days of Texas’ three-day minicamp last week, making Town look good shouldn’t be an issue. Alston (6-0, 169 pounds) caught most everything thrown his way, by Town or whomever.

“I didn’t do as well as I wanted to but I did pretty good,” Alston said. “I wanted to run good routes and I want to catch the ball good. Overall I think I did that.”

It was a perfect opportunity for Alston to make an impression on Texas’ coaches. There weren’t a lot of prospects in attendance and, with every Longhorns coach pinpointing every Town throw, he was going to be in the spotlight.

Alston, who has 10.70 100-meter dash speed, was able to run routes in a small 1-on-1 setting in front of all of the coaches, who were primarily interested in Town. He was even asked to play a little defensive back, which he himself admits might be his ticket to college.

Then he had an opportunity to talk with them about the system, the plays and how “the community gets involved with the program.”

“They seem real cool,” he said.

Alston grew up in a military family, which has afforded him the opportunity to see many different types of football. He loved what he saw in his two days in Texas.

“Florida is more athleticism,” he said. “California is more textbook and technique. Texas is a little bit of both. It’s really competitive … and hot.” – William Wilkerson