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Sunday, July 28, 2013
Lessons Learned: Texas Stampede

By William Wilkerson

AUSTIN, Texas -- The Texas Stampede wrapped up before dark on Saturday, leaving the Longhorns with one commitment, on the verge of another and three new players with offers to consider.

Here is a look at those players and a few other things we learned from a first-of-its-kind event for Mack Brown and his program:

Equal balance

You never know who is going to show up to events like these. Things change. Family obligations take precedence, rides can be hard to come by, etc.

The list we had confirmed of those who would be in attendance was star-studded, but so to was the list of talent that wasn't going to make it to town.

As the day unfolded, some of the players who originally said they would make it weren’t able to attend, while others that didn’t think they’d be coming actually showed up. In the end, it all seemed to balance out for Texas’ staff.

No, it didn’t get the chance to visit with Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen), who was in North Carolina competing at the Junior Olympics. But the Longhorns were able to get several hours with Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater).

No, Texas didn’t get to talk with 2015 defensive back Kris Boyd (Gilmer, Texas/Gilmer). But he’s a heavy Texas lean, anyway. Besides that, the Texas staff was able to spend time with four-star safety John Bonney (Houston/Lamar).

No, 2015 offensive lineman Trevor Elbert (Rockwall, Texas/Heath) didn’t make it down. But 2014 athlete Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton) did, and now Texas is a serious contender for his commitment on Aug. 2, along with Arkansas and Texas A&M.

No, 2014 defensive tackle D.J. Williams (Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin) didn’t make it down. But Texas was able to get TCU safety commitment Nick Orr (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) to town. The Longhorns didn’t offer, but they were at least able to spend some time with him in case an offer does come up down the road.

Longhorns continue to impress Ketchum

A few things became ever apparent regarding the Longhorns and  J.W. Ketchum (Fort Bend, Texas/Marshall), an ESPN Junior 300 athlete, on Saturday.

One, there is no question, at least according to Ketchum, that Texas wants him at quarterback. In fact, he all but said he’d give the peace sign to those trying to recruit him as anything else.

Two, Texas is undoubtedly his No. 1 team, followed by Texas A&M and Baylor, in that order.

The Longhorns really gained strides today by paying attention to details with the No. 149 player in the country for 2015. Because he was the only one of Texas’ five offered quarterbacks in attendance, he was able to enjoy a meeting with Major Applewhite all by himself. They spoke about several football-related issues, including the similarities between the offense he runs at Marshall and what Applewhite is employing in Austin.

That is going to go a long way in Ketchum’s decision, which he said he will not make until an All-American game his senior season.

2016 offers become official

It’s been known for about a month now that 2016 Manvel (Texas) High School teammates Reggie Hemphill and Deontay Anderson were going to get offers from the Longhorns.

It was about a month ago, though, that they were actually approved for offers. It was just a matter of when Texas wanted to make them official.

Well, that time came on Saturday, and it couldn’t have come soon enough.

Hemphill put on an absolute clinic at the three-day minicamp against 2014 commitment Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/Saint Augustine). It was there that coaches got an all-encompassing, first-hand look at just how good Hemphill already is and can be.

He grew up a Texas fan because of his family ties with Vince Young but has since grown fond of Texas A&M. He has the Aggies No. 1, with the Longhorns a close No. 2.

Texas did themselves a favor by becoming the first program to offer him. He seems more amenable to staying in-state and playing at one of these two programs than Anderson, a cornerback, does.

Anderson really likes Alabama right now. Getting an offer out to him early on, especially at a place famous for its defensive backs, should make an impact.

OL continues to add depth

Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels must be loving his life right now.

Not only does he have all five starters back, a roster that should be able to give him legitimate two-deep depth across the board and a budding star in juco transfer Desmond Harrison, but he also has an insanely talented 2013 class on campus and a 2015 class of linemen ready to rival it.

It will get substantially better very soon whenever Patrick Vahe (Euless, Texas/Trinity), the No. 79 player and No. 4 offensive guard in the ESPN Junior 300, decides to make it official. A source close to Vahe told HornsNation's Max Olson that he has committed, but Vahe himself has yet to confirm that report.

When it does happen, he'll join first cousin Maea Teuhema (Euless, Texas/Trinity), Connor Lanfear (Buda, Texas/Hays) and Aaron Garza (Sherman, Texas/Sherman) as offensive line commitments in 2015.

All four are ESPN Junior 300 members, with Teuhema at No. 31, Lanfear at No. 291 and Garza at No. 202.

Vahe, like the rest of the linemen commitments, not only give Searels a boost for years to come, but they are players who offensive skill players would love to play with.

RB options for 2015 keep growing

ESPN Junior 300 running back Ja’Mycal Hasty (Longview, Texas/Longview) became the sixth 2015 running back with an offer from the Longhorns on Saturday.

He joins an impressive group of Texas offer recipients in Jay Bradford (Splendora, Texas/Splendora), Jordan Stevenson (Dallas/Skyline), Chris Warren (Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall), Rodney Anderson (Katy, Texas/Katy) and Soso Jamabo (Plano, Texas/West).

All six of those running backs are members of the ESPN Junior 300. All of them aren’t playing together, either. So the question remains: Which of them will end up at Texas?

Jamabo, Bradford, Stevenson and Warren have expressed extreme interest in the past. They would be the four who are most likely to give Texas the longest look.

Stevenson, for one, told HornsNation on Saturday that Texas was in his top three and that he wasn’t ready to name the other two yet. Doesn’t that make the Longhorns the de facto leader?

Hasty and Anderson are going to take some more work, but they could come around if Texas has a successful 2013 season.

One thing the Longhorns could have going for them with Hasty is they’ve now offered all five original members of the “Fab Five,” plus Kris Boyd. Texas Tech is the only other school to offer them all.