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Thursday, November 29, 2012
Texas misses out on top S Marcell Harris

By William Wilkerson

For the second straight year Texas gave a valiant effort in its recruitment of one of the country’s top out of state safeties but ended up with its hat being left on the table.

Last year the Longhorns were one of the key suitors for Landon Collins, who infamously chose Alabama over LSU at the Under Armour All-American Game, much to the chagrin of his mother.

Marcell Harris
ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris picked the Gators on Thursday.
This year, ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) chose Florida over Texas, Florida State and Oklahoma.

The Longhorns and Gators were always thought to be the top two schools Harris was considering.

His track record of visiting Austin and Texas’ shaky state of current safeties had Longhorns fans holding out hope that they might actually win this one.

Behind the scenes, though, it appeared that Texas’ coaching staff knew something different as it started contacting at least two other safeties committed to other programs.

One of those is Georgia commitment Shaquille Fluker (Meridian, Miss./East Mississippi Community College), who was offered by Longhorns tackles coach Bo Davis before the Thanksgiving break.

“I told him it interests me, because I am willing to go somewhere that I can play off the bat,” Fluker said. “I don’t want to go sit, because knowing my talent I can play and know the playbook.”

That was apparently Davis’ message.

“He told me that when they watched my film they liked how I went after the ball and how I hit people,” he said. “That’s what they want their safety to do.

“He said they needed a safety to come and play, so he came and talked to me and offered me. I guess one of their safeties is going to be gone and they wanted someone to be able to come in and play.”

Fluker is interested enough that he’ll take an official visit to Texas on Dec. 7 and bring teammate, defensive end Za'Darius Smith with him. He doesn’t know much about the program at all so the Longhorns appear to have their work cut out for them.

One thing that could be working in Texas’ favor is the fact that Georgia has five safeties committed in 2013, including another juco player. So that could be a selling point for the Longhorns.

Another prospect that Texas has reached out to is Oklahoma State commitment Deric Robertson (Killeen, Texas/Killeen). He is a three-star prospect who is rated as the No. 81 safety in the country.

“I spoke to Coach [Manny] Diaz a couple of weeks ago, and he asked me to send him a highlight tape,” Robertson said. “Once he finished it he was going to get back with me as soon as possible. He did and told me he liked it and that they would keep in contact with me.”

Robertson said he is definitely interested in taking a look, as two of his best friends, Darius James and Naashon Hughes, are both committed to Texas. Robertson even joined James for the Longhorns home game against West Virginia.

“It was crazy,” he said. “Every play all you heard was ‘Ahhh.’ It was a sea of burnt orange everywhere. It was ridiculous.”

The Longhorns were in a similar situation with their safeties in 2012 when they were able to sway Adrian Colbert away from his Baylor commitment. Can they do it again?

The only safety they have committed in 2013 is four-star Erik Huhn (Cibolo, Texas/Steele), who injured his knee in the first game of the season and hasn’t returned.

If you are wondering, the top safety in the state, Kameron Miles, recently switched his commitment from Tennessee to Texas A&M.