Texas Longhorns: Caleb Bluiett

Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 42 Caleb Bluiett
Sophomore defensive end


Recruitment rewind: The four-star defensive end from Beaumont (Texas) West Brook committed to Texas on the spot when he got his offer at a junior day in 2011. Bluiett played six positions at West Brook and was also a standout baseball player. He notched 134 tackles, 15 TFLs, eight sacks and two blocked kicks in his final two years of high school ball and came to Texas with the potential to play defensive end or tight end, depending on need.

Career so far: Bluiett began his Texas career as a tight end and redshirted in 2012. During the course of the 2013 season, he moved from defensive end to tight end and then back to end. He appeared in nine games, mostly on special teams but was called upon late in the season. Blueitt nabbed his first career sack against Texas Tech and played well in a reserve role, enough to earn him a start against Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl when the Longhorns opened in a three-end formation.

Best-case scenario for 2014: With Jackson Jeffcoat and backup Reggie Wilson now gone, Bluiett has an opportunity to see some serious playing time this fall. He'll likely be the first defensive end off the bench and perhaps even the heir apparent to senior Cedric Reed. Best case, he's one of Texas' most important and effective backup defenders with a knack for getting TFLs when he's on the field.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Let's hope his talents are not wasted on another season of shuttling between positions. Adding juco transfer Blake Whiteley should've given Texas enough depth at the tight end position, so no need to pursue that option again. If Shiro Davis really blows up in his first year as a starter, you'll see him and Reed taking the lion's share of playing time up front. Bluiett needs more than mop-up duty, and Texas needs to be able to rotate in its backups on the defensive line.

Future expectations: Who's going to continue Texas' rather incredible run of impact defensive ends? Reed raised his game when he took over for Alex Okafor. Somebody else will need to this fall to replace Jeffcoat. Based on what he showed this spring, you'd be wise to place your bets on Blueitt being a big name to know for the near future.
AUSTIN, Texas -- We continue this week's five to watch series with underclassmen who could take on important roles for the Longhorns in 2014. We'll exclude offensive lineman Kent Perkins, who would definitely make this list, because he made yesterday's list of key missing parts.

[+] EnlargeCaleb Bluiett
John Rivera/Icon SMICaleb Bluiett will be another athletic pass-rusher on Texas' defensive line.
DE Caleb Bluiett

Why put Bluiett here at No. 1 when he's not going to start? Because he reminded everyone in the Orange-White game why he's going to play a lot this fall.

The redshirt sophomore was disruptive off the edge in the spring game, tying for the team led with eight tackles while adding two TFLs and a pass breakup for the No. 2 defense. And with Jackson Jeffcoat and top backup Reggie Wilson gone, Bluiett will have to chip in.

He arrived in Austin an intriguing athlete, capable of playing tight end or along the defensive line. He bounced around between those duties throughout the 2013 season, flashed against Texas Tech once he settled in on defense and got to start against Oregon.

Bluiett has put on at least 30 pounds since joining the program and filled out into a really well-built end with intriguing tools. If he keeps coming along, he'll make life a lot easier for first-time starter Shiro Davis and the rest of this line.

WR Jacorey Warrick

Coaches and teammates call him by his nickname, "Petey," and it's a name you heard a lot during spring ball.

Warrick, a sophomore who played sparingly last year and didn't record a reception, has a chance to catch foes by surprise in the slot this fall. He overcame a torn meniscus suffered during his senior season at Houston Cypress Falls and was one of only a few true freshmen to see the field. Now it's time for an expanded role.

The 5-foot-10, 174-pound wideout enters Year 2 as one of the fastest players on the team at his position. He'll be pushed by fellow second-year receivers Montrel Meander and Jake Oliver (all three should contribute this season) and incoming freshmen like Armanti Foreman and Lorenzo Joe, but Warrick is a sharp route-runner who should get snaps in four-wide sets.

CB Bryson Echols

Lots of big-time former Texas defensive backs made their hay early with their special teams play. Last year, it was Echols who started making a name for himself on that front.

And not always in good ways, of course, with the few roughing the punter penalties Echols collected. But he did end up leading the Longhorns in special teams tackles with 10 on the year, and the DeSoto product can be one tough customer.

Where he fits into Texas' plans for 2014 remains to be seen, with Quandre Diggs and Duke Thomas slated to start at corner, but you need nickel backs in the Big 12 who can cover and tackle in space. As the Texas staff sorts through which pieces can make this defense complete, Echols' help in the secondary could make a difference.

Then again, it's entirely possible that by the end of the 2014 season, we're talking a lot more about redshirt freshman Antwuan Davis. He was good enough to play last year, but Mack Brown wisely opted to preserve his redshirt. A confident, aggressive corner with excellent speed, he was the real deal as a recruit and might be poised for a breakout.

LB Naashon Hughes

Hughes opened some eyes in the spring game with his play off the edge for the No. 2 defense. Depending on how Charlie Strong and Vance Bedford construct this defense, he could find himself fitting into a specialty role going forward.

[+] EnlargeKendall Sanders, Naashon Hughes
Brendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsNaashon Hughes (40) impressed Texas' new coaching staff this spring.
The redshirt freshman from Harker Heights proved with his senior year of high school ball he deserved a full scholarship, and not the planned grayshirt. He brings speed and athleticism in a 6-4, 231-pound package, and is the kind of linebacker who can rush from the outside and get the job done in coverage.

Texas' overwhelming surplus of linebackers might mean a year on the bench for Hughes, unless more injuries strike that group, but his time will come.

DB Chevoski Collins

If you want a sleeper who could come out of nowhere on defense and make a difference, look at Collins and fellow safety Adrian Colbert.

Unless another underclassman like John Bonney or Erik Huhn rises up, Colbert and Collins seem likely to take over as backup safeties behind the typically inconsistent duo of Mykkele Thompson and Josh Turner. Collins, a skilled athlete from Livingston could play in several spots in this secondary and brings lots of confidence for his age.

The redshirt freshman worked with the No. 2 defense in the spring game and still has some growing to do, but file that name away for down the road. He'll get his chance.
Editor's note: This week we're taking a closer look at five key takeaways from Texas' spring practices, which wrapped up earlier this month, as well as what they mean for the summer and beyond.

AUSTIN, Texas -- The new defensive line coach has a saying. Well, he has a lot of sayings. But he’s particularly proud of this one: In his eyes, there are two types of players.

The CEPs and the PSPs.

[+] EnlargeCedric Reed
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesCedric Reed is the pass-rushing headliner of Texas' loaded defensive line.
Chris Rumph wants to surround himself with CEPs: Contract extension players. Rumph loves those kind of guys. They make him look good. You do not, however, want to be a PSP.

“Some other guys that you won’t see out there on Saturdays, they are PSPs: Pink slip players,” Rumph said this spring. “So I want me some CEPs.”

The former Alabama assistant has inherited four dudes who get the job done on the Longhorns defensive line, a group that can set up every other starting defender for success when playing at its disruptive best.

Cedric Reed, the 6-foot-6 senior defensive end who earned All-Big 12 honors last fall as the tag-team partner of Jackson Jeffcoat is a known commodity. Only Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, a potential top-10 NFL draft pick, matched Reed last year in the production of sacks (10), forced fumbles (five) and pass breakups (four).

Reed has CEP written all over him. So does Malcom Brown, the monstrous defensive tackle who enters his junior season with 13 career starts and All-America potential.

Coaches say Brown is as good as he wants to be. He’s become more vocal, unafraid now to point out his peers’ mistakes during film sessions and offer advice. When he talks, they listen.

“They know I’m going to do what I have to do,” Brown said. “I’ve got it down. I know what I’m doing and I’ll tell them when I’m doing something wrong before they even have to tell me.”

Desmond Jackson knows what he’s doing, too. The senior nose tackle who goes by "Tank" has 38 games under his belt and knows exactly what he can bring to this line. When he and Brown clog the middle and break through to the backfield, this defense gets dangerous.

Coming off the other edge is Shiro Davis, who’s beginning to play up to the hype he earned when he flipped from LSU to Texas in the final hour of his recruitment. Now a junior, Davis did more than enough this spring to lock down a starting job.

Altogether, it’s a line that has all the size, strength and speed a first-year coach like Rumph could demand. And nothing pleases Jackson, the veteran of the group, more than to see guys like Brown and Davis on the rise.

[+] EnlargeDerick Roberson
Miller Safrit/ESPNIncoming freshman Derick Roberson could be hard to keep off the field.
“They’re like my brothers to me. Anytime they make a good play, I’m the first one over there hyped up,” Jackson said. “We’re all brothers. That’s like family right there. I’d do anything for them. To see them make huge jumps makes me feel good.”

But the Longhorns will need more than that, and the depth behind them remains an area of uncertainty. Caleb Bluiett will play plenty, and so could fellow third-year end Bryce Cottrell. Hassan Ridgeway is practically a lock to be the third tackle, but still has a way to go. Alex Norman and more backups must emerge, and true freshmen Poona Ford and Derick Roberson could contribute immediately.

No matter who makes the two-deep, the addition of Rumph has brought this group even closer together. In recent years, Oscar Giles oversaw the ends and Bo Davis coached tackles. Nothing wrong with that, but Texas’ defensive linemen are already picking up on the benefits of having one man run the show.

“It’s real different,” Brown said. “I’ve done drills this year that I’ve never done before, that the defensive ends do. We’re all on the same page. We’re all being taught the same thing and doing the same drills. It’s nice, and it has its perks.”

In between telling his guys they’re playing like sasquatches and billy goats, and taunting the quarterback, and threating to send underperformers home with mayonnaise sandwiches, the high-energy Rumph has made clear his expectations.

Close enough doesn’t fly with Rumph or head coach Charlie Strong, not when they’ve been preaching all spring that they intend to win games up front.

“It always starts up front. That’s what they always emphasize,” Brown said. “If we come out the first play and hit somebody in the mouth, they already know we’re there for the whole game and we’re gonna fight for the whole game.”

That's what a CEP sounds like, and Texas could have a bunch of them.
During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 88 Cedric Reed
Junior defensive end


DALLAS -- The informal beginning of Texas’ 2013 season came Tuesday with the Longhorns’ appearance at Big 12 media days. Here are five Texas-related things we learned from Big 12 media days:

1. Ash a year older, wiser

We’ll have a lot more on this topic in a future story, but David Ash made quite an impression during his two hours of media time on Tuesday.

[+] EnlargeDavid Ash
AP Photo/Tim SharpTexas quarterback David Ash appear confident on Day 2 of Big 12 media days.
There’s no doubt Ash has grown much more comfortable with his role as QB No. 1 and as a spokesperson for the team. It’s easy to jump to conclusions that how Ash acted Tuesday is a sign of what’s to come this fall. While I don’t necessarily buy that, he’s definitely carrying himself like a veteran now.

Ash is proud of the fact Mack Brown and Major Applewhite put their full faith in him this spring. He’s excited about the up-tempo scheme and its possibilities. He knows he can bring a lot more to the table in 2013.

“I think I have the ability to do a lot of things,” Ash said. “I can throw any ball. What I’m going to get better at is taking what the defense gives me. Sometimes they give the quarterback the run. If they do, I have no doubt I can take advantage of that.”

That’s confidence. You didn’t see a ton of it in 2012 as Ash battled injury, Case McCoy and his own inconsistency. The seniors in attendance have faith in him. Now it’s time to find out what he’ll do with that trust.

2. Brown unfazed by No. 4 rankings

Brown didn’t squeeze in any serious potshots at the SEC Conference, but he did take time during his 20-minute press conference Tuesday to applaud the parity of the Big 12.

He chuckled when asked, with Phil Steele ranking the Longhorns No. 4 in the nation and conference media tabbing them No. 4 in the league, where his team truly did fit on that scale of expectations.

“I really like the first guy better,” Brown said, referring to Steele. “I don’t know about his merit, but I like it better. Who knows? You know, I do think that we have the most balanced league in the country right now, top to bottom.”

The days of two or three teams dominating the conference are long gone, he said, and anyone can beat anyone. He pointed to the most obvious example -- Texas at Kansas last fall -- as proof.

“When you look at us being voted fourth, I thought what we saw is the numbers are all really, really close, and people are confused on who they think may win this conference championship,” Brown said. “That's a compliment to our league.”

3. Jeffcoat ready to return

For Jackson Jeffcoat, senior season started the October day he found out he wouldn’t play again in 2012.

The preseason All-Big 12 defensive end is proud to say his second pectoral injury in two years is now in the rearview mirror. He has been fully cleared for the start of fall camp next month and is ready to start hitting again.

"I’m just excited to get out there with my teammates, and it’s really helped me grow,” Jeffcoat said. “Being out there and seeing things like a coach and talking with coach about things, it’s different. You see different things. I helped players out and I learned.”

Perhaps that’s the silver lining for Jeffcoat -- he’s glad he got a chance to help Cedric Reed prepare for the starting role and that his absence ended up letting Texas develop its depth on the line.

We heard good things about Shiro Davis, Bryce Cottrell and Caleb Bluiett this week, too, though they’re primarily pass rushers right now. Oscar Giles could have some serious options for rotations this fall.

4. Hopkins likes OL depth

Trey Hopkins insisted he and the four returning members of the Texas offensive line don’t feel threatened by the addition of the best incoming line class of Brown’s tenure.

In fact, the senior guard said he’s excited to see what the five linemen -- Darius James, Kent Perkins, Rami Hammad, Jake Raulerson and juco transfer Desmond Harrison -- can do to provide depth in 2013, especially when an up-tempo scheme likely will call for more substituting up front.

“There’s a lot of competition. That only makes everyone else rise,” Hopkins said. “They can come in, and I expect them to work hard. They’ve shown they’ll work hard. That’s going to be an energy booster for the rest of the team. Everyone knows now you can’t take a lazy step, or the guy behind you will be the guy in front of you pretty soon.”

5. Odds and ends

• Texas officials confirmed Tuesday that linebacker Jordan Hicks officially was approved for a medical redshirt for the 2012 season. Hicks is still considered a junior with two years of eligibility remaining.

• Harrison had his first workout with the team on Monday after enrolling last week. Hopkins called the 6-foot-8 tackle a “massive human being” and has been impressed by his demeanor.

• No update on the status of wide receiver Cayleb Jones and when he’ll resume working out with the team. Jones was suspended this spring and has not been with the program during the summer.

• One interesting note on newly hired football analyst Greg Robinson: He’ll continue to live in Los Angeles this fall and likely will visit Austin only for home-game weekends. Robinson, whose primary duty is to break down opponents’ film, had a similar role with the Seattle Seahawks last year.
During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 42 Caleb Bluiett
Freshman defensive end



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AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas has 19 starters back from last season.

But when Texas gets back to work, all might not be in the same positions. Therein lies the luxury of having so many starters as well as having played 34 freshmen and sophomores over the past two years. It allows for versatility. Some mixing and matching if you will.


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Manny Diaz was the master of disguise defense.

Remember, back in the halcyon days of 2011, when Kansas was fretting about preparing for the first-year Texas defensive coordinator and his supposed 130 blitz combinations?

Given how subterfuge gave way to substandard performances in 2012, those times have long been forgotten. The Texas defense was laid bare last season. So, it stands to reason, there is no hiding anything in 2013.


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Position breakdown: Defensive end 

February, 18, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas -- It was with a furious burst at the end of the year -- nine sacks against Oregon State -- that Texas finished just barely inside the top 20 in sacks.

Now while that last game was impressive, the overall production of the defensive ends mirrored the theme of the entire defense in 2012 -- hit or miss.


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Every Friday, HornsNation recruiting writers William Wilkerson and Max Olson answer a question about the Longhorns.

This week’s question: Which position is Texas’ biggest need for its 2014 class?

William Wilkerson: This comes down to a few positions for me.


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Texas poised to take big 2014 class 

February, 14, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas A&M was the talk of the state in 2013 with its 32-man recruiting class. Don’t be shocked if Texas comes close to those numbers with its 2014 class.

As always, it’s a matter of math. Texas, by rule, can sign no more than 50 recruits in any two-year period. The Longhorns inked 15 this year, so 35 is the absolute maximum for 2014.

Texas isn’t going for 35 this year. Its 2013 team will feature 15 seniors if Jordan Hicks is granted his medical redshirt. A full class of 25 signees is likely. But don’t rule out the possibility of 30.


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown refused to talk about the five recruits Texas didn't get on signing day.

But the Texas coach did have a message for players that might be interested in the Longhorns in the future.

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
Kevin Jairaj/US PresswireTexas coach Mack Brown stressed the quality of his 2013 class but was clearly disappointed in the five recruits who decommitted.
"The thing that we will do is we have allowed the kids to commit and still look around the last couple of years -- we're not doing that anymore," Brown said on Wednesday. “If you are committed to us be committed. If you're going to go look, we're going to go look."

It was a strong message and it permeated a signing day that dripped with disappointment over who Texas didn't get -- A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama), Daeshon Hall (Texas A&M), Ricky Seals-Jones (Texas A&M), Durham Smythe (Notre Dame) and Kyle Hicks (TCU) -- as much as the day was held up and celebrated for the 15 players Texas did get.

"What we found is the 15 [recruits] that we got are very passionate about being at Texas and that is what we want," Brown said. "And very honestly if a young person tells you they're coming and their parents tell you they're coming and then they don't, you wouldn't want them to be here.

"You may be disappointed on the day it happened but you want people that will look you in the eye and tell you the truth and you want people who want to be at your school.”

This signing day Texas didn't need that many people at its school. It only had room for about 16. So the search was for quality over quantity. Brown, who because of all the decommitments and misses seemingly has gone from coach February to Father Time with this class, tried to hammer that point home repeatedly.

(Read full post)

AUSTIN, Texas -- Head coach Mack Brown and the rest of the Longhorns coaching staff will continue to evaluate their freshmen class as they try to determine which players to redshirt as the season wears on.

Texas has played 14 freshmen through three games.

“That will probably continue to occur until the seventh week of the season,” Brown said. “You won’t travel with all of them but you still look at them.”

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AUSTIN, Texas -- Four of the five schools that offensive lineman Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas/Waco) is still considering are selling him on the idea of being a defensive tackle.

That’s exactly where the 6-foot-1, 315-pound state powerlifting champion wants to play.

“It’s more fun,” the four-star prospect said. “Offense is OK. You build good relationships with the guys on the line. But defensive line is more individual. You get more recognition. It's more my style of play. I don't like to wait on people. I like to go out there and get it."

[+] EnlargeHenry Melton
Icon SMIFormer Longhorn Henry Melton rushed for 625 yards and 16 touchdowns in college before moving to defensive tackle.
Hearing that must ease the minds of coaches as Baylor, SMU, Mississippi State and TCU, but only to a certain degree. That’s because Texas, the lone finalist that wants him on the offensive line, normally has its pick of the litter when it comes to recruiting within state boundaries.

“It’s Texas,” Billings responded when asked if it hurt the Longhorns' chances that they want him on offense. “I just want to play four more years of football.”

That’s just it: The Longhorns sell themselves. And in instances when they do come across a recruit that might not see eye-to-eye with them on where they want him to play, they can point to the proven track record they have of changing a player's position once he’s on campus that was beneficial for both parties.

It has happened throughout the course of Mack Brown's 15 seasons on the 40 Acres.

Henry Melton spent his first two seasons at running back before coaches figured out his 6-foot-3, 260-pound frame would be better suited for the defensive line.

An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection as a senior, Melton now starts for the Chicago Bears. In his first year as a starter in 2011, he finished with seven sacks, which was tied for third-most among NFL defensive tackles.

The Longhorns recruited high school All-American Aaron Lewis as a defensive end out of Albuquerque, N.M., in 2005. After starting 10 games as an end during his sophomore and junior seasons, he was moved to defensive tackle as a senior and was named an honorable mention All-Big 12 member by league coaches for the first time.

Lamarr Houston was a running back and linebacker out of Colorado Springs, but Texas moved him to defensive tackle as a junior and now he starts at defensive end for the Oakland Raiders.

“If you get the big guys that are speed guys when they start with and they gain so much weight they move down -- [former Longhorn] Marcus Tubbs was a tight end -- you just go back and look at some of those guys that can really be a force inside,” Brown said.

There are several players following similar paths on Texas’ roster.

Chris Whaley converted from running back to starting nose guard. Alex De La Torre and Chet Moss were brought in as linebackers but have both made the switch to fullback. Miles Onyegbule has transitioned from receiver to tight end and now plays alongside Greg Daniels and Caleb Bluiett, who were both recruited as defensive ends.

“We felt like my job is to look around the team, and if a guy is not being able to produce where he is, find a place where he can produce better,” Brown said. “And whether you're moving Lamarr Houston or Aaron Lewis or guys that we've moved throughout our 15 years here, that's part of my job is to try to figure out who can step up and have a chance.”

The main issue for Texas, which really isn’t much of one to begin with, is getting these players on campus in order to make a switch possible. Longhorns coaches have told Billings that they’d give him a shot at defensive tackle but that they see his future as a center.

He doesn’t have any qualms with that and neither did fellow two-way ESPN 150 lineman Jake Raulerson, who was originally recruited as an offensive tackle but could start off on the defensive line.


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Class of 2013 defensive end Torrodney Prevot (Houston/Alief Taylor) woke up Thursday morning with three offers. By mid afternoon he’d doubled that.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Prevot received an offer from Baylor early in the morning and added offers from Oklahoma and Texas after that.

“It was a crazy day for me,” said Prevot, who already had offers from LSU, Texas A&M and Utah.

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