Texas Longhorns: Caleb Bluiett

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



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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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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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For weeks the constant question surrounding Texas’ defensive ends was about production.

Jackson Jeffcoat had no sacks in the first six games of 2011. Alex Okafor had just two. Those were not the numbers anyone expected from the new Manny Diaz pin-your-ears-back defense. That the pair finished with 15 combines sacks is a testament to the fact that they finally started to understand the defense. Really that Texas finished with 30 sacks, 29th in the country, is testament that they all started to figure it out.

[+] EnlargeTorshiro Davis
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comBecause of depth issues, defensive end Torshiro Davis could find early playing time in 2012.
But the keys were Jeffcoat and Okafor. Texas has to have pressure from one or both for the defense to be good in 2012.

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Longhorns show off on signing day

February, 1, 2012
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Here are a few shots of some of the newest Longhorns enjoying national signing day at the International Bowl.

Caleb Bluiett
Caleb BluiettMax Olson/ESPN.comDepth on the defensive line could and his athleticism could see Caleb Bluiett moving to a new position with Texas.


Tim Cole
Timothy ColeMax Olson/ESPN.com


Daje Johnson
Daje JohnsonMax Olson/ESPN.comTexas coaches have high hopes that Daje Johnson can make a variety of contributions as a freshman.

AUSTIN, Texas - - Four-star defensive end Caleb Bluiett (Beaumont, Texas/West Brook) has sent in his letter of intent to Texas.

Bluiett (6-foot-3, 230 pounds) is the No. 26 defensive end in the nation and the No. 47 player in Texas, according to ESPNU. He could also play tight end.

Bluiett has been committed to Texas since Feb. 26, 2011.

He is one of three defensive end commitments in this class along with U.S. Army All-American Hassan Ridgeway (Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield) and two-star Bryce Cottrell (Plano, Texas/West).

Scouts take: “Bluiett is a kid who will move around the defensive line in high school though he seems to spend a good amount of time inside, which is not where he will play in college. He is a kid who could potentially stand up, but will more likely just slide outside and settle into the end position. Bluiett needs to keep developing aspects of his game as well as developing his frame, but displays the tools to be a good, well-rounded, and productive defensive end at the college level.”

Importance to class: The Longhorns return five defensive ends, including both starters in Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor. But only one of those (Cedric Reed) will be an underclassman next season. So defensive end was a position of need in this class. Texas missed out on the nation and state’s top defensive end in Mario Edwards, who has decided to go to Florida State. But they were still able to land Bluiett, the sixth-rated DE in Texas and No. 26 DE overall. He is a very versatile edge rusher, who has the athleticism and hands to play tight end if needed.

How soon can he make an impact? It is going to be tough for Bluiett to see the field in 2012 because of the numbers Texas’ returns at the position. Jeffcoat, Okafor, Reed, Chris Whaley and Reggie Wilson all return. So Bluiett could be a redshirt option if everyone stays healthy.

Bluiett on signing with Texas: “It’s going to be great. The whole program, the coaches, you are like family to them. They help you out. Sometimes if you get hurt in a game some schools might take away your scholarship. But at Texas once you are on scholarship you know you aren’t going to come off unless you really screw up. If you got hurt you would still be able to be a part of the Longhorn family and get your degree.”

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