Texas Longhorns: Dorian Leonard

Incoming impact countdown: Nos. 14-18

February, 18, 2014
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Now that they’ve signed their letters of intent, Texas’ incoming recruits can officially toss their stars in the trash. They don’t matter now.

While such ratings and rankings are helpful throughout the recruiting process, they mean nothing once a kid sets foot on campus and joins the program.

Gold starts won’t decide who gets to play as a freshman. Preparation, fit, need, raw talent, confidence, some good fortune -- a whole lot of real stuff matters now. Which members of Texas’ 2014 class have a chance to help out the Longhorns from day one?

This week we’re breaking down the Texas signees by their ability to make an early impact during their time on the 40 Acres, counting down from No. 23 to No. 1. Part one ran on Monday.

18. DT Chris Nelson
Lakeland (Fla.) Victory Christian | 6-foot-3, 280 pounds


2013: 100 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries

Before he chose the Longhorns, Nelson told local papers he could bring his “Florida swag” to Texas. How quickly he can do so will depend on what kind of shape he shows up in, and how hungry he is to get into the two-deep.

He was a much-needed final addition for this class, especially with the DT decommittments Texas suffered, and he knows there is plenty of opportunity awaiting him in his first season if he works hard to take it. Nelson brings plenty of confidence. Let’s see what he can do if the Longhorns need him early on.

Terrell Cuney
William Wilkerson/ESPNTerrell Cuney is already a mauler at center, but an established two-deep will likely allow him the ability to redshirt and get even stronger.
17. ATH Roderick Bernard
Houston Sharpstown | 5-10, 175


2013: 60 rushes, 594 rushing yards, 4 rushing TDs; 25 receptions, 364 receiving yards, 2 TDs, 2 kick return TDs

The obvious and probably lazy comparison Bernard will get in his first year is Daje Johnson considering his size, speed and versatility. His film suggests he’s a bit more like D.J. Monroe. You want this kid returning kicks and taking handoffs on sweeps, that’s for sure. Had he been able to enroll early as planned, we’d have a lot better sense of where he fits best.

Mack Brown always coveted home-run threats such as Bernard in recruiting, but how will the new staff put his talents to use? He’ll need to get stronger, but if he can prove to Les Koenning and the offensive coaches that he’s a weapon with the ball in his hands, he could see the field in 2014.

16. C Terrell Cuney
Jasper (Texas) | 6-3, 260


2013: 92% grade, 24 pancake blocks, 2 sacks allowed

The only reason Cuney, a four-star prospect and one of the nation’s best at his position, is this low on the list is simply because Texas is already two deep at center this season. Dominic Espinosa is a three-year starter and redshirt freshman Jake Raulerson appears to be the obvious choice to back him up.

If that means a redshirt for Cuney, that's not a bad thing at all. He’s capable of putting on more weight and developing into a long-term contributor as an interior lineman, and putting in that year to prepare for the college game will help. Still, Cuney is a mauler in the run game and he’s going to fight his way into the mix when he arrives in Austin.

15. OG Alex Anderson
New Orleans O. Perry Walker | 6-5, 310

2013: 80 pancake blocks

Enrolling early was the best possible thing Anderson could do for his development, even if it might not mean playing time this fall. Anderson was a Joe Wickline find in January, and it’ll be interesting to see where the new offensive line coach starts him off this spring after Anderson mostly played tackle as a senior.

If he does indeed work with the guards, he’ll get to challenge an inexperienced group led by Sedrick Flowers. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Anderson right in the mix with Rami Hammad, Darius James and the rest of the second-year guards if he plays his cards right this spring.

14. WR Dorian Leonard
Longview (Texas) | 6-4, 200

2013: 40 receptions, 763 receiving yards, 11 receiving TDs

Though there are questions about his speed, but Leonard’s combination of raw talent, size and tools make him a guy who I think can surprise folks in the next few years. He can go up and get it on jump balls, and the former basketball player is only going to get stronger as he grows into his frame. There’s plenty he has to refine, but don’t sleep on Leonard.

The problem is, Texas is stacked at receiver going forward, with five signees coming in and only one senior graduating. There could be position changes and departures, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Leonard takes a redshirt considering how many wideouts will be ahead of him when he arrives on campus.

Texas coaches back on the road recruiting 

January, 16, 2014
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The dead period is over and it’s time to hit the road. Charlie Strong has his new coaching staff in place and is ready to get back to work on closing out Texas’ recruiting class.

The Longhorns currently have 21 committed prospects, though several are looking to take official visits elsewhere this month. There are big-time recruits still available. And don’t forget the new names who are sure to pop up on Texas’ radar in the next few weeks.

Here’s a rundown of where things stand and what names you should know entering the end of the dead period.

Solid commitments

Less than 24 hours after deciding he wasn’t going to Texas, Zaycoven Henderson has had a change of heart.

According to Longview coach John King, the four-star defensive tackle spoke with new Longhorns coach Charlie Strong and feels secure in his pledge.


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Texas recruits react to Mack Brown news 

December, 14, 2013
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The inevitable is now a reality. At the start of 2014, Mack Brown will no longer be the head coach of the Texas Longhorns.

After a week of drama within the Forty Acres that would make some soap operas jealous, one of college football's most interesting stories was stamped with an ending. Texas announced Saturday that Brown will resign following the Longhorns game against Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30. Per the Longhorn Network, Brown already has informed the team of his incoming resignation.

For college football recruits, Brown's news means a completely new era of Texas football. Many of the prospects committed to Brown's program were mere toddlers when he left North Carolina to take over at Texas in 1998. The majority of 2014 commits were born in 1995 or 1996.

What will Brown's departure mean? For some of the 23 commits, consider it a wait-and-see process. For most of them, consider it a new chapter -- one they're looking forward to.

One thing's for certain: The recruits were big fans of Brown not only as a coach but as a person.


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The Texas marching band paid tribute to outgoing Longhorns athletic director DeLoss Dodds by spelling out “DELOSS” at halftime of Texas’ 41-16 victory over Texas Tech on Thanksgiving.

Perhaps they should have spelled out “MACK” as well?

Growing sentiment around the 40 Acres is that Longhorns coach Mack Brown is on his way out regardless of how Texas ends this season. If that were indeed the case, then Thursday’s drubbing of the Red Raiders would have been his last home game as Texas’ head coach.

That's not the sentiment among the recruits who have pledged to play for Texas.


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Stat check: Longhorns 2014 commitments 

September, 2, 2013
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Here is a look at how each one of Texas’ 2014 commitments faired this week:

Derick Roberson
Max Olson/ESPNDefensive end Derick Roberson helped Brennan shut out San Antonio Holmes 52-0 on Friday.
• ESPN 300 defensive end Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/Brennan), the No. 8 DE in the country, helped Brennan shut out San Antonio Holmes 52-0 on Friday.

• ESPN 300 wide receiver Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) caught three passes for 62 yards and a 44-yard touchdown in a 48-0 win over Dickinson.

• ESPN 300 quarterback Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) completed 12 of 18 passes for 179 yards and two interceptions and rushed 18 times for 103 yards in a 38-28 loss to Cedar Hill (Texas).

• ESPN 300 cornerback Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) helped the Purple Knights defense hold Amite to six points in a 35-6 victory on Saturday.

• ESPN 300 outside linebacker Otaro Alaka and Houston/Cypress Falls lost to Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge, 37-16.


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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:

  • Texas Stampede visitors list

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Summer Recruit Wrap: Texas 

July, 23, 2013
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Here is a look at five things we’ve learned about Longhorns recruiting this summer.

1. Suddes making big impact

Patrick Suddes, Texas’ Director of Player Personnel, could go down as one of coach Mack Brown’s best hires in his time at UT. All Suddes has done since coming on board in March is help make smart, innovative decisions that have helped the Longhorns appeal to recruits despite not winning like they’re used to on the field.


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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:

  • Texas still No. 1 for Jefferson?
  • Adams clears things up
  • Leonard content with commitment
  • Stidham talks Bama, recruiting process
  • UT in top two for ESPN 300 DT
  • 2014 DT hopes for UT offer
  • UTEP safety commitment loves UT
  • RB will give Texas a chance

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Odds are it’ll hit them one day. It almost always does.

Something is likely going to trigger the inner hatred for Oklahoma inside Texas’ 2014 commits. It just hasn’t hit most of them yet.


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Texas and Oklahoma might have vastly different strategies and long-term trends when it comes to recruiting, but the rivals can at least agree on this: The Metroplex is big business.

A review of every recruiting class signed during the tenures of Mack Brown and Bob Stoops shows the staggering volume of talent both programs have signed from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. There’s truly no disputing the importance of this fertile territory for these foes.


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The 2013 Texas State 7-on-7 Tournament will begin just up the road from Austin at the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander today. As usual, the field of 128 teams is loaded with Longhorns commitment and targets.
Here is a look at some of the things to keep an eye on over the next three days.

General information
What: 2013 State 7-on-7 Tournament
Where: Southwest Williamson County Regional Park in Leander, Texas
When: Division I (4A and 5A schools) -- Friday and Saturday; Division II (3A and below) -- Today and Friday.
Pool play: Each pool consists of four teams with each team playing three games. The top two teams from each pool advance to a championship round and the latter two teams go into a consolation championship.


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Four Downs: Texas collecting receivers 

June, 18, 2013
6/18/13
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Each week, I look at a few topics around the Texas Longhorns and college football.

First down: Few O-linemen in 2014 class


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AUSTIN, Texas -- What Texas’ three-day camp, which began on Thursday, lacked in quantity it more than made up for in quality.

There were far fewer big-time names over the course of the 72 hours than the Longhorns had in Austin for their minicamps on June 2 and June 9, but the results were equally as pleasing for coach Mack Brown and his staff.

Texas picked up four commitments in three days, including two on Saturday, to boost the number of pledges it has for 2014 to 19, which is four more than it had in the entire 2013 class.

Here’s a look at those prospects and other storylines that transpired from the camp.


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For the third day this week, and the second time on Saturday, the Longhorns welcomed a new member to their 2014 recruiting class.

The latest is John Thomas, a 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end from Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas. Thomas, who was in Austin this weekend on an unofficial visit, told HornsNation the news on Saturday evening.

"I'm very excited," Thomas said. "It's actually my favorite college when I was younger."

He is Texas’ 19th commitment in 2014, which is four more than it had all of last year, and the fourth player in as many days to give his verbal pledge to Mack Brown.

Wide receiver Dorian Leonard (Longview, Texas/Longview) committed on Thursday, punter Corbin Daly (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell) committed on Friday after visiting Texas for a camp, and former TCU wide receiver pledge Emanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln) committed earlier Saturday.

Thomas, who attended Bossier City (La.) Airline high school, had originally committed to LSU in March of his junior year but didn’t qualify academically and was forced to go the juco route.

He had offers from Arizona and Missouri in high school as well and has since added offers from Auburn and Texas. But the Longhorns won out and have to feel good about their pass-catching prospects for the future. Combined with the wide receiver commitments, Texas now has six on board in 2014 and all but one (Roderick Bernard) is 6-foot-3 or taller.

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David Ash Out With Concussion
Longhorns QB David Ash will miss this week's game against BYU with a concussion.
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