Texas Longhorns: Jacorey Warrick

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 will take a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from them. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 11 Jacorey Warrick
Sophomore wide receiver


Recruitment rewind: Warrick showed up to Texas’ second junior day in 2012, got his offer and committed a day later. Perceived by some as more of an athlete, Texas coaches saw a receiver all the way and took Warrick over the more-hyped Ra’Shaad Samples, who signed with Oklahoma State. Warrick, an ESPN 300 recruit, scored 23 TDs on 15.9 yards per catch at Houston Cypress Falls, but his senior season was cut short by a torn meniscus.

Career so far: Warrick impressed Mack Brown’s staff enough to work his way onto the two-deep as the backup ‘H’ receiver behind Jaxon Shipley and Daje Johnson. He saw the field in four games as a true freshman, but each came in mop-up time and he did not record a reception.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Texas’ top three receivers are fairly set, but Warrick is capable of locking up that No. 4 spot and staying on the field in four-wide spread sets. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound slot has bulked up in his first year in the program without sacrificing speed, and he is one of the Longhorns’ fastest pass-catchers. The new staff really liked him in spring ball.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Warrick will have an easier time competing for a starting job next year, when Jaxon Shipley has graduated and the Longhorns need a new go-to slot receiver. He might just have to pay his dues this year, get around 10-12 receptions and make the most of whatever he can get.

Future expectations: If you’re designing Texas’ offense of the future on paper, who do you put in the slot? The frontrunners a year from now, you’d think, are Warrick and Daje Johnson. Incoming freshmen Armanti Foreman and Roderick Bernard (who could be a DB) will enter the mix this summer and push them. But all in all, exiting spring ball you’d have to say Warrick is in great shape for making an impact down the road.
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 is the first part of a weeklong series breaking down Texas’ most important spring position battles when the Longhorns begin practice in two weeks.

Moving on: Texas is losing, statistically, one of the best wide receivers in its program’s history in Mike Davis. He leaves Austin ranking No. 4 in the Longhorn record books in both career receptions and receiving yards, and fifth in receiving TDs. And imagine what he could have done had Texas enjoyed a little more stability at the quarterback position during his four years. He started 38 games and brought the deep threat needed to stretch Big 12 defenses.

The contenders: We know what Texas has in reliable longtime starter Jaxon Shipley. No reason to worry about him. And you could argue that Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson aren’t really competing with each other for snaps. They seem like logical choices to be the No. 2 and No. 3 guys in this unit, at least on paper.

Among those vying with Shipley, Sanders and Johnson to prove they should see the field in 2014: John Harris, Jacorey Warrick, Montrel Meander, Jake Oliver, Armanti Foreman, Lorenzo Joe, Dorian Leonard, Roderick Bernard and Garrett Gray.

And don’t forget Daje Johnson, the versatile weapon who focused on receiver in 2013, and the injured Bryant Jackson, who will miss spring practice. Even if a few of these wideouts leave for playing time elsewhere, it’s going to be a crowded receiver room this fall.

Moving forward: What makes this a battle is the stunning number of young backups who will compete for playing time this fall. There’s plenty of time for this number to change, and it will, but Texas could have as many as 14 scholarship receivers on the roster this fall.

Several of the incoming freshmen will redshirt, that much seems certain, but who knows what the Longhorns can expect from the rest. That’s the upside of signing so many wideouts with different skill sets. Throw them all onto a practice field, see which ones improve and stand out, and play the best of the best. That’s a luxury new receivers coach Les Koenning gets this fall.

Prediction: Many will point to Foreman and Joe as immediate contributors, and they’ll get a shot. But the trio of second-year receivers -- Warrick, Meander and Oliver -- will catch folks by surprise and find meaningful roles.

What’ll be fascinating to watch this spring is how the new staff puts Daje Johnson to use, and whether he can get his act together after two suspensions last season. If he does, he’s got a chance to become a nationally known and feared playmaker.

Countdown: New Mexico State vs. Texas

August, 30, 2013
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The 245-day wait is almost over. To help you pass the time while counting down the final Here’s one final preview of No. 15 Texas’ season opener against New Mexico State on Saturday (7 p.m., Longhorn Network).

Five notes

1. Texas is 7-0 all-time against New Mexico schools and is averaging 50.4 points per game in games against New Mexico and New Mexico State. Texas has never won a game against those two schools by less than 30 points.

2. First-year New Mexico State coach Doug Martin went 1-3 against Big 12 schools during his stint as head coach at Kent State from 2004-2010. The lone victory came against Iowa State in 2007. In its past three games against Big 12 schools, NMSU went 0-3 and averaged 7.7 points per game.

3. In Mack Brown’s first game as Texas coach, the Longhorns blew out New Mexico State 66-36 in 1998. Ricky Williams kicked off Brown’s tenure and his own Heisman Trophy campaign with 215 rushing yards and a school-record six touchdowns.

4. On the injury front: Jaxon Shipley and Marcus Johnson have been practicing this week and have a good chance of playing Saturday. Texas’ staff has been coy about how it will use Tyrone Swoopes, citing the hamstring issue that has slowed him, but don’t be surprised if he enters in the fourth quarter against NMSU.

5. Texas has only three true freshmen – Swoopes, receiver Jacorey Warrick, guard/tackle Kent Perkins – listed on this week’s depth chart. Mack Brown said Wednesday that “very few” freshmen will play in 2013 and most will redshirt, unlike the past two seasons.

Four quotes

[+] EnlargeJohnathan Gray
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesSophomore Johnathan Gray will start the season as Texas' first-string tailback. Can Gray begin with a bang?
1. “It's a unique opener, more than most, because we don't know anything about their offense. We don't know anything about their defense. We've heard a few things, but we don't have a clue about what they're going to do.” -- Mack Brown

2. “The team theme is, ‘For the man on my right and the man on my left.' What that means to us in the military is all the training you're going through, everything that you're doing when you're in combat or in a situation, it's about making sure the guy next to you is successful, keeping him safe, keeping him alive.” -- Texas deep snapper Nate Boyer

3. “I am excited. I see improvement, I see hope. I have worked as hard as I can possibly work for three years to get this team to where it will get back into the mix and I am excited about seeing if we are. I think we are, but we have to play and you have to do it every week.” -- Mack Brown

4. “I was confused. Man, that's cool. I doubt she really knows who I am. She's from Texas, she probably saw the jersey. If she did know who I was, I'm not going to not think that [is cool].” -- Texas quarterback David Ash, on a photo of Beyonce wearing his No. 14 jersey.

Three keys

1. Establish the run early. Ash is at his best as a big-play passer when the run game is creating those opportunities. A hot start from Johnathan Gray with help from Malcolm Brown and Joe Bergeron will make Texas’ play-action game hard to stop.

2. Avoid turnovers. Don’t make this opener – against one of the worst teams in FBS last season -- anything more than it needs to be.

3. Depth up front. How will Texas’ offensive line react and rotate when going up-tempo, and how effective will its defensive line be at pressuring NMSU while throwing as many as eight or nine different linemen into the game?

Two key players

1. Texas LB Jordan Hicks: Texas knows so little about what NMSU will throw at it offensively that it’s easy to see why Hicks’ return is vital. As the veteran leader of the linebackers, he’ll be trusted to get everyone else lined up correctly and make adjustments as needed. He’s experienced and smart enough to handle the unknown this week, and he’s been looking forward to this start for a long time.

2. New Mexico State P Cayle Chapman-Brown: I know, he’s just a punter and so what? Yes, but he’s one of the better ones in the country, and the Australian has a big leg. If NMSU wants to give Texas a real fight, field position will be important. Pin the Longhorns in their own territory repeatedly and it’s a safe bet their untested tempo plans will get thrown off. That could mean turnovers, and a chance.

One prediction

No. 15 Texas 45, New Mexico 10

Major Applewhite goes for some fireworks early – think a bomb to Mike Davis or Daje Johnson – as the Texas up-tempo makes its debut. There will be a few hiccups here and there, and the Longhorn offense will slow down as needed, but the first impression will be solid. Jackson Jeffcoat will get right back to business and lead a pass rush that overwhelms the Aggies, and Texas pulls away thanks to two interceptions. This one isn’t close.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley aren’t practicing, and that just might be a good thing.

As strange as it sounds, Texas’ top two wide receivers spending the first week of fall camp sidelined ended up proving beneficial for the Longhorns offense. Their absence created opportunity for a receivers group full of unproven talent.

Davis had surgery for a hernia and Shipley underwent a procedure to address a hip injury. Neither ailment is serious, and both wideouts were in pads and catching passes by the end of the week.

[+] EnlargeKendall Sanders
AP Photo/Eric GaySophomore Kendall Sanders has gotten extended time with the first team with injuries to Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley.
Their absence is more precautionary than anything, and at some point in the next two weeks they’ll get back into team drills and 11-on-11 work.

But the point is this: Neither truly needed the practice reps. Their younger backups most definitely did.

“With Mike and Jaxon being limited early, that’s going to force the guys to be out there with David [Ash] and see how they can do with pressure on them,” Texas coach Mack Brown said before camp began.

How’d they fare? Sophomores Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson slid into the spots held down by Davis and Shipley last week. They combined for two receptions in 2012. One of them will likely have to start this fall.

That guy might not be Johnson, who suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee during practice Monday. There's no timetable for his return, but UT head athletic trainer Kenny Boyd is hoping Johnson will be back "before the end of camp or soon after."

That’s not necessarily a damning blow for the Texas receiving corps, but Johnson made a good impression during his week with the first-team offense.

“I think Marcus has been making huge strides from where he was in the spring,” Ash said. “I'm really excited just because with the nature of the offense and what we're doing now, he will have to be a big part of it. He’s got to make plays for us and understand that when some of our primary receivers are covered or doubled, he's going to be the guy that gets the ball.”

There’s no doubt Sanders is ready for a larger role after recording two catches for 15 yards in 11 games as a true freshman. The 6-foot, 187-pound wideout is as well-rounded a target as the Longhorns have when Davis and Shipley aren’t on the field and appears to be the favorite to become Texas’ No. 3 receiver.

But they weren’t the only beneficiaries at receiver last week. Take the top two guys out of the equation and everyone gets bumped up the totem poll, including the newcomers.

“It’s really helped us to be forced to look at the freshmen,” Brown said. “Jacorey Warrick has done some good things, and it’s been fun to watch him. All of those young ones have shown ability, but we probably wouldn’t have got them many snaps if Jaxon and Mike were out there.”

That Warrick is earning early praise is impressive considering his rapid recovery, as he missed most of his senior season at Houston Cypress Falls after suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee in October.

The former ESPN 150 recruit looks as speedy as ever and hasn’t lost a step since that injury. He and freshman Montrel Meander worked with the No. 2 offense last week while Jake Oliver and Chevoski Collins started off with the third-string receivers.

Those four fresh faces will continue to be evaluated in the next two weeks, and several could see the field on Aug. 31 against New Mexico State. But what would that mean for Bryant Jackson and John Harris?

Both are fourth-year players seeking to finally break through and establish their roles. Harris has experimented at tight end but spent the week as one of Case McCoy’s favorite targets as an outside receiver. Jackson moved over from defensive back and played in the slot with Daje Johnson and the No. 1 offense.

“The guys brag on Bryant Jackson a lot,” Brown said. “He’s an older guy who’s been around, a blocker and special teams guy that’s making some good plays for us.”

With those freshmen on the rise, it’s practically now or never for those juniors. They benefitted from Davis and Shipley sitting as much as anyone.

And yet, you could make a case no Longhorn is affected more than Ash. The starting quarterback didn’t mind one bit, as he enjoyed working on his rapport with a variety of receivers.

“There is a silver lining to it,” Ash said. “Obviously, we want Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley out there getting work, but there is a silver lining that we are going to develop some depth with these young wideouts. They’re going to get some experience now and there’s no doubt it’ll pay off, because you never know what’s going to happen in the season.”

If either of Ash’ top two targets go down at some point this fall, that will likely mean trouble. But a full week of preparing for that possibility can’t hurt.
While it might not make much sense to call a member of the ESPN 300 a "sleeper" in the traditional sense, it's safe to say Jacorey Warrick might begin his Longhorns career a bit underrated by the fan base.

The Houston Cypress Falls wide receiver's senior season was cut short by injury, he didn't play in an All-America game, he committed early and caused absolutely no drama before signing, and he's a tad undersized at 5-foot-10 and 168 pounds.

[+] EnlargeJacorey Warrick
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comESPN 300 receiver Jacorey Warrick slipped under the radar after an injury during his senior season.
In this day and age of recruiting, though, keeping quiet can be a very good (and difficult) thing. Warrick knows he can be a downfield weapon from day one at Texas. The speedster is ready to start drawing some attention.

HornsNation: What kind of shape are you in right now following the torn meniscus last fall?

Warrick: I’m in pretty good shape. I’ve been doing the conditioning that coach Wylie sent me. I feel like I’m going to be in as best shape as possible going into summer workouts. My knee is good. I’d say I’m 100 percent. I’m back to running routes. I feel good, and I’m looking good.

HN: What are your expectations for this coming season?

Warrick: That’s a good question. I think it’ll be a good overall year. I’m trying to get playing time and fighting for a position and special teams and playing slot. I think the team is going to be overall good. We’re setting up a good foundation for the future.

HN: What has co-offensive coordinator Darrell Wyatt told you about where the staff thinks you can help them?

Warrick: I’ve got to adjust to college ball. If I come in and do as expected, then I can get early playing time. With my speed, he said he likes me in a role like D.J. Monroe.

HN: When Texas started talking about going to an up-tempo offense with more receivers, was that music to your ears?

Warrick: Yes, that’s definitely an advantage. That’s what I’ve been doing all through high school. I’ll be more comfortable with that. I’m used to getting lined up fast and running the play fast and doing it over and over. That was definitely made me feel even better than when I initially committed.

HN: Do you see yourself playing in the slot? Do you want to return kicks? What exactly your goal for your freshman year?

Warrick: I want to return kicks and punts and of course play slot. I just want to do it all.

HN: If you redshirt, would that be a disappointment? How high are your hopes when it comes to playing?

Warrick: I’ve had teammates and coaches tell me that it’s not a bad thing. You get a free year to get bigger, stronger, faster. So if I get redshirted, it wouldn’t be a bad thing. I want to be effective.

HN: But at the same time, you knew they were losing Marquise Goodwin after the 2012 season. Do you look at that and say, ‘They need a guy like me,’ and see a chance to replace him?

Warrick: Yes, definitely. I don’t know if I’m quite as fast as him on a track, but football-wise I think I can fill that void.

HN: You stayed committed to Texas for nearly a full year. What kept you confident about your pledge?

Warrick: I feel like I made the right decision. I didn’t rush into it. I sat down with my parents and talked about it. Some guys just commit or get pressured into committing when it’s not what they want. I felt like once I did commit, that was my decision with the help of my parents. It wasn’t a hard thing to stay committed.

HN: Ohio State made a last-ditch effort to flip you before signing day, didn’t they?

Warrick: Yes. They were the very last ones to try to get me. I think it was maybe a week before signing day. But that’s not me. Maybe if it was earlier in the process, and I was still wide open, I would’ve visited and checked it out more. But last second, it would’ve been a rash decision, and it wouldn’t have been the best decision for me.

HN: If you hadn’t signed with Texas, what school do you think you would’ve ended up at?

Warrick: Uh, good question. I might’ve ended up at a West Virginia or Clemson-type school. But that is far from home. My mom didn’t even want me to go out to Oklahoma, and they were in my top schools.

HN: You’ve become good friends with Jake Oliver over the past year. How is it going to feel to compete with him?

Warrick: It’ll get pretty competitive. I know he’s a competitive, and I am too. We’ll still be friends, but when it’s time to work, it’s time to work.

Four Downs: Texas collecting receivers 

June, 18, 2013
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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

AUSTIN, Texas -- Time and again over the past two years, Texas coach Mack Brown has been true to his word: The best players, no matter the age or experience level, will play.

That has led to 34 true freshmen -- the most in FBS -- hitting the field in the past two seasons. Texas’ hand was forced in some respects. It had to bridge a talent gap created by recruiting misses, particularly those in the 2009 class. Now, the result is that the gap has been somewhat plugged. Or, at the very least, there is a prevailing thought that field is full -- 19 starters return -- leaving little room for any of the true freshmen in the 2013 class to make a significant impact.


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Texas lost five previously committed players in its 2013 recruiting class, something that never used to be a problem for the Longhorns. But they'll finish with the Big 12's top class in 2013, featuring eight ESPN 300 signees.

Each of the following players have officially sent in their letters of intent, and here's who's heading to the 40 Acres.
It's a really small class for Texas with just 15 signees after signing 28 players a year ago and 22 and 25 the previous two seasons. But the Longhorns are sitting at No. 14 in our ESPN class rankings, down a spot from where they began the day.
Only three days after Texas coaches first contacted a Washington State commit, he has flipped his verbal pledge and will sign with the Longhorns.

Three-star Amarillo (Texas) Palo Duro receiver Montrel Meander confirmed to HornsNation in a text message that he's committed to Texas.

Meander originally committed to playing safety at Washington State on Jan. 20, but Texas receivers coach Darrell Wyatt stunned him by showing up at Palo Duro on Friday to inqure about his interest in visiting Texas.

After initially saying he was sticking with Washington State, Meander flew to Austin on Saturday for an official visit. Now he's the 15th member of Texas' 2013 recruiting class and its third receiver pledge, joining Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit) and Jacorey Warrick (Houston/Cypress Falls).

As a senior at Palo Duro, Meander played safety and running back. He rushed for 572 yards and eight touchdowns this fall. Prior to committing to Washington State, Meander took official visits to San Diego State, UTSA and Colorado State.

Horns Snapshot: WR Jacorey Warrick 

February, 3, 2013
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To gear up for 2013 national signing day, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson is breaking down every commitment in the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Wide receiver Jacorey Warrick, Houston/Cypress Falls | 5-foot-10, 168 pounds

[+] EnlargeJacorey Warrick
Max Olson/ESPN.comFour-star wideout Jacorey Warrick is coming off a knee injury but should be ready for summer workouts.
Committed: Feb. 26, 2012

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Signing day primer: Texas

January, 23, 2013
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Team needs: Texas hit the recruiting trail this year seeking improved depth on the offensive line and at linebacker. Its line got almost no production from backups in 2012, and an inexperienced linebacker group started six players last season and endured struggles throughout. With only nine seniors in 2012, the Longhorns don’t have many other holes that need to be filled by this class of recruits. The most irreplaceable cogs are safety Kenny Vaccaro and defensive end Alex Okafor. Both are potential first-round NFL draft picks whose production will be tough to match.

Help is on the way: The offensive line questions have been answered. Texas is set to sign one of the nation’s best classes up front with five commits, including No. 1 center Darius James (Killeen, Texas/Harker Heights) and No. 4 tackle Kent Perkins (Dallas/Lake Highlands). Contra Costa (Calif.) College tackle Desmond Harrison joined the class this week. Texas also landed ESPN 300 outside linebacker Deoundrei Davis (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Woods), who enrolled early and should contribute as a freshman.

Other key commits: Two more early enrollees, ESPN 150 lineman Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) and Butte (Calif.) College tight end Geoff Swaim, should play right away. Texas also has pledges from ESPN 150 defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights), receiver Jacorey Warrick (Houston/Cypress Falls) and cornerback Antwuan Davis (Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop). The Longhorns will pair Warrick with Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit), who broke the Texas state record for career receptions.

Other key targets: Holding on to Robinson is crucial. He has taken official visits to USC and Alabama and could make a late-second flip on signing day. With a pledge from Harrison, the biggest remaining priorities are finding another running back and wide receiver. ESPN 150 receiver Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) and Ole Miss running back commit Peyton Barber (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) could visit in January.

Film review: Examining Applewhite's debut 

December, 31, 2012
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Take away the good and the bad, and you’re left with what might’ve mattered more about Texas’ Alamo Bowl win: The change.

We do not know what offensive philosophies are bouncing around inside Major Applewhite’s head these days. In the months to come, his influences and experience will endure rigorous research by those hoping to nail down what Texas’ new offensive play caller will have up his sleeve for 2013.

[+] EnlargeMajor Applewhite
John Albright/Icon SMIMajor Applewhite spread the Texas offense out and got the ball to playmakers in his first game as play-caller.
He had time only for little tweaks leading up to the 31-27 bowl victory over Oregon State. The full vision gets installed from now until the end of August.

But on Saturday night, Applewhite did drop some hints. Here’s what we learned about his offense’s future after his playcalling debut.

1. The spread

Applewhite says he wants a balanced offense, a scheme that can win games on the ground and in the air. Oregon State required more pass than run.

A review of the film shows that, out of 65 plays on offense, he called 30 shotgun pass plays and 14 shotgun run plays against the Beavers.

David Ash was under center only eight times on the night, and four were pass plays.

What does that say? It could be the product of playing from behind or of Oregon State’s strong run defense, but don’t mistake the results.

Texas went to shotgun sets on 67 percent of its offensive snaps, and that paid off rather handsomely in the second half. This was the first time all season Texas won a ballgame by throwing (34 attempts) more than rushing (31).

“Tonight, the way we needed to win the game was to spread them out, throw it, clear some loose lanes for the quarterback to run the ball and be effective,” Applewhite said after the game.

Is the spread Texas’ best way to win in 2013? Applewhite has this spring and summer to find out.

2. Pushing the pace

The stats might not show it, but Texas thrived when it upped its offensive tempo in the second half.

The Longhorns ran 65 plays. Nothing new there -- Texas went for 65-plus in eight other games in 2012. No meaningful changes in time of possession, either.

But David Ash’s fourth quarter performance spoke volumes. He hit on his final seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Six of his eight completions went for 10-plus yards.

He overcame a shaky first half and played with poise late. A faster-paced, shotgun-heavy attack clicked when the stakes were high late.

This wasn’t a no-huddle, hurry-up attack, but Applewhite did cite Oregon’s success against OSU as a motivation for spreading out and speeding up.

After spending 2012 trying to convince itself it could play SEC-style power ball, could Texas swing the other way on the offensive spectrum under Applewhite?

3. At last, speed

Remember Marquise Goodwin? He was in the London Olympics. Pretty fast dude. Had a good game against Ole Miss.

We hadn’t heard much from Goodwin since. He touched the ball on offense a total of 12 times in Texas’ final seven regular-season games.

Texas’ new OC made sure Goodwin’s final game as a Longhorn was a triumphant one. For all the clamoring to get D.J. Monroe and Daje Johnson the ball, it was Goodwin for whom Oregon State had no answer.

“This game is about speed,” Applewhite said. “It's about speed and explosive players.”

He loses Goodwin and Monroe, but Applewhite won’t be hurting for speedsters next season: Johnson and receivers Kendall Sanders, Marcus Johnson and commit Jacorey Warrick are legit home-run threats. Next season could be very good to some or all of them.


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Postseason stat check: Texas commits 

December, 26, 2012
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The Texas high school football season officially came to an end on Saturday. That day proved to be a big one for 2014 quarterback commit Jerrod Heard, but he’s not the only future Longhorn who thrived in 2012.

[+] EnlargeJake Oliver
Miller SafritWR Jake Oliver, a Texas commit, had a remarkable season.
Receiver commit Jake Oliver delivered another historic season. He finished No. 1 among Class 5A receivers in the DFW area in both receptions and receiving yards, and in doing so set the new state record for career receptions with 308. That’s good for second-best in the national record books, too.

While the season stats of Tyrone Swoopes will earn some scrutiny, there’s no questioning what Heard did in his junior year. The Denton Guyer standout finished with 4,228 total yards of offense and a combined 52 touchdowns (35 rushing).

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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 Thursday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

A few of the notes in today's The Heard:

  • Smythe discusses decommitment
  • What’s Robinson going to do?
  • Zadarius Smith update

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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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