Texas Longhorns: Larry Porter

Several new assistant coaches in 2013 made major impacts on established coaching staffs in the Big 12 during their first seasons on campus. Oklahoma State had two new coordinators making an impression; a pair of Oklahoma assistants revamped its line play; and a Kansas State alumnus helped a current Wildcat become a multipurpose star.

Here are the top 10 coaching hires of 2013 in the conference (Note: Since Texas Tech's entire staff was in its first season, the Red Raiders were excluded):

1. Glenn Spencer, Oklahoma State defensive coordinator: The OSU defense rose to another level during Spencer’s first season as defensive coordinator. The veteran coach, who had spent time as a defensive line coach and linebackers coach during his six seasons at OSU, took over the defense in 2013 and made it more aggressive and productive. OSU finished among the top 3 in the Big 12 in points allowed per game (21.6 points, 1st), yards per play (4.77, 2nd) , yards per rush (3.64, 3rd), third down conversion rate (31.4 percent, 1st) and yards per pass attempt (5.8, 1st). The Cowboys also forced a Big 12-best 33 turnovers, 11 more than they did in 2012.

[+] EnlargeJerry Montgomery
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiDefensive line coach Jerry Montgomery helped shape the Sooners into a force up front.
2. Jerry Montgomery, Oklahoma defensive line coach: The Sooners' defensive line improved tremendously during Montgomery’s first season. OU saw its tackles for loss jump from 53 in 2012 to 73 in 2013, and sophomore defensive end Charles Tapper went from raw talent with terrific upside to an All-Big 12 performer. In addition, Montgomery’s defensive line was able to handle the mid-season loss of defensive tackle Jordan Phillips as redshirt freshman Jordan Wade stepped into Phillips' spot without a major drop off in production.

3. Greg Robinson, Texas defensive coordinator: Robinson stepped in, replacing Manny Diaz, after the Longhorns' defense was embarrassed during the first two games of the 2013 season. The Longhorns defense didn’t transform into a dominant unit but Robinson stopped the bleeding after UT allowed 1,025 yards in its first two games. BYU and New Mexico State combined to averaged 2.48 points per drive. In UT’s final 11 games, opponents averaged 1.68 points per drive.

4. Bill Bedenbaugh, Oklahoma offensive line coach: The Sooners' first-year offensive line coach did a terrific job with a unit that was forced to shuffle around at various times this season. OU’s Sugar Bowl win was a great example of his impact as three of the five offensive linemen who started the game were making their first start in their career or first start at a new position. Guard Dionte Savage made his lone start of the season, right tackle Daryl Williams moved to left tackle and guard Bronson Irwin shifted to right tackle and held their own as the Sooners knocked off Alabama.

5. Larry Porter, Texas running backs coach: Porter did a good job with UT’s running backs during his lone season as the running backs coach. Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray combined for 373 carries, 1,684 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Just as important, the duo lost zero fumbles despite carrying the rushing load. Porter helped a talented group of running backs to be productive and protect the ball during his short stint at UT.

[+] EnlargeGreg Robinson
AP Photo/Eric GayUnder Greg Robinson's tutelage, the Longhorns improved immensely.
6. Andre Coleman, Kansas State receivers coach: As Tyler Lockett made catch after catch while overwhelming Big 12 secondaries, Coleman’s spot on this list became more and more secure. Lockett was a terrific playmaker and returner during his first two seasons in Manhattan, Kan. But in 2013 he became a terrific receiver as well. His route running and ability to consistently get open was a sign of the improvement he made under Coleman’s tutelage. Lockett had 81 receptions for 1,262 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. In 2012, he finished with 44 receptions for 687 yards and four scores, although to be fair, the Wildcats threw the ball less during his sophomore season.

7. Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State offensive coordinator: Oklahoma State’s offense was still among the Big 12’s best under Yurcich, finishing among the top three in the conference in points scored (39.1 points, 2nd), yards (448.8, 3rd), yards per play (5.91, 3rd) and passing yards (278.85, 3rd). Yet the Cowboys took a clear step backward in a few categories. OSU dropped from third nationally (7.01) to No. 45 in yards per play (5.91) and dropped from tied for 24th nationally (46.2 percent) to No. 80 in third down conversion rate (38.8 percent). Yurcich’s first season as a Division I coordinator wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it was far from perfect.

8. Tony Gibson, WVU safeties: Gibson left Arizona to join the Mountaineers’ staff as the safeties coach before the 2013 season. Darwin Cook continued to be one of the most productive defensive backs in the Big 12 under Gibson, earning All-Big 12 honors with 74 tackles and four interceptions as a senior. With WVU's defensive coordinator position open, Gibson could be a good fit to take over that side of the football.

9. DeMontie Cross, TCU linebackers: The veteran coach with NFL experience helped the Horned Frogs' linebackers rank among the team's top tacklers. Junior Paul Dawson went from 14 tackles as a sophomore to a team-high 91 tackles in 2013. Marcus Mallet (70) and Jonathan Anderson (66) joined Dawson among the top four tacklers on the Horned Frogs defense during Cross' first season.

10. Lonnie Galloway, WVU receivers: The Mountaineers' quarterbacks had a rough year yet the receivers as a whole were fairly productive, with WVU finishing fourth in the Big 12 in receiving yards from its receivers (2,604). Five different Mountaineers receivers caught at least 20 passes, including Ronald Carswell and Mario Alford, who each averaged at least 20 yards per reception.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: Texas’ hire of Charlie Strong could help the Longhorns open up new recruiting territories, but it will also be important for him to hire assistants who have ties to the Lone Star State. Louisville’s top 25 class is very much in flux after Strong’s departure.

Best Big 12 recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

The best college football coaches will tell you that when it comes to recruiting, their business is an art. It’s a craft you must perfect if you want to have the best players commit and ultimately sign. Recruiting isn’t for everybody, but those who are good at it -- particularly for building the 2014 class -- should be recognized, as the business is extremely competitive.

Here are 10 of the top recruiters from the Big 12.


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College football is finally upon us, which means it's time to take a look at the happenings in the Big 12. Two games will take place in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex -- Texas Tech traveling to Dallas to face SMU on Aug. 30, and TCU taking on LSU at Cowboys Stadium on Aug. 31 -- will be crawling with recruits. Here’s a look at the rest of the Big 12 storylines:

Huge week for TCU
There won’t be many games across the country that garner more attention this weekend than TCU’s “home game” against LSU at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. It’s a golden opportunity for Gary Patterson and his program to begin the year with a statement victory and show recruits the type of attention and results they can receive by committing to TCU. The list of visitors won’t be fully known until Saturday at game-time, but you can bet it will be extensive. A few big names have already said they’ll be in attendance in addition to all of TCU’s commitments. They include ESPN 300 DE Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin), ESPN 300 DE Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), ESPN 300 offensive guard Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) and three-star Minnesota OG commitment Connor Mayes (Van Alstyne, Texas/Van Alstyne). ESPN Junior 300 DT Daylon Mack (Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater) and ESPN Junior 300 safety Larry Pryor (Sulphur Springs, Texas/Sulphur Springs) will be there as will Class of 2016 running back Kameron Martin (Port Arthur, Texas/Memorial). He has offers from Akron, Baylor and Texas Tech, and has visited LSU twice.

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Texas adds three-star ATH Shorter 

August, 17, 2013
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The options were plentiful for three-star athlete Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton). But in the end, he decided that his best bet was heading to the Forty Acres.

The 6-foot, 188-pound prospect from Southeast Texas announced on Saturday that he was staying in-state and gave his commitment to Texas. Shorter posted the news on his Twitter page on Saturday afternoon.

"I've made my mind up that ill be going to UT #HookEm," Shorter tweeted.

Newton head coach W.T. Johnston confirmed the commitment in a text message.

Shorter, the nation's 61st-ranked athlete, had 25 offers to choose from and had a final three of Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M. He visited all three campuses within the last six weeks and originally planned to decide Aug. 3, but postponed his decision in order to take a couple more visits.

Some believed Arkansas might have the inside track on Shorter. His cousin, D.J. Dean, is a freshman cornerback at Arkansas and the two were high school teammates at Newton.

Texas didn't appear to be the favorite, especially after Shorter had a positive visits at both Arkansas and Texas A&M last month. But shortly after his trip to Aggieland, he made two visits to Texas in the span of a week. He visited the Longhorns for the Texas Stampede, then made return trips to Texas on Aug. 2, a visit that appeared to seal the deal.

Texas running backs coach Larry Porter, who led the recruitment of Shorter, was upfront with Shorter about the Longhorns plan for him and how they felt about the talented athlete.

The Longhorns got into the mix in the spring and Shorter got a chance to meet with the coaching staff several times when he was in Austin for the Texas state high school track and field championships.

Texas has two running backs in its 2014 class: ESPN 300 back Donald Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower) and Texas City (Texas) High School running back D'Onta Foreman.


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Texas hosts its final big recruiting event of the summer on Saturday with the Texas Stampede, but another big-time visitor is expected to visit campus on Monday.

Four-star running back Dalvin Cook, the No. 4 running back in the country and No. 22 overall in the ESPN 300, is planning an unofficial visit with his family to check out the Longhorns’ campus on Monday and Tuesday.

The Miami Central back is currently committed to Florida and has been since April after originally making a pledge to Clemson. Several programs -- including Miami, USC and Alabama -- have continued to recruit the 5-foot-11, 196-pound Under Armour All-American. Now Texas is in the mix, too.


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SPLENDORA, Texas — The first time this year that coaches at Splendora (Texas) High School put a stopwatch on 2015 running back Jay Bradford, head coach Brad Milam was in disbelief.

It was February, and the coaches were doing offseason testing like many programs do. Included in those tests is the 40-yard dash. When Bradford exploded for a hand-timed 4.38 seconds, Milam refused to believe it was true. So he had Bradford run in another line and have another coach time him.

Again, it was in the 4.3-second range.


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2014 WR Dyer hopes for more offers 

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This spring, South Houston (Texas) High School receiver Elton Dyer saw several colleges pass through his campus and show interest in him.

In the summer he's hoping that interest translates to more offers.


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RICHMOND, Texas — The ongoing transition for ESPN 150 athlete Nick Harvey (Richmond, Texas/Travis) has been mostly positive.

After moving to the Houston-area with his family after a memorable run to the Class 4A Divison II state championship game last fall with Lancaster (Texas) High School, the spring semester has been about adjustments -- to new surroundings, new teammates, new friends, a new life.


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Seven games into the 2012 season, Texas thought it needed a shift in its coaching assignments.

The kickoff coverage team, heralded in the first two weeks of the season for its stellar play, had gone stagnant in the eyes of the coaches. So to shore up what was considered a weak link with five games remaining, Texas coach Mack Brown shifted defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and defensive backs coach Duane Akina to kick coverage duties.

[+] EnlargeDuane Akina
Bob Levey/Getty ImagesDefensive backs coach Duane Akina helped coach the Texas kickoff coverage team late last season.
Things got worse. Texas went from allowing 20.8 yards per return to 26.7 yards per return. Throw out the first two games against Wyoming and New Mexico in which Texas only allowed 12.6 yards per return against overmatched opponents and the numbers are only slightly better -- 23.9 yards per return allowed prior to the change as opposed to 26.7 after the switch.

But there will not be another switch made prior to the 2013 season. Brown said he expects Diaz and Akina to take care of kick coverage. Although he does expect the results to be better. That was part of the reason why Brown brought in his former player Everett Withers to take a look at Texas’ special teams and point out a few things. Withers, who played for Brown at Appalachian State and coach defensive backs at Texas from 1998-2000, is now co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State.

(Read full post)

2015 RB Patrick Carr is a rising star 

April, 24, 2013
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THE WOODLANDS, Texas — For the first half of the 2012 season, The Woodlands (Texas) High School coach Mark Schmid and his staff were cautious with running back Patrick Carr.

Considering that he was just a sophomore who was in his first varsity season, they wanted to ease the 5-foot-8, 175-pound running back into life as the bell cow for a Texas Class 5A program. Ideally, they would have groomed Carr with a senior starter in front of him, but that plan went out the window when their senior his ACL in spring football and would have to miss the year.


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3-star commit Bennett sticking with OU 

January, 17, 2013
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Things got a little more interesting this week with the recruitment of three-star athlete Austin Bennett (Manvel, Texas/Manvel).

A firm Oklahoma commit since June, the Sooners’ Red River Rival jumped into the picture as Texas offered Bennett on Tuesday.


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Video: LHN on Texas hiring Larry Porter

January, 3, 2013
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Sean Adams and Ahmad Brooks discuss Texas' hiring of running backs coach Larry Porter.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Larry Porter has stepped into a backfield loaded with talent.

Porter has stepped into a backfield loaded with potential issues.


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Porter brings notable recruiting resume 

January, 2, 2013
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New Texas running backs coach Larry Porter has 14 years of college coaching experience under his belt, but he’s got much more to offer than that.

Few other assistant coaches in the country can produce a recruiting resume as sparkling as the one Porter brings to the Forty Acres.

[+] EnlargePorter
Nelson Chenault/US PresswireNew Texas running backs coach Larry Porter is known as an elite recruiter.
Porter has coached more than a few great backs – Tatum Bell and Vernand Morency at Oklahoma State; Joseph Addai, Jacob Hester and Charles Scott at LSU -- but his prowess on the recruiting trail has earned him considerable acclaim.

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