Texas Longhorns: Ramonce Taylor

Looking back at Texas' recent recruiting misses:

[+] EnlargeGarrett Gilbert
Brendan Maloney/US PresswireQuarterback Garrett Gilbert did not pan out at Texas and is now the signal-caller at SMU.
1. Garrett Gilbert, quarterback, 2009: He was the quarterback that everyone wanted and he was in Texas’ backyard. The Lake Travis (Texas) High school product got his first shot to shine in the national title game as a true freshman. While there were some positives, the four interceptions he threw were a sign of things to come. Taking over as the starter in 2010, Gilbert led Texas to a 5-7 season and threw 17 interceptions in the process. Gilbert started the first two games of 2011. He was benched after throwing his second interception in the second quarter against BYU. He soon announced that he would transfer, ending up at SMU.

2. Ramonce Taylor, running back, 2004: Taylor was the other state of Texas back in 2004. The one not named Adrian Peterson. The one Texas could sign. But Texas never could figure out what to do with Belton (Texas) product. He was an athlete coming out of high school. Texas thought he would be ideal to give Vince Young another weapon either running the ball out of the backfield or slipping into the flat for a pass.

He rushed for 797 yards and 13 touchdowns in his Texas career. And as a sophomore he did catch 27 passes from Colt McCoy.

But the police caught Taylor in the spring of his sophomore season and charged him with felony drug possession. Shortly thereafter he elected to transfer from Texas.

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Adrian Peterson was the prize of the state in 2004.

A sleek running back with power and agility from Palestine, Texas, Peterson was the type of player who could take a recruiting class from a top 20 ranking to a top 10.
Texas, like every other school, was desperate to get him. It never had a shot.

Peterson never made an official visit to Texas. Instead he went to Oklahoma and led them to the national title game as a freshman.

[+] EnlargeJordan Shipley
Tim Heitman/US PresswireJordan Shipley had more than a few memorable moments against archrival Oklahoma.
Texas, for the second year in a row signed a light class. Only 19 were inked. In fact, the Longhorns didn’t even entertain that many prospects. They used just 24 of the 56 official on-campus visits allowed by the NCAA.

What Texas did get was strong across the lines with two future NFL linemen -- Brian Orakpo and Frank Okam as well as one of the most productive receivers in Texas history, Jordan Shipley.

The one thing Texas failed to do was sign a quarterback. It had Vince Young, Chance Mock and Matt Nordgren in the fold. But neglecting to get a quarterback set the stage for some recruiting drama in 2005.

Biggest Get: Brian Orakpo
The defensive end wasn’t the most highly rated prospect in the class of 2004. That would go to defensive tackle Frank Okam. In fact, Orakpo considered himself weak when he arrived at Texas in 2004. He quickly set about to change all that. Orakpo added 50 pounds of muscle in his time at Texas. He also picked up a few honors along the way. The Lamar High (Houston) product won the Nagurski Trophy (nation's top defensive player), Lombardi Award (nation's top lineman) and Hendricks Award (nation's top defensive end).

He started 21 of his 47 games at Texas. At the end of his career he was selected 13th overall by Washington in the NFL Draft.

Most underrated: Jordan Shipley
The wide receiver appeared to be a bust. He was a Parade All-American out of tiny Burnet (Texas) High where he had been coached by his father, Bob. In his first two years at Texas, Shipley sat on the shelf. Knee injuries were the root of his problem.


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