Texas Longhorns: Ty Barrett

Big 12 pre-spring breakdown: OL

February, 21, 2014
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As we wait for the start of spring ball, we’re examining and ranking the positional situations of every team, continuing Friday with offensive line. Some of these outlooks will look different after the spring. But here’s how we see the offensive lines at the moment:

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners lose their captain in All-American Gabe Ikard, who kept the line together through several moving pieces. Those pieces, however, are almost all back. Tyrus Thompson and Daryl Williams are steady veterans at tackle. Inside, guards Dionte Savage and Nila Kasitati both started the Sugar Bowl, and former starter Tyler Evans returns after sitting out the last two years with injury. The Sooners also have been grooming Ikard’s replacement at center in Ty Darlington, who has played well in a reserve role the last two years. Even without Ikard, this is a seasoned unit.

[+] EnlargeJoe Wickline
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiJoe Wickline's move from the OSU staff to Texas is an important storyline in the Big 12.
2. Kansas State: The Wildcats will be stout inside. Guard Cody Whitehair and center BJ Finney are All-Big 12 caliber. Veteran starters Cornelius Lucas and Tavon Rooks are gone at tackle, but Bill Snyder signed two of the top 15 juco tackles in the country in A.J. Allen and Luke Hayes. If Allen and Hayes can solidify the bookends, K-State could be stout up front.

3. Texas: The Longhorns return veteran center Dominic Espinosa, who has 39 career starts. But with three starters gone, the Longhorns really need the light to come up for Desmond Harrison. The talent is there, and if Harrison can put it all together, he’ll give Texas a much-needed bookend on the left side. There’s potential elsewhere in freshman guard Rami Hammad and sophomore tackle Kent Perkins, who could both earn starting roles this spring. The biggest addition to this group will be new assistant Joe Wickline, who worked magic with the offensive lines in Stillwater.

4. Baylor: The Bears need left tackle Spencer Drango to make a healthy recovery from his back injury. After Drango was injured in November, Baylor struggled at times to keep quarterback Bryce Petty upright. Departing unanimous All-American guard Cyril Richardson is irreplaceable, though Desmine Hilliard had a solid sophomore season at right guard. Sophomore Kyle Fuller looks ready to take over at center, but the Bears will need another piece or two to emerge. The skill talent is in place for the Baylor offense to keep humming. How the players up front perform will determine whether it will.

5. Oklahoma State: The key for the Cowboys here will be a healthy return of left tackle Devin Davis. Davis might have been Oklahoma State’s best lineman last season, but suffered a torn ACL during a preseason that knocked him out for the year. Davis has NFL ability, and if he resumes his role, that will allow Daniel Koenig to move back to right tackle. The O-line in Stillwater was something never to worry about because of Wickline’s masterful track record of mixing and matching to get a right fit. It will be interesting to see how the line performs next season with Wickline now at Texas.

[+] EnlargeLe'Raven Clark
John Albright/Icon SMITexas Tech's Le'Raven Clark is one of the best offensive tackles in the Big 12.
6. Texas Tech: The Red Raiders have an NFL talent in left tackle Le'Raven Clark, who earned All-Big 12 honors as a sophomore. Despite Clark, the Red Raiders line struggled last year, giving up 33 sacks (second-worst in the Big 12). But it should be improved in 2014. Juco tackles Dominique Robertson (ESPN JC 50) and Shaq Davis are on the way, and 2013 RT starter Rashad Fortenberry could be back, too, if the NCAA grants him a medical hardship waiver. Losing guard Beau Carpenter to dismissal hurts, but Baylen Brown has starting experience. Brown, Alfredo Morales, James Polk and center Jared Kaster all return after combining for 31 starts along the interior last season.

7. West Virginia: The good news is that the Mountaineers should be superb inside. Quinton Spain is one of the best returning guards in the league, and Mark Glowinski had a solid season at the other guard spot. Tackle, however, is the biggest question on the entire squad going into the spring, outside QB. Coach Dana Holgorsen said Friday that guard Marquis Lucas would be swinging to the outside to compete with Adam Pankey, Marcell Lazard and Sylvester Townes.

8. Iowa State: A healthy Tom Farniok at center would go a long way in stabilizing an inconsistent offensive line that gave up a Big 12-high 38 sacks last season. Farniok was never healthy last year, and it showed. The Cyclones are excited about the potential of Brock Dagel as a cornerstone at left tackle. Jacob Gannon will battle Jake Campos for the other tackle spot, while Jamison Lalk, Oni Omoile and juco transfer Wendell Taiese will compete for the guard spot opposite Daniel Burton. Under the new offensive regime, this line could enjoy huge improvement from 2013.

9. TCU: The line was one of many reasons why the TCU offense struggled so much in 2013. Getting Matt Pryor on the field would be a big help. Pryor is massive at 6-foot-7, 350 pounds, and could fill a need a tackle. Getting Tayo Fabuluje back after a year away from football could help, too, assuming he’s not too rusty. Juco guard Frank Kee, who chose the Horned Frogs over Oklahoma, could fill a spot inside immediately. True freshman Ty Barrett, the prize in a hotly contested recruiting battle, could challenge for time quickly, too.

10. Kansas: John Reagan takes over at offensive coordinator and line coach, and he’ll have some talented newcomers to weave into the rotation. Devon Williams and Keyon Haughton both arrived as three-star guards from Georgia Military College. Haughton is already on campus and could start right away. Freshman Jacob Bragg, the No. 3 center recruit in the country, could vie for time immediately, too, at the vacancy at center (2013 backup center Dylan Admire has moved to fullback/tight end).

Big 12 class rankings analysis 

January, 22, 2014
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When it comes to Big 12 programs, Texas is still the top dog in the ESPN class rankings -- but for how long?

The Longhorns held on to the No. 13 spot nationally and the top spot in the conference, but Oklahoma is surging. The Sooners moved up to No. 16 and are hoping to gain more steam with two weeks remaining until national signing day.

Baylor remains in the top 20 at No. 18, and Oklahoma State dropped one spot, from No. 25 to No. 26. Texas Tech (No. 35) and West Virginia (No. 37) remain in the top 40. Here is a more in-depth look at the Big 12 class rankings:

Big 12 class ranking analysis 

November, 20, 2013
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There were no changes from last week for Big 12 teams in the RecruitingNation class rankings, but with December rapidly approaching -- and with the Thanksgiving holiday next week -- look for a potential shakeup, as more uncommitted, high-profile targets announce their college futures.

Texas, at No. 8, still holds the top spot from the conference. Baylor is No. 16, followed by Oklahoma (No. 22), Oklahoma State (No. 27) and Texas Tech (No. 35). Per our Big 12 rankings, West Virginia holds down the sixth spot in the conference, followed by Kansas, TCU, Iowa State and Kansas State.

Here is a more in-depth look at the Big 12 class rankings:

Trending up: This is right around the time when Oklahoma sees a spike in its recruiting, and the timing has been right on schedule. The Sooners have landed five commitments in the month of November, the latest being junior college outside linebacker Devante Bond (Roseville, Calif./Sierra College). In previous years, Oklahoma has started slow and finished strong in recruiting, and there are still a few top-ranked players available. Among the ESPN 300 athletes are cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and Steven Parker II (Jenks, Okla./Jenks).


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big 12 

November, 18, 2013
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While Kansas broke its recruiting slump, Oklahoma managed to pick up two players on Sunday. One of them filled a huge need.

There were several other updates involving Big 12 targets from this weekend, including one four-star athlete announcing when he will make his final decision. That player said he most likely will end up in the Big 12.

Here are some of last week’s highlights:


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Big 12 class rankings analysis 

September, 25, 2013
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There were no changes in the ESPN class rankings, but wins and losses are determining who the top uncommitted players are looking at from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the top 40, Texas still holds strong at No. 7, while Baylor stayed in the top 20 at No. 17. Oklahoma is No. 22, Oklahoma State is No. 29, Texas Tech is No. 31, and West Virginia hangs on with the No. 40 spot.


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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

September, 20, 2013
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In this week’s Big 12 mailbag we take a look at the likelihood of an ESPN 300 defensive back ending up at Oklahoma State, some concerns in Longhorns country, the latest on Iowa State and plenty more.

@Cylights: Any #Cyclones news?

You’re in luck. The Cyclones picked up their first commitment since July 25 on Monday with three-star athlete Dedric Brinson. Brinson (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) had plenty of other offers, including from Duke, Indiana, Marshall, Massachusetts, Central Florida, Wake Forest and Wisconsin. But he chose to travel out of state to play for Paul Rhodes and gives ISU another playmaker. The Cyclones already have commitments from ESPN 300 wide receiver Allen Lazard (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale), three-star running back Tommy Mister (Chicago, Ill./Saint Rita), three-star RB Martinez Syria (Houston/Nimitz), three-star WR Orion Salters (Dallas/Jesuit), three-star tight end Scott Schaffner (Peculiar, Mo./Ray-Pec)and three-star WR Jauan Wesley (Harvey, Ill./Thornton Township).




@Roberrttthom: It feels like Steven Parker is slightly favoring Oklahoma State right now, what are the chances that they land him?

They’re good. But I do believe OU and Texas A&M are just as much in the mix as they have been over the past few months. A few things to take into consideration regarding OSU’s chances: 1. Playing time at safety should be up for grabs with the upcoming graduation of Shamiel Gary and Daytawion Lowe. 2. He’s constantly hearing about OSU from current Pokes commitment and teammate Dylan Harding. It’s going to be Bedlam for his commitment. See what I did there?




@todd_spurgin: Do you think OU's recruiting is going to continue to be such a struggle getting big nasties/linebackers?

For the foreseeable future? Possibly. But I do think the Sooners will get it figured out by the time it’s all said and done. They missed out on a few guys who I thought they’d have right now in Ty Barrett and Frank Kee.




@JC22101022: What are recruits (who are considering Texas for this year and the future) saying about Texas current program state?

There are a few major concerns, which are completely understandable. The first, and obvious one, is Mack Brown’s future. If he goes you could see Texas recruiting take a hit if it doesn’t hire a home-run replacement. If he does stay, will the program have improved by year’s end? These recruits want to see if Texas can win like these players saw while they were growing up. You’ve got to remember, when these players were growing up, Texas was winning 10-plus games a season. There is also concern about Greg Robinson and the direction of this defense. Will he be the defensive coordinator long term? How will he relate to recruits if he is?




@msturdy51: Who do you see the Sooners getting in the upcoming weeks?

A few names to keep an eye on are Rowlett (Texas) defensive tackle Cedric Johnson, and Arizona linebacker commitments Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware. Johnson visited in the spring and one more visit could seal the deal. As for the LBs, they are committed to Arizona but are still going to take an official visit to OU on Oct. 4. That will be the Sooners’ best chance to add another California linebacker to their 2014 class.




@LundbergLance: My Horns haven’t been so hot as everyone knows the last few years. When will recruiting take a big hit because of that?

In some ways, it’s already affected them. You saw that during the 2013 recruiting cycle when numerous players decommitted. That never used to happen at UT under Mack Brown. You’ve seen two players decommit already in 2014. But where it could really hurt Texas is in 2015. The state is loaded with players who have high interest in the Longhorns but won’t commit unless they see improvement. Texas needs to win or risk losing out on a big opportunity in 2015.


What’s the most critical position in the Big 12? It depends on who you talk to. In a conference that rides its offensive reputation, some coaches are hoping to land players that will help them score points, while others are looking for the prospects to prevent points.

As official visits become finalized and uncommitted players get closer to announcing their commitments, here is a look at some of the most critical positions in recruiting for the Big 12 teams.

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When you get down to it, the Big 12 is still centered around two programs: Texas and Oklahoma. Even though neither is the clear-cut favorite to win the Big 12, the Red River rivals still move the needle for many recruits. So it should come as no surprise that many of their games will be among the Big 12’s most important as far as recruiting is concerned. Here is a look at the Big 12’s top 10 most important games to recruits (not limited to conference games).

1. Oklahoma vs. Texas, Oct. 12
There is never a season that this game isn’t circled by each fan base and by just about any top recruit in the region as one of the marquee games. Prospects will be keeping an eye on not only how the game unfolds but also how each coaching staff interacts with players, how they fit into each team’s particular schemes, etc. There is more pressure on Texas to win this game this season, given that OU has owned the rivalry the last three seasons. If the Sooners find a way to win for a fourth consecutive season, the Longhorns will have a tougher time in head-to-head recruiting battles in the near future.


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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
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It’s time to open the mailbag and answer some questions about Big 12 recruiting. We encourage all to send questions each week, either via Twitter to @DamonSayles or @ESPNWilkerson or via email at dsaylesespn@gmail.com or wilkerson.espn@gmail.com.

@hammerheel: Which Big 12 team can improve their recruiting ranking the most with a big season on the field? Which team has biggest upside?

Damon Sayles: I think Texas Tech can really improve its ranking down the road if it can score a few clutch victories. This is Kliff Kingsbury’s first year as head coach, and if he can lead the Red Raiders to a great season, it will result in getting some top-notch commitments for the future -- the same way Texas A&M picked up stud commits after a strong 2012 season.

@LeeRagland: Never asked before, but did Ty Barrett to TCU surprise you? Enjoy your work.

DS: Thanks, Lee, and honestly, Barrett’s decision did not surprise me. I’ve always known Barrett to be a shock-the-world type of player. Several of the players from Dallas Skyline think similarly (remember, Victor Evans surprisingly chose Ole Miss over Texas). Barrett should be a major asset to the Horned Frogs’ offensive line -- and trouble for opposing Big 12 defenders.

@CLadyjags31s: As a parent, I want to know the reason for committing so early. Things change day to day. Why is it such a rush to commit?

DS: Unfortunately, it’s one that doesn’t have a conventional answer. Some commit early because they’ve been set on going to one school for quite some time; perhaps, it’s their favorite school. Others commit early because they jump on the first school to offer. That’s frowned upon by many, because you want a player to have time to weigh all options, but it happens. Then you have some players who commit early for the glamor and glitz of the event. They make a deal out of it either by way of a school ceremony or per an announcement on Twitter. One thing’s for sure: If a player commits, almost every college coach would agree that you should honor that commitment.

garrettjelley@yahoo.com: Other than Steven Parker, what ESPN 300 prospects do you see Oklahoma State ending up with? Also, does Oklahoma State have a shot at Malachi Dupre, Trey Quinn or Cameron Sims?

DS: I’m sure that Oklahoma fans would beg to differ on Parker going to Stillwater and not Norman. Those are the two favorites, but whether or not he ends up a Cowboy is still to be determined. As for Dupre, Quinn and Sims, I think Oklahoma State is in the running for all three. However, it’ll be tough to steer Dupre and Quinn from LSU and Sims from Alabama. The process isn’t over until it’s over, right?

@ElmoSledd: Where do you think Dakota Allen will land?

DS: Allen is supposed to make a decision Friday night, and he is down to Texas Tech and TCU. While he’d look good in TCU purple, I think the relationship he’s built with the Red Raiders coaching staff will be the ultimate decider. Plus, Texas Tech is in dire need of a linebacker for its 2014 class. Allen is one of the best-available inside linebackers around, and whichever school ends up with him gets a steal.

@RL1_Era: Which Big 12 team needs a big recruiting class the most?

DS: A team like Kansas really could use a big class strictly for the confidence boost. The Jayhawks only have seven commitments entering the weekend. Fortunately for Jayhawks fans, three of the seven are four-star players, and two -- OLB Kyron Watson and OL Jacob Bragg -- are ESPN 300 players. A strong 2014 class will help change the image of Kansas football. Charlie Weis and Co. understand that with recruiting in Lawrence, it’s all about taking small steps.

tuxjackson@ymail.com: When does Jamardre Cobb plan to make his decision, and if you were to guess today, who would you say has the upper hand out of his top 3?

DS: Right now, Cobb is focused on winning a state championship for Los Angeles Salesian. Recruiting isn’t necessarily taking a back seat, but it’s far from the forefront. The ESPN 300 linebacker has an official visit scheduled for Oklahoma in early October, and the Sooners have had success landing players from the west coast. Arizona and Arizona State also are teams to watch in the Cobb sweepstakes.

It’s been a big week for the Red River rivals as they’ve each hosted a top 2015 recruit on an unofficial visit. Those recruits as well as TCU’s continued ability to recruit top-end defensive talent are some of the top storylines around the Big 12 this week.

Longhorns host top 2015 DB

When the Longhorns hosted several of their top targets on July 27 for their inaugural Texas Stampede, they were keeping their fingers crossed that ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Kendall Sheffield (Fort Bend, Texas/Marshall) would be in attendance.

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It was a busy weekend for commitments around the Big 12 with over half of its universities garnering commitments. Here is a look at some of the bigger names that gave their verbal pledges and some key developments in the recruitment of an ESPN 300 safety.


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video
McKINNEY, Texas -- The 2013 Nike Football Festival made a stop in north Texas, and 24 teams from the Dallas metroplex and east Texas showed their skills in 7-on-7 competition and individual skills challenges at Craig Ranch and the Michael Johnson Performance Center. Roughly 400 athletes were in attendance, some considered major FBS recruits.

Here is what we learned after the event:

2015 QB Murray wins ... twice

That sigh of relief you heard in McKinney? It’s still to be determined if it was from the Allen faithful or the Texas A&M faithful.

Saturday afternoon, Allen won the event's 7-on-7 tournament, and 2015 quarterback Kyler Murray looked phenomenal in competition. He made the same kind of plays in the air that allowed him to lead Allen to the Texas Class 5A Division-I state championship in December. In short, Murray was outstanding.

Shortly after, the 5-foot-11, 166-pound quarterback picked up the much-anticipated offer that made Aggies fans gush. Murray, the son of former Aggies quarterback Kevin Murray, finally got an offer from Texas A&M to join offers from Ohio State, Clemson, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Arizona State.

Life after Texas commit looks promising


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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 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:

  • The latest in CB Brown's recruitment
  • More on Knox’s decision
  • New Longhorns offer willing to learn more about UT
  • Saunders getting interest from top school
  • Mayes on the radar
  • Barrett wants Texas offer


Read The Heard after the jump.


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Word didn’t get out until Monday, but Demetrius Knox isn’t afraid to admit he hasn’t been committed to Texas since Thursday.

That’s when the Fort Worth (Texas) All Saints offensive lineman said he told Longhorns coaches he wanted to reopen his recruitment. What happened that led to one of the biggest members of Texas’ No. 1-ranked class to back out?


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Roundtable: Must-offer Texas prospects 

March, 8, 2013
3/08/13
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Every Friday, HornsNation recruiting writers William Wilkerson and Max Olson answer a question about the Longhorns.

This week’s question: Who's one prospect you think Texas must offer a scholarship to right now?

William Wilkerson: Yesterday I put together a list of prospects that Texas should offer right now, which you can read right here.


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Scene & Heard: 2014 Season Storylines
National recruiting reporter Gerry Hamilton joins ESPN's Phil Murphy to discuss some of the top storylines to watch for the 2015 recruiting class during the 2014 college football season.
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