Texas Longhorns: Ashton Dorsey

As we close in on national signing day, it’s an appropriate time to look back at how the top Big 12 recruits from four years ago performed.

2010 was a banner year for the Big 12 in recruiting, as the league collectively landed 23 from the ESPN 150.

A few, such as Jackson Jeffcoat, Ahmad Dixon and Shaun Lewis, became stars. Others washed out before their careers ever got off the ground.

[+] EnlargeSterling Shepard and Jackson Jeffcoat
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsFormer five-star prospect Jackson Jeffcoat finished his career as the best defensive end in the Big 12.
Below is a closer look at what happened to ESPN 150 players who signed with Big 12 schools:

No. 2: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas – Though he never reached a high level of team success, Jeffcoat had a great individual end to his career, earning Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year honors and leading the league with 13 sacks.

No. 4: Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas – Hicks has been good when he has played. Because of multiple injuries, that hasn’t been often. Hicks missed most of last season with a torn Achilles, just a year after also being knocked out with a hip flexor injury. After getting a medical redshirt from his 2012 season, Hicks has one more year of eligibility remaining.

No. 13: Mike Davis, WR, Texas – Davis finished in the Big 12’s top 10 in receiving the last two seasons, compiling 200 career catches and 18 touchdown receptions.

No. 14: Taylor Bible, DT, Texas – Bible never played a down at Texas, leaving after his redshirt freshman season because of issues with grades. Bible ended up at Carson-Newman.

No. 15: Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor – Dixon had a tremendous tenure with his hometown school, earning All-Big 12 and All-American honors as a senior as Baylor captured its first Big 12 title in 2013.

No. 18: Demarco Cobbs, ATH, Texas – The Tulsa, Okla., native has appeared in 29 games on special teams and as a defensive reserve. He missed all of the 2013 season with a knee injury.

No. 20: Darius White, WR, Texas – After making just six catches his first two seasons, White transferred to Missouri. He caught just seven passes this season for the Tigers, but has another year of eligibility left.

No. 21: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma – In his first season, Jefferson was the Big 12 co-Defensive Freshman of the year, and he was a three-year starter before leaving early to go pro.

No. 46: Ashton Dorsey, DT, Texas – After serving as a reserve throughout his career, Dorsey was projected to start this season, but he transferred out days before Texas’ season opener.

No. 48: Austin Haywood, TE, Oklahoma – After getting playing time as a third tight end early in his career, Haywood unexpectedly quit in the middle of the season, tried to earn his way back on the team, failed and ended up transferring to Central Arkansas. After getting suspended there, Haywood gave up football.

No. 62: Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma – Nelson shined early this season after finally getting a chance to be a full-time starter. That, however, was short-lived, as Nelson tore his pectoral muscle in an early October win over TCU and sat out the rest of his final season.

No. 65: Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma – The “Belldozer” starred his first two seasons as a situational, short-yardage QB. But in the preseason, Bell was beaten out by Trevor Knight for the starting job. Bell, however, still had his moments this season because of injuries to Knight. He led OU to a win at Notre Dame, then quarterbacked OU’s game-winning touchdown drive at Oklahoma State.

No. 72: Reggie Wilson, DE, Texas – He appeared in 51 games as a defensive reserve. Wilson had 19 tackles and a sack as a senior.

No. 73: Chris Jones, WR, Texas – Jones transferred out after one year, and never played.

No. 75: Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State – Lewis made an immediate impact, earning Big 12 co-Defensive Freshman of the Year honors along with Tony Jefferson. Lewis was a four-year starter and a big piece in Oklahoma State’s defensive turnaround this season.

[+] EnlargeBrennan Clay
Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY SportsFormer ESPN 150 recruit Brennan Clay was a solid, not spectacular, tailback for the Sooners.
No. 77: Quentin Hayes, S, Oklahoma – After serving a year-long suspension, Hayes returned to win a starting job this past season. He has another year left.

No. 86: Tevin Jackson, LB, Texas – Jackson has been a backup linebacker for the Longhorns and will be part of the team’s great depth there in 2014.

No. 103: Adrian White, CB, Texas – Played in 17 games, then joined the mass transfer exodus from this Texas class.

No. 109: Ivan McCartney, WR, West Virginia – McCartney never became a No. 1 receiver, though he did contribute on West Virginia’s explosive offenses in 2011-12. He only had 12 catches this past season as a senior, however.

No. 114: Aaron Benson, LB, Texas – The cousin of former Texas running back great Cedric Benson has only been a contributor on special teams.

No. 122: Carrington Byndom, S, Texas – One of the few players from this Texas class to pan out. Byndom made 39 career starts and was a second-team All-Big 12 selection this past season.

No. 129: Brennan Clay, RB, Oklahoma – Clay proved to be a reliable and steady force in the OU backfield. He finished his career with 1,913 rushing yards, including 957 in 2013.

No. 134: Adrian Philips, ATH, Texas – Phillips settled in the Texas secondary, collecting 28 career starts there. He was second on the team this past season with 82 tackles.

No. 141: Trey Hopkins, OG, Texas – Hopkins became a stalwart up front, making 42 career starts along the offensive line. He was a two-time, second-team All-Big 12 selection.

No. 142: Justin McCay, ATH, Oklahoma – McCay transferred to Kansas after two years in Norman. He had nine receptions and a touchdown, which also was the first scoring catch by a Kansas wide receiver in almost two full seasons.

Big 12's lunchtime links

August, 28, 2013
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He's not heading to the Big 12, but any football fan would love this run... stop it, Jabrill, just stop it.

Texas DT Dorsey elects to transfer

August, 27, 2013
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AUSTIN, Texas – Texas senior defensive tackle Ashton Dorsey has elected to transfer, the school announced Tuesday.

Dorsey’s decision to leave the program comes as a surprise. Though he was left of Texas’ depth chart released on Monday, Dorsey was expected to be one of four defensive tackles who started or earned significant playing time this season.

Ashton Dorsey
Bob Levey/Getty ImagesAshton Dorsey, who led Texas defensive linemen in tackles for loss in 2012, is transferring.
In nine games last season, Dorsey led all Texas defensive tackles in tackles for loss with 10. He recorded 28 tackles and one pass breakup.

The 6-foot-2, 295-pound lineman, a native of Tyler, Texas, appeared in 30 games in his Texas career and started six games. He had already been ruled out for Texas’ season opener Saturday against New Mexico State with a sore calf muscle.

A calf injury and a concussion sidelined Dorsey for four of Texas’ final five games last season. The reason for his transfer is unknown.

The Longhorns named senior Chris Whaley and sophomore Malcom Brown their starting defensive tackles on Monday, and junior Desmond Jackson is expected to rotate into the lineup. Whaley and Jackson have made a combined 21 career starts for Texas.

Replacing the production of Dorsey might be problematic, but defensive tackles coach Bo Davis has two redshirt freshmen who could fill the void.

Texas has high expectations for Hassan Ridgeway, and coach Mack Brown has said fellow second-year tackle Alex Norman could be in line for playing time. They were listed as co-backups at nose tackle on the UT depth chart Monday.

Texas depth chart preview: Defense

August, 21, 2013
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We’re 10 days away from the season opener and Texas hasn’t released its official 2013 depth chart. That should be coming soon, but why wait?

Yesterday, we projected how the Longhorns offensive depth chart will look entering the Aug. 31 opener against New Mexico State. Today we’re assessing how Texas’ defensive depth is shaping up. Here’s where the Longhorns appear to stand with only a few days left in fall camp.

Defensive end

Jackson Jeffcoat, Cedric Reed, Reggie Wilson, Shiro Davis, Bryce Cottrell

Everything we’ve heard this summer and fall suggests Jeffcoat is healthy and back with a vengeance. Nobody will be surprised if he has a big season. Reed has been locked into the other starting job throughout, and Wilson is earning confidence as the No. 3 guy. Davis and Cottrell lead a group of young ends who could make a splash as pass rushers and seem far more poised to contribute as second-year guys. Of all the guys on this defense, Cottrell might be the one who ends up being a surprise stud.

Defensive tackle

[+] EnlargeJackson Jeffcoat
John Albright/Icon SMIWith players like Jackson Jeffcoat returning to full health, Texas' defensive depth looks stronger in 2013.
Ashton Dorsey, Chris Whaley, Malcom Brown, Desmond Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway

The two we’ve bolded here is essentially meaningless. It could be Brown and Whaley, Brown and Dorsey, Dorsey and Jackson or any number of other combinations. Bo Davis has the luxury of rotating those four and will do so plenty. Whaley had stepped up in camp, but it’s hard to call him a surprise starter considering he also won a starting gig at the end of camp last year. Is Ridgeway the No. 5 man in this group? Time will tell, but he has the tools to eventually be a difference-maker.

Outside linebacker

Jordan Hicks, Peter Jinkens, Tevin Jackson, Kendall Thompson

No surprises here. You knew Hicks was going to be a surefire starter when he got healthy, and Jinkens has made a big impression on everyone this offseason. He’s often praised for bringing a strong dose of energy to the rest of the lineup. Texas likes what it has in Jackson and Thompson, and they’re still in line to see solid playing time. Right now, it's hard to picture former starter Demarco Cobbs reemerging as an impact contributor once he's healthy.

Middle linebacker

Steve Edmond, Dalton Santos

This was supposed to be one of the Longhorns’ best position battles, but the drama fizzled quickly. Edmond is in firm control of the job and has made a big comeback after an up-and-down 2012. Players say he’s truly a sideline-to-sideline player now that he’s dropped 30 pounds and more of a playmaker than ever. After all the premature hype surrounding him last year, it sounds like Edmond is the real deal now. Santos will still get his, especially as a special teams enforcer.

Cornerback

Quandre Diggs, Carrington Byndom, Duke Thomas, Sheroid Evans, Bryson Echols

Longhorns coaches and players have remained as vague as possible when it comes to discussing Diggs’ role. Don’t be shocked if he plays more nickel and dabbles in some safety this year, but the fact remains he’s still one of Texas’ two best corners. Byndom seems much more confident as a senior. Manny Diaz recently said Thomas is as good a DB as Texas has right now, which is really saying something, and Evans has a chance to be a sneaky good weapon in that secondary. Don’t sleep on freshman Antwuan Davis, but Texas is in nice shape in terms of depth at corner.

Safety

Adrian Phillips, Mykkele Thompson, Josh Turner, Adrian Colbert

We know Phillips is better and could be one of the real surprise players on this Texas defense as a senior, but it’s still hard to peg if Thompson is the answer at the other starting spot. The coaching staff is still confident in him. Turner has been sidelined throughout camp so it’s hard to know what to expect of him, but Colbert has been flashy in practices. Again, if Diggs or Byndom chips in at safety, that sure couldn’t hurt.

Punter

William Russ, Anthony Fera

Tough call here, but we’ll go with Russ because it seems more feasible that the Longhorns would prefer to keep Fera fresh and not give him both placekicker and punter duties. Coaches say a healthy Russ is now booming his punts and made this a legitimate battle. And let’s not forget Nick Rose, who will continue to own the role of booting kickoffs. Mack Brown frequently praised Rose as a freshman, and he might be even better in year two.

Burnt Orange Breakdown: DT Jackson 

August, 1, 2013
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During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 99 Desmond Jackson
Junior defensive tackle

During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 94 Alex Norman
Redshirt freshman defensive tackle


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During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 90 Malcom Brown
Sophomore defensive tackle


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During the summer, HornsNation will analyze each of the scholarship players on the Texas roster -- excluding the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class -- in our Burnt Orange Breakdown series. Starting with No. 1 Mike Davis, we will go through the roster numerically, finishing with No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 85 Ashton Dorsey
Senior defensive tackle


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AUSTIN, Texas – Texas has 19 starters returning, a two-deep no longer as shallow as the Pedernales River, a coach who has been pointing to this year during the tumult of the last two and a team that's been as high as No. 4 in some of the preseason rankings.


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Question of the Week: Let's talk trades 

May, 9, 2013
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Free agency might be a long way off from never in college football -- at least as far as players are concerned. Coaches, they come and go. Players stick.

But now the time has come to change all that, if only for a day and if only for the purposes of this week’s question of the week. With that in mind and those rules set, here then is the aforementioned question: If you, as Texas’ general manager, could trade for one player within the Big 12, who would it be? And who would you give up for that player?


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Manny Diaz's first mistake, the one that would lead to 112 more in the form of missed tackles, was believing, or at the very least not tempering, the hype.

"The mistake I made last year was that I was aware that expectations were higher for our team than they should have been," the Texas defensive coordinator said. "I think there were too many assumptions made. We said, 'Well, this guy is bigger and faster than the guy who graduated, so he must be better.'

[+] EnlargeManny Diaz
Patrick Green/Icon SMIManny Diaz believed in the hype of Texas' defense last season. He won't make the mistake again.
"The mistake I made is I should have said, 'Forget about it, it’s your turn now,' " Diaz said.

Their turn is coming up again; most of the same players in all of the same positions. And that is where the worry lies. Not much appears to have changed at Texas. Same players. Same coach. Oh, wait a minute: There has been some change. The two best players on a defense that was the worst in school history in 2012 are off to the NFL. So the team is without its leading tackler from a year ago, Kenny Vaccaro, and without Alex Okafor, who took over the Alamo Bowl and led Texas in sacks. And now there is supposed to be some excitement about the "turn" this group is about to take? Try hand-wringing worry.

"Understandably, we will have lost trust from people from our performance last year, and we understand that," Diaz said. "There’s nothing we can do until we go back out and play in the fall to regain that trust. Our job right now is to get these guys as good as they can be to become a physical, hard-nosed defense."

The first step in doing that is remembering, not who they were collectively a season ago, but who they were when they were at their best, when they were freer, faster and more fearless on the field.

"We can’t carry around the ghost of last year," Diaz said.

(Read full post)

AUSTIN, Texas -- Brandon Moore left and barely an eye was batted.

In years past maybe losing a consistent starter on the defensive line who will likely have a decent NFL career would cause panic. Not in 2013. Not with what Texas should have to offer at the defensive tackle position.


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Offseason to-do list: Texas Longhorns

January, 25, 2013
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Every year, there's lots of turnover and change for every college program. What do the Big 12 teams need to do before next fall? Let's continue our look with the Longhorns down in Austin.

1. Figure out the offensive identity. Bryan Harsin is gone, and he's probably taking most of his pre-snap shifts with him. Will Major Applewhite still look to run a power offense? Texas has recruited and developed its offensive line really well lately, but David Ash has matured, and even with a wealth of backs in Malcolm Brown, Johnathan Gray, Joe Bergeron and Daje Johnson, Texas hasn't been able to keep them healthy or get consistent production out of one for an entire season. Will Applewhite put more responsibility in Ash's hands? He was good at times last season, but the rising junior was inconsistent. His ceiling is probably a legitimate Heisman campaign. His floor is probably getting benched in favor Connor Brewer or Jalen Overstreet -- or maybe even incoming freshman Tyrone Swoopes. Where will he fall on the spectrum? Will Texas continue to try to pound the trenches?

2. Plug up the middle of the defense. Texas' defense made no sense last season. The personnel is absolutely there to be great up front. The defensive tackles are deep and talented, led by guys like Malcom Brown, Ashton Dorsey, Desmond Jackson and Chris Whaley. The linebackers were solid, even without Jordan Hicks, who should be back next season. Peter Jinkens is a rising star and a few others have potential. Coordinator Manny Diaz didn't take another job, electing to stay in Austin and attempt fix the most underwhelming unit in the Big 12. It all starts with the ability to stop the run, something Texas never did consistently last season. Fix that, and the rest of this defense comes around, I say.

3. Discover and develop leadership. Texas was still a pretty young team last season after rebooting on both sides of the ball after the 2010 season. The freshmen and sophomores who contributed in 2011 are juniors and seniors now, but the team is losing guys like Alex Okafor and Kenny Vaccaro, players who had been around awhile and served as role models for younger guys. Look for Jackson Jeffcoat and David to fill the role this year, but other players, like Malcolm Brown or Jaxon Shipley, might emerge, too. We'll see who steps up in the spring.

More offseason to-do lists:
AUSTIN, Texas – Quandre Diggs talks like he plays -- fast, hard and with an edge.

So when the question as to why the defense has not lived up the hype was put to the Texas cornerback he came back with a quick punch: "You think everybody who comes on the field is automatically an all-American."

[+] EnlargeQuandre Diggs
AP Photo/Reed HoffmannCornerback Quandre Diggs, who has three interceptions on the season, has been arguably Texas' top defender this season.
Well, true. That is the perception of Texas because Texas does recruit and sign so many high school all-Americans. Over the past five years, Texas has had 51 ESPN top 150 players sign. For perspective, Baylor has had three. The Bears are only 25 spots worse in overall defense than Texas this season.

Where the real difference is that Texas was expected to be better. Check that, Texas was expected to be among the best. The players, the ones Texas brought in front of the media in the spring and fall camp, said the defense was better than the 2011 version that finished 11th in overall defense. Linebacker Steve Edmond moved like no big man they had seen before, they said. Defensive tackle Brandon Moore could block out the sun and throw aside offensive linemen with ease, the players said. And the secondary would be better due to a year of experience and the addition of a healthy Adrian Phillips, was the claim.

Then they played. And it was clear from the first 82-yard touchdown pass allowed against Wyoming this defense had issues.

Here then is a breakdown of why Texas has broken down on defense:

Linebackers: To pin all the issues on Jordan Hicks’ injury would be wrong. He was the leader of that group and the leading tackler before injuring his hip flexor against Ole Miss. But not even his play would have been able to mask the deficiencies present in the other players.

First off, Texas had no adequate backup for Hicks. It tried to play with three linebackers and put Demarco Cobbs in Hicks’ spot while bringing Kendall Thompson in to play the other outside linebacker. But it became apparent Cobbs’ speed, his greatest asset, was wasted due to his inability to use that speed to go in the right direction.

In addition, with the proliferation of spread teams Texas needed more defensive backs on the field and therefore would have to play more nickel and dime. So despite Cobbs being a former safety, he had to come off the field. (He did play more of a floater linebacker/safety role against Baylor on some plays and actually was not all bad.)


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Big 12 defensive linemen, we need to have a talk. This isn't getting it done. This position may be the weakest of any in the league. The top five is solid, though there's a little bit of a dropoff after the top three. Beyond the top five, though? A whole lot of question marks, and not a lot of truly impressive talents.

I had some trouble even finding 10 guys who deserved spots on this list. This could be a banner year for quarterbacks. The only thing shallower than the defensive ends in the league this year is the defensive tackles. Sheesh. Unless we see some stars emerge from nowhere this year, this position's going to look a little raw all season long.

More position rankings:

Anyway, here goes.

One final note: No freshmen or newcomers allowed. Sorry, Brandon Moore.

[+] EnlargeJackson Jeffcoat
Jody Gomez/US PresswireJackson Jeffcoat is not only the top defensive end in the conference, but is one of the best in the nation.
1. Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas: Jeffcoat is a freak and leads this list as the most talented linemen in the league. He's not as experienced as his teammate who also made this list, but the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder could play his way into the top 10 of next year's NFL Draft.

2. Alex Okafor, DE, Texas: Okafor may be a first-rounder, too. He's moved around along the line during his career, but he's found a home at end. He won the league's preseason Defensive Player of the Year honors after making six sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss last season.

3. Stansly Maponga, DE, TCU: Maponga was extremely productive last season, and we'll see how he does against bigger and better offensive lines in the Big 12. He had nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, and forced five fumbles. He's the most talented player on TCU's defense.

4. Meshak Williams, DE, Kansas State: I'm a bigger proponent of Williams than most, but he's yet another fantastic juco find from Bill Snyder. Last year, he made 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks to tie for sixth in the Big 12 and earn second-team All-Big 12 honors.

5. Toben Opurum, DE/LB, Kansas: Opurum's unbelievable story is about to start its final chapter in 2012. He's played under three different coaches and transitioned from KU's leading rusher in 2009 to one of the league's best along the defensive line in 2012. Nobody else on this list has done anything like that, and he'll be a captain in Year 1 under Charlie Weis.

6. Nigel Nicholas, DT/DE, Oklahoma State: Nicholas sounds like he's moving to defensive end this season, but he's played both throughout his career. The 6-foot-3, 269-pounder is needed at end for the Cowboys, and made 10 tackles for loss last season and two sacks.

7. R.J. Washington, DE, Oklahoma: Washington's got the pedigree and the physical skills, but it's time to see the production after a disappointing 2011 season. He broke up five passes and had five sacks last season, but made just 16 tackles as a member of the DE rotation behind stars Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander.

8. Ashton Dorsey, DT, Texas: Dorsey has plenty of experience and is pushing 300 pounds in the middle of Texas' line. Jeffcoat and Okafor will attract plenty of double teams, but Dorsey's got the talent to be a wrecking ball in the middle. He had seven tackles for loss and a sack last year.

9. Jamarkus McFarland, DT, Oklahoma: McFarland's been a part-time starter the past two seasons, and could finally break through with a big year as a senior. The 6-foot-3, 288-pounder made 3.5 tackles for loss and had 20 tackles last season.

10. Jake McDonough, DT, Iowa State: McDonough holds down the nose tackle spot for Iowa State, and made 34 tackles with 4.5 tackles for loss last season. The 280-pounder needs a big year to help out his talented set of linebackers.

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