Texas Longhorns: College Football

Numbers to know from signing day

February, 7, 2013
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1 – Alabama’s class rank. Every year that head coach Nick Saban has had a full season to recruit (since 2008), the Crimson Tide have had a top-three class. No other school has even had a top-10 class each of the past six years. Alabama received commitments from three of the top-10 running backs, plus Derrick Henry (No. 9 in ESPN 300, No. 1 Athlete), the leading rusher in high school football history.

3 – Number of Ole Miss’s recruits ranked in the top 20 of the ESPN 300. Since ESPN recruiting rankings were introduced in 2006, Ole Miss had never had a single top-20 recruit. Head coach Hugh Freeze received letters of intent from two of the top five recruits, including the top ranked player in the ESPN 300, DE Robert Nkemdiche.

7 – Number of players since November who have decommitted from USC, and all were in the ESPN 300. USC’s class was ranked No. 1 for more than three months between July and November, but now it's ranked 14th. Two of those decommits, Eldridge Massington (No. 172 in ESPN 300, No. 21 WR) and Kylie Fitts (No. 86 in ESPN 300, No. 8 DE) flipped their commitments to rival UCLA. The Bruins finished the day with the 12th-ranked class, the first time since 2006 they finished ahead of their crosstown rival.

7 – The number of top-10 recruiting classes Urban Meyer has had since 2006, and not one of those classes ranked lower than sixth. The only other coach with seven top-10 classes is Mack Brown. This year, Meyer and Ohio State scored the No. 3 recruiting class, headlined by CB Eli Apple (No. 11 in ESPN 300, No. 3 CB).

7 – The number of top-five recruiting classes Florida has had since 2006, most among all schools. Entering National Signing Day, the Gators had the top-ranked class before finishing the day second. Florida is one of three schools with multiple five-star recruits this year (Ole Miss and Notre Dame).

12 – The number of four-star recruits Vanderbilt has received letters of intent from. The past two seasons, James Franklin has recruited 15 players with a grade of 80 or better. In the previous four seasons, Vanderbilt didn’t recruit a single such player.

14 - The number of SEC schools with top-40 recruiting classes. All 14 schools have top-40 classes, with none lower than 36th (Kentucky). Six of those schools are ranked in the top 10, the most any conference has had since 2006.

15 – Texas’ class rank, the Longhorns' lowest since 2006. Texas had been the only school with a top-10 class every year since 2006. Texas still had the highest ranked recruiting class in the Big 12.

15 – Number of players in the ESPN 300 that have yet to sign letters of intent. Eleven have yet to commit to any school while four have yet to sign their letters of intent for various reasons.

16 - The number of states Notre Dame’s 23 recruits reside in. Notre Dame has the No. 4 class this season, the highest ranked class it has had since 2006. It’s Notre Dame’s sixth top-10 class and third straight under Brian Kelly.

Longhorn issues start in red zone

August, 16, 2012
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Brendan Maloney/US PresswireMack Brown and the Texas Longhorns have gone a combined 13-12 over the last two seasons.
After posting nine straight 10-win seasons from 2001-2009, Texas has slipped to 5-7 and 8-5 over the last two years. Even worse, the Longhorns are just 6-11 in Big 12 play. It is believed there is a lot of talent on the field in Austin, but how much talent is there?

For the first time since 1993-1994, Texas failed to produce a first-round pick in consecutive years.

For the first time since 2000, Texas did not have a player selected in the first three rounds in the NFL draft.


So what are the biggest reasons for the Longhorns' struggles the past two years?

First, they haven't been able to protect the football. Their 56 turnovers are the most by any AQ school over that span.

They haven't been able to replace record-setting QB Colt McCoy.

In 2009, McCoy threw 27 touchdowns in leading Texas to the BCS Championship Game. Since then, three different Texas quarterbacks have combined to throw 26 touchdowns, with a conference-high 32 interceptions. Their struggles in the red zone are highlighted in the chart below.

Texas has to get better in the red zone in 2012, especially when passing the ball. The Horns ranked dead last in the FBS last season in yards per pass attempt in the red zone (1.6).

Home-field advantage at Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium is nonexistent these days. Texas is 2-6 in Big 12 home games the past two years, with the two wins coming last year over Kansas and Texas Tech. Those two were a combined 2-16 in conference games last year.

In the past two years, just seven AQ teams have won fewer than two conference home games, and three others have won exactly two (Northwestern, Texas Tech and Vanderbilt).

Under new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, the defense was strong statistically, especially against the pass. The Horns allowed only two touchdown passes of 20 yards or more in 2011, tied for fewest among all FBS teams -- with LSU and Alabama. Both of those touchdowns the Horns allowed came against Heisman winner Robert Griffin III and Baylor.

On the flip side however, in four games against ranked teams (all losses), Texas allowed 39.5 points-per-game. Eliminate Kansas State, and that number balloons to 47.0 points-per-game in losses to Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

With both Case McCoy and David Ash returning at quarterback, and Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and highly touted freshman Johnathan Gray at RB, this could be the year where the Texas clicks on offense. If it doesn’t, what changes could be in store for 2013?

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