Texas Longhorns: Durham Smythe

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.

AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown refused to talk about the five recruits Texas didn't get on signing day.

But the Texas coach did have a message for players that might be interested in the Longhorns in the future.

[+] EnlargeMack Brown
Kevin Jairaj/US PresswireTexas coach Mack Brown stressed the quality of his 2013 class but was clearly disappointed in the five recruits who decommitted.
"The thing that we will do is we have allowed the kids to commit and still look around the last couple of years -- we're not doing that anymore," Brown said on Wednesday. “If you are committed to us be committed. If you're going to go look, we're going to go look."

It was a strong message and it permeated a signing day that dripped with disappointment over who Texas didn't get -- A'Shawn Robinson (Alabama), Daeshon Hall (Texas A&M), Ricky Seals-Jones (Texas A&M), Durham Smythe (Notre Dame) and Kyle Hicks (TCU) -- as much as the day was held up and celebrated for the 15 players Texas did get.

"What we found is the 15 [recruits] that we got are very passionate about being at Texas and that is what we want," Brown said. "And very honestly if a young person tells you they're coming and their parents tell you they're coming and then they don't, you wouldn't want them to be here.

"You may be disappointed on the day it happened but you want people that will look you in the eye and tell you the truth and you want people who want to be at your school.”

This signing day Texas didn't need that many people at its school. It only had room for about 16. So the search was for quality over quantity. Brown, who because of all the decommitments and misses seemingly has gone from coach February to Father Time with this class, tried to hammer that point home repeatedly.

(Read full post)

AUSTIN, Texas -- When the Longhorns began to recruit ESPN 300 lineman Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas/Waco) as a defensive lineman, his preferred position, rather than at offensive lineman, where they originally sought him, they seemed to have put themselves in position to garner his commitment, which he announced today.

“Oh, they probably went to third in the bunch to ... they went up from third, I’ll tell you that much,” Waco High coach Marty Herbst said a few weeks ago.


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Smythe talks Stanford, visit plans 

December, 26, 2012
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HOUSTON -- The decision to decommit from Texas wasn't an easy one for Belton (Texas) High School tight end Durham Smythe. But for him, it was the right decision.

Now, as the weeks pass and national signing day approaches, Smythe is weighing all the options in front of him. He has plenty, but he's still in the process of trying to decide where he'll take his remaining official visits. After checking in for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl -- set for Sunday at Reliant Stadium -- on Wednesday, he discussed all that has been going on since he made his decision.

"The week that I decommitted it was pretty crazy because the dead period was about to start at that point, so toward the end of that week, a lot of coaches and a lot of schools tried to get in contact with me to schedule home visits and stuff like that," Smythe said. "Over the dead period I've been in contact with coaches once a week on Facebook and stuff like that. It's been busy and right now I'm just in a period where I'm evaluating things and I'm trying to pick a couple favorites so I can take official visits there and have a base to compare."

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Five recruits worth stealing for Texas 

December, 21, 2012
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Last year, Texas picked up 10 commits after the month of November. Six of those pledges came from recruits who were already committed elsewhere.

The Longhorns are taking a smaller class this year, so getting 10 late commits isn't feasible. But as Texas coaches hit the trail in these next few months before signing day, they won’t be afraid to inquire about other schools’ commits.

Sometimes it’s even easier than that: Coaching changes or late decommitments can lead to unexpected opportunity.

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Every Friday, HornsNation recruiting writers William Wilkerson and Max Olson will answer a question about the Longhorns.

This week's question: Texas has seen Ricky Seals-Jones, Daeshon Hall, Kyle Hicks and now Durham Smythe decommit from the 2013 class. Who is the one recruit Texas can't afford to lose before signing day?

William Wilkerson: There are several choices here but I’m going with ESPN 150 DB Antwuan Davis because of Texas’ struggles recruiting the secondary in this class.

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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’ll release this every Thursday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

A few of the notes in today's The Heard:

  • Smythe discusses decommitment
  • What’s Robinson going to do?
  • Zadarius Smith update

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TE Durham Smythe decommits from Texas 

December, 12, 2012
12/12/12
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Texas’ 2013 recruiting class has suffered another defection.

[+] EnlargeDurham Smythe
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comTight end Durham Smythe is the Longhorns' fourth decommitment for the Class of 2013.
Four-star tight end Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas/Belton) decommitted from the Longhorns on Tuesday. The longtime Texas commit confirmed his decision in a text message to HornsNation.

"I have nothing but respect for the coaches, commits, players and program," Smythe said, "but I had to do what I thought was right for me personally."

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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’ll release this every Thursday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

A few of the notes in today's The Heard:

  • Texas team banquet visitors list
  • UT leaders for McEvoy?

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There was a lot riding on Texas’ first play from scrimmage against Iowa State.

Everyone knew the Longhorns would line up in the wishbone in honor of Darrell K. Royal for that one play, but no one knew what was going to come of it.

[+] EnlargeDurham Smythe
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comClass of 2013 tight end Durham Smythe could see earlier time for the Longhorns.
Snap. Pitch to Jaxon Shipley, who throws it back to David Ash in the endzone, who then throws it to ... a tight end, the same position that Mack Brown listed as one of his two chief concerns heading into the season? Gulp.

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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’ll release this every Thursday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

A few things discussed in this week’s edition:

  • Midseason stat check on Texas commits
  • When will Knox commit?

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The football field is a break from a reality that hasn’t always been easy for Longhorns linebacker commitment Naashon Hughes (Harker Heights, Texas/Harker Heights) through the last year.

On Nov. 10, 2011, Hughes was asleep with six other family members inside his home when a loud explosion woke everyone at 3 a.m. The family made it out safely but the house eventually became engulfed in flames and burned down. Reports were that the fire was caused by a faulty electrical connection in the kitchen.

[+] EnlargeNaashon Hughes
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comThree-star linebacker Naashon Hughes, a Texas commit, is staying positive and ready to enroll at Texas.
At the time of the explosion, Hughes, whose brother Camrhon Hughes is a redshirt freshman at Texas, was upstairs with their 13-year-old brother Christopher, who was lying in a hospital bed with two broken legs he suffered in a basketball game.

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Every week through the football season, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson and Max Olson will break down five things they learned while on the road at Texas high school football games. From the latest on Longhorn commits and offers to game observations to players who caught their attention, they've got you covered. Here’s what they saw this weekend:

William’s game: Belton vs. Harker Heights
Max’s game: Dallas Skyline vs. Dallas Jesuit

1. Oliver solid in blowout loss
You can’t blame Jake Oliver for the fact Dallas Jesuit got trounced by Dallas Skyline 56-24 on Friday night. With four minutes left in the second quarter, the game was tied 14-14. With 2:39 left in that same quarter, Skyline led 35-14.

[+] EnlargeJake Oliver
Travis L. Brown/ESPN.comReceiver Jake Oliver had a nice game despite his Dallas Jesuit losing to Dallas Skyline.
Jesuit had an interception and a fumbled kickoff return to blame for that swing, and the game was never close from there.

But Oliver hung in there, racking up eight catches for 99 yards. This was the first time I’d seen him play live, and he was as good as advertised.

There’s no questioning his polish as a route-runner. On one third-down play in the first quarter, he put a quick double move on Texas A&M corner commit Cedric Collins when a play broke down, then dove and hauled in the pass for a 22-yard pickup.

That’s what you get with Oliver: a big, trustworthy possession receiver whose sharp route-running puts him in position to make big plays. Not the burner you get with Ra’Shaad Samples, but the kind of big guy needed on the outside.

Texas doesn’t have many like him on the roster. Cayleb Jones is similar in skill set and got more playing time against Oklahoma State than he has all season, and John Harris rarely sees the field.

Oliver will not be able to enroll early at Texas -- that just wasn’t a possibility with his high school -- but I don’t think that’ll hurt him much. With four freshman receivers in the fold, he would’ve had a difficult time getting many reps next spring anyway. – Max Olson

2. Hughes shuts down future teammate
The task for Texas linebacker commitment Naashon Hughes (Harker Heights, Texas/Harker Heights) on Friday was simple to explain, but much more difficult to complete.

His job was to shift to whatever side of the line fellow Longhorns commitment Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas/Belton) lined up on, and make it as difficult as possible on him to factor into the passing game.

Given that Smythe was thrown to on only two occasions and failed to catch either throw, I think it’s safe to say Hughes completed the task.

He and Smythe were understandably cordial with each other when the play went away from their side, but they got after it when they needed to. Hughes’ biggest play came when he dropped back into coverage on Belton’s last offensive play -- a fourth-and-goal from the 18 with around a minute left -- and batted the ball away from Smythe in the back of the end zone.

Hughes also had a handful of tackles while showing the ability to play from sideline to sideline like a quality outside linebacker is supposed to be able to. He also lined up at tight end in the second half and did an admirable job of sealing off the edge. – William Wilkerson

3. Smythe underutilized
The Longhorns recruited four-star tight end Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas/Belton) largely because of his pass-catching abilities. At 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Smythe has the size and above-average speed to be a consistent mismatch for linebackers.

But those abilities weren’t put to use on Friday against Harker Heights (Texas) in a game Belton lost 7-0. Smythe, the No. 7 tight end in the country, was targeted only two times and didn’t have much of a chance on either attempt.

His first attempt didn’t come until there was 5:20 left in the game. He beat his man to the corner of the end zone but the ball was underthrown and intercepted at the goal line.

The last time he was targeted came on Belton’s final offensive play, when it faced a fourth-and-goal from the 18 with about a minute left. Smythe positioned himself in the back of the end zone but had no chance of catching the ball as it was batted down by Texas linebacker commitment Naashon Hughes.

Smythe was visibly upset after the play and questioned a referee as to why there wasn’t a holding penalty called. It looked to me like a flag should have been thrown.

Regardless, Belton might not have been in that position if it would have targeted Smythe sooner and more regularly than it did. - William Wilkerson

4. Samples makes an impression
As Ra'Shaad Samples ran off the field Friday night, the limp in his dash was as unmistakable as the grin on his face.

No, Samples might not be 100 percent healthy right now. But you couldn’t tell when the Oklahoma State receiver commit took the field.


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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’ll release this every Thursday.

Talk about it in our forum and, if there’s a recruit out there you’d like to hear more from, let us know.

A few things discussed in this week’s edition:

  • Four-star target warming up to offense?
  • In depth analysis on 2014 OT’s Texas visit

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Jake Raulerson and Durham Smythe had it easy. Or it least that’s how it looked.

Texas offered early. Both committed early. Their recruitment ended, and they haven’t looked back.

But reaching that decision came with its costs.

They are both in-state recruits who don’t live far from Austin, but both recruits’ families learned that playing the recruiting game isn’t cheap.

Raulerson, for example, is a Longhorns die-hard. But the kid still did his research.
[+] EnlargeJake Raulerson
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comJake Raulerson visited five other states for unofficial visits before committing to Texas.

He and his father, Jay, hit the road last summer. In addition to Texas, they visited Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Auburn, Alabama, Ole Miss, Florida, Texas A&M, TCU and Baylor.

And they would’ve hit Florida State and LSU had Jake not gotten tired of taking unofficial visits.

Jay Raulerson added it all up. He and his son racked up more than 5,200 miles -- all in the name of finding Jake’s perfect college destination.

When the fall came, the Celina (Texas) High School lineman attended at least three Texas games, two Oklahoma games, Alabama-Florida and Auburn-LSU.

“We went to a lot of football games. And it was all on my nickel,” Jay Raulerson said. “I mean, it’s not really fun to go on a visit unless it’s football season.”

Smythe’s experience wasn’t quite that extravagant. He was lightly recruited as a sophomore. Few schools were filling his pockets with free passes to games during his junior season.

When word finally got out about the tight end from Belton, Texas, more than a dozen offers all seemed to come at once. Smythe and his father sat down and sorted out their options. Taking a handful of visits wasn’t one of them.

“We’re a family that could afford to take them a number of places, but I’ve got a job and Durham has school,” Roy Smythe said. “Taking six or seven trips out of state would’ve been technically impossible and not feasible.”

They agreed two out-of-state schools demanded unofficial visits: Stanford and Notre Dame. But the Irish didn’t offer until a few days before Smythe chose Texas. Too late.

In the days leading up to their Palo Alto trip, Durham had second thoughts. He went back and forth about whether he even wanted to go.

Dad waited to book the trip until Durham made up his mind. When he finally did, the plane ticket prices were exorbitant. They spent two and a half days in California. Roy Smythe paid for all the expenses.

(Read full post)

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