Texas Longhorns: Hassan Ridgeway

Texas position groups to improve: No. 4

February, 11, 2014
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Texas is getting off to a later-than-usual start to its spring practices this year, with Charlie Strong set to lead the Longhorns onto the practice field for the first time on March 18.

Until then, we’re counting down everything you need to know entering next season and the next era of Texas football. This week, we’re breaking down the five position groups with the most room to improve in 2014. We broke down the UT tight ends on Monday. Here’s No. 4 on the list:

[+] EnlargeMalcom Brown
John Albright/Icon SMIMalcom Brown is arguably the Big 12's best returning defensive tackle, but depth behind him is a concern for the Longhorns.
4. Defensive Tackles

The players: Malcom Brown, Desmond Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway, Alex Norman, Paul Boyette Jr., Poona Ford, Chris Nelson

Last year: As expected, Brown emerged as one of the best young defensive tackles in the Big 12, recording 68 tackles and finishing third on the team in TFLs (12), pass breakups (five) and QB pressures (six). Jackson recorded 39 tackles, five TFLs and two sacks. Ridgeway recorded 13 tackles and five QB pressures in his redshirt freshman year. Norman and Boyette Jr. combined for three tackles in limited action.

What’s missing: Chris Whaley was the leader of this group and enjoying a breakthrough senior season before suffering a torn ACL. When he went down, the Longhorns’ lack of depth up the middle was exposed, to the point that former DC Greg Robinson relied on lines with three defensive ends playing at once at times.

Texas knows what it has in Brown and “Tank” Jackson, but there was no experienced talent waiting behind them. Add in the fact Texas signed zero defensive tackles in last year’s class and you have to be somewhat concerned about this group entering 2014.

Moving forward: Brown, a former top 15 recruit, played up to his immense potential and can become an All-Big 12 caliber talent in 2014. He’ll anchor this group, while Jackson brings senior leadership but has room to improve. They need help. Ridgeway needs to emerge as a trusted rotational guy.

Norman and Boyette Jr. are entering year three in the program and have been disappointing. It’s time to step up or step aside, because Texas coaches love what they’re getting in Ford, an ESPN 300 signee who could play right away. Where Nelson fits into this group could depend on whether some backups transfer, but he’s bringing lots of confidence to Austin. These freshmen know they can get on the field early if the backups don’t rise up.

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


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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. 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. 85 Ashton Dorsey
Senior 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. 81 Hassan Ridgeway
Redshirt freshman defensive tackle



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Five Texas redshirt freshmen to watch 

February, 21, 2013
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No member of Texas’ 28-man recruiting class in 2012 expected anything less than early playing time when he joined the program, especially after the Longhorns had seemingly thrown every freshman they had on the field the previous season.

You already know plenty about Johnathan Gray, Malcom Brown, Daje Johnson and Texas' other high-impact freshmen. But what about the ones who sat out last season?

For 12 of those 28 signees, getting onto the field in year one just wasn’t in the cards. After spending the fall on the practice field, in the weight room and home in their dorms for road games, those dozen recruits are ready to start making a name for themselves.

It all starts with a breakthrough spring. Last year, tight end M.J. McFarland was really the only redshirt freshman who saw meaningful playing time for the Longhorns. What does 2013 have in store for this year’s crop of second-year freshmen?


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

This week’s question: Which position is Texas’ biggest need for its 2014 class?

William Wilkerson: This comes down to a few positions for me.


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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)

The Longhorns don’t have a true defensive end commitment in 2013, but they might be able to do without one.

Jackson Jeffcoat could return for his senior season after tearing his right pectoral muscle against Oklahoma. Even if he doesn’t come back, Texas still has Reggie Wilson, Cedric Reed, Shiro Davis, Hassan Ridgeway and Bryce Cottrell returning.

Then there’s the plethora of defensive ends in 2014, including commitment Derick Roberson, which the Longhorns have to think about.


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AUSTIN, Texas -- Head coach Mack Brown and the rest of the Longhorns coaching staff will continue to evaluate their freshmen class as they try to determine which players to redshirt as the season wears on.

Texas has played 14 freshmen through three games.

“That will probably continue to occur until the seventh week of the season,” Brown said. “You won’t travel with all of them but you still look at them.”

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AUSTIN, Texas -- A dozen practices into the preseason and Texas coach Mack Brown is no closer to knowing who his quarterback will be against Wyoming.

“I’ve got the same questions you do,” Brown said.

None of which were even answered in the scrimmage Monday night. Brown had thought perhaps either David Ash or Case McCoy would pull away in the competition. But, if anything, the margin between them has narrowed.

“We’re having more of a consensus that both could play right now and win the game for us,” Brown said.

By “we” Brown means the whole coaching staff. Brown has everyone involved in this decision. And if they can’t seem to make a decision, Texas does not appear averse to going into Wyoming (Sept. 1) with a game plan that utilizes two quarterbacks. In fact, right now Texas doesn’t seem too averse to going into the Kansas State game (Dec. 1) with a game plan that features two quarterbacks.

[+] EnlargeMalcolm Brown
Ray Carlin/Icon SMIHead coach Mack Brown said sophomore tailback Malcolm Brown has improved his vision and toughness.
“Both give us the chance to win if they protect the ball,” Brown said.

They did just that in Monday’s scrimmage. There was one turnover but it came on a ball that hit the tight end’s hands and bounced to a defensive back.

“Both [quarterbacks] have improved so much from the spring,” Brown said.

Ash and McCoy have improved in their respective game-management styles as well as their decision-making. Co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has also applauded their increased accuracy.

“You can see it in one-on-ones,” Harsin said. “The decision-making is there. What I look for is -- there’s still mistakes and everything, but they can come back now and explain it, or coach themselves up right away. We’ll come back right away and repeat the play and correct it.”

Aside from the play of the quarterbacks all eyes were on the running backs. Freshman Johnathan Gray had most of the carries. The staff wanted to see how he reacted against the defense.

His reviews were not overwhelming but the ones for running back Malcolm Brown were. Brown said he was clearly the best runner on the field. His vision and toughness have both improved, the coach said.

Both Gray and Brown were featured in the “wild” package. Neither had success on the two snaps allotted. Brown was dropped for a two-yard loss. Gray’s play was halted before it started do to mistakes.

Along the line, Texas is moving Luke Poehlmann up to more of a prominent role at tackle. The senior is a couple of years removed from a knee injury now and Brown feels as if he is ready to be the first sub in along the line.

Poehlmann was in for Josh Cochran on Monday. The starting right tackle was rolled up on and suffered a leg injury. It’s nothing that would prohibit him from playing against Wyoming, Brown said.

Texas was also missing linebacker Demarco Cobbs, tight end Miles Onyegbule, defensive tackle Ashton Dorsey, defensive end Alex Norman, defensive end Hassan Ridgeway, kicker Anthony Fera and held out wide receiver Marquise Goodwin.
Norman and Ridgeway, both freshmen, have lingering muscle pull injuries. They could be very serious redshirt candidates because the injuries have limited their practice time.

If Fera is unable to go by Wyoming, Texas would go with either true freshman Nick Jordan or redshirt freshman Ben Pruitt at kicker.

Cobbs, Cochran and Dorsey are not expected to be out long. Goodwin and Onyegbule were only held out for precautionary reasons.

Quarterback Connor Brewer has a mild ankle issue but has remained in practice.
Class of 2013 defensive end Torrodney Prevot (Houston/Alief Taylor) woke up Thursday morning with three offers. By mid afternoon he’d doubled that.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Prevot received an offer from Baylor early in the morning and added offers from Oklahoma and Texas after that.

“It was a crazy day for me,” said Prevot, who already had offers from LSU, Texas A&M and Utah.

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Signing day update: Hassan Ridgeway

February, 1, 2012
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Defensive end Hassan Ridgeway (Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield) has sent in his letter of intent to Texas.

Ridgeway (6-foot-4, 248 pounds) is a four-star recruit rated as the No. 20 defensive end in the nation and the 33rd-best prospect in the state by ESPNU.

The U.S. Army All-American has been committed to the Longhorns since Feb. 16, 2011, and chose Texas over offers from Texas A&M and TCU.

Ridgeway is one of two defensive ends in UT’s 2012 recruiting class along with Caleb Bluiett (Beaumont, Texas/West Brook). As a senior at Mansfield, Ridgeway recorded 57 tackles and collected 7.5 sacks.

Scouts take: Ridgeway is a kid that gives flashes of being a disruptive and productive defender. He has good size and on film looks like a well put together kid with a frame that could support more good size as he continues to physically develop. He flashes the ability to explode off the ball, but does need to work to be more consistent. He can give flashes of being tough to handle when taking on blockers. Ridgeway can be an active kid that can cause some problems.

Importance to class: Texas appears to be in fairly good shape with its defensive ends, particularly thanks to the rise of Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat in 2011. Clearly Texas wanted to sign three ends for this class, though -- as evidenced by Longhorns coaches’ last-second pursuit of Bryce Cottrell -- and Ridgeway and Bluiett are important to building depth behind those star veterans.

How soon he can make an impact? The knock on Ridgeway’s game is his consistency, so perhaps he’d be a candidate to redshirt since UT coaches likely won’t need to throw him onto the field this fall.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Four-star defensive end Hassan Ridgeway (Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield) is "100 percent with Texas" despite taking an official visit to Texas A&M this weekend.

Ridgeway, a U.S. Army All-American, relayed that message to HornsNation on Sunday as he returned home from his visit to College Station.

What prompted the impromptu visit?

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