Texas Longhorns: HN-JuniorDay1

Texas' offense growing on Dontre Wilson 

February, 12, 2012
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Dontre Wilson is 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds. No matter where you plug him into an offense, he’ll provide explosive plays when he’s got the ball.

And that was the No. 1 question Wilson needed answered when he sat down with Texas coaches on Sunday: What are you going to do with me?

With a running back committee of Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Johnathan Gray already locked up for years to come, Texas is looking for a versatile change-up back for the future.

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The Longhorns have long been one of Darius James top schools, and they did nothing but improve their stock after the versatile lineman from Harker Heights, Texas, attended his first junior day on Sunday.

“It went real good. I saw a lot of people and saw a lot of things I like,” he said. “I didn’t see anything I didn’t like. It was really fun.”

James was one of the first players to get offered by Mack Brown after the recruits had breakfast. Texas joined an offer sheet that already included Baylor, Texas A&M, and Tulsa.

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One expected visitor who didn’t show up on Sunday was Vincent Taylor (San Antonio/Madison), but that wasn’t the defensive lineman’s fault.

Taylor and his father were driving home Saturday night from a trip to Texas Tech when a tire blew on Interstate 10 near Kerrville.

“We didn’t get home until two in the morning, so I wasn’t able to make it to Texas,” Taylor said. “I was upset knowing I had my mind set on going to Texas for their junior day to meet all the coaching staff.”

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Jake Raulerson is tired.

Thunderous yawns were a theme of the conversation as he drove back to Celina Sunday night from Texas’ junior day.

But this is what he signed up for, to be the “bell cow” of Texas’ 2013 recruiting class and help sell the Longhorns to other prospects after becoming the first commitment on Feb. 3.

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The Longhorns didn’t waste any time letting Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas/Belton) know how they felt about him by offering him a scholarship on Sunday. But the 6-foot-6, 230-pounder is not in a rush to make a decision.

However, he did come away thoroughly impressed with his trip down to Austin.

“Overall I was really impressed. Coming in to today academics and athletics, the combination, was going to play a big part in my decision. I knew that Texas was top of the line,” he said. “What really caught my attention, and something that I didn’t expect, was the family-like atmosphere and how close the coaches and players seem to each other. It was really comfortable. That really stood out to me.”

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Before the week began, Kyle Hicks (Arlington, Texas/Martin) wasn’t too sure where he stood with Texas and if he was even on the Longhorns’ radar.

By Sunday, after a visit to Texas’ first junior day, he left Austin with a scholarship offer and a whole lot of burnt orange on his mind.

“The campus is really great, the coaches were very nice to me,” Hicks said. “It was just a great visit.”

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Things are moving in a very positive direction between Texas and receiver Ra'Shaad Samples (Dallas/Skyline).

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound receiver was one of two receivers to attend Texas’ first junior day. And like Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit), he headed back to the Metroplex with a scholarship offer.

“I liked it a lot. Everything was nice,” Samples said. “I like the way Coach [Darrell] Wyatt told me they were going to use me and plan on opening things up a little bit. It was probably one of my favorite [visits] so far.”

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It appears as though the Longhorns are going to take their time recruiting the linebacker position for 2013.

Having just signed four in the 2012 class, Texas only had one linebacker attend its first junior day on Sunday in Naashon Hughes (Harker Heights, Texas/Harker Heights). He was not offered.

“[Manny Diaz] and I talked about offers and all of that,” Hughes said. “Right now they haven’t offered anyone at my position and that I was probably their No. 1 guy if they did take anybody.”

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Manning, Swoopes talk junior day visit 

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
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Dallas Kimball defensive tackle Justin Manning said the junior day was "pretty good." He did get an offer and called the honor "a blessing," but he never thought about committing. He said he spent a lot of time touring the campus and talking with Ra'Shaad Samples about their high school seasons.

Manning sat down with Mack Brown for 10 minutes and the coach told him he's a high priority among their defensive line targets.

"They said I'm their No. 1 guy. That feels good," he said.

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Join the junior day discussion 

February, 12, 2012
2/12/12
1:39
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Texas' first junior day of the year is underway. Insiders can join our live discussion in the Light The Tower forum.

Here's the open thread.

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Class of 2013 tight end Durham Smythe (Belton, Texas/Belton) is expected to be the only true tight end in Austin for Texas’ first junior day on Sunday, which speaks volumes about the Longhorns’ interest in him.

It appears that the interest is mutual.

“I’m really excited, first off, to meet all the coaches obviously and to see the facilities a little bit,” said Smythe, who is 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds. “My decision is not going to be based on just athletics but also the academic side of the school, so I’m excited to see the academic facilities as well.”

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More from 2013 QB Tyrone Swoopes 

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
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We talked to Tyrone Swoopes for today’s big junior day preview -- find that here if you haven’t read it yet -- but here’s a few more nuggets from my chat with him earlier this week:

• Make no mistake, Swoopes is Jake Raulerson’s No. 1 target for this 2013 recruiting class. Swoopes said he’s already received several Facebook messages from the Texas commit.

“I’m sure he’ll be down there this weekend trying to talk me into going,” Swoopes said.

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Taylor hitting junior days, likes LSU 

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
3:00
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Even though Texas’ campus is less than 70 miles from his high school, Vincent Taylor (San Antonio/Madison) couldn’t help but feel at home during his junior day at LSU.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive lineman grew up in New Orleans. He moved to San Antonio in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

“Growing up as a kid there in New Orleans, I always rooted for LSU in all the bowl games they went to,” he said. “It was good to go back for their junior day.”

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James White keeping options open 

February, 10, 2012
2/10/12
12:30
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After Sunday, we should have a much better sense of where Texas is going with its plans for the 2013 running backs.

Dontre Wilson (DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto) and athlete Kyle Hicks (Arlington, Texas/Martin) have both confirmed they’ll attend this weekend’s junior day. So will James White.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound back from Pearland Dawson said he has an open-door policy when it comes to his recruiting process these days.

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