NCF On The Trail: Jake Raulerson

When Texas brought in Stacy Searels after the 2010 season to overhaul its offensive line, it did so with an ideal in mind.

Searels had been coaching SEC offensive lines -- first at LSU, then Georgia -- since 2003. The assumption, fair or not, was that he’d whip the Longhorns line into shape and up to the standards of college football’s most dominant conference.

[+] EnlargeStacy Searles
John Rivera/Icon SMIOne-third of Texas' class consists of offensive linemen recruited by coach Stacy Searels.
Principles are important. Personnel matters more.

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ESPN 150 DT decommits from Texas 

February, 3, 2013
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Texas' 2013 recruiting class had already suffered four decommitments. Just four days before signing day, the Longhorns suffered another one that was more stunning than the rest.


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DT A'Shawn Robinson talks Texas visit 

January, 27, 2013
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After taking official visits to three other schools, A’Shawn Robinson gave Texas one final visit this weekend to ensure he was making the right decision.

The ESPN 150 has been committed to Texas since February. He’s been on campus for junior day, camp and multiple home games. How did this trip stack up?


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Signing day primer: Texas

January, 23, 2013
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Team needs: Texas hit the recruiting trail this year seeking improved depth on the offensive line and at linebacker. Its line got almost no production from backups in 2012, and an inexperienced linebacker group started six players last season and endured struggles throughout. With only nine seniors in 2012, the Longhorns don’t have many other holes that need to be filled by this class of recruits. The most irreplaceable cogs are safety Kenny Vaccaro and defensive end Alex Okafor. Both are potential first-round NFL draft picks whose production will be tough to match.

Help is on the way: The offensive line questions have been answered. Texas is set to sign one of the nation’s best classes up front with five commits, including No. 1 center Darius James (Killeen, Texas/Harker Heights) and No. 4 tackle Kent Perkins (Dallas/Lake Highlands). Contra Costa (Calif.) College tackle Desmond Harrison joined the class this week. Texas also landed ESPN 300 outside linebacker Deoundrei Davis (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Woods), who enrolled early and should contribute as a freshman.

Other key commits: Two more early enrollees, ESPN 150 lineman Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) and Butte (Calif.) College tight end Geoff Swaim, should play right away. Texas also has pledges from ESPN 150 defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights), receiver Jacorey Warrick (Houston/Cypress Falls) and cornerback Antwuan Davis (Bastrop, Texas/Bastrop). The Longhorns will pair Warrick with Jake Oliver (Dallas/Jesuit), who broke the Texas state record for career receptions.

Other key targets: Holding on to Robinson is crucial. He has taken official visits to USC and Alabama and could make a late-second flip on signing day. With a pledge from Harrison, the biggest remaining priorities are finding another running back and wide receiver. ESPN 150 receiver Sebastian LaRue (Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica) and Ole Miss running back commit Peyton Barber (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) could visit in January.

Texas adds juco OT Desmond Harrison

January, 21, 2013
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Texas kicked off on Monday what could be a fruitful final few weeks of 2013 recruiting by picking up its first verbal commit since October.

The Longhorns have landed pledge No. 14 from Contra Costa (Calif.) College offensive lineman Desmond Harrison.

The three-star prospect chose Texas over Arizona State, USC, Oklahoma and offers from more than 20 schools.

“This feels real good,” Harrison said. “I feel like I just made the best decision. It was a tight decision. It really boiled down to Arizona State and Texas, and they really made it difficult. It just felt like Texas was the best for me.”

Harrison had been leaning toward choosing Texas for a while, but the final decision was tougher than he’d expected.

“It was a last-minute decision,” he said. “Everything came down to the end. I was still thinking about it today."

A 6-foot-8, 310-pound lineman who is being recruited to play left tackle, Harrison took an official visit to Texas on Dec. 7 and is the program’s second junior college pledge, joining Butte (Calif.) College tight end signee Geoff Swaim.

(Read full post)

Texas visit an eye-opener for OL Hammad 

January, 21, 2013
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Back when Texas first reached out to Rami Hammad, his high school coach offered some simple advice: If they offer, you better take a visit.

By Sunday, the Irving, Texas, offensive lineman certainly understood why Aaron De La Torre said that. The visit left such a strong impression that the three-star recruit decided it was time to decommit from Baylor.


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SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday was a day off for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl teams. Instead of working out and participating in drills, the players took in visits around the city -- including a stop at the Alamodome for photo opportunities and to see their game apparel -- and used the day to recover from two days of practice.

The teams will return to the fields on Thursday in arguably the most important practice of the week. Here are five things to keep an eye on for Thursday’s practice:

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SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN 150 outside linebacker Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) isn’t big on speaking publicly. He’d rather let his game do the talking -- and it speaks volumes.

On Monday, the 6-foot-5, 222-pound linebacker officially confirmed that he will announce his college plans during Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Oregon, Texas A&M and Ohio State are his three finalists.


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Wide receiver Jacorey Warrick made the biggest jump of any Longhorns commitment in the ESPN 150, which was updated today. Warrick, who has been out since tearing the meniscus in his right knee on Oct. 4, moved up from No. 114 to No. 59. He is now the No. 8 wide receiver.

Darius James remains the Longhorns’ top-ranked player at No. 17 overall, which also makes him the No. 1 center. Jake Raulerson dropped a spot to No. 56 and remains the No. 3 offensive tackle.

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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: Carrollton Ranchview vs. Celina
Max’s game: Sulphur Springs vs. Mount Pleasant

1. Raulerson rounding into shape

[+] EnlargeJake Raulerson
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comJake Raulerson has gained 30 pounds this season and now weighs 265.
It’s hard to get up emotionally and sustain passion for a game that got out of hand in the first quarter, as Celina’s 52-11 victory over Carrollton Ranchview did on Thursday. But Longhorns commitment Jake Raulerson, not surprisingly, had little issue.

He was all over the place from his offensive tackle and nose guard positions during the first half. The game was so out of hand that he didn’t play much in the second half.

In the time that he did play, though, he made an impact. There was one play in particular that really stood out when he was cut blocked at the line of scrimmage, got up and chased Ranchview’s quarterback down for a sack.

It’s not surprising for Raulerson to be able to chase someone down like that. He has always had the speed. But he did so on Friday at 265 pounds, up from the 235 he played at last season. Raulerson has been able to put on that weight after successful deviated septum surgery over the summer. He wasn’t able to sleep soundly before the surgery but is able to now. – William Wilkerson

2. No stopping Cannon

All ESPN Watch List receiver K.D. Cannon has done this year is put up big numbers week after week. Friday was nothing new. Cannon racked up 14 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns in Mount Pleasant’s 71-65 loss to Sulphur Springs. He certainly lived up to the hype on this night.

He doesn’t have the biggest frame -- 6-foot-1, 165 pounds -- but Cannon does play big. He hauled in a fade in the back of the end zone to end the second quarter and took a catch off a post route 66 yards for another one of his scores. He caught slants, jump balls, long balls, anything and everything.

Sulphur Springs kept trying to double cover him. Didn’t matter. He now has 55 catches for 879 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.

Texas and Oklahoma remain the favorites to land the 2014 receiver’s pledge, and he said Michigan has also been showing strong interest recently. Cannon was at the Texas-Oklahoma game on Saturday and has attended three UT games this season. That’s definitely a good thing for the Longhorns. – Max Olson

3. 2015 QB Elliott one to watch

I’ve written about Celina sophomore quarterback Nathan Elliott before, but he exceeded my expectations in seeing him for the first time in person on Thursday.

Elliott (6-2, 180 pounds) completed 13 of 17 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, and he also had a 1-yard touchdown run in two quarters. The left-hander did so on a gimpy right ankle.

On the season, Elliott has completed 95 of 152 passes for 1,086 yards, 11 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He also has rushed 37 times for 264 yards and six scores.

Elliott is already on Texas’ radar having camped there over the summer. He’s really high on the Longhorns and will surely get back there sometime soon. – William Wilkerson

4. Ivery showing versatility


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AUSTIN, Texas -- It appears the Longhorns are finally coming around to ESPN 150 wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (Prosper, Texas/Prosper).

The son of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, who dazzled at The Opening in July, said that he and the Texas coaches have been in contact this month. It’s the first time the two sides have talked since May.

[+] EnlargeTorii Hunter
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comTorii Hunter Jr. is rated as the nation's No. 8 receiver.
“Well they contacted my coach at the beginning of this month and my coach told me to give Coach [Darrell] Wyatt a call," Hunter Jr. said. "When I finally got a hold of Coach Wyatt he really just told me to attend their first game against Wyoming.”

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Longhorns shine at The Opening 

July, 9, 2012
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The Opening has come to a conclusion, and Texas fans learned a couple of things.

First, Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) is pretty versatile. Second, and perhaps the bigger story, A’Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights) is a lot better than advertised.

While Raulerson showed his worth among the best as an offensive lineman, even he had to yield to the play of Robinson, particularly during the lineman drills on Sunday. Raulerson watched Robinson shred through offensive linemen and said Robinson is highly underrated on a national level.

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When tight end Christian Morgan (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) announced his commitment Tuesday to Florida State, few were happier for him than good friend and Texas-bound 2013 commitment Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina).

Raulerson, an ESPN 150 offensive lineman, has known Morgan since the two were attending camps in the eighth grade. The two were seen posing for pictures after Morgan’s announcement -- Morgan in his Florida State ball cap and Raulerson in his Longhorns cap.

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Four-star offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) has informed HornsNation that he has decommitted from Michigan State, opening up the possibility of a commitment to Texas.

Benenoch called his Michigan State recruiter on Tuesday night and delivered the bad news that many expected following Benenoch’s visit to Texas on Sunday.

“It was real difficult,” Benenoch said. “One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do was make that call. The coaches on the staff are great people.

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DT Robinson commits to Horns 

February, 16, 2012
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Texas picked up commit No. 3 on Thursday morning, and it wasn't one most were expecting. Lineman A'Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights) confirmed in a text message to HornsNation he has committed to Texas.

"He committed this morning and called coach Mack Brown," Robinson's mother, Abigail, told HornsNation. "We talked about it last night. I didn't know if he was going to do it today."

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