NCF On The Trail: Kevin Shorter

Video: Horns recruits bouncing back

February, 7, 2014
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Max Olson talks with Texas Longhorns signee Kevin Shorter. The Newton, Texas running back suffered a spinal cord injury during his senior season, but is on the path to complete recovery.

Commitment that works both ways

February, 7, 2014
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Kevin Shorter donned a burnt orange Texas hat and black T-shirt, gathered his big family in the Newton High School library and enjoyed a day he'll never forget.

For Cedric Collins, it was a stylish look as always. A large, checkered bow tie and white dress shirt topped with a navy collar sweater and a white Texas A&M ball cap. Anyone who's spent time with the cornerback from Dallas' Skyline High School will tell you he dresses to the nines, as he did to celebrate signing day.

The two high school seniors are going different places, yet what they've signed up for appears all too similar.

The letters of intent that Shorter and Collins signed and faxed on Wednesday typically signify a binding promise for a future. For these two recruits, there can be no guarantee.

They've never met, but they now have plenty in common. Shorter and Collins, once coveted and touted recruits, have both been told that due to spinal cord conditions, they'll never play football again.

This is the story of how the game they love was taken away from them, though the better tale might be what comes next.

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Early Offer: Targeting top Texans 

November, 13, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Wednesday's offerings: Some of the best football in the country is played in East Texas, so it’s no surprise to see two of the area’s top uncommitted prospects have become hot targets with recruiters; RecruitingNation played 20 questions with five-star linebacker Raekwon McMillan on Tuesday, and it might surprise you to find out where he said he enjoyed visiting the most; and will four-star offensive tackle Frank Ragnow stay in the Midwest?

East Texas stars become hot targets
Longview High four-star defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson and three-star athlete Kevin Shorter of Newton are two of the best players in East Texas and are emerging as two of the top remaining prospects on the board in the Lone Star State. Henderson, who is the No. 36 defensive tackle, has already visited Texas Tech officially, and he tweeted Monday that his top three schools are Texas, Baylor and Tech and then said he had no order. Shorter, a longtime Texas commit, also took to Twitter and said he would be taking official visits despite his pledge to the Longhorns. Shorter, the No. 54 athlete, said he was going to visit UCLA, Arkansas, Texas A&M, UT and FSU. While he does remain pledged to the Horns, insiders believe Arkansas is a major threat in his recruitment.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The Red River Rivalry always has recruiting implications, and this year’s game is no exception; Texas’ loss could end up being Arkansas’ gain; and one of the nation’s best offensive tackles will take trips to Florida and Florida State.


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When the Red River Rivalry is played, records are thrown out the window. When the game’s over, some love looking into the future to play “what if” with the next batch of talented college players.

While both teams have some room to land uncommitted recruits, both are pretty happy with where they are currently. Texas has 24 commits, and Oklahoma has 14, and when comparing ESPN 300 athletes, Texas only has a 7-5 lead.

Which team has the Red River Rivalry recruiting edge this year? Here’s a breakdown of eight positions and which team holds the edge for now.

Quarterback

Perhaps the most competitive comparison between the schools is at quarterback. ESPN 300s Justice Hansen (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe) and Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) are the nation’s No. 4 and No. 5 dual-threat quarterbacks. Hansen is the Sooners’ top-ranked commit and has proven himself a first-class leader of the class. Heard already has one state championship ring, and he’s hoping for a repeat performance in December before arriving at the Forty Acres.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Dallis Todd
Erik McKinney/ESPNOklahoma will get 6-foot-5 playmaker Daliis Todd in its 2014 class.
Running back

There are high expectations for both ESPN 300 Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) and Donald "Duke" Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower). Perine is a physical specimen with the combination of power and finesse at 6-foot and 213 pounds. Catalon, at 5-10 and 193 pounds, has the agility and overall balance to make him a potential every-down back. Texas also has three-star Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton), a player who plays with a chip on his shoulder, looking to show that he should be mentioned with the elite talent.

Advantage: Texas

Wide receiver

Neither Texas nor Oklahoma will be complaining about their receiver crop. The Longhorns have an ESPN 300 player in Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City), a rising star in Emanuel Porter (Dallas/Lincoln) and a player in Garrett Gray (Marble Falls, Texas/Marble Falls) who caught 13 passes for 293 yards and five touchdowns in a game last year. Oklahoma has size and athleticism in 6-5, 210-pound ESPN 300 receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and a 6-7, 180-pound end zone threat in Jeffery Mead (Tulsa, Okla/Union)

Advantage: Texas

Tight end

Oklahoma has done well with recruiting tight ends and was able to land ESPN 300 players Carson Meier (Tulsa, Okla./Union) and Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain). Meier is the No. 5 Y-tight end in the country, while Andrews is the No. 8 H-tight end. Texas also has a good one in junior college pledge John Thomas (Bossier City, La./Trinity Valley Community College). At 6-6 and 255 pounds, Thomas can be used as both a reliable blocker and receiver.

Advantage: Oklahoma

Offensive line

It’s hard to believe that between the two schools, only three offensive linemen are committed.

Sooners commit Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy) is considered one of the nation’s top centers, and guard Jonathan Alvarez (Mesquite, Texas/Horn), with his work ethic alone, will surprise a lot of people in a couple of years. Texas, like Oklahoma, has a four-star center committed in Terrell Cuney (Jasper, Texas/Jasper). Cuney is a player who might see immediate playing time as a freshman.

Advantage: Texas

Defensive line


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Best Big 12 classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
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There is still plenty of work for every Big 12 program to do before the completion of the 2014 recruiting cycle. But one can begin to at least paint an outline for how each class is going to look come February.

Here is a look at which Big 12 teams have the best 2014 recruiting class at each position.

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Here is a look at how each one of Texas’ 2014 commitments faired this week:

Derick Roberson
Max Olson/ESPNDefensive end Derick Roberson helped Brennan shut out San Antonio Holmes 52-0 on Friday.
• ESPN 300 defensive end Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/Brennan), the No. 8 DE in the country, helped Brennan shut out San Antonio Holmes 52-0 on Friday.

• ESPN 300 wide receiver Armanti Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) caught three passes for 62 yards and a 44-yard touchdown in a 48-0 win over Dickinson.

• ESPN 300 quarterback Jerrod Heard (Denton, Texas/Guyer) completed 12 of 18 passes for 179 yards and two interceptions and rushed 18 times for 103 yards in a 38-28 loss to Cedar Hill (Texas).

• ESPN 300 cornerback Jermaine Roberts (New Orleans/Saint Augustine) helped the Purple Knights defense hold Amite to six points in a 35-6 victory on Saturday.

• ESPN 300 outside linebacker Otaro Alaka and Houston/Cypress Falls lost to Conroe (Texas) Oak Ridge, 37-16.


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When Splendora (Texas) High School running back Jay Bradford displayed his elite speed for Texas A&M coaches at a June camp, the Aggies' staff knew he was something special.

And after already landing one ESPN Junior 300 running back, the Aggies added another when Bradford committed to Texas A&M on Wednesday night.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound back became the third commitment in Texas A&M's 2015 class, giving his pledge to Kevin Sumlin. Splendora track coach and assistant football coach Randy Pope confirmed the news to GigEmNation via text message.

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Weekend wrap: Big 12 

August, 19, 2013
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Big 12Even with recruits entrenched in two-a-day practices in advance of the coming season, many still are keeping their recruitment a priority. That includes two players who decided to get their commitments out of the way before the season.

Here’s a look at the players who headline the Big 12's weekend wrap:


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Texas adds three-star ATH Shorter 

August, 17, 2013
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The options were plentiful for three-star athlete Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton). But in the end, he decided that his best bet was heading to the Forty Acres.

The 6-foot, 188-pound prospect from Southeast Texas announced on Saturday that he was staying in-state and gave his commitment to Texas. Shorter posted the news on his Twitter page on Saturday afternoon.

"I've made my mind up that ill be going to UT #HookEm," Shorter tweeted.

Newton head coach W.T. Johnston confirmed the commitment in a text message.

Shorter, the nation's 61st-ranked athlete, had 25 offers to choose from and had a final three of Arkansas, Texas and Texas A&M. He visited all three campuses within the last six weeks and originally planned to decide Aug. 3, but postponed his decision in order to take a couple more visits.

Some believed Arkansas might have the inside track on Shorter. His cousin, D.J. Dean, is a freshman cornerback at Arkansas and the two were high school teammates at Newton.

Texas didn't appear to be the favorite, especially after Shorter had a positive visits at both Arkansas and Texas A&M last month. But shortly after his trip to Aggieland, he made two visits to Texas in the span of a week. He visited the Longhorns for the Texas Stampede, then made return trips to Texas on Aug. 2, a visit that appeared to seal the deal.

Texas running backs coach Larry Porter, who led the recruitment of Shorter, was upfront with Shorter about the Longhorns plan for him and how they felt about the talented athlete.

The Longhorns got into the mix in the spring and Shorter got a chance to meet with the coaching staff several times when he was in Austin for the Texas state high school track and field championships.

Texas has two running backs in its 2014 class: ESPN 300 back Donald Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower) and Texas City (Texas) High School running back D'Onta Foreman.


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SEC recruiting storylines: Aug. 15 

August, 15, 2013
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The college football season is quickly approaching, but there is still a lot of recruiting action happening around the SEC. Here is a closer look at some of the hot topics throughout the conference:

3-star ATH set to announce on Saturday


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Big 12 recruiting mailbag

August, 9, 2013
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Time to open up the mailbag and answer some questions about recruiting in the Big 12.

From Judd Blevins on Twitter: Possibility of Oklahoma getting 2 more RBs in Joe Mixon and Nathan Starks are…?

William Wilkerson: Surprisingly decent. Not to say OU can’t pull two running backs of this caliber. It most certainly can. It’s just rare for two players as good as they are to end up in the same recruiting class, especially with ESPN 300 RB Samaje Perine (Pflugerville, Texas/Hendrickson) already on board with Bob Stoops’ program.

It’s long been thought that Mixon would stay on the west coast and play for either USC or UCLA, but that sentiment seems to have shifted and OU is a big reason why. He will officially visit the Sooners on Oct. 4.

As for Starks, it is no secret that he has long admired OU for its ability to recruit out-of-state backs but also make them into NFL talent. He currently has the Sooners in his top three along with Notre Dame and USC.

From James Robinson on Twitter: Are there any high school TEs Texas will pursue in the 2014 or 2015 classes?

WW: There are. Right now, Texas has offered ESPN 300 TE Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, CA/La Mirada) and is trying to get him on campus for a visit. The 6-foot-3, 243-pound TE is the top at his position in the country. So interest is high from everyone but he has expressed the desire to get to Austin at some point.

As for 2015, the Longhorns have offered ESPN Junior 300 TE Jordan Davis (Houston/Clear Lake). But it doesn’t look like that will lead to anything. Davis originally committed to Florida State but has since switched his verbal pledge to Texas A&M.

Texas has gone to the junior college ranks for the second year in a row to pick up a tight end. John Thomas (Trinity Valley CC), who was originally committed to LSU out of high school, gave his verbal pledge in June.

From Gold n Blue Nation on Twitter: Dravon Henry seems to be down to Penn St. and WVU with Pitt running third. What is your prediction?

WW: This could go any way at this point. I think he’ll eventually stay close to home and stick with Penn State. But that could change, especially given that the Nittany Lions already have commitments from two safeties and two cornerbacks in 2014. That’s definitely an angle that I would be selling to Henry if I were WVU’s staff, who only has one defensive back commitment in junior college cornerback Jaylon Myers. Pitt and Aliquippa have a long and prosperous history together so you can’t count out the Panthers. The key here could be where teammate Jaleel Fields lands. Pitt and WVU seem to be the front-runners for him.

From Jason Mitchum on Twitter: Do you see Peyton Newell staying in-state?

WW: I think he’ll end up with Bo Pelini. Mitchum visited the Cornhuskers on June 15 for Big Red Weekend, which really seemed to cement things in the minds of many. For what it’s worth, Kansas and Kansas State are amongst his finalists, which he will choose from at his school on Aug. 30.

From Jacob Ledo on Twitter: Update on Kevin Shorter?

WW: Things are getting really interesting here. It looked like Arkansas and Texas A&M were going to go head-to-head for his commitment, but Texas is squarely in the mix now. He’s visited the Longhorns twice within the last two weeks so there is obvious interest there. The fact that he has pushed his college decision back because he needs more time doesn’t bode well for the two original contenders. The Longhorns need another running back and are selling him on the idea of being that vertical threat out of the backfield. Larry Porter has done an incredible job with getting Texas in the mix.

Tales from the Road: Texas 

May, 22, 2013
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Every Wednesday, HornsNation will take a look at Texas' week in recruiting in Tales From The Road.

This week’s targets: As the spring evaluation period winds down, Texas coaches are hitting the road -- both in and outside the state -- to follow up with potential targets. No new offers have gone out so far this week, but the greater goal is to get all those targets on campus June 2 and 9 for Texas’ one-day mini camps. Expect several more offers to be handed out to 2014 and 2015 prospects after those camps.

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Every Wednesday, HornsNation will take a look at Texas' week in recruiting in Tales From The Road.

This week’s targets: The Longhorns had the luxury of having several prospects come to them over the weekend due to the UIL State Track and Field Meet in Austin. Some of the unofficial visitors included Baylor commitment Davion Hall (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty-Eylau), Alabama commitment Deionte Thompson (Orange, Texas/West Orange Stark), K.D. Cannon (Mount Pleasant, Texas/Mount Pleasant), Jay Bradford (Splendora, Texas/Splendora), Ishmael Zamora (Alief, Texas/Elsik), Koda Martin (Manvel, Texas/Manvel), Elton Dyer (Houston/South Houston), Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Roosevelt), Blake Blackmar (Houston/Clear Lake) and Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton).

Area of interest: The Longhorns are using Stacy Searels’ connections as the Georgia Bulldogs' former offensive line coach to make some headway in the Peach State. In 2014 alone, Texas has offered Georgian’s Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, GA./Norcross), Andrew Williams (McDonough, GA/Eagles Landing Christian Academy) Elisha Shaw (Tucker, GA/Tucker), Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, GA/Liberty County) Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, GA/Peachtree Ridge), Nick Chubb (Cedartown, GA/Cedartown), Adam Choice (Thomasville, GA/Thomas County Central High) and Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, GA/Sandy Creek).

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