NCF On The Trail: Manny Diaz

Big 12 recruiting mailbag

September, 13, 2013
This week’s Big 12 mailbag focuses on the recruiting futures of Oklahoma State, Texas and Iowa State. It also discusses what one touted offensive lineman is thinking. We encourage all to send questions each week, either via Twitter to @DamonSayles or @ESPNWilkerson or by email at or

From Steven Mandeville: Have you heard about any potential [Oklahoma State] decommits?

The five-part Sports Illustrated expose on Oklahoma State has been entertaining to read for some, eye-opening to read for others. In speaking with commits and targets, however, the allegations have yet to lead to a decommitment. I’m sure a couple of pledges have prematurely thought about the idea, but nothing would be finalized until -- or unless -- the football program is punished by the NCAA. If the allegations prove to be only that, look for the Cowboys to not only keep their commits but also land a couple of others.

From @dmart120: How many, if any, recruits will Texas lose because of the Manny Diaz firing?

I don’t think the Longhorns will lose any commits because of Diaz. What should definitely be watched, however, is how the Longhorns respond against Ole Miss on Saturday. Another bad night similar to the one against BYU could be a turn-off for defensive commitments and targets. A solid defensive performance will silence the critics and help recruiting. Not to put any pressure on new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, but from a recruiting perspective, this -- and not Red River Rivalry weekend -- might be the biggest game of the season for him.

From @taylormidkiff: It seems like most people think Edwin Freeman and Braden Smith are headed to TCU? What do you think?

I would agree totally on Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South). The ESPN 300 offensive lineman has an older sister, Megan, who is a thrower on the TCU track and field team. He knows the campus well, and with the Horned Frogs needing interior linemen, Smith could come in and see quality playing time early. Freeman has TCU high on his list with Texas, Texas A&M and LSU. Each school belives it’s a favorite, but TCU would make sense for Freeman, as his former high school coach, Kenny Perry, is the Horned Frogs’ director of high school relations.

From @beaverkman: Where does #gobeavs [Oregon State] stand with Cole Anderson? Leader?

Cole Anderson (League City, Texas/Clear Falls), a three-star offensive guard, has a top two of Oregon State and Iowa State for the time being. Iowa State was not only his first Big 12 offer but also his first BCS offer, so the Cyclones hold a special place with him. Oregon State, however, was Anderson’s first official visit last week, and he thoroughly enjoyed Corvallis, Ore. Anderson’s decision could come down to overall comfort and closeness to home, and if that’s the case, look for him to choose Iowa State. There’s still time for the Beavers to land him, as the race is still on.

From @TedFlintKansas: How big of a get is Allen Lazard for the Cyclones, and will he alone rise them above in the recruiting rankings?

Allen Lazard is a great get for Iowa State. He’s an ESPN 300 wide receiver for a reason. However, he alone can’t boost the Cyclones when it comes to the recruiting rankings. Paul Rhoads & Co. will need to land a couple more four-star and high three-star players before Iowa State sees a significant spike in the rankings. Fortunately, there are still a few targets out there. Anderson, four-star OLB Nile Sykes (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) and three-star athlete Darious Crawley (Houston/Cypress Ridge) are among the players to keep an eye on.
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The Pac-12 race got a whole lot more interesting after Arizona picked up a pair of ESPN 300 commits this week; Texas A&M is just one of the teams getting a head start on locking down top 2015 talent; and Beyonce wearing a Texas jersey creates social media excitement for the Longhorns.

Arizona pushing toward top in Pac 12
Arizona WildcatsThe race for the top recruiting class in the Pac 12 is heating up, especially after Arizona scored two ESPN 300 commitments on Wednesday. Los Angeles Salesian teammates Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb pledged to the Wildcats, helping bolster an Arizona class that already was ranked No. 32 overall. The additions of Ware, the No. 120 prospect and No. 15 athlete in the nation, and Cobb, the nation’s No. 185 player and No. 13 outside linebacker, will narrow the gap between Stanford and the Wildcats.

Watch List LB Zach Whitley in no hurry 

February, 15, 2013
HOUSTON -- When Houston North Shore linebacker Zach Whitley Jr. ventured to Austin for Texas' first junior day of the year, he quickly felt a sense of comfort.

The reason? The presence of two players he knows, two guys who came from the program he currently plays in.

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videoESPN Watch List outside linebacker Cameron Hampton (Dallas/Carter) told HornsNation on Sunday morning that he has committed to Texas at the Longhorns' junior day.

The Longhorns have not only addressed a major position of need for 2014, but they have also kept him away from one of their chief rivals in Oklahoma.

Cameron Hampton
Max Olson/ESPN.comClass of 2014 linebacker Cameron Hampton is Texas' first linebacker commit of the Class of 2014.
The Red River rivals were Hampton’s top two schools coming into this week, but it looks like he has had a change of heart and is now Texas’ eighth commitment in 2014.

Hampton (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) also had offers from Clemson, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

He is in Austin for the second time visiting Texas’ campus today and told HornsNation earlier in the week that he was particularly excited about meeting one person in particular.

“I’m really just excited about being down there and seeing [defensive coordinator] coach [Manny] Diaz,” said Hampton, who got to Austin on Saturday in anticipation for todays event. “He said he is going to spend some 1-on-1 time with me and my family. Coach [Mack] Brown said the same thing.”

Texas and Oklahoma have made Hampton a priority over the past few months.

Oklahoma co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell has frequented Carter High since the Sooners started recruiting Hampton and has already built a strong relationship with him.

Diaz was at Carter’s basketball game last week, making sure Hampton understands how important he is to Texas’ future.

“I can’t really say [who I have a better relationship with], but I have a pretty good relationship with Coach Diaz,” Hampton said. “He actually came to see one of my basketball games last week. I talked to him the day before we played at my school. He was saying that he was looking forward to seeing me, hanging out with me and spending some more time with my family.”

Hampton is Texas’ first linebacker commit of 2014.

What if ... Diaz is replaced as DC? 

December, 7, 2012
What if Manny Diaz is replaced as Texas’ defensive coordinator after the Alamo Bowl?

Diaz is a young, energetic, inventive defensive coordinator who led the top defense in the Big 12 in his first season with Texas, as the Longhorns ranked first in the conference in total defense, rushing defense and pass defense.

But he suffered through a drastic sophomore slump in Austin that saw Texas finish as the Big 12's worst rush defense and give up 33.9 points per game, fifth-most in the conference.

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LB Dalton Santos picks up Texas offer 

January, 22, 2012
Tennessee linebacker commit Dalton Santos (Van, Texas/Van) has received a scholarship offer from Texas and plans to visit Austin next weekend.

[+] EnlargeDalton Santos
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comUnder Armour All-American LB Dalton Santos first committed to Oklahoma State before switching to Tennessee.
Santos’ father, Albert, confirmed to HornsNation that the Under Armour All-American got his offer from Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels on Saturday night, and Santos is very interested in the Longhorns.

“Obviously there is a great interest there from him,” Albert Santos said. “We wouldn’t do [the visit] if he was not interested, I can assure you of that.”

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