August 10, 2009

The Ticket City Locker Room

Q: (homerjay_570) - I was curious why you think a guy like Jackson Jeffcoat, who doesn't visibly appear to love the recruiting spotlight/process would wait out a decision? Would it make more sense to lock up a commit in case of an injury senior year? Also, much has been made of the Jeffcoat sister/brother package deal, but not much has been talked about the father/son package much is that in play?

A: There are a number of reasons for Jeffcoat's uncommitted status. I've always heard that it's important to him to maximize the attention that he receives in an effort to keep a spotlight on the rest of his teammates, with the hope that it might help provide them a platform to impress any coach that's there to see him. There's also the fact that the family has their own timeline for making a decision and if it doesn't play to the hopes and dreams of anyone else - so what? The bottom line is that Jackson isn't ready to make a decision and he seems intent on making a very calculated decision.

When you're a five-star talent like Jeffcoat, you carry all of the cards in the recruiting process and not even a serious injury would cause him to lose his scholarship offers to 99% of the schools recruiting him, including Texas. As far as the father/son aspect of his relationship, I don't think it would be a realistic option unless Jeffcoat took a position at a BCS-level school close to home. At the end of the day, I think proximity is going to be a big factor, which is why Texas and Oklahoma rank as co-favorites in my mind. Keep in mind that the idea of playing under your father might sound cool on some levels, but it's not always best to miss family/business and I'm sure they lived through that some already. Frankly, I think they've done a wonderful job managing a very tricky and potentially difficult situation with a ton of class. One thing that is certain is that Jim Jeffcoat is not going to use or be used as a pawn in any kind of recruiting game.

Q: (Bill Boy Bryant) - You can only have one and totally based on their days on the 40 acres, which one was the greatest Offensive Player in the history of Texas football.

VY, Earl or Ricky? Two Heisman's and one national championship. I believe you can make a very strong argument for any of the three. After Ricky left, I thought he was the greatest ever from being an all around football player - blocking, catching the ball and running. Earl was not known as a blocker or receiver.

I read recently where Switzer said Earl was the best College Player ever. He just dominated and ran over people. Then you have the Freak of Nature in VY but so much of Vince was god given natural ability and did the most of his damage with his unbelievable legs. So give me your number 1.

A: With all due respect to both Campbell and Williams, Vince Young is the best college football player that I've ever seen. I'm not sure we've ever seen anything like the season he put together in 2005 and I'm not sure that I'll ever see anything like it moving forward. He's the only player I've ever seen that was incredible that I was convinced he could win any game by himself if needed. I've never felt that way about any other player.

Q: (bman25) - I saw a report that Bryant Jackson has gained some significant size (already 6'3). Has he already outgrown safety? What position do you see him ending up at?

Who wins their next national championship first...Texas or Oklahoma? Who has recruited better and has the more formidable roster for the future (assuming OU lands Darius White as expected)? In other words would you rather be Will Muschamp/Mack Brown or Bob Stoops going forward if the goal is another ring?

With all the legit griping about being snubbed for the national championship last year, do you think we could have beaten Florida anyway? Is a national championship loss better than a Fiesta Bowl win?

A: Has Jackson outgrown safety? Honestly, that thought hadn't even crossed my mind. I'm not sure he's outgrown the cornerback position and at the very least he'll be a guy that can cover some, even if he eventually becomes a full-time safety. Of course, all bets are of if he shows up at Texas and throws a ton of weight onto his long frame, but he's a defensive back for me and his ball skills make him a potentially sensational centerfielder in the secondary.

I'm going to give the Longhorns the advantage over the Sooners moving forward, if for no other reason than their quarterback future looks so much more secure with Garrett Gilbert waiting in the wings. Overall, both programs have recruited well over the course of the last few seasons, but I'd give the edge to the Longhorns. They've certainly schooled the Sooners more times than not in head-to-head battles.

Finally, I think a Texas/Florida battle would have been one hell of a contest and it's probably a coin-flip game, but I would not have bet against Colt McCoy at the end of the season.

Q: (CPOO) - Ketch, you have said the RB position for the 2010 class is incomplete w/o picking up another back to go along with Traylon Shead. Obviously, Lache Seastrunk isn't going to happen, so give me the name of one back in-state and one back OOS that they should or are pursuing and why these 2 would be a good fit.

When I evaluate the likelihood of getting a commitment from a recruit, I try to put myself in their shoes and consider everything…depth chart (early PT), coaching staff, playbook, tradition, potential championships, academics, conference, schools I've camped at, location, etc.. One thing that is harder to gauge is the kind of relationship they develop or comfort level these recruits have with a staff. What feeling do you get about Jackson
Jeffcoat and Darius White and their relationship with the Texas staff compared to the others. I can't see any areas where their other "top schools" would have an advantage over us, but, if they choose to go elsewhere, what do you feel would be the main reason?

In your opinion, what advantages would Auburn offer Seastrunk over Texas when considering all the above criteria? Again, I don't see one, but his actions clearly show he's not interested in Texas and he seems to be an Auburn lean.

Tiffani Thiessen or Megan Fox?

A: Good questions. I think if you're talking about an in-state running back, it has to be Aldine's Dontae Williams. There were some concerns that he was a highlight film guy and people wondered why his resume wasn't a little more impressive, but his performance at the USC camp this summer proved that he has elite-level abilities in a lot of minds. He's raw, but his home run ability makes him a threat from any spot on the field and that's exactly what the Longhorns need. As far as out of state backs are concerned, it's hard to say because it's later in the recruiting process and a lot of guys are already committed or have established serious relationships with other coaching staffs. If I had to choose one uncommitted running back and can live in fairy tale land, I'd go with Miami (Fla.) Columbus star Jakhari Gore. If you haven't seen his film, take a look at it because he reminds me a lot of Seastrunk, but he's a little more fearless between the tackles.

As far as the questions about the relationships with the various recruits and coaching staffs, I think it's important to remember that recruiting isn't scientific. In fact, it's a lot like love in that you cannot control who it is that you fall for. It reminds me of Jarvis Moss' recruitment. On paper the Longhorns looked like perfect team for him, but he just wasn't in love with the school, although he would freely admit he really liked the school, staff and players. There was something missing in his heart, as it related to Texas and when he took that visit to Florida before he made his decision, he found what he was looking for - love. For all of the stuff you're talking about - academics, tradition and location - those things matter most when you're not the one that has to point them out.

When you look at the recruitment with Darius White, the biggest problem that I see is that it looks perfect on paper, but it seems like he can't say the l-word and he's about two seconds away from asking if it's ok to just be friends. There's a message or a vibe that he's looking for and the fact that he hasn't been able to truly connect with the school and it's sales pitch has been the genesis of Texas problem. You could see it on his face and in his body language when he attended the spring game because his body might have been there, but everything else seemed a million miles away.

I don't think that issue exists with Jeffcoat, but the Longhorns are going to have to outwork every team recruiting against them. More than family atmosphere and academics, five-star prospects like Jeffcoat and White want to know that there's a plan for them, that there's the potential for an early impact and they usually require a few other special odd requirements. As is the case on other areas of life, the prettiest girl or guy on the block can often be high maintenance and unless you want to date the next prettiest girl, you have to learn how to manage those quirky and sometimes annoying nuances. Of course, there are limits and the Seastrunk recruitment tested those, as his assortment of issues became more than the Texas staff was willing to handle.

Finally, the shine has come off of Fox a little for me (don't get me wrong… she's fine) and I'm going to go with Thiessen. There seems to be a chip on Fox's shoulder and without even looking Thiessen up to see what she's doing these days, I'll take the woman over the young girl.

Q: (Eric_mattson2000) - Recently, we have been having some bad news about the top recruits like White and LS. There seems to be a lot of ups and downs playing out here. How do you see the rest of this recruiting season playing out? Who do we finish with? I honestly feel next season's success may play an important role in getting some of them. Thoughts?

2. Can you give us the strengths and weaknesses for the 2011 RBs Texas has its eyes on? Who does each RB remind you of?

3. Can you give us your thoughts on the Fullback walk-on? Sorry, I don't remember his name but his video was outstanding.

A: First, I'm not sure that this season will have a huge impact on the 2010 recruiting class, although a strong year by the defense under Muschamp could really help them with Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks. A national championship-type season would have a much larger global impact in 2011. As far as a prediction is concerned, the Longhorns aren't finished (I'd bet money on it), but I can't project a single target landing in Austin at this point. The smart money is Texas taking a couple of late fliers on defensive prospects or athletes. Here's a name to remember - Cedar Park defensive end/linebacker Holmes Onwukaife.

Second, the Longhorns are taking a look at a host of running backs in 2011, including San Antonio Madison's Aaron Green, Cibolo Steele's Malcolm Brown, Odessa's Bradley Marquez, Abilene's Herschel Sims, Katy's Donovon Young, North Mesquite's Joe Bergeron and Hurst L.D. Bell's Kenny Farrow. Here's a thumbnail sketch of each player:

Green: When you look at Green, he has the same time of one-cut explosiveness as a guy like Temple's Lache Seastrunk, but Green can do so much more than run to the sidelines. At 5-11, 181 pounds, Green might possess 4.4 speed and he might be able to break a defender's ankles in the open-field, but at the very end of the day - this kid is a born runner with uncanny instincts, footwork and vision for a young player.

Player he reminds me of: A stronger version of Felix Jones

Brown: In addition to a great frame, he possesses big-play explosiveness, he finishes runs like he's mad at the world and he's great in the open field. A very underrated receiver who plays the game with passion.

Player he reminds me of: A young Larry Johnson

Marquez: Marquez is an ultra-explosive athlete that can score from any point on the field. As far as big-play performers as concerned, Marquez is right at the top of the list, although he doesn't look like the type of workhorse, every down back that Brown/Green represent.

Player he reminds me of: Ramonce Taylor

Sims: Although Sims is only listed at 5-9, 185 pounds, he's a powerhouse of a runner that has explosive cutting ability and once he gets a step on a defender, he has the speed to get to the end zone. Sims is probably the best receiver out of the backfield among the backs in this year's class and he's also one of the state's top return men.

Player he reminds me of: Justin Forsett

Young: A big, ultra-athletic back that has a ton of athleticism, but still needs to prove that he's in the same class as a player as the other top guys. He might possess the single best size/speed./athleticism combo of any back in the state.

Player he reminds me of: Albert Hardy

Bergeron: Although he's a big tailback at the high school level, Bergeron projects as one of the top fullback prospects that the state has seen in a long time. From a physical standpoint, Bergeron is as impressive as any when it comes to passing the eyeball test

Player he reminds me of: Lawrence Vickers

Farrow: This kid does a little bit of everything right and while he might not have the physical tools or explosiveness that some of his peers in this class possess, he is a very talented player and projects as a big-time running back prospect. Farrow is as strong between the tackles and at finishing runs as anyone in the running backs conversation.

Player he reminds me of: A little taller version of Mike Hart

As for the other two questions, the fullback that you're thinking of is redshirt freshman Jamison Berryhill out of Odessa Permian. The 5-11, 225-pound Berryhill could eventually be a factor in the fullback equation, but he's not a threat with the ball at this level and needs to prove that he can withstand the demands that are needed at this level. He's a bit of a project, but he has some upside.

Q: (BurtHorn) - 1) Who has more swagger? Bob Stoops or Will Muschamp? Let's say we fast-forward to year two or three with Muschamp as HC. Who is having more success, Texas or OU?

2) The "lengthy" phone call that the staff had with Darius White:
A: Who made the call?
B: Is this the beginning of getting good news now from the DW camp?
C: Will we get Darius on campus for a visit?
D: Is it now an even playing field with the teams to our north?

3) Who has more swagger, Colt or Bradford? Also, '05 or '09 team?

A: 1. Stoops probably has a little more public swagger than Muschamp, who saves his best stuff for the field and not in the newspapers. Overall, the two coaches have a lot of similarities.

2. The Texas staff, led by Bobby Kennedy took the lead in the recent conversation with White and it's too early to know just what it means, but it's a positive step. I do expect that he ends up on campus before it's all said and done. Keep an eye on the Texas Tech game in September because the Longhorns are turning that night into a big recruiting event, just like they did with the Missouri game from a year ago. That being said, I'm not sure if I would start thinking about even playing field just yet because it'll take more than a phone call to get Texas back in the pole position.

3. Finally, I'll call it a tie between Colt and Bradford, but I will give the edge to the 2005 team when it comes to swagger. On a scale of 1-10, that team rated as a 15.

Q: (Cdunagan051) - 1.) At the beginning of the Red River Shootout last year, Oklahoma was inside the 20 and Earl Thomas made a great jump on a pass and almost turned it into a pick-6...unfortunately it was a dropped pick. That same drive, the Sooners scored a TD. Fast forward to this season. Does Earl make that pick? Can our defensive line provide enough pressure to force opposing QBs into throwing high-risk passes?

2.) A recent survey of Big 12 players showed that the coach that most players would want to play for in the conference was Bob Stoops. Some of the comments by those polled indicated that they liked playing for a fiery coach. A few years from now we will probably see that fire in Coach Blood roaming the sidelines. While I like that aspect of him, I don't want a replica of the cocky, arrogant Stoops coaching our players. What is the difference that you see between Stoops and Coach Muschamp?

A: Yes, I think Earl Thomas finishes a lot of plays as a sophomore that he didn't finish as a freshman and I think that goes for a lot of guys, Blake Gideon, Aaron Williams and Christian Scott included. That back four will look like an entirely different unit that you remember seeing last year, especially with a pass rush that I believe will be among the best in the nation.

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