Texas Football head coach Charlie Strong speaks with the media about the 2014 signing class:
Per Horns247, former USC quarterback Max Wittek could be transferring to Texas and eligible to play this year.
“The Trojan signal caller plans to graduate this spring and has been actively looking for a landing spot to finish up the remaining two years of his collegiate career. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, that spot for Wittek is most likely going to be Texas.”
Talk about huge news for the most important position on the field and a position where the Longhorns are in desperate need of ANY depth. Wittek wasn’t great in limited opportunities as USC’s quarterback, but as a prep signal caller Rivals had him as a top 3 QB in the country and a 4-star recruit.
Running list of all letters of intent from future Longhorns as they come in today.
19 LOIs Confirmed (10:51am)
DL Jake McMillon
WR Lorenzo Joe
QB Jerrod Heard
WR Roderick Bernard
WR Armanti Foreman
RB D’Onta Foreman
RB Donald Catalon
CB Jermaine Roberts
S Jason Hall
LB Edwin Freeman
WR Garrett Gray
LB Cameron Hampton
DT Chris Nelson
OL Elijah Rodriguez
WR Dorian Leonard
DE Derick Roberson
S John Bonney
OL Terrell Cuney
RB Kevin Shorter
OT Alex Anderson
LB Andrew Beck
TE Blake Whiteley
There’s been much hubbub the last several days as Texas fans reacted to the rumors that Texas coach Mack Brown told commitments visiting during the football banquet weekend that he was forced out that they should “look around”.
Mack responded to those reports via Twitter:
Some of you have asked about my visit w/recruits & their families after I stepped down. Let me assure you it was all positive towards Texas! Our new AD Steve Patterson was there with me and I told the entire group that Texas would hire a great coach, it is a wonderful place and they absolutely should still come.
The initial reports started based on comments from Houston Lamar safety John Bonney who today backed up Brown’s version of events. Bonney said that Brown told recruits that they should come to Texas if they committed to Texas, but if they committed just to play for him that “I certainly encourage you to look elsewhere because I won’t be your coach.”
Overall it sounds like Brown was honest with the kids and did not encourage them to look around but simply stated the obvious that the situation had changed and the players should be thoughtful with their decisions. That’s exactly the kind of honesty and respect with high school recruits that got so many 4 and 5-star recruits to sign with Texas over the previous 16 years.
The first National Signing Day of the Charlie Strong era is tomorrow. He’s kept most of the class together and hopefully signing a couple defensive tackle recruits to close out the class. Stay tuned to @40acressports and the Texas FanGuide app for updates.
After an official visit this weekend, 2014 offensive tackle Elijah Rodriguez has changed his commitment from the Colorado Buffaloes to the Texas Longhorns. Rodriguez is a three-star prospect from Houston Cy Creek who had been under the radar until a big senior season had schools like Florida State and LSU recently trying to pry him away from Colorado.
Texas offensive line coach Joe Wickline is said to be a big fan of Rodriguez’ toughness and agility in a 6-6, 280 pound frame. Wickline went after Rodriguez when he was at Oklahoma State but struck out. Rodriguez might have continued to stick with his CU commitment but he is a lifetime Longhorn fan whose grandfather played for Texas under Darrell Royal.
Texas City brothers running back D’Onta and electric inside wide receiver Armanti Foreman of Texas City have committed to Texas.
Welcome to the 40 Acres Montrel Meander. Meander, a 6’3″, 180 pound WR/S from Palo Duro High School in Amarillo became the fifteenth 2013 commitment after a last minute official visit to Austin. Meander had long been committed to Washington State, but flipped this weekend in favor of the good guys.
Meander is an athlete. He can play either safety or wide receiver. As a spread wide receiver he shows excellent straight line speed and could be the deep threat this offense so desperately needs-especially with the departure of the drastically-under used Marquise Goodwin. His route running is raw, but he shows great separation at the line of scrimmage and a willingness to go across the middle and make a tough catch.
As a safety, Meander showed really good instincts and takes good angles when tackling. He shows the ability to cover sideline to sideline, sheds blocks well, and wraps up-all of which are sorely needed in the Texas secondary.
Meander’s number one weapon however, is his speed. The young man can fly. Track speed doesn’t always transfer to football speed, but in this case it does. He has documented track times of 21.55 seconds in the 200 meters, 10.9 in the 100 meters, as well as a 4.46 second 40 yard dash and boasts a 21’3.5″ long jump.
Check out some of Meander’s highlight video:
Will he be a tool for Major Applewhite or for Manny Diaz? He could help either side. My bet is that he ends up at wide receiver at least for the time being.
[Update: Hammad did in fact commit to Texas. See ESPN's story. - Brian]
The Longhorns are looking to continue stockpiling big bodies after Monday’s commitment by Desmond Harrison. Coach Stacy Searels is believed to be closing in on yet another top notch offensive line prospect: Irving High School Tackle, Rami Hammad. Hammad’s measurable are impressive: 6’5″ and 320 pounds. Hammad is ranked by Rivals as the 172nd prospect nationally, 28th at his position, and 78th overall in the state of Texas. Hammad took an official visit to the 40 Acres this past weekend that lead to him to end his his nearly three month commitment to Baylor.
Hammad now lists a top four of Texas, TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma and is set to announce at 5:00 PM today. It is believed that Texas is clearly the team to beat for Hammad due to how quickly he backed out of his verbal commitment to Baylor after the weekend visit to Austin.
A quick film study of shows Hammad to be an aggressive and nasty blocker. He will sustain blocks 10-15 yards downfield on running plays and has a strong base in passing sets. He’s not nearly the physical specimen that Desmond Harrison is, but it’s easy to see that he has a mean streak and isn’t afraid to mix it up.
If you were to describe the perfect offensive lineman, it would sound something like this:
- Around 6’6′ – 6’8″
- Over 300 Pounds
- Athletically built-not sloppy
- Big enough to hold hid ground against the pass rush
- Fast enough to get to the second level on run plays
- Strong enough to pancake a defensive end
All these things can be said about the newest member of the 2013 Longhorn football team, Desmond Harrison. Harrison’s arrival can not come soon enough for a Texas team that desperately needs a dose of nastiness in the offensive line.
The time and effort that offensive line coach Stacy Searels and Offensive Coordinator Major Applewhite expended to land Harrison shows just how much of a priority solidifying the tackle position is for 2013. Having Desmond Harrison on campus makes EVERYONE better and here’s why:
- Championship teams are built from the inside out-specifically the offensive line.
- A strong offensive line extends drives: punts become field goals; field goal become touchdowns. More touchdowns leads to more victories. Victories are a good thing. They keep people employed. They keep fan bases happy. They keep stadiums full. They keep bank accounts full.
- Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown have larger holes to run through. Bigger holes mean more rushing yards. High rushing totals allows for play action passing. Ash is a much better quarterback when there is a running game that can put up big numbers.
- David Ash has more time to progress through his reads and has larger throwing lanes. A comfortable David Ash with wide throwing lanes makes Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis better receivers.
- Extended drives leads to a rested defense. If their offense isn’t on the field, that severely restricts the other team’s ability to score points.
Adding Harrison will lead to some changes in the offensive line depth chart. If Harrison is everything he’s expected be, he’s penciled in as the starting left tackle from day one. This will prompt last year’s Juco signee, Donald Hawkins to shift inside to either guard or center. Another possibility at the center position would be Mason Walters. Either would be an upgrade over incumbent Dom Espinosa, who was often over powered by the bull rush and lacked the speed to get to the second level. Not to mention the debacle that was the West Virginia game, but there’s no reason to beat a dead horse here.
Is Harrison a sure fire starting left tackle in the NFL? If I could answer that with any degree of certainty my bank account would look much more attractive than it does now. However, I can saw with a high level of confidence that he has enough God-given athletic ability to have a chance to hold up a jersey at the draft and flash a Hook ‘Em for the cameras.
The question surrounding Desmond Harrison is the same one that has surrounded every other elite prospect that has walked into DKR: Will that talent be developed to its full potential? Will he get stronger? Will he get faster? Will his tendency to play too tall and rely on his freakish athletic ability be corralled and coached into flawless technique paired with unreal athleticism?
I have faith in Stacy Searels, Major Applewhite, and Bennie Wylie. I am supremely confident that Harrison is the real deal and will be an impact player from the first snap of the 2013 season.
Take a look at his film (#68) and see what you think. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Let me know what you think his impact will be and who he reminds you of:
As we are on the verge of another college football season, the biggest debate is not over who is ranked number one in the preseason polls (looks like OU in 2011), but whose team is going to be on probation. The entire season will be littered with teams that are on probation, dealing with secondary violations or owners of the dreaded lack of institutional control. I believe that we are nowhere close to the brash and blatant cheating of the 80′s, but this season will be scrutinized by fan bases identifying this team as the dirtiest program in college football.
So how do you propose to change it? I do not have all the answers but I will throw up a few for debate.
Do Not Pay Players
I cannot stress this one enough. Most fans want to see college football players get paid because of all the millions of dollars that colleges rake in. People forget that football pays the bills for many college sports including all the Title IX sports. For every great college football player that is glamorized on TV or on a video game there are a host of other no name college athletes that are still getting scholarship money paid for by the school. Not to mention the facilities that the athletes use, the travel that they get to experience and the notoriety that they can obtain all on the schools tab. No regular college kid would ever be able to have that kind of head start after they graduate. Jay Bilas wants kids to have the ability to make money off their name while in school by autograph signings. Do you think anyone wants to buy the Northwestern’s wide receiver autograph or for that matter want the polo teams John Hancock? There is no solution that be can be equally administered or financially viable for all of these universities.
Shine the Light
Have you ever read a college scholarship offer that is signed by these young athletes? I have never seen the verbiage or the rules that it states. How about language in a scholarship that states that if you take improper benefits you will be permanently kicked off the team? Compliance offices are set up to help guide the student athlete on how to handle overzealous fans. How about every season ticket holder going through a course on what is acceptable behavior around student athletes? Let’s shed a light on these contracts that these kids are signing and educate fans on what their jock sniffing efforts will do to their program.
This is the biggest crock of all. Head college football coaches hide behind the fact that they cannot watch their players 24/7. Coaches have immense resources from academic counselors to compliance personnel, other coaches, and their true football leaders in the locker room. The current thought is if it is not reported than it cannot be wrong. Reporting violations while tedious is still the best way to clean up the bad apples before it affects everyone else. If you are worried about Johnny Five Star going out late and damaging the reputation of your program, do not recruit the kid. Former Coach Mike Leach said that coaches are their own worst enemy because they think that they can rehabilitate these kids when they bring them into their environment. Probably the real problem is that head coaches are numb from all the stupid rules that exist. Until the universities that run the league take a hard look at overhauling the NCAA, it needs to follow the rules that are set forth for everyone. It’s time for head coaches and the AD’s to be accountable for the millions of dollars that they earn every year to police their teams and keep the little issues from festering into a lack of institutional control.
I love the fact that Coach Nick Saban calls runners and agents that hang around college football as pimps. (Don’t college coaches do the same thing?) Ask college basketball coaches what they think about AAU programs and you might find a more colorful word for those people. States need to get involved and legislate harsher penalties so that recruiting services, boosters and agents will be met with loss of certification, jail time and financial penalties. Most state governments around the country made money off the tobacco industry. They sure could use another revenue producing vehicle and college football is full of money. Also, please inform the NCAA that taking wins away does not hurt a school at all. The NCAA needs to affect the schools pocket books with the elimination of college bowl games and television appearances.
College football fans will never tone down their fervor for recruiting, daily updates and the need to go to every practice to rub elbows with the players and coaching staff. Since the passion of college football will never be squelched. Universities, state attorneys, and even the television networks are going to have to shine a light on college football to show everyone what is going on. We thirst for more information on twitter, blogs, and the internet. Add compliance notices and simple NCAA rules for the fans to add to their daily intake.
Thanks for following my WTH articles throughout the season. I appreciate the opportunity to rant about the greatest University sports program in the country. You can continue to follow comments on all of UT sports on twitter at 40AcresSports or follow me at Horns1991. HOOK EM!!