College coaches are not allowed by NCAA rules to talk about potential recruits or commits until National Signing Day. With signatures from all 20 commits this morning, Texas head coach [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] finally has a chance to talk about each of the future Longhorns and breaks down each one on film. Mack sits down in front of reporters and talks to reporters for nearly 30 minutes and it is definitely worth your time to sit down and watch.
Watch Mack talking about the class and discussing each of the recruits below:
Many thanks to Statesman.com for again providing embeddable video of Mack’s press conferences.
Wednesday is [tag]National Signing Day[/tag] and we’ll have frequent updates throughout the day on the 40 Acres. This is the first day high school senior recruits can sign a binding letter of intent to play college football. The Longhorns have 20 commits in the 2009 class with 8 already on campus and 12 expected to send in their LOI tomorrow. We’ll have updates when those letters come in as well as the important news on the two remaining targets, linebacker Jarvis Jones and corner Dre Kirkpatrick.
Another day another high school all-star game full of future Texas Longhorns. Tonight five Texas commits will play in the Under Armour All-America Game live on ESPN at 7pm Central. Fans will be able to see a large chunk of the future Texas offensive unit as quarterback [tag]Garrett Gilbert[/tag] and tight end [tag]Barrett Matthews[/tag] will also have three big hogs blocking for them up front in linemen [tag]Mason Walters[/tag], [tag]Paden Kelley[/tag], and [tag]Thomas Ashcraft[/tag]. Gilbert, who won two state titles and broke Texas state passing records as the quarterback of Lake Travis High School, is ESPN’s number one ranked quarterback prospect.
The positions and numbers of the Texas commits and targets are listed below:
|[tag]Thomas Ashcraft[/tag]||75||Offensive Tackle||Yes|
|[tag]Paden Kelley[/tag]||70||Offensive Tackle||Yes|
|[tag]Barrett Matthews[/tag]||89||Tight End||Yes|
|[tag]Mason Walters[/tag]||72||Offensive Tackle||Yes|
We’ll have thoughts on players from both all-star games later this week.
ESPN has posted several good videos and articles on the future Longhorns participating in this weekend’s Under Armour All-America Game. Players like [tag]Garrett Gilbert[/tag] and [tag]Mason Walters[/tag] are getting the chance to impress on a national stage and according to Bobby Burton of Rivals.com Gilbert in particular has done so. With five future Longhorns in the game they’re also getting an early opportunity to hang out together, something that will help the group hit the ground running once they get onto the 40 Acres.
ESPN got each of the guys to say a few things about the experience of playing in this game and about choosing to go to Texas. In the first few seconds of the video future [tag]LSU[/tag] athlete Russell Shepard (who seems like a really good kid) passes by and tells the interviewer that future Horn Gilbert is the best QB in the country. I guess the Texas coaches got it right at quarterback after all. Watch below:
The players seem to get along well, which is particularly key for the three offensive lineman. It’s also great to hear that they’ve already got their eyes on a national title:
Mason Walters is 6-foot-7 and nearly 300 pounds. Still, the physically imposing offensive tackle is dwarfed by the larger-than-life expectations that constantly surround the football team at the University of Texas.
As one of five Texas commits participating in Sunday’s Under Armour All-America Game (ESPN, 7 pm), Walters is a principal member of a Longhorns recruiting class that is tall on talent. He says despite each individual’s ability, the group puts a single goal — a collective goal — at the top of its New Year’s resolutions.
“We want a ring,” Walters said. “That’s not a question. We don’t care about awards and stuff individually. I think that the guys want the team to win a national championship in the future. It’s something you can say, but it’s a lot of hard work.”
Under Armour All-Americans Garrett Gilbert, [tag]Paden Kelley[/tag], [tag]Thomas Ashcraft[/tag] and [tag]Barrett Matthews[/tag] will be joining Walters in Austin next year. Together, they constitute the core of a class that has nine players in the ESPNU 150 and was ranked third in ESPN.com’s most recent breakdown of the top recruiting classes.
Walters also shared his quick personal New Year’s resolutions which include his Halo 3 rank and getting fellow future UT linemate Paden Kelly to cut his hair. Mason certainly looks and sounds like a man already. Watch Mason below:
Love to see the kids bonding as this group of guys along with the players at the US Army All-American Game will make up the core of future Texas teams. You can catch Under Armour practices on ESPNU this week and the game will air live Sunday night at 7pm.
It’s still a year away, but already five 2009 Texas commitments have received the honor of being named to the Under Armour All-America Game roster. The Longhorns currently lead the way with players in the game, with quarterback Garrett Gilbert. tight end Barrett Matthews, and offensive linemen Thomas Ashcraft, Paden Kelley, and Mason Walters on the roster. The 2008 Under Armour game featured five Longhorns as well.
The list of players is impressive but still not 100% complete, I’m sure there will be some additions and subtractions between now and January 4, 2009. Maybe a few more Texas commits can earn their way onto the team, or maybe the coaching staff can convince Florida stud running back Trent Richardson to come play for the good guys.
Here are the Scouts, Inc. profiles on the five Texas players:
Lake Travis (Texas)
6-3, 186 pounds
Junior accolades: Set Texas records with 359 completions, 555 attempts and 4,826 passing yards. Also threw for 52 touchdowns and named First Team All-State by The Associated Press.
On goals for his senior season: “Hopefully to win another state championship.”
Favorite movie: “Wedding Crashers.”
Scouts Inc. says: The more you watch Gilbert, the more you realize how heady and savvy he is. He is similar to Aaron Corp from the 2007 class in terms of size and athleticism, only Gilbert is much further along at this stage and has a bigger arm. He has prototypical drop-back passer size but is a sneaky athlete who will surprise you and hurt you with his feet if you don’t respect that aspect of his game.
North Shore (Texas)
6-2, 225 pounds
Junior accolades: Caught 13 passes for 395 yards and seven touchdowns. Named to 22-5A First Team All-District and Houston Chronicle Second Team All-Area.
On why he chose Texas: “The coaching staff reminds me of our coaching staff [at North Shore] and Coach [Mack] Brown reminds me a little bit of Coach [David] Aymond. The facilities are amazing and I get to work with one of the best [strength] trainers in the nation.”
Favorite movie: “‘Any Given Sunday.’ I love the ‘piece with inches’ speech by Al Pacino’s character.”
Scouts Inc. says: An exciting prospect with the tools to be well-rounded at the college level. He’s a sound, tenacious blocker while also a weapon as a receiver. Has the ability to stay on the field in all situations and be a factor, making him a player to watch.
Cedar Hill (Texas)
6-5, 280 pounds
Junior accolades: First Team All-District, Honorable Mention All-State.
On why he chose Texas: “I felt at home at Texas. The coaches were real, they didn’t feel fake like they were putting on a show or it was rehearsed — they were real comfortable and natural. My parents liked it and my major [mechanical engineering] is a top major there.”
Favorite TV show: “The Boondocks.”
Scouts Inc. says: A gifted lineman with the size college coaches seek. He has shown the foot agility to both pull and trap from the offensive tackle position and also get back from a three-point stance and set before a defensive lineman gets into his frame. Ashcraft has the tools to develop into one of college football’s best, most athletic offensive linemen.
Lake Travis (Texas)
6-6, 270 pounds
Junior accolades: Named to Texas 4A first team by Texas Sportswriters Association. Also named to First Team All-District.
On goals for his senior season: “I have hopes of leading my team to a back-to-back state championship and being awarded First Team All-State.”
Favorite band: Rage Against the Machine.
Scouts Inc. says: Kelley’s a very athletic offensive tackle with the versatility to also play guard. Tall and rangy, he looks the part, carrying his weight extremely well. Biggest strength may be his reach-blocking skills.
6-7, 285 pounds
Junior accolades: Named All-District, All-Area, All-South Plains, All-City and 4A Second Team All-State.
On what he’s looking for in a school: “Coaches you get along with for five years, a winning tradition and a bunch of good talent that is going to be there when you are there to give yourself a chance to win the national championship.”
Favorite food: Buffalo wings with ranch sauce.
Scouts Inc. says: A max-effort player with exceptional ability, he’s a self-starter who clearly loves the game. He goes after opponents like a heat-seeking missile. Comes off the ball aggressively and has the skills to reach, block back and even get to the second level with little trouble. Shows outstanding hustle by frequently getting a second block after executing his initial assignment.
It’s barely March but it looks like [tag]Mack Brown[/tag] is close to wrapping up his 2009 recruiting class already. After starting out strong with Garrett Gilbert and six other commits at the team’s first junior day, the Horns have since added eight more of the state’s top football players to bring the total tally up to fifteen.
Two of the biggest commits were at linebacker, where Irving’s Tariq Allen and Grand Prairie’s Patrick Nkwopara made their pledge to play for defensive coordinator [tag]Will Muschamp[/tag]‘s defense. Both players were top targets of the Texas defensive coaching staff and appear to fit their mold perfectly for a linebacker, speed guys who aren’t afraid to knock your head off. If you’re a Rivals subscriber, watch Allen’s videos and you’ll be very excited about our future middle linebacker.
The team also got help in the defensive backfield by picking up commits from cornerbacks Eryon Barnett from Euless and Kenny Vaccaro out of Brownwood. Vaccaro is one of the state’s most heavily recruited DB’s and held offers from the likes of Florida, Oklahoma, and Stanford when chose the Longhorns. Barnett was a virtual unknown before committing to the Horns but Texas offered quickly and he certainly passes the eyeball test so he looks like a player who will shoot up the rankings once the scouting services get film of him.
Texas also did an excellent job filling needs from the top in-state options. Defensive end and tight end were both positions the Horns needed to fill holes at in this class. At defensive end the two big fish are still out there, Alex Okafor and five-star Devon Kennard, but the Horns added two very capable prospects in Dominique Jones and Kyle Kriegel. The tight end commits look like the two best in the state in Trey Graham and Barrett Matthews. I’m particularly excited about Matthews, whose versatility, athleticism, and toughness allow him to play an H-back role or maybe even end up on defense. It doesn’t hurt that he plays for Galena Park North Shore, a school that has now put out three top Division I tight ends in a row.
The fifteen current commits are listed below:
|Thomas Ashcraft||OL||13||Cedar Hill|
|Marcus Davis||DB||15||League City|
|Kyle Kriegel||DE||64||Elysian Fields|
|Barrett Matthews||TE||59||Galena Park|
|Patrick Nkwopara||LB||NR||Grand Prairie|
*Note: Most of the star ratings are just estimates based on the video I’ve seen of the recruits and Orangebloods.com’s state rankings.
**Note: LSR is Geoff Ketchum’s Lone Star Recruiting Top 100. The numbers represent the player’s ranking as of 2/13/2008.