– Injury Updates: Texas senior LB Edwin Freeman had successful surgery on Wednesday to repair a triceps injury and will miss the remainder of spring practices. Additionally, senior DB P.J. Locke III sustained a stinger during Saturday’s practice, will continue to be treated and evaluated and is considered day to day. – (Will)
– David Gbenda: It appears that Texas nailed 4-star Linebacker David Gbenda’s trip this past weekend. Gbenda visited Texas on Saturday to take in the scrimmage, and to get a feel for the practice environment and player life.
It seems he was impressed, “It was live!…the intensity and the way they were hitting each other and getting after each other was eye opening.” While he’s watched plenty of college football, he was again blown away by how hard Texas was going for a practice scrimmage. The intensity of the practice really made a huge impression on him.
David also took note of fellow linebacker Ayodele Adeoye and how he’s adjusted to college ball, “Dele is big… like… really big… he’s pretty solid. His transition from high school to college is impressive.”
While Gbenda was unable to chat with Tom Herman beyond pleasantries, he did speak with the lead of his recruitment, Todd Orlando. Orlando mentioned a few names to Gbenda to keep an eye on during practice, and how to approach his recruitment. It appears Gbenda and Orlando have developed a good relationship with some solid trust.
Beyond getting a feel for Texas on the field, Gbenda really wanted to know what a player’s life is like, and who his future teammates are. “I got to stay afterwards and catch-up with Gary Johnson, Ayodele [Adeoye], and BJ Foster… I asked them why they choose this school and what other schools recruited them… they all told me that it felt like home… I’m still waiting to get that same feeling of, ‘This is home.’” His talk with Gary Johnson focused mostly around, “What it was like playing at Texas and the linebacker depth. I also wanted to know what Orlando is like as a coach, and how it’s all run.”
But, his biggest take away from the weekend was a mix of the two things he came to see, “What stood out most to me was the relationship between the players and the intensity of practice…” He told me he felt the young guys had really integrated quickly, “Seeing the way BJ, Dele, Toneil, and Eagles interacted with their teammates…”
By all accounts, Tom Herman and his staff continue to impress their targets, particularly once they get them on campus. – (Will)
– As we reported early last week, Texas has really turned up the heat in the recruitment of 4-star Defensive End NaNa Osafo-Mensah. We also reported, 4 weeks ago, that the likely outcome of the recruitment would be Notre Dame and Texas battling it out. Well, that appears to be the case as he looks to commit soon.
It used to be a Notre Dame and Texas A&M battle, but after Texas made a very hard push and as a source told us, “Went all in to make sure he knew he was a top guy” Texas A&M became an after thought.
One reason Texas seemed to have slow played his recruitment, or as a source put it, “”was late to the party, but for good reason” is that NaNa is built for putting his hand in the dirt and he had never done so until last year. Texas wasn’t sure where he would fit in their scheme, and since he hadn’t been a Defensive End for an extended time, they wanted to make sure they liked what they saw. Well, they liked what they saw and have let NaNa know.
Notre Dame on the other side, has done a great job sticking with NaNa and their D-Line Coach Elson, has fostered a great relationship with the talent.
NaNa is torn between Notre Dame and Texas. Another source told us the two are in a “dead heat… NaNa sat down and did a list of pros and cons and it was split right down the middle.” Despite this, NaNa has refused to push back his May 19th decision date and has maintained that he will know when that date comes. He will take two official visits and one other for a back up. One to Texas on May 5th and the other to Notre Dame on April 13th. – (Will)
– Kenyon Jackson: Most of the talk regarding the Wide Receiver position in 2019 for Texas has revolved around in-state Wide Receivers. Guys like Garrett Wilson, Jordan Whittington, Elijah Higgins, and Dylan Wright are some that come to mind.
But, there is an intriguing out of state wide out who is planning to officially visit Texas. And that is Grayson (GA) WR Kenyon Jackson. He’s a 6’5 200 pound Wide Receiver, who could be someone who replaces Collin Johnson in the future.
Jackson was committed to LSU for a while before reopening his recruitment. Right now, Jackson doesn’t have a date for the visit and he told me “I’m waiting on coach to hit me back with a date” for him to visit. He also plans to visit Texas A&M, Penn State, and Ole Miss.
I wouldn’t put Jackson above any of the in-state guys that I mentioned above. But, he is a big-bodied Wide Receiver that has a lot of upside. Getting him on campus is the first step into seeing how much of a shot Texas has to land him. He sounds like he’s really interested in Texas, but this recruitment is wide-open. – (Andrew)
– Bru McCoy: I caught up with the father of elite 2019 LB/WR, Bru McCoy (Santa Ana, CA). McCoy is one of the most highly coveted athletes in the country. He has been in regular communication with Texas and apparently the family likes what they are hearing.
McCoy Sr tells me that they are planning to visit Texas at the end of the month, April 28th. McCoy’s father said happily, “Texas likes to call it Bru McCoy Day”. He added that Bryan Carrington coined the phrase
As a side note, after seeing everyone steal Carrington’s shhh emoji, I won’t be surprised if “Bru McCoy Day” starts to show up as recruiting pitch for other schools.
Speaking with a source, I was told that McCoy is actually friends with Texas commit, DeGabriel Floyd. I was also told that Floyd is recruiting McCoy to Texas.
I hope to have a full story up on McCoy, shortly.
We are really starting to see Tom Herman’s initial strategy of trying to get the best in the country unfold. He started off his first year being competitive on the field and winning in-state recruiting battles. Now, they’re starting to fight and win some out of state battles. If two or three of those competitive games go the other way and Herman is recruiting from a 8-9 win season, the momentum at a place like Texas becomes hard to stop. (Super K)
– Last week, Will mentioned in his post about Garrett Wilson…
Right now, from everything we’ve heard around Garrett Wilson, we don’t feel as confident in where Texas stands. We believe Ohio State has a bit of a lead at the moment.
Since then I’ve been asked about our position. Garrett has spoken pretty candidly with us throughout the process about where things stand. We’ve kept his confidence.
You may have seen a number of analysts from other sites are now beginning to note that Ohio State does indeed hold a slight lead.
I want to be very clear that while we continue to believe that Ohio State holds a small lead, we do not believe a final decision has been made. Garrett has made it pretty clear to us that the decision is proving extremely difficult, which would indicate a final decision hasn’t been made.
It’s my understanding that what is giving Ohio State a bit of an edge at the moment is the stability that Urban Meyer has created at Ohio State.
It goes without saying that Texas really needs to land offensive weapons that are truly dangerous. Garrett is that guy. A bit of a side note, per our sources on the OU side, Baker Mayfield, who has thrown around with Garrett on numerous occasions compared him to the Sooners impact freshman CeeDee Lamb.
So, these next two weeks will be critical as a decision is expected to come shortly after his April 20th-22nd visit to Texas. – (Super K)
– I heard that 2019 OL, Jack Stewart (New Canaan, CT) visited Texas on Tuesday. I sent Stewart a text message and am waiting to hear back for confirmation.
Stewart doesn’t currently hold a Texas offer but he does hold offers to schools like Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Michigan and others.
– I spoke with 2019 OLB/DE, NaNa Osafo-Mensah. He tells me that this Thursday he will be cutting his list down, significantly. Texas will make the cut.
NaNa tells me he still set to commit on May 19th. The next few weeks will be critical. He’ll be at Notre Dame this weekend.
With a name like Mensah, Tom Herman has to land this young man. – (Super K)
– Recently, I was able to catch up with 2019 Conroe, TX Oak Ridge OT Tyler Johnson’s mother to discuss their visit to Texas this past Saturday. Johnson has already been on campus multiple times before and returned this go around with his mother, father and a teammate as well.
If you remember the last visit, one of the main things that stood out to Mrs. Johnson was the one-on-one time they got to spend with a current Texas OL’s Mom to hear what all she had to say about her sons every day life.
This go around however, it was a few different things that stood out. Getting to spend time with Director of Player Development, Kevin Washington was one. During their conversation Coach Washington talked about more of life outside of football, being what they do in the community, helping with resumes for the professional side as they move on after football and more. The conversation being more personal about life outside of football and how the program can help is something that really seemed to impress Mrs. Johnson.
The other was getting the chance to see the Offensive Line meeting room when they were invited in during the Offensive Line meeting.
They obviously got the chance to get some more face time with Coach Herman, his wife, who Mrs. Johnson stated she loves and Offensive Line coach Herb Hand. Mrs. Johnson said they still talk with Coach Hand often so it was good to not only speak with him in person again but also get the chance to see him coach and teach during the scrimmage. Again, teaching is something Mrs. Johnson always emphasizes when she talks about Hand.
As far as the scrimmage goes, she said it was fun to watch the team battle and that they obviously had their eyes on the offensive line to see how they performed.
Moving forward she said that they will be taking an official visit to Oklahoma this upcoming weekend. The Sooners and their coaching staff are also a main stay with Johnson at this point so will be interesting to hear what they think after this upcoming visit. Shortly after she said they will look to sit down and talk about things to really start narrowing down their plans in the future whether it be taking more officials or not.
As far as Texas goes, the Longhorns will get an official and Mrs. Johnson said that will most likely be soon.
Recapping their visit this past weekend, it’s simple, the comfortability they feel with the Longhorns as far as a program itself and their football program couldn’t seem to be better. – (Alex)
— Tyler Johnson (@TylerJohnson_74) April 8, 2018
– Fast Five: Practice Notes. We have additional Team and Practice notes on the Donor Board. Here are five notes from the weekend which we think you will enjoy.
I spoke with some folks about this past weekend’s practice. I think we all know Todd Orlando’s defense is going to be good. The question that remains is the offense. I know that there are still recruits that feel the offense needs show marked improvement before they can fully buy into what Texas is selling.
* The quarterback position is still a work in progress. There’s little doubt that Ehlinger is better than he was last year, but I was told that this past weekend there was still a lot of tucking and running.
* Not surprisingly, was told Casey Thompson looks good in the read option. Was told Rising showed off a massive arm but missed some targets due to overthrows. Was told Rising threw an INT over the middle to Caden Sterns.
* It sounds like Buechele was the most accurate quarterback of the day, but that, again, isn’t a big surprise. His accuracy has always been excellent.
* Offensive line has been better overall this camp, but it doesn’t sound like they played well on Saturday. Was told the defensive line gave them fits. To be fair, Orlando’s movement – that constant slanting and gap exchanging – gives everywhere trouble.
* I think perhaps the most positive notes I heard were that the kicking game was outstanding and the redzone offense was good. When you think about the close games Texas lost, those two things were major factors. So, even though it doesn’t sound like the offense was gangbusters…those two improvements would’ve been enough to win a couple extra big games last year. – (Super K)