Texas Rekindling Things with Peyton Powell
– Super K
You’ve probably seen me speak glowingly about 2019 ATH Peyton Powell (Permian), on numerous occasions. Texas offered Powell earlier this summer as a wide receiver and then, according to Powell, almost immediately went quiet on him. Needless to say, he didn’t make a summer trip down.
Powell plays primarily quarterback and wide receiver for Permian. Earlier this week, the Sooners offered Powell as a DB and this is what I had to say…
Powell is a big guy that can absolutely move. You’re talking a legit 6’2 185 lbs with a 4.45 laser 40. He can see the field from both sides. He’s the kind of athlete who despite not playing defense, his coaches will put him on defense to lock up the opposing teams best wide receiver…and he’ll do it. And, from what I gather, he’s an intelligent and high character, young man…
But I’ll tell you what really caught my attention about Powell.
Earlier this summer, I was talking to a guy I’ve known for a while who is connected in the Ohio State market and asked him about a high profile defensive back in their recruiting area. I was told they liked said recruit but had a DB at the top of their board that they were waiting on. I asked who. He said…
I’m thinking, wait, Greg Schiano can basically hand pick DBs from around the country and the man obviously has a tremendous eye for talent and he’s passing up on 4-star guys to come down to West Texas to recruit a 3-star ATH who plays primarily WR and QB?
So, I talk to Powell and ask him about it. And it was all pretty simple. Back in the spring Schiano came across Powell’s film, loved it and called him and told him he’d be down to visit him. Coach Schiano made his way down to west Texas to watch Powell in the spring.
According to Peyton, Schiano then offered Powell and told him, you’re going to be a first-round defensive back.
I asked my guy with ties to Ohio State what they like about Powell and he said very simply, “Everything. Size, speed, hips, all of it”.
I spoke with Powell earlier this week and he said conversation between him and Texas has picked back up. In fact, so much so, that he was actually planning to take an unofficial visit down to Texas this past Sunday following his Baylor trip but it simply got to be too late.
Powell was expected to make a decision in the next week or so and it was thought he’d pick Ohio State. But he says he will likely push that back and added that he plans on taking official visits to Oklahoma and Texas.
He is also trying to take an unofficial visit down to Texas in the next few weeks, if possible. He mentioned that he had hoped to be in Austin yesterday but had a team conflict.
If he does indeed push this back, I suspect this one turns into a Red River battle.
For Texas, I imagine they see Powell has a guy who could potentially be a weapon at two positions of need, wide receiver and quarterback and if neither works, then you’ve still got a high upside defensive back.
Quick Hitters | Two 2020 Targets
– Andrew King
As most have seen, North Forest (TX) OT Javonne Shepherd announced his commitment to Texas over Texas A&M on Sunday…
Respect My Decision… 🧡 pic.twitter.com/thZBLtWkgX
— J. Shepherd (@JavonneShepherd) July 29, 2018
It was huge news for Texas. Mostly because it gave them commitments from two of the top three offensive tackles in the state of Texas. The other reason is that in my opinion, it gives them the clear lead for North Forest (TX) ’20 5-star WR Demond Demas. Who is close friends with Shepherd, and they take most of their college visits together.
Most felt Demas recruitment would likely be a Texas-Texas A&M battle, much like Shepherds. Though when Demas cut his list from 8 to 5 the day after Shepherd made his commitment, one noticeable school missed the cut.
Top 5 related 💯💪🏾🐾 that’s how it is 🤷🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/G3qMOMbGHF
— Mr.#1️⃣ (@DemondDemas1) July 30, 2018
The Aggies could get back in this one, but I feel very good about Texas’ chances to land the #1 WR in the state (and is going to be in the race for #1 WR in the nation) as of today. I was told the main competitor for him right now is Alabama. He took a visit to Tuscaloosa back in April and really enjoyed it, and he knows now Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle who is from Houston.
– One top 2020 target who was expected to visit Texas over the weekend that ended up visiting elsewhere was Port Neches-Groves (TX) OT Jaylen Garth. Instead, he visited Alabama over the weekend. I spoke with Garth after the visit to see where things stand in his recruitment, and how his first trip to Tuscaloosa went.
Garth told me “Bama was great. I really liked it, the coaches and players made it feel like home.” Garth noted that obviously it’s still very early in his recruitment, and that he has no plans to make a decision anytime soon. But he’s noticing two schools starting to stand out early on, Texas and Alabama.
Right now Garth isn’t sure on if he’ll visit Texas or anywhere else this summer. But noted that “I’m pretty sure Roschon [Johnson] and I are going to a Texas game this fall.” One factor in his recruitment is his relationship with his HS QB and Texas’ 2019 QB commit Roschon Johnson. Garth told me that Johnson is a big brother to him, and he looks up to him “A LOT!”. He also noted that they always talk about how cool it would be to play together in college.
Now Garth isn’t a Texas lock, but I get the feel that Texas has the inside track in this one. You can’t ever count out Alabama when it comes to a recruit that Nick Saban really wants.
The Austin Fellas | Higgins & Wilson | Trending
– Super K
I spoke with a source regarding both big-time Austin area wide receivers, Elijah Higgins and Garrett Wilson.
***Source said that Higgins has already made a decision but would not divulge where Higgins is headed. Earlier in the process, speaking with Higgins he seemed to want to make a summer decision.
One hasn’t been made and a date hasn’t been announced. I’d conjecture that he’s trending Stanford and is simply waiting on admissions. Again, that is speculative but it’s based, in part, on the fact that I’m told Higgins has a good idea where he wants to go but has yet to announce.
***I’ve reached out to Garrett Wilson, his father and someone in his camp. They aren’t saying much and obviously, we are trying to be respectful as I’m sure this revelation isn’t an easy one to deal with.
You will note that, unlike when the wide receiver coach was dismissed, Wilson has to come up with a statement regarding his commitment.
I can’t say right now how much an effect this dismissal will have but based on what I’m told and on the family staying quiet, it’s going to have an effect. At the very least, I believe it opens the door up for Wilson to take some visits and in particular, a return visit to Texas.
When I spoke to him after the dismissal of the wide receiver coach, he said he only planned on taking two visits and both were to watch the Buckeyes play.
Wilson grew up a fan of the Buckeyes but he was very clearly torn when he made his decision between Texas and Ohio State. So for those reasons, I’m going to delicately say this one is Trending Texas ever so slightly.
Again, at the very least, I believe this opens the door for Texas to get Wilson back on campus.
Marcus Washington Pushes Back Commitment Date
– Charlie S
– 2019 elite wide receiver and top Texas target, Marcus Washington has backed off of his scheduled commitment date of August 7th.
Due to everything happening in college football right now my family & I have decided it’s best I delay my commitment date and reopen my recruitment fully….
— Marcus Washington (@_MarcusW11) August 2, 2018
Washington is obviously referring to the situation at Ohio State in the tweet above.
As we mentioned previously, we felt pretty good in saying that whether he made his announcement or not, Texas would receive an official visit during the season.
Obviously, we still feel very strongly that the official visit to Austin will take place and the distraction around the Ohio State program will have an effect on his decision-making process going forward.
Lot’s of moving pieces with the 2019 wide receivers with connections to both Texas and Ohio State which could force some action in regards to the timelines of commitments.
Maninoa Tufono Announcement | Trending
– Super K & Will Baizer
As you all know 2019 LB, Maninoa Tufono (Honolulu, HI) is set to announce his decision on August 6th and Texas is in the running along with USC, UCLA, LSU, and Washington. At least that’s the official list.
The unofficial list is USC, Washington, and Texas.
We’ve spoken to a couple sources and we believe this one is trending away from Texas.
Quotes and Notes | Pre-Fall Camp Press Conferences | Hand and McKnight
– Will Baizer
Coach Hand started off by telling us that Sway has become his favorite restaurant in Austin, “Here’s what you want when you sit down to eat. You take the fork, you put it in your mouth, and then you just drop the fork, and go, ‘that’s it right there.’… I want the fork dropper.”
Well is his OL a fork dropper?
“Coming out Spring practice I felt good about our first five guys that we put out there… You add Calvin Anderson to the mix… We have high expectations for him. And the key to me is the development of Samuel Cosmi, JP Urquidez, and Tope Imade and getting Patrick Hudson healthy to see how much can we count on those young guys as the season goes on.”
How much of a problem is the revolving door of OL coaches for the OL?
“It can be an issue because of personality and system more than anything…” However, Hand came in and learned the verbiage that was already being used by the offensive staff for the linemen, “Because here’s the thing, if you go to France you have to learn French or you’ll be lost… Some coaches may call a block a ‘Slip Block’ and some guys may call it a ‘Gut Block’… So what I did coming in is I learned their language. I wanted it to be consistent… I think that has helped with the transition.”
What did he see in the film from the offensive line last season?
“The one thing that you could tell… One, that it was a new system. You could tell there were a lot of moving parts because every time I turned the game on it seemed like there were different cats in there… You could tell that there was some youth… The positives of that is that all those guys that get experience… those reps are going to pay off for us this year.”
Herb Hand says that Elijah Rodriguez has the ability to play all five spots across the offensive line.
The one thing that is very interesting about Herb Hand is his background and how it will mesh with Tom Herman. Herb Hand has been around a lot of different offensive gurus, at West Virginia he learned the Zone under Rich Rodriguez, he learned the Power with Gus Malzalhn at Tulsa, and he integrated the two under James Franklin at Vanderbilt. Herb Hand has been brought in to help with the gameplan and specifically in the run game, so I asked him what parts of his philosophy he will be bringing to Texas’ inside zone heavy philosophy:
“The first thing with that is, just about everybody in America runs inside zone or some form of it. So it’s not so much what you do it’s how you do it. That’s what makes the difference… It’s the standard of the attention to detail that you put on your players… The thing that I love about the offense here is it was an easy transition because of how aligned (DRINK) we are in terms of how we want to do things.”
But what Herb Hand will bring to Texas is a lot more pin and pull blocking as well as an emphasis on double-teaming and re-establishing the line-of-scrimmage:
“If I’m going to hang my hat on something it’s going to be that. Striking people and trying to re-establish the line-of-scrimmage at the point of attack. West Virginia, Tulsa, Vanderbilt, Penn State, and Auburn that has been our calling card — if you will — is knocking people off the ball.”
Another thing he talked about is his love of the crowther sled (pictured below) because of how it teaches his guys to block his schemes correctly that use a lot of half-man leverage:
“When you get on a crowther sled it will tell you when you’re wrong… When you put one guy on there that is when you really have to understand leverage… When guys get on it for the first time they get too thin on the pad and the sled slides out from under them, or they get too thick on the pad and the sled slides out from under them. At first, it’s frustrating, but it has everything to do with how they’re fitting up from their upper body and if their feet staying in their base or if they’re crossing over in their blocks…
All of the sudden in the Spring, I want to say it was around practice eight or nine, we’re doing our crowther work and you can see it where the light clicked on and they really understood what half-man leverage felt like, and they start driving the sled straight.”
Another coaching technique that Herb Hand uses is focusing on showing the players what was done correctly in the film sessions and de-emphasizing what went wrong until they understand. After the session, Coach Hand was explaining his half-man leverage and how if it is not taught correctly one lineman will leave early, giving the defender a straight shot across the face of another offensive lineman or the lineman won’t leave at all leaving a defender wide open. This reminded me of the play below during the Spring Game:
Coach Hand told me that on a play like this, he would focus on the RG and RT and how they ran they play correctly rather than highlight what the LG and TE did incorrectly.
“Marques Bimage is the strongest guy in our program and Kris Boyd is right there behind him.”
McKnight on Shackelford: “The one thing that they do miss playing as a freshman is some in-season lifting, like a Samuel Cosmi, Reese Leitao, Max Cummins, or Kobe Boyce… You’d like to be in a situation where most of your freshmen are in developmental lifts in the fall.”
Yancy McKnight also talked about “catapulting guys.” What this means is they give the guys GPS vests to wear so that a satellite can track their position to get their actual speed while they are on the field.
Yancy McKnight called his relationship with Tom Herman, “Like brothers. Sometimes brothers fight.”
On the transfers: “The grad transfer stuff is tough for them because for five months they’re without a home… They’re still using the facility, but they’re doing it on their own.”
McKnight says the new weight room has helped them with the flow of their workouts and the efficiency of their training.
Quotes and Notes | Pre-Fall Camp Press Conferences | Herman and Players
– Will Baizer
Here is my projection for the depth chart to start off fall camp:
QB: Sam Ehlinger
RB: Daniel Young
X: Collin Johnson
Y: Lil’Jordan Humphrey
Z: Devin Duvernay
TE: Andrew Beck
OL: Calvin Anderson (Okafor may start, but it’s Anderson’s job) – Patrick Vahe – Zach Shackelford – Elijah Rodriguez – Derek Kerstetter
DL: Charles Omenihu, Chris Nelson, Breckyn Hager
BLB: Malcolm Roach
RLB: Gary Johnson
MLB: Anthony Wheeler
NB: PJ Locke
CB: Kris Boyd, Davante Davis
BS: John Bonney
FS: Brandon Jones
2s / 3s…
QB: Shane Buechele/Cam Rising/Casey Thompson
RB: Toneil Carter/Tristian Houston
X: Lil’Jordan Humphrey
Y: Jerrod Heard / Jordan Pouncey
Z: John Burt
TE: Cade Brewer / Reese Leitao
OL: Samuel Cosmi – Patrick Hudson – Elijah Rodriguez – Tope Imade – Denzel Okafor
DL: Marquez Bimage – Taquon Graham – Gerald Wilbon / D’Andre Christmas – Jamari Chisholm – Andrew Fitzgerald
BLB: Jeffrey McCulloch
RLB: Ayodele Adeoye
NB: Josh Thompson
CB: Anthony Cook, Kobe Boyce / Eric Cuffee, Donovan Duvernay
BS: BJ Foster / Chris Brown
FS: Montrell Estell or Caden Sterns
You can watch it here
But here are the spark notes…
On the start of fall camp:
“I feel like it’s Christmas in August because we get an opportunity to see — in these freshmen — some bright shiny new toys, and we get an opportunity — in some of these veterans — to see revamped, remodeled, refurbished toys with Yancy [McKnight] and his crew… I’ve never been more excited to coach a team in my career.”
With what is happening in Columbus, Tom Herman was asked what he knew and felt about their issues:
“I left the program after the 2014 season. The things that occurred — to my knowledge — happened in late 2015. I really don’t think it’d be fair or appropriate, to be honest with you, to comment on a situation at another program that happened while I wasn’t there.”
He declined to go in-depth on what he knew about Zach Smith.
Ok… Now that is over… FOOTBALL!
Tom Herman noted that this is the first time in 5 years that the offense will be running the same offense two years in a row.
Tom Herman noted that RB Tre Watson and TE Cade Brewer will be limited at the beginning of camp. On Tre Watson: “Hopefully by practice five or six he should be ready to go.” On Brewer: “He hasn’t been hit since October.”
On Kirk Johnson: “He’s going to have to compete. In order to compete, you’ve got to stay healthy.”
On QBs, Tom Herman says “The guy who will take the first snap will be Sam… The spring was pretty neck-and-neck [with Buechele].” Says that Buechele and Cameron Rising will get reps with the 1’s.
Tom Herman on who surprised him over the offseason: “Physically Marquez Bimage… Samuel Cosmi… Leadership-wise Andrew Beck continues to be exactly what you want there.”
On what he expects out of the offense:
“There’s a ton of chemistry especially in the coaching staff room, to be honest with you. We get along great and there are very defined roles in who’s responsible for what… I expect us to run the ball better for a variety of reasons. Whether that’s us as coaches coaching them better and focusing on schemes that fit the talent level, the development of our offensive line and our tailbacks, the health of our tight ends and the fact that we have tight ends now, and — hopefully — the development of our pass game…”
Tom Herman says that the game planning is a group effort (eh…) and that it doesn’t matter who calls the plays (I agree)
LB Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson told us he rotates between both Mac and Rover in case someone goes down.
On that note, the LB room is very thin with Ayodele Adeoye being the only scholarship LB who can play Mac or Rover. It appears that after him even the players don’t know what happens, “Basically, we have the first group of guys with me, Wheeler, and Malcolm. As far as backing us up, we don’t know, but we have an idea… Dele does Mac and Rover and Roach does all three.”
WR Collin Johnson
What is the potential of this offense to get better? Collin Johnson:
“It’s year two in the same system… We’ve all been in the same system for a while. That’s the main thing is just getting more comfortable with it. And at the same time, we’re getting bigger, faster, stronger under McKnight. Summer workouts as a team were unreal.”
Johnson relented that last year there were growing pains with the offense, “As a team in general, those games we should have won in the fourth quarter, was frustrating… The two words Coach McKnight and Coach Herman have been on us about are ‘Develop’ and ‘Finish.’”
CB Kris Boyd
Boyd has seen a lot of change since he’s been at Texas, so he commented on the consistency of the program, “It’s a lot better. When we first had a change, you are kind of iffy about things — well not me because I was bought in from the beginning — but once you see everybody around you on the same page you have a better understanding of how things are going to go.”
Kirk Bohls then asked Kris Boyd the same question he asked Coach Herman in Frisco, “How many elite players do you think you have?”
Kris Boyd laughed and said, “You should know my answer… To be here you have to be elite, but I guess we all have to listen to Coach Herman and Coach McKnight until we get there… Until we start winning games that is when we can start talking about ‘elite.’”
Kris Boyd also called Coach McKnight that best strength and conditioning coach he’s seen, stating that his squat went from 470 to 600, “I shocked myself. And then on bench, we’re putting the weight on, and I hear coach yell, ‘355!’ and I’m looking like, ‘Where? Right here? I’m pushing that?'”