Quick Hitter | 2021 DL Arden Walker
– Charlie S
***Texas offered 2021 DL Arden Walker (6’4″ 245) out of Engelwood, CO back in April
***We are aware of the crystal balls projecting him to Texas which have come in recently.
***After checking with Super K and Darius, his interest in Texas would not be considered a surprise.
***Walker actually visited Oklahoma back in winter and it seemed like he wanted to play in this region.
***Darius added that the family is originally from Texas which may explain some of the interest.
***It is worth noting that his father played ball at Colorado.
***We are checking to confirm where things stand between Walker and Texas.
Anthony Cook No Longer With Program
– CJ Vogel
We can confirm the report by Inside Texas that Texas cornerback Anthony Cook is no longer with the program.
Just a week ago, we had a very similar post regarding Cook’s status with the program in doubt, though he was convinced to return to the team by the staff and his teammates.
A major factor in his original decision to return was a personal phone call with head coach Tom Herman which convinced Cook to return to the team. Though things have changed and Cook is once again walking away from the program.
According to K, a couple sources say he does not plan on staying with the team, but we will be monitoring the situation until an official move is made.
It is very likely he enters his name into the transfer portal in the near future.
** It’s also worth noting that as of this afternoon, we have not heard of any additional names leaving.
Team | Quick-Hitters | Wednesday, June 24th
– Super K
***As you all know by now, after going back and forth, Anthony Cook ultimately decided to leave.
***While to some this may seem like a blow, it doesn’t sound like he was seen as the starter even at the nickel position where it sounds like the new staff likes what they’ve seen out of Chris Adimora.
***Another thing to keep in mind is that the new staff very much likes speed on the outside which is likely the reason Cook was moved inside in the first place. Also, the reason guys like Josh Thompson and Jamison are currently seen as possible starters.
***Some attrition at DB was almost inevitable and not to sound harsh but I don’t think this one will be seen by the staff as a blow.
***Have heard that in addition to workouts, the players have been in the bubble doing explosive movement type exercises with the strength staff. Nothing position-related and not even so much conditioning as just work on pure speed and explosion.
***Also, another note of interest, was told that Herman had some doctors speak with the players this week regarding the Coronavirus. Was told that Herman even expressed his own thoughts about the possibility that a season may not happen. I very much disagree but thought it was interesting that the idea would even be floated to the players. Although, I imagine they’ve heard that from outside sources, anyway.
***As CJ noted yesterday, I have not heard of any new names considering transfer but after how quickly this Cook deal turned again, I’ll check more frequently than I had been.
Quick Hitter | Commits Working on Jaden Alexis
– CJ Vogel
** There has been some favorable movement on social media in the recruitment of 2021 WR Jaden Alexis out of Pompano Beach, Florida.
** I’m told the movement extends behind the scenes a bit and current members of the Longhorns’ 2021 class are putting in some real work with the Florida wide receiver beyond the social media hype.
** Keep in mind, Alexis has a verified 4.41 40-yard dash and 10.75 100m dash time. The speed is elite.
** I’ve reached out to Alexis and will have an update on his recruitment in the coming days. But the push from the current commits is a great sign moving forward.
Update | 2021 OLB/DE D’Marion Alexander
– Super K
Texas continues its heavy pursuit of in-state talent in this odd Corona recruiting cycle.
2021 OLB/DE, D’Marion Alexander (China Spring, TX) recently decommitted from Minnesota and it sounds like Texas was in touch with him the night before he decommitted.
”Me and coach Giles have been in touch even after and during my commitment. He actually hit me up last night to see if I was fine and told me he looks forward to seeing me soon”.
Whenever visits do reopen it won’t be the first time Giles has seen Alexander. Before the virus shut down, Alexander had visited Texas.
Alexander tells me that the Texas staff tells him they are working on making an offer happen.
If it does, I imagine it’ll be a wrap.
Thirsty Thursday | June 25 | Anthony Cook, Colorado Targets, 2021 DB Class
Welcome back to another edition of Thirsty Thursdays! As always, I’m here to try to help quench your thirst for Longhorn Football in the drought of the offseason, along with other topics of interest in Longhorn sports this week.
What does Anthony Cook’s departure mean for Texas?
Let me first start this section of today’s piece off by saying that I am personally very disappointed that Anthony Cook won’t be finishing his career at Texas. One of the few regrets that I have in life is not sticking around for that UT degree and then Grad transferring. Sometimes you just have to do what you feel is best for yourself at the time and deal with any repercussions later.
For a good portion of his recruiting process, Cook was considered the top Defensive Back in what was at the time considered one of the best Defensive Back classes ever (Cook, Caden Sterns, BJ Foster, Jalen Green, DeMarvion Overshown, and D’Shawn Jamison) when he signed with Texas in 2018 out of Lamar High School in Houston where he was teammates with the aforementioned Jamison.
Cook was a 5-star recruit from the debut of every website’s rankings until he matched up with some of the nation’s best in San Antonio for what was then still the Army All-American Game. Concerns arose from that week of practices about Cook’s make-up speed and habit of being a bit handsy. Basically, there were some whispers about there being concerns about him being able to stick at Cornerback and his consensus drop in status across all platforms reflected that.
Fast-forward to now and after playing in 25 career games (7 starts), Anthony Cook never got his hands on an interception or registered a takeaway for the Longhorns. He saw lower-rated players see time before him (Kobe Boyce, for example) and he struggled to consistently stay on the field for the Longhorns. He was slated this spring to move to the “Nickel” position in Chris Ash’s Defense, a position that actually works out with the Linebackers during practice, which was indicative of a move away from the traditional Cornerback spot that he arrived on campus with as his identity.
As if being moved from Cornerback wasn’t enough, his position coach (Jason Washington) got fired, as did the other coach that assisted in his recruitment (Corby Meekins). To top it all off, there were strong indications that he would be learning this new position from BEHIND a younger player in true Sophomore Chris Adimora, who flashed big-time as a Freshman. For Example:
For the record, I was always infuriated when I saw #38 on the field instead of #4 during his Freshman season, but at the same time, I couldn’t help but wonder what Cook had to have been doing wrong to not have earned the trust of his coach. Texas doesn’t hesitate to play their highly-rated Freshmen regardless of the circumstances, that’s simply the nature of the beast, but for some reason, Cook struggled to stay on the field.
I couldn’t forget that.
I do believe that he could be a productive player as a Safety, I thought he was a very good tackler during his time in Burnt Orange. The only issue with that is that Texas is loaded at Safety. There was nowhere for him to play.
When you add all of these factors together, you usually wind up with the result that we saw here.
To say that Anthony Cook has seen a lot of change and adversity during his short time at Texas would be an understatement. He has been one of the players that has been vocal on social media about issues that he feels exist on campus and even went as far as to tweet out last week that he had “played his final snap at the University of Texas.” He likely feels like he’s stuck around more than long enough now to decide that it wasn’t the right place for him.
All I can do is wish the young man the best of luck.
Texas chasing Colorado teammates
After losing Landen King to Auburn, Texas has been hot after Cherry Creek HS (Englewood, CO) Tight End prospect Gunnar Helm (6’5 225) recently. In fact, the Longhorns hosted Helm on a virtual visit last week and as you can see above it made quite an impression on him. New Tight Ends Coach Jay Boulware has moved quickly here and Texas figures to be a legitimate factor if prospects are allowed to take visits during the Fall.
It can be difficult to evaluate Tight End film sometimes because they are rarely properly utilized, but Helm shows some impressive ability as a Receiver for his school. He is a smooth, athletic mover for his size and he shows off an impressive pair of mitts repeatedly on his highlights posted below. Cherry Creek High School is one of the better programs in the state of Colorado, having made an appearance in the 5A State Championship this past season.
Here’s where things start to get a little bit interesting.
As you all know, I haven’t been a fan of Texas taking two Tight Ends in this class, but C.J. brought up something over the weekend that I hadn’t considered:
What if Juan Davis isn’t playing Tight End at Texas? I mean, he literally looks like Lil’Jordan Humphrey and we saw how Tom Herman and co. utilized Humphrey in their first season. Maybe the Texas staff actually considers him a Wide Receiver prospect and they are still in search of their Tight End in the class.
That makes much more sense to myself, personally.
I’d caution fans on getting too excited about Helm and Texas until he’s actually able to make an in-person visit. Nebraska and Iowa have been on him much longer than the Longhorns have and it’s hard for anyone to argue Tight End development against the Hawkeyes.
Gunnar Helm Junior Highlights:
Helm just so happens to attend the same high school as Arden Walker (6’4 245), a guy that was introduced to the board earlier this week. Walker’s father, Arthur, was an all-conference performer at Colorado and later played in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders. Dad is originally from Houston, Texas, and come to find out he was actually a verbal commitment to the Longhorns before Coach Bill McCartney was able to flip him at the last minute.
Texas offered Arden back in April and he had plans to visit campus prior to this pandemic taking place. He was able to take trips Oklahoma and Texas A&M prior to the shutdown and appears to be very open to returning to the state, so the Longhorns could certainly be a team to watch here if they’re able to eventually get him on campus.
Another name to file away.
Arden Walker Junior Highlights:
Ibraheem & Coffey
I know that it went down last week, but I never got the chance to give my thoughts on the duo.
In my personal rankings (right here), I’ve got Ibraheem ranked as the third-best Cornerback in the class and I believe that Coffey is the best Safety in this year’s bunch.
For comparison’s sake, 247 rates Ibraheem as the third-best Cornerback prospect in the state. They rate Coffey as the second-best Safety prospect in Texas.
Rivals rates Ibraheem as the third-best Cornerback prospect in the state (behind Hunter Washington?!?!?). They rate Coffey as the top Safety in Texas and the fourth-best in the entire nation.
ESPN rates Ibraheem as the best Cornerback prospect in Texas. They rate Coffey as the second-best Safety in the state.
As you can see, the consensus is that these are two big-time pickups for new CB Coach Jay Valai and they are first indicators of what type of impact Valai could have on the recruiting trail at Texas if his mouthpiece also translates to development on the field. The closest thing that Texas currently has to Ibraheem is Kenyatta Watson, but Ibraheem is faster than Watson. J.D. Coffey will have a chance to earn snaps as a true Freshman, especially if Texas loses a guy like Caden Sterns after this year.
Texas has the makings of a dynamic Defensive Back haul in this class with Billy Bowman (Nickel), Coffey (S), and Ibraheem (CB) onboard. They remain in strong standing for Austin LBJ Safety Andrew Mukuba, who along with Coffey, would give Texas the top two in-state Safeties in the class. The focus the rest of the way appears to now be on closing with Mukuba (Clemson is believed to be the biggest threat) and finding another Cornerback prospect to go with Ibraheem. In what is a weak year at DB in Texas, the Longhorns are doing as good as you could hope and the new guys deserve some credit for that.