First Glance | 2022 WR Caleb Burton
– Charlie S
I recently caught up with 2022 wide receiver Caleb Burton (6’0″ 165) out of Del Valle, TX.
Burton is an elite receiver prospect and he already holds offers from basically all of the power programs across the country. He is the definition of a national recruit.
The Longhorns are already heavily involved with Burton and they extended an offer to him one year ago in July of 2019.
As the conversation began, I wanted to get a sense of his decision-making process and a timeline for a commitment. Burton told me. “I’m still taking it slow. I don’t plan on dropping a top 12 until maybe the middle of my Junior football season and I don’t plan on committing until right before my senior football season”.
His process has obviously been interrupted with the pandemic and that has affected the programs he has been able to see to this point. Caleb said, “I’ve only been able to get on campus at Texas and OU. I had a west coast planned to go see USC, Stanford, and Cal but Corona just took that away”.
As mentioned above, Texas didn’t drag their feet in this one as they offered the elite in-state prospect very early in his process.
When we spoke about Texas, the first thing I was interested in finding out more about was his level of communication with the staff. Caleb said, “I talk to Coach Coleman and Coach Herman often.”
Caleb was very enthusiastic about Coach Coleman, which is a great sign for Texas. Burton said, “I began talking with coach Coleman once he got the job. I went to junior day and got to sit in the meeting room with him. I like what he teaches. He focuses on technique and I’m excited to see what he’s going to do this year with the wide receivers he has”.
While that is a pretty basic quote and not surprising to hear, I was really intrigued by the enthusiasm and tone of his voice as he spoke about Coleman. That’s a great sign for Texas, not only in respect to Burton, but other targets as well.
When it came time to talk about Texas on the field, Caleb said, “They did a pretty good job throwing the ball last year. They made a whole bunch of staff changes and I’m just looking forward to seeing what they do under the new staff and how Coach Mike runs the offense and Coach Coleman works with the receivers”.
Finally, we touched on the topic of peer to peer recruiting. We spoke about what is going on across the country with the 2021 class and how aggressively they are peer recruiting each other and I asked him if there was much of that going on in his class at this point. Caleb said, “We (the recruits in his class) haven’t really gotten into that yet. We just talk about what schools stand out to us when we talk. I haven’t had anyone really try to peer recruit me from any school besides Ohio State”.
There is a long way to go in this recruitment but I feel confident in saying Texas will remain heavily involved throughout the entire process and they have as good of a chance of landing Burton as anyone else in the country at this point. I do think he is open to leaving the region and Ohio State was brought up repeatedly so it seems like they are high on the list at this time as well.
Needless to say, Burton is a guy you are going to be hearing a lot about over the course of the next 18 months.
2022 DB Terrance Brooks Talks Texas Interest
– CJ Vogel
A name to know for the 2022 class is John Paul II defensive back Terrance Brooks out of Plano, TX.
Brooks received his Texas offer back in May and has been in steady contact with the staff ever since. Though one thing I found interesting is his main point of contact was with Chris Ash instead of Jay Valai which may indicate the staff prioritizing him at the safety position.
“I haven’t spoken with Coach Valai yet,” Brooks told me. “However, I frequently speak with Coach Ash and recently had a great conversation with Coach Herman.”
The introduction of Herman to Brooks’ recruitment early on tells me the pursuit in this one could be very strong.
“That was my first time speaking with Coach Herman,” Brooks said. “He’s a great person too. But Coach Ash and I have a great relationship so far.”
Brooks told me he is comfortable playing any position in the secondary and if it were up to him, he would prefer to play corner because he “loves being on that island” out-wide.
The only time Brooks has made the trip down to Austin was for a youth track event so the city and campus don’t carry a whole lot of weight right now.
While Brooks tells me he didn’t grow up rooting for a specific school when he was younger, it is worth noting that his father, Chet Brooks, played for Texas A&M in the late 80s, was named an All American and even inducted into the Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame.
“Not at all,” Brooks said after asking if his father’s lineage to A&M will have an impact on his decision. “But he is able to share the knowledge from his experiences with me. He’s always told me that it’ll be my decision.”
Like many other recruits, Brooks said he hopes to visit Austin once COVID-19 clears up a bit. However for Brooks it will be a fantastic opportunity to see everything Austin provides.
“If I could stay in the town/environment and earn my college degree if I didn’t play football,” Brooks said in response to what’s the most important aspect for his decision. “The opportunity to come and compete as a freshman will be key factors. Along with the feel I get for the coaching staff and players.”
Brooks is a very intelligent kid who has picked up some national offers over the past couple of months. I’m sure A&M will be players in this recruitment but it bodes well for the Longhorns that head coach Tom Herman has already got involved here.
Team | Notes | July 29th
– Super K
***Texas has broken out of the previous practice format I noted (MWF lift/run, Tues Thurs position). It sounds like they are practicing as a team much more frequently including on the weekends. And there is more live stuff going on.
***Also, expect them to begin fall camp the end of next week.
***Have checked on the status of Tyler Owens and BJ Foster (we were told both were being considered for a move to linebacker). It sounds like Foster is now competing with Chris Brown for a starting safety spot. It would sound like Foster’s to win but given the amount of man to man coverage required in this defense, it doesn’t appear to be a slam dunk by any stretch.
***I get the impression that Tyler may be a down a bit on the depth chart right now. Not sure I see a path for him to start in this secondary. He came in with that five star status and is obviously incredibly fast. But, again, the man to man coverage required in this defense may have made him a better fit at the second level.
***At the cornerback spot, it seems Jamison is the man. After that it’s a battle between Green and Thompson for the next starting spot. They both rotate, currently.
***Adimora’s competition in Anthony Cook jumped in the portal. I won’t say much here but we’ll see if that holds. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time Texas has pulled a player back in from the portal.
***Also, wanted to note that have heard, on the offensive side that Josh Moore also looks good. He’s competing for one of the outside spots with Eagles and Marcus Washington. That could prove to be a nice rotation. I do believe Eagles and Washington are technically the starters as of now but again Moore will have his chance and it seems the staff is impressed with him.
Commitment Analysis | 2021 TE Gunnar Helm
The search for a Tight End in the #trUTh21 class has been a wild one for Tom Herman and his Texas Longhorn program this cycle. After gaining (and losing) two in-state commitments at the position in previous months, Texas was able to make a move nationally and land Englewood, Colorado (Cherry Creek HS) Tight End Gunnar Helm. Helm becomes the 15th member of the class.
What is Texas getting in Helm?
Rankings: 4-Star #11 TE (Rivals), 3-star (247)
Offers: Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Auburn, Utah, Michigan State, Colorado, Iowa State, UCLA, TCU
Size: 6’5 225
Projected College Position: Tight End (Y/In-Line)
Player Comparison: Elijah Yelverton (Iowa 2019-)
Analysis: This is going to sound like I’m being a homer, but I like this pickup at Tight End better than both Lake McRee and Landen King. The primary reason for me feeling this way is because McRee and Young both profile more as H-Back body types and skill sets. Gunnar Helm has the frame, moves, and simply looks like a natural “Y” and he will easily get up to 250lbs during his first 18 months on a college campus.
If you take a look at his highlights you’ll see a natural catcher of the football with long arms, that is able to pluck passes out of the air similar to an eagle snatching a fish out of a river. He’s athletic enough that his high school likes to split him out wide in the red zone and he has the body control to adjust to imperfect passes and size to overwhelm smaller defenders.
Like almost all incoming high school prospects, he will need time to get much stronger and change his body. The good news is that Helm shows a willingness to mix it up in the trenches and he even shows some pretty decent technique, which is an excellent starting point. It’s always a major positive if places like Iowa and Wisconsin really want a kid that plays along the line of scrimmage.
While I compared him to Elijah Yelverton, Helm is not nearly as fluid an athlete but he has a much higher upside in the run game. Helm doesn’t project to be an early-impact guy in my eyes, partially because the expectation is that Sophomore Jared Wiley continues on his upward trajectory. Brayden Liebrock, a talented pass-catcher, is also competition ahead of Helm once he arrives.
I think that the potential is there for Helm to develop into a true two-way TE for Texas, which is something that the Longhorns have done a poor job of developing over the past decade plus. Texas potentially will have the depth to be able to bring Helm along at a steady pace. If everything goes right, he could emerge as a multi-year starter later in his career.
Helm and his family took it upon themselves to visit the Texas campus prior to making his commitment. Unlike some other cases this cycle with out-of-state recruits, I think that this is a commitment that will likely stick.
Instant Impact Rating: 4. Long-term developmental prospect that likely needs help to see the field in year one or two.
CB Anthony Cook Withdraws from Portal, Returns to Team
– CJ Vogel
Cornerback Anthony Cook has withdrawn his name from the portal and will return to the team.
Our Super K alluded to this happening this morning in the Team Notes,
***Adimora’s competition in Anthony Cook jumped in the portal. I won’t say much here but we’ll see if that holds. Certainly wouldn’t be the first time Texas has pulled a player back in from the portal.
An interesting note on Cook returning is he will be choosing a new number with Xavion Alford being granted #4 for the upcoming season.
Texas has now been able to convince Cook and Juwan Mitchell to withdraw their names from the transfer portal this summer.
Thirsty Thursday | Tom Talks A&M, Buy Stock in 2020 DL, Hoops Note & More
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.
Why Is Tom Herman talking about A&M right now?
I couldn’t help but notice this topic repeatedly coming up on my social media feed this week. While I understand the intrigue for many, we’ve gone down this rabbit hole numerous times over the past few years and nothing has changed. The Aggies (hiding behind the SEC Bowl Selection Committee) have avoided Texas in two different Bowl opportunities in recent years.
They don’t want anything to do with playing the Longhorns. No matter how bad the Texas record looks at the time. No matter if they had a talent advantage on paper (they don’t). No matter how many times Chris Del Conte engages with their Athletic Director. No matter how many times Tom Herman gives a public response on the topic. They feel like they made the biggest power move that they possibly could.
They would rather finish 4th in the SEC West Division every year than finish 4th or 5th in the Big XII overall, as they did annually during their time there. They can stick their chests out about losing their annual 4-5 games a year because, in their minds, they are only being beaten by the elite of College Football. They get to “lose with dignity” and if they somehow luck up and win a big game, it’s time to break out the future National Championship trophies and get the dynasty talk rolling. They are a part of the best conference in the sport despite not actually contributing anything to that conference. They’re in hyperbole heaven.
The SEC tolerates A&M only because they foolishly opened up the floodgates to the fertile recruiting grounds of DFW, Houston, and East Texas to them. The big boys in the SEC Conference do nothing but benefit from the Aggies being on their schedule year in and year out. It’s free exposure into Texas and it’s almost always an easy addition to the win column.
A&M being on the schedule never really did benefit Texas much, at least not in my lifetime. If Texas beats A&M, it’s because they are supposed to. If A&M beats Texas, by God, the Aggies run this state.
I do miss the competitive part of the rivalry. The energy was undeniable. I enjoyed watching it as a kid and enjoyed being able to participate in the final contest. However, some folks just take some things way too seriously and can’t separate and compartmentalize. It was way too personal for some of those fans in the stands. I agree with those that believe that rivalries are arguably the best part about college athletics. They definitely have a different type of vibe to them than professional sports rivalries.
Texas and Texas A&M was great while it lasted, but it’s over now.
You know what rivalries aren’t over for Texas, though?
How about TCU? The Horned Frogs are 6-2 against Texas since joining the Big XII.
How about getting excited about beating freaking Baylor consistently again. Since 2010, the Bears are 5-5 against Texas.
Oklahoma State? The Cowboys are 7-3 against Texas over that same time frame.
Kansas State is 5-5 and it’s always an ugly, slow beating of a game to watch.
West Virginia is 4-4 against Texas since joining the Big XII. Nobody likes West Virginia.
Iowa State has given Texas all they can handle and more every single year for the past decade. Look it up if you don’t recall.
These are all programs that HATE Texas and they give the Longhorns everything that they’ve got and then some, every year. They’ve been handing Texas their rear ends way more often than should ever be acceptable to the team, coaches, administration, or fans.
How much longer until Texas (and their fans) start to finally return the same energy for opponents in their own conference that can’t stand them? How about getting as excited and ready to go as the person across the way that wants what you have? It’s been long past time to come down off of the high horse.
But hey, Texas still kicks Texas Tech’s ass on the regular so at least they have that going.
A huge factor in the Big XII getting back to respectability is Texas getting their stuff together and putting other programs in the conference back in their place. Those teams that I just mentioned above can’t even get any notoriety for whipping Texas due to the fact that Texas has been so bad over the past decade. The perception of the Big XII not being good is because Texas hasn’t been good. Period.
So, excuse me if I’m tired of living in the past and seeing folks bringing up the freaking Aggies.
Who gives a flip about A&M. I’d almost rather see equally irrelevant Arkansas, Nebraska or Colorado again before them.
Instead of worrying about adding a former second-tier Big XII program that is now a second or third-tier SEC program to this year’s schedule, how about Texas worry about getting back to consistently handling the teams that actually matter?
Buy Stock: Texas 2020 Defensive Line
This video got me fired up. Do yourself a favor at take the 2 minutes out of your day to get a slight taste of what we may be in store for if we play this year.
Former Longhorn and NFL Defensive Lineman Tim Crowder was recently training some of the older Texas Defensive Front members, including MIKE Linebacker Juwan Mitchell. When you see kids talking about the Texas network system after college, this is a shining example. Crowder gets paid to train pro athletes and he gets his next crop delivered to him. He’s also doing some great stuff with them on this video so it’s truly beneficial to all.
Some quick takeaways from watching that:
-Keondre Coburn is freakishly explosive, agile, and athletic for a guy that’s 350lbs. It’s ridiculous really.
-Joseph Ossai looks to have gained substantial weight in his lower half. His upper body is bigger as well. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that he is around 260lbs during the season and a part of me is thinking this season will be his last in Burnt Orange.
– Moro Ojomo carries 275 extremely well and you get a really good look at his arm length when seeing him go through some of the cone drills. Ojomo is going to get some run at SDE this season as he is much lighter than Coburn, T’Vondre Sweat, and TaQuon Graham.
– Speaking a Graham, as you can see in the video he’s well over 300lbs now and its not a sloppy 300lbs. Is this year finally the year that he puts it all together? Does the move inside change things for him?
– Juwan Mitchell has lost weight (15lbs according to the updated roster) and looks like a million bucks. I’m expecting big-time production from his MIKE spot this season.
– Marquez Bimage was disruptive during the Alamo Bowl. He appears to also be in terrific shape heading into his Senior Season. He’s going to be a rotational player, as he’s always been, but I believe that he will be able to generate pressure on passing downs and I don’t think 3 or 4 sacks this season is an unreasonable expectation at all with all of the other talent that he will be lining up next to.
I’m bullish on this group heading into this season and if they can take the next step this season in a new scheme, it could unlock the other talent that Texas has in the back Seven, which will lead to more victories for the Longhorns.
This doesn’t even include the shiny new toys …
Arizona Transfer LB Tony Fields II
As was reported earlier in the week, Texas made the final three grouping for former University of Arizona standout LB Tony Fields II. The Longhorns will have to beat out West Virginia and Minnesota for his services.
Fields II was in contact with the Texas staff almost immediately after it was made public that he was in the transfer portal and as you can see, things went well. He would be a very welcome addition to a Texas LB room that already lacked proven depth, but also took a hit when Sophomore LB Ayodele Adeoye went down with an injury that will likely limit his availability during the 2020 season.
A little background on Fields II:
He has started every single game in his college career (37) and hasn’t missed any time due to injury. He led the team in tackles and was a Freshman All-American in 2017. He has been second on the team in tackles the past two seasons, amassing a three-year total of 287 tackles (17 TFL), 8.5 sacks, and 2 career interceptions.
He would be a huge addition to the Linebacker room wherever he ultimately decides. If the choice is Texas, I think that Fields II would likely be the starter at WILL alongside Juwan Mitchell. DeMarvion Overshown would remain at Linebacker, but would be free to be used as a swiss-army knife type in this scenario and certain packages.
Fields isn’t a big guy, (listed at 6’1, 220lbs) but he doesn’t hesitate to take on blockers and his fluidity in coverage and speed stand out immediately. He would be a natural fit in the Big XII. Simply put, he checks a lot of boxes for Texas. Root like heck that Chris Ash and Coleman Hutzler can seal the deal.
Below is every snap of Fields II when the Wildcats took on Washington this past season. Unlike a highlight tape, it allows you to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Check him out.
Quick Update on 2021 OL Michael Myslinski
There’s chatter that Jacksonville, FL (Bishop Kenny HS) Center Michael Myslinksi could be close to making a decision in the coming days or next couple of weeks (a crystal ball was even put in by the reporter of another school on his final list).
Over the past month and a half, Myslinski and his family have taken trips to the campuses of Iowa, Maryland, Duke, Texas, Missouri, Florida State, and Michigan State. While distance from home would seem to favor Florida State, it’s been reported that Myslinski actually has family in the Austin-area. Academics are also expected to be a major factor and Texas compares favorably to his list of favorites there as well.
It’s been discussed in threads on the board about the long-standing relationship that exists between Herb Hand and the Myslinski family. Despite the heavy attention that he has received from programs with excellent OL programs (Iowa, Michigan State, Oregon), Texas has been at or near the top of his list from the moment they decided to offer.
With the way that Texas was able to come in a swipe Gunnar Helm out of Colorado, if a decision is truly imminent, it’s hard to ignore some of the things working in the Longhorns’ favor here. Myslinski isn’t big (Eyeball test says he’s about 6’1, 265lbs), but he’s a technician and he is nasty. Check out his Junior Highlights below.
Texas adds to their 2021 Hoops class
Davenport, IA (Ascension HS) 2021 3-Star Guard Emarion Ellis shocked everyone on Tuesday when he abruptly ended his recruitment and committed to Shaka Smart and his basketball program at the University of Texas. Ellis joins Raleigh, NC Forward Keeyan Itejere as the second member of the Texas 2021 Hoops Recruiting Class.
Ellis, like Itejere, is considered a prospect whose stock was likely to blow up during the spring and summer AAU sessions but won’t get that opportunity due to COVID-19. Shaka Smart has a long track record at Texas of identifying players that weren’t initially highly-rated or coveted by other major programs and seeing them develop into starters and in some cases even NBA lottery picks (Jaxson Hayes, Jase Febres, Jericho Sims, Kai Jones, and Donovan Williams).
Per reports, Ellis is a smooth athlete with an explosive first-step. He’s tall and rangy (6’5) with long arms and has the potential to be a lockdown defender with his tools. He has ballhandling ability and will be developed as a Combo Guard (PG/SG) while on campus. You can see him in action on the hardwood below.
Basketball Junior Highlights:
From the Des Moines Register on the Ellis Commitment:
Ellis is also a quality three-sport athlete (Football, Basketball, Track) and was being recruited by the Iowa Football staff. He plays Quarterback for his high school team because his coach always wants the ball in the hands of his best athlete. He’s tough.
Football Junior Highlights:
Just in case a few of you have forgotten about him already:
Sneak Peek at how star Freshman Greg Brown is looking in drills courtesy of Jai Lucas.
2022 #1 Center Demetrius Hunter Talks Texas
– CJ Vogel
I caught up with 2022 West Orange Stark C Demetrius Hunter yesterday to see where he was in his recruitment and if any schools were standing out so far. It’s still very early in Hunter’s recruitment, and at the moment he holds just four offers – Oklahoma, Texas A&M, SMU and Arizona State.
Hunter has a number of Texas personnel guys following him on Twitter so he is on the radar to an extent.
“They really haven’t reached out to me like that,” Hunter said. “I showed Herb Hand my film and my transcripts, but they really haven’t got back with me yet.”
While a decision is nowhere close to being made for Hunter, he told me the most important aspect for finding his future home will be the family feel.
“Really for me it’s if the coach cares about me on and off the field,” Hunter said regarding the point above. “Like are you going to treat me like I am your son, like your own. Are you going to care about me even when I am not playing for you.”
“Really whoever has the best relationship with me, I like to build a relationship with the coaches and get to know them on a personal level.”
This recruitment really is wide open for Hunter. He has yet to be on any campus visits and has yet to really blow up on the scene, despite holding OU and Texas A&M offers.
**** One interesting note is that he is first-cousins with former Texas Longhorn All American Earl Thomas, and while the Longhorns have yet to get involved in this recruitment, it could be something to watch down the road. But for now, the Sooners should be very happy with the establishment of an early relationship with Hunter.
“(Earl) told me to just enjoy it and keep grinding,” Hunter said. “Look forward to the future and make the right decisions, and do what I am supposed to do in the classroom.”
For those wondering if Earl had been doing a little recruiting in favor of the Longhorns, the decision will all be up to Hunter.
“He told me to pick whichever the best pick, the coaches that I like the most and which school I like the most. He said he can’t persuade me to go anywhere, it’s all my choice.”
I asked Hunter what he thought the best part of his game was and he gave me a really fascinating answer.
“Just me attacking as soon as I snap the ball. Like I fire off from the ball quick and aggressive. That’s how I play, quick and aggressive. When I do my training, I try to do everything at a fast pace. Once you learn how to train fast, you will do everything faster. When I am working out at the schools; we could just be doing walk-throughs and I am just aggressive with it, it’s just natural to me.