Open Post | Tuesday, December 29th

Jalen Green | Position Move
– Super K

With Texas taking a recent commitment from transfer DB, Darion Dunn, some of you were asking if that meant we’d see Jalen Green in the portal.

It looks like Ash has decided to expand Jalen Green’s role. I’m told that during bowl prep, Green has been playing safety. Also, told that he prefers the safety position.

Not sure, just yet, how he is taking to the new position but I’ll be asking about that in the coming days and I’m assuming we will see him in the bowl game.

Negative Recruiting has to Stop
– Super K

You may recall that former 4-star DB and FSU DB, Jaiden Woodbey recently entered the portal and after including Texas in his list of possible transfer destination, ultimately picked Boston College.

I recently spoke with someone close to Woodbey and was told the reason why Woodbey chose BC over Texas. Source told me that Jaiden himself said that he had Texas players telling him not to come there. Not as in they were trying to dissuade him from coming because they were afraid of competition but just more of the negative recruiting we’ve seen come from inside the program in the past.

If Herman is retained, this matter will need to be addressed somehow. It has cost Texas multiple players.

It happens to some degree at other schools but it’s excessive and too pervasive at Texas. It needs to be rooted out.

Thinking Out Loud | That ‘Top 3’ 2019 Class
– Charlie S

First things first…the 2020 season was a disappointment for the Texas program. I don’t think that is disputable.

We are left here with fans, donors, media, and even former players saying that it is time to move in a different direction following a major staff overhaul in 2019 and unfulfilled optimism on the field in 2020.

It was Tom Hermans 4th season at the helm and it was expected that all of ‘his’ guys would be the major contributors on the field. He had a 4th year starter at QB and the main opposition in the conference was going through a transition year of their own with a young QB and unproven skill position players.

A Big 12 Championship, at the very least, was the expectation.

The program had stacked good recruiting classes on top of each other and the 2019 class was the perceived ‘Best of the Best’ of all the classes.

Perception is often different from reality. Looking at the 2019 class, you can see what I am talking about.

Below, I have listed all the players in the class by their composite ranking and provided a brief summary of their time in Austin:

***Bru McCoy – 5* ATH – Never played a down at Texas
Jordan Whittington – 5* ATH – Minimal impact in 2 years, bit by the injury bug
Jake Smith – 4* WR – 48 receptions, 9 TD’s over the course of 2 seasons
Tyler Johnson – 4* OT – Redshirted freshman year, saw limited time this season
***De’Gabriel Floyd – 4* ILB – Never played a down at Texas due to injury
Tyler Owens – 4* S – Depth guy right now
***Kenyatta Watson II – 4* CB – Transferred to Georgia Tech
Marcus Washington – 4* WR – 7 receptions over 2 years
David Gbenda – 4* ILB – Redshirted freshman year, depth guy this season
Brayden Liebrock – 4* TE – Has yet to make a major impact
Chris Adimora – 4* S – Making some gains as a sophomore
***Derrian Brown – 4* RB – Never played a down for Texas due to injury
Roschon Johnson – 4* QB – Now a running back, objectively the largest contributor from this class
Isaiah Hookfin – 4* OT – Redshirted as a freshman, shows potential as part of the future on the OL
Myron Warren – 4* DE – Entered the portal following freshman year, pulled name out in August
***Javonne Shepherd – 4* OT – Left the program after one year to the transfer portal
Jacoby Jones – 4* DE – Solid contributor on the DL in 2020
Marcus Tillman Jr. – 3* OLB – Depth at LB, injured most of 2019
T’Vondre Sweat – 3* DT – Major player on the DL
Peter Mpagi – 3* DE – Zero stats
***Caleb Johnson – 3* OLB – In the transfer portal
Kennedy Lewis – 3* WR – Was not with the team on the field in 2020
Marques Caldwell – 3* CB
Jared Wiley – 3* TE – Saw extended playing time in 2020
Willie Tyler – 3* OT – Has yet to contribute, opted out of 2020 season
Juwan Mitchell – 3* ILB – Entered the portal following 2019, came back, had a solid year in 2020

*** Three out of the top 10 ranked players in the class are no longer with the program.

*** Five out of the top 16 ranked players in the class are no longer with the program.

*** Six members of the class are no longer with the program and there are several others who’s return would best be described as ‘questionable’.

*** The players who have had the most impact on the field are found in the lower half of the rankings with Roschon Johnson, T’Vondre Sweat, and Juwan Mitchell arguably having the largest impact.

*** No player who was ranked in the top 10 of the class has played a major role in regards to impacting wins and losses.

Those are some pretty eye opening facts. They aren’t opinions. They aren’t suggestions. Those are the facts.

I know there have been some tough breaks…the McCoy drama was a wild ride, and the De’Gabriel Floyd and Derrian Brown injury situations were incredibly unfortunate.

I also realize it was only year two for the group, however, you would have expected there to be some major impact from this group by this time.

It just has not happened in large part.

Now, let me preface this with my opinion on the rankings. I’m not a guy who believes they are useless. If fact, I think they are a useful tool to use as guidance. I believe the ranking of the top 30 or so players each year are pretty accurate in respect to them identifying the guys who have the most ‘potential’.

However, once you start splitting hairs and numerically ranking players 40-700…I think there is a lot left to the imagination. I would be more in favor of a blanket ranking (ie: He’s a 4 star talent or a 3* talent etc. without getting so specific between .975 4* and a .897 4*. But that is a story for another time. So I don’t put a lot of stock into the differences.

The issue is, Texas pulled in what was a very talented class…at least on paper.

Where have things gone wrong? Have they gone wrong? Is it too early to tell?

I don’t believe it is a case of being too early to tell. At this point, out of the top 10 guys, who is projected to have a major impact in 2021? Maybe Whittington if he can stay healthy? Maybe Jake Smith makes a leap?

Has it been a case of faulty rankings? Has it been a case of poor evaluations? Has it been a case of simple bad luck? Has it been a case of poor development? Has it been a case of poor retention on behalf of the staff in regards to having the number of kids leave the program who have chosen too?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one thing when you have a class that looked so promising on paper yet has very little to show after being on campus for two years.

One thing is certain…the luck, evaluations, development and retention needs to turn around no matter who is coaching going forward. The talent, on paper, is there. It is up to the coaching staff to put it to it’s best use…and it appears they have failed to do just that up till this point.

Report | Offensive Line Notes, Okafor OUT (UPDATED: 12:57 a.m.)
– CJ Vogel

Our Super K can confirm Horns247’s report that Denzel Okafor will be out of tomorrow’s Alamo Bowl against Colorado due to COVID-19 testing.

K spoke with a few sources who mentioned the expected replacement for Okafor will be Tyler Johnson.

For those counting at home, that will be three new starters from the opening day lineup which, until Kansas State, had stayed injury free for the entire season. Here’s a look at games started by the projected starting OL during their times at Texas.

  • LT – Andrej Karic (0)
  • LG – Junior Angilau (21)
  • C – Jake Majors (1)
  • RG – Tyler Johnson (0)
  • RT – Christian Jones (9)

Luckily, I talked a bit with a source close to the team that shared some positivity about the group. The source said that despite the inexperience on the Texas OL, he still expects the group to be just fine in the trenches. Adding that Colorado’s DL is nothing to write home about.

He added, “I am very excited to see Jake Majors out there again.”

Texas is coming off a season best performance against Kansas State where the team rushed for 334 yards on 33 carries (10.1 YPC) and found the end zone seven times on the ground. Colorado is currently averaging 158.6 yards per game allowed on the ground, which currently ranks 56th in the country.

UPDATE: 12:57 a.m.

After talking a bit more with the source about, it sounds like the replacement for Okafor will be Rafiti Ghirmai, not Tyler Johnson.

Commitment Analysis | 2021 WR Keithron Lee
– D.T.

Texas unwrapped a present on Christmas Day for their 2021 Recruiting Class when Rudder HS (Bryan, TX) Wide Receiver Keithron Lee announced his commitment to the Longhorns. Lee becomes the third Wide Receiver commitment in the class.

What’s Texas getting in Lee? 

Ranking: Consensus 3-Star recruit, National Top 50 Wide Receiver

Size: 5’10 170

Stats: 1st Team All 10-5A. 71 Receptions, 1,139 Yards, 16 TDs, 65 Carries, 554 Yards, 9 TDs, 1 Kickoff Return TD

Offers: Baylor, TCU, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Utah, SMU, Washington, Arizona State

Projected Position at Texas: Wide Receiver (H)

Player Comparison: Brandon Collins (Texas 2007-2009)

Analysis: His highlight tape is fun. 

A multisport athlete at the 5A classification, Lee is a late-bloomer in the sport who didn’t start to focus on Football until his Junior season (Basketball is his first love), so there is a ton of room for growth from a technical standpoint. Despite his lack of polish, he is a big play waiting to happen when he touches the football. A YAC machine, he should be a guy that consistently moves the chains at the next level on simple quick game routes, which are a Quarterback and Offensive Coordinator’s dream. He routinely adjusts to underthrown or inaccurate passes on tape and has the type of quick-twitch ability after the catch that leads to chunk yards.

Lee isn’t a big guy and seems destined for the Slot based on his athletic profile, although he can challenge Cornerbacks vertically as an Outside Receiver and could develop into a deep threat later in his career. He should be able to come in as a Freshman and immediately push guys like Dajon Harrison, Kai Money, and KelVontay Dixon for their positions as depth behind Jake Smith, Jordan Whittington, and Brenden Schooler.

The name Brandon Collins may be hazy to a few of you reading this, but a quick YouTube check will give you a reminder of the type of upside Collins showed at Texas before his off-field issues later got him dismissed. Lee has the talent to be a contributor as early as year two during his time on campus which also lines up with Collins’ timeline and trajectory at Texas. 

Instant Impact Rating (1-10): 3. Unless Lee can make an impact in the Return Game on Kickoffs I don’t see how he gets meaningful snaps as a True Freshman.