Open Post | Weekend, April 30th – May 2nd

Bo Davis Pursuing 2023 Lewisville DT Jordan Renaud Hard
– CJ Vogel

Last week I stopped by Lewisville where I was able to see 5-star DT Jordan Renaud with the pads on for the first time.

Renaud is everything you want in a five star defensive lineman. He is disruptive, quick and explosive, and was causing issues all day for a pretty talented Lewisville offensive line.

It goes without saying, but Renaud is hearing from just about everyone. The Florida native was on the phone with Nick Saban last week and is constantly in communication with Texas DL coach Bo Davis.

“Texas and Texas A&M. Coach Bo (Davis) calls me every other day,” Renaud said when asked who is he really hearing from often so far. “Those two right now and Alabama. They are starting to scratch the surface.”

To put it in perspective of how quickly Renaud adapted to becoming a football player, keep in mind he started playing football in 2017. Yet, entering his fourth year, he holds 20 offers before his junior season from some of the biggest programs in the country.

Coach Davis is putting in some really impressive work with Renaud right now. From the first time I spoke with Renaud, it sounded like there wouldn’t be much interest in Big 12 schools, but he has been able to put in enough work to get Renaud down to Austin for the first time this past weekend for the Texas spring game.

“Coach Bo cares about me outside of football. Yeah, I got the skills and stuff, but he cares about me,” Renaud said. “I like how funny he is, Coach Bo is very funny. He is insightful, very insightful.”

Renaud said he had to do some research about Bo Davis when he was hired for the Texas job. He knew he had come from Alabama and after doing some digging he came away impressed with his resume and what he had done in the past.

As for schools Renaud hopes to see in person whenever the dead period ends, he mentioned Texas, Texas A&M, LSU and Oklahoma.

There is a very long way to go in this recruitment, but Texas fans should be very pleased with the work Bo Davis has made in this recruitment. I do think it’s going to be a tough pull to keep Renaud out of SEC country, but having him on campus for the spring game is a victory nonetheless at this stage.

I don’t get the sense that any of the Florida schools will have an edge in this recruitment despite Renaud having grown up there. For what it’s worth, I got the sense he wanted to distance himself from the Sunshine State.

I’ll get back in touch with Renaud this week to see how the trip was and if he has any return dates in mind.


Recent Additions | Comments and Concerns
– Super K

Texas has added some new pieces of late…

***Really like the Xavier Worthy addition. I wish I would’ve had a chance to evaluate him in person. We had been hearing for a while that the wide receiver room was a concern so this was a welcome addition. Worthy has elite speed and seems to be a natural pass catcher. He also Scooby doo’d a couple of defenders on film.

I have been told that Worthy is very light right now. To the tune of like 155 lbs. Texas could really use an instant impact freshman. So his summer off-season work will be big.

***Not sure what to make of the Ben Davis addition. Top player coming out of high school, has the measurables, father holds the Alabama record for career tackles. But logged very little in the way of stats during his years at Alabama. Alabama isn’t an easy place to play obviously and to his credit, despite the little production, he did get on the field. Again, not an easy task at Alabama.

At the end of the day, this is a guy Sark has seen in person and knows very well. So, it only makes sense to defer to him in a situation like this. He knows what he’s currently got on campus and he knows who Ben Davis is or isn’t.

***Last night Texas landed a commitment from 2022 DL Zac Swanson out of Arizona. On a trip out to Arizona, earlier this year, I did have a chance to stop by and see Swanson in person.

Great young man, hard-working and relentless in his pursuit of the ball carrier. I do not really know where he ends up though. In my estimation, he’s not his listed 6’4 or even 6’3. I know some schools were recruiting him as an interior guy but that’s a lot of weight to put on his frame if you want to maintain his quickness. Just not sure where he ends up. I rather expected Texas to perhaps wait for June to get Zac back on campus and really get a sense of where they’d like to play him after seeing him and speaking with him in person.

***Texas has also added linebacker transfer, Devin Richardson out of New Mexico State. I haven’t had a chance to review his film or background yet but Darius will have notes on him, shortly.

***I am told that Texas is still in pursuit of USC LB transfer, Palaie Gaoteote.  Was told by folks in the know that landing him would be a slam dunk for Texas. He was not a guy USC wanted to lose. I do wonder if he ends up at Ohio State though. However, last I heard, the Buckeyes were also in the mix for Henry To’oto’o. Was told by a source close to To’oto’o that he is down to Bama and Ohio State. So, I guess, hope for Ohio State?

***Also, on the QB front, if Sark ends up feeling like Hudson Card is the guy, don’t be surprised if you start hearing word of Texas window shopping for a possible QB transfer to play back up.


Jacoby Mathews Still Visiting
– Super K

As you know, 2022 5-star DB, Jacoby Mathews recently committed to LSU.

***Prior to his commitment, Mathews’s father told me he had a top two. I think it’s safe to say that the two are LSU and Texas.

***Texas has quite a few things working in their favor…

***Mathews has close family in Texas.

***Perhaps Mathews’s favorite game experience was at DKR when he was in 8th grade.

***Mathews has told me that as a place to live and as a state in general, he prefers the state of Texas over any of the states where the other programs are located.

***Additionally, Jacoby and his father mentioned that leaving the state would be preferable in order to help maintain focus.

***Jacoby also sees Texas as the best school in terms of what it can offer outside of football and after football.

***Mathews’ head coach was also Terry Joseph’s head coach. He’s known both Joseph and Gideon for a while.

***But, as I previously noted, Jacoby had told me that the person in recruiting he was closest to was Mason Smith who was until about a week ago a recruiting specialist at Mississippi State. Because Smith was at Mississippi State, I didn’t think much of his connection with Smith. But, as soon as I saw him get hired by LSU last week, I started thinking…uh oh. A few hours later, Jacoby was committed.

***Now then, Jacoby’s father tells me that they will still be taking their official visit to Texas. I know that Jacoby has spoken at length about how much he likes the state of Texas and I am still very curious to see how he feels after he’s seen all the shiny things at Texas and in Austin versus a place like LSU and Baton Rouge. He’s been pretty open about the fact that that stuff matters to him. And by “stuff” I mean, a nicer place to live and a place that can set you up to be successful outside of football so you can continue living in that place


The Portal | Work is Being Done
– CJ Vogel

College football’s transfer portal has really added a new and rather entertaining twist to the world of transfers and free agency. It’s no secret that Texas has been rather active in the portal this offseason with several additions dating back to the first month of Steve Sarkisian being on the job.

With spring ball out of the way, the staff now has the best idea it has had since arriving of what type of ingredients they have in the cupboard and where they have holes still in the lineup. I plan on digging through each offseason addition via the portal to recap where the Longhorns have helped their roster and where the lineup can continue to improve.


Additions

CB Darion Dunn, McNeese State

Dunn was named to a All-Southland Conference 1st Team member in 2019 and has since turned some heads in Austin. With Josh Thompson and D’Shawn Jamison having the outside corner spots locked down, it makes sense for one of the three to filter into the slot.

Josh Thompson had some high praise for Dunn earlier this spring. “He comes out high energy every day. He’s smart. A great athlete. He’s fast. He does everything right and he doesn’t make too many mistakes.”

LB Ray Thornton, LSU

The departure of Joseph Ossai led Pete Kwiatkowski and Jeff Choate to the portal to find an able replacement. The two came across Ray Thornton and it led to a match. Thornton is in position to start this fall for Texas on the edge.

DE Ovie Oghoufo, Notre Dame

Oghoufo does not have a loaded stat sheet from his time at Notre Dame, but he comes in with three years of college experience and a ready-t0-play frame. At 6’3″ and 240 pounds, Oghoufo is a serviceable body at a position that desperately needs depth.

WR Xavier Worthy, Michigan

Worthy was released from his NLI a few weeks ago and quickly found a new home with the Longhorns. It is reported that Worthy would have touched 10.3 in the 100m this track season had he had one which gives a tremendous idea of what type of speed Texas is getting. It’s no secret that Texas was lacking in WR production this spring, so the speedy freshman should have a chance to touch the field right away.

LB Devin Richardson, New Mexico State

Richardson opted out of the New Mexico State’s 2020 season but he posted an impressive 2019 campaign with three forced fumbles and a couple sacks. I imagine Richardson will carve out a nice role for himself before his days are done in Austin. He still has three years of eligibility.

LB Ben Davis, Alabama

Former five-star Ben Davis made the move from Alabama to join the Texas squad as a sixth year senior. He comes in as one of the more underwhelming five stars in recent memory but that could change with the new environment. Davis has been tried in all sorts of roles during his time at Alabama so it will be interesting to see what PK does with him this fall.


Where Texas Can Still Improve

As K reported earlier in the week, Texas is still checking out USC linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV. 

***I am told that Texas is still in pursuit of USC LB transfer, Palaie Gaoteote.  Was told by folks in the know that landing him would be a slam dunk for Texas. He was not a guy USC wanted to lose. I do wonder if he ends up at Ohio State though. However, last I heard, the Buckeyes were also in the mix for Henry To’oto’o. Was told by a source close to To’oto’o that he is down to Bama and Ohio State. So, I guess, hope for Ohio State? 

As we have seen from the recent additions, the staff is looking to overhaul the linebacker room and are clearly still in the process of getting guys they feel fit the scheme. Gaoteote is a guy that has been describe to us at TFB as a “bona fide stud” and someone that USC did not want to lose. Should Texas be able to land him, I have a hard time believing he won’t see the field immediately.

One of the biggest needs on the team right now comes in the big boys up front. I believe there will be some work done this offseason to get some new bodies in the offensive line room.

Sark said this in his most recent press conference following the spring game in which nine sacks were allowed: “(The offensive line) is an area that will get a great amount of emphasis from us throughout the summer and into the season.” The return of Derek Kerstetter should certainly help, but him alone may not be enough to get the offensive line into the strength category for this team this fall.

I believe it would be in the best interest of the team to go get one or two more offensive linemen ahead of fall camp. There may be an issue of finding quality offensive line however, as the visible portal lists don’t show too many options with game experience at the P5 level.

Another spot Texas could use another body at is the wide receiver spot. They have touched on it already with the addition of Xavier Worthy, but the position still seems light. Jake Smith, Jordan Whittington, Joshua Moore and Troy Omeire are expected to be the big dogs this fall and there is not a lot of experience among the group. Worthy is certainly going to help in terms of taking the top off of defenses, but until Marcus Washington, Alvonte Woodard or Kelvontay Dixon can prove they are going to be a big part of this offense, the need remains for another able body for Andre Coleman to work with.


Texas in Position to add a Major Transfer
– Super K

Earlier this week, we talked about Texas’ pursuit of USC transfer linebacker, Palaie Gaoteote (link here) saying:

I am told that Texas is still in pursuit of USC LB transfer, Palaie Gaoteote.  Was told by folks in the know that landing him would be a slam dunk for Texas. He was not a guy USC wanted to lose. I do wonder if he ends up at Ohio State though. However, last I heard, the Buckeyes were also in the mix for Henry To’oto’o. Was told by a source close to To’oto’o that he is down to Bama and Ohio State. So, I guess, hope for Ohio State?

Spoke with a west coast source, earlier today, who tells me that Henry To’o To’o is very likely headed to Ohio State.

Same source tells me to expect Texas to be the landing spot for Palaie Gaoteote. Again, I am told Palaie is very talented and the source noted, “I don’t know how well he fits that conference but he definitely fits the DC’s scheme”.

This could be just the piece needed to tighten up that linebacker group. With he and Overshown as talented top-end guys and a nice rotation from Richardson, Gbenda and others, suddenly a room that might have been a concern is looking like it will be a strength.