Recruiting update: Holidays mean gifts, love...and football evaluation

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By Eric Nahlin, Inside Texas Recruiting Editor
Posted Dec 19, 2012
Copyright © 2018

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It's my favorite time of the year, and I don't mean the holiday season, though I do love that as well. With the high school season nearing its end, individual highlights are starting to pour out, leaving myself and new IT contributor Jonathan Wells with tons of viewing to do. With offers now going out to players from three different classes, there's a lot to watch. Each class presents the staff with a dilemma.

For the class of 2013, the staff has less than two months to fill out the class. That means they're evaluating guys they've already passed on and looking for those that fell through the cracks for most of the cycle.

With the class of 2014, the staff has to decide who the next round of offers will go out to after offering a large group in August. They'll want to see how kids they were already familiar with progressed over the season while also evaluating kids they became familiar with over the course of the season.

I don't expect much movement on class of 2015 offers until the spring, but obviously they're evaluating sophomore film as well.

Right now, the class of 2013 is their primary focus, as it should be. The staff is trying to fill holes in the dam, and with the flood of disappointment this season, there are more points of duress than usual. They're still evaluating defensive back, linebacker, defensive end, wide receiver and running back, while also trying to land players on the offensive line that have offers.

If they chose to look at Denzel Johnson, they could potentially fill a need at safety or linebacker. I'm not sure what Denzel Johnson will play in college, but I have a feeling he will play it well. I wouldn't totally rule out quarterback either, but for Longhorn purposes that's irrelevant.

Check out his film and meet me on the other side: (note: watch all the way through if you want to see the most absurdly long punt ever. I mean Randall Cunningham type punt)

So what did you see? I immediately saw Sam Carter, #17 for TCU, a safety I'm extremely high on. In fact, I'm so high on Carter I think I've gotten over my man crush on Justin (Gilbert, not Timberlake or Bieber).

Johnson's size is evident in the film, he's legitimately 6-2 and 200 pounds. That's a great frame that may actually move into linebacker territory. The first thing college coaches look for is build and how a player runs. Johnson obviously checks those boxes.

If I told you that kid has fifteen offers I'm guessing you'd believe it. I would. When my friend Derrick Jonkins sent me these highlights by way of semi-pro coach Marcus Lundy, I immediately assumed Johnson had options aplenty. He doesn't even have a Rivals page, not that that's Rivals' fault, but for some reason Johnson's name hasn't made the rounds.

The main reason for that is Gainesville has had three different coaches in the last three years, and while I don't accept that to be totally acquitting, I do understand it.

Often times as fans of recruiting we base our happiness on landing a commitment on his offer list, rather than the on-field product. If I did a blind taste test of sorts and just compared Johnson's highlights to that of a kid with 15 offers you wouldn't be able to tell which is which. 

I've talked to Johnson. He's a four sport athlete whose grades are in order. There are no character red flags. The more data points I get on the young man the more I become confused.

I talked to the aforementioned Lundy and this is what he had to say, "I wish you could have seen him this year. It's 3A ball so he was out there playing with those kids. There was nothing they could do to stop him. He's just too good of an athlete to not have any offers at this point."

That's what it looked like to me on film, so I sent those same highlights to a former NFL defensive back buddy of mine to get his thoughts. In fact, I sent him some highlights of another kid as well and asked his opinion of both. He had this to say, "I felt like the corner is just decent, could play at a small school but doesn't look like a BCS kid. The other kid, the big one (Johnson), intrigues me. I can't say for sure because I haven't worked with him in drills or anything, but he looks like a player."

The corner who will remain nameless is closing in on ten offers.

Hopefully Denzel Johnson gets number one soon, and watches them pile up steadily soon after.




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