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I recall a time when Texas was putting players in the NFL at an alarming rate from all over the defensive side of the ball, save linebacker. Sure there was the great Derrick Johnson. Mack Brown even worked his way to solid players and future professionals like Keenan Robinson and Emanuel Acho.

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With four running backs being well known after their sophomore years, most of us assumed this would become a great class at the position. As it turns out, it’s solid but unspectacular. That’s the reason Texas has offered but two in the cycle thus far.

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It’s a solid year in-state, with two Top 100-ish talents, some unique athletes, and some quarterbacks who perfectly fit modern spread offenses. I watched nearly 30 prospects. Here’s what I came up with.

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Woody Allen once said that 80% of life is showing up and perhaps nowhere is this more true than when attempting to stop the run against Big 12 offenses. If you’ve ever wondered how it was that Texas could be so poor in run D over the years despite regularly fielding blue chip talent across the defensive line and in the linebacker corps a simple charting exercise of how they defend the as a unit in a given year usually reveals the answer. They didn’t show up in the right gaps at the right times and thus none of their physical attributes made a lick of difference.

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I watched an interview with special teams coordinator/safety coach Craig Naivar on Texassports.com and he had some comments worth noting about how the staff view Longhorn special teams:

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It’s all just one person’s opinion — and regardless of what anyone tells you — there are no experts in this line of work; just people with strong opinions to varying degrees of value.

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Numbers and needs are ever-evolving as the coaches assemble more data on the current status of their program. Some positions, once thought to be well under control, need help. With other positions it’s the opposite.

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Nothing can go wrong when you draw sweeping conclusions from tiny data sets in sports or financial markets. My rankings are sound science like astrology and alchemy. Also, the Big 12 is a giant flaming garbage barge. If only someone could have predicted that the P5 league with the worst natural recruiting base, minor program success built on excellent individual coaches, early adoption of the spread, and terrible television exposure would see a performance decline over time.

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The last two Longhorn recruiting class are long on numbers but I’m not optimistic the staff will find difference makers beyond John Burt and Collin Johnson. That doesn’t mean Texas won’t extract production from the likes of Davion Curtis, Ryan Newsome, et al, but this offense really goes when you have dynamic playmakers who can stretch the field.

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We struggled to identify any new corners who should be on the Texas radar, but the top tight ends need little introduction. It’s the best cycle in years with five guys who should be under consideration, though Brock Wright would require a miracle to flip from Notre Dame.