An assessment of top targets for in-state schools and Oklahoma

Eric Nahlin

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Dec 19, 2011
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Thoreau'd on Walden
Save Texas, well, and Baylor, classes across the state are starting to take shape and give us an idea of what might be on National Signing Day.

Obviously the actual football season plays a large part in recruiting, and up until the last minute nearly anything can happen, but at this point we're starting to see which teams are prioritizing who.

Recruitments truly become intriguing when there's significant overlap of differing schools prioritizing the same player. This plays out every year to varying degrees. We won't have another 2015 any time soon, but there are still battles and skirmishes, if not all out wars, in every cycle.

This year much of the intrigue stems from Oklahoma rejoining the in-state recruiting conversation after a half decade or so hiatus. The Sooners have been recruiting lights out and are the current big-stack at the table.

We'll start with Texas' hat.

OKLAHOMA SOONERS

Current national rank: 4th
Average composite: .9065
Current commits: 19
Estimated class size: 24-27

Overview:
Already with 19 commits and a 4-star average, Oklahoma is off to a hot start. They've benefitted from a playoff run and a group of commits who have taken the initiative to grow the class. OU's recruited so well its been allowed to swing its might and play the leverage game. While this may cost them a prospect or two, it will ensure they won't be left empty handed. A major variable for the Sooners will be how well they navigate that brutal start to the season. A 10 win season and OU's class will finish in the top 5-6, if not higher.

Key in-state targets:
DB Jeffrey Okudah (South Grand Prairie), DT Marvin Wilson (Bellaire Episcopal), DE K'Lavon Chaisson (North Shore), OL Chuck Filiaga (Aledo), WR Omar Manning (Lancaster), LB Anthony Hines (Plano East), CB Kobe Boyce (Lake Dallas)

Looking ahead:
OU has done well to position itself as the proximity pick for Okudah. Right now the smart money is on Ohio State, but OU is a quality hedge.

I don't see Wilson ending up in Norman unless they do a great job of selling him on changing their scheme to allow the DL's to attack more. 5-star DL's don't want to eat blockers.

Privately Chaisson is thought to be a lean, and he even stated the Sooners were his number one, but that was a couple months ago and other schools are rising fast.

OU has a great stable of receivers committed and I'm just not sure how hard they'll press Manning to sign there.

Long thought to be an OU lean, I don't see Anthony Hines leaving the state.

Closing:
Even if Oklahoma didn't land another Texas prospect its Lone Star haul would be its best in years by a wide margin. Key for them will be to hold on to the talent it has while supplementing it with players from elsewhere, because I don't think they'll finish as well as they started within the state.

TEXAS A&M

Current national rank: 13th
Average composite: .8771
Current commits: 18
Estimated class size: 25+

Overview:
A&M's class is an interesting mix of talent at the top and optimistic projections at the bottom. 18 commits with that star average (it's a bit low) gives the illusion they might have filled up on chips before dinner arrived, but this staff's track record for evaluation is pretty solid.

Key in-state targets:
LB Anthony Hines (Plano East), LB Devodrick Johnson (Dallas Kimball), DT Marvin Wilson (Bellaire Episcopal), RB JK Dobbins (La Grange), WR Omar Manning (Lancaster), WR CeeDee Lamb (Richmond Foster), DE Ondario Robinson (Hutto)

Hines currently has the look of an A&M, Texas battle, though he'd probably dispute that. Maybe Ohio State gets a credible look. He'll visit Aggieland this weekend for an official visit. While that stadium will be positively charged, September is too early to use OV's for hard fought recruitments in this day and age. A&M will certainly look to get him back to campus after the UCLA game (A&M's going to smoke the Bruins, btw).

The athletic Johnson was previously committed to A&M, but opened things up not long ago. He'll also visit for the UCLA game this weekend and I could see him ending up in the Aggie fold if Texas doesn't pursue him with effort.

I don't see Wilson going to A&M but he'll visit this weekend as well. Hey, you never know, the Aggie's should be able to sell quality defensive tackle play.

In the past Dobbins has raved about his relationship with A&M running backs coach, Clarence McKinney, and the Aggies will feature the run-game more under Mazzone than Spavital, but Dobbins will most likely end up sticking with Ohio State or selecting Texas in the end, imo.

Manning seems to be a three-way fight between OU, TCU, and UT.

Lamb has already de-committed from OU once so I'm not sure he'd do it again. He's very high on the Aggie wish list, as he should be. His recruitment may still have some plot twists in it.

Don't be surprised if Robinson selects A&M before the end of September. He's an upside prospect whose best football is a couple years down the road.

Closing:
A&M's had some of the same questions its had in the past; linebacker, corner, and quarterback post-Manziel, but the overall team talent is significant enough to mitigate those questions provided Trevor Knight is at least average. The defense improved significantly under Chavis in his first year, and those positional deficiencies aren't as bad as they were a year ago. Plus his studs are a year older. The SEC West will likely be easier to navigate than in previous years, though still difficult. Sumlin needs to accomplish something that's very difficult to do -- reverse stagnation, and surround the program with excitement. That'll take wins, just ask Bob Stoops. If the wins come, A&M will land some blue-chips down the stretch. If they don't, they could be head coach shopping. HUGE year for A&M, they're about to lose a lot of the talent from their impressive recruiting run a couple years ago and need tor re-stock the shelves.

TCU

Current national rank: 67th
Average composite: .8819
Current commits: 7
Estimated class size: 15

Overview:
Any time you have an offensive or defensive specific head coach the fan base thinks it's easy to just find a great OC or DC to offset the blind spot and you're on your way to dominance! Gary Patterson, though, has accomplished this, and has improbably held on to his dual OC's for going on three seasons now. Meacham and Cumbie are playing the world's slowest developing game of chicken. TCU is in prime position to run through the Big 12 thanks to a very fast defense, a more explosive than you think offense, and perhaps most importantly, cohesion. There's just one problem, they don't have much room in this recruiting class to take advantage of what appears to be a promising season. That means they can't capitalize on Baylor's demise, and A&M and OU running out of room either.

Key in-state targets:
LB Baron Browning (Kennedale), LB Anthony Hines (Plano East), DL Cory Bethley (Katy), DE Taquon Graham (Temple), RB JK Dobbins (La Grange), CB Josh Thompson (Nacogdoches), OL Chuck Filiaga (Aledo)

*note: I'm sure I'm missing a handful of key targets, but these are the guys who are widely known. In lieu of missing on these guys, Patterson will break out his roto-till and unearth some gems.

Browning is the biggest fish on the TCU board for sure. Rumor has it he keeps a garage apartment nearby for his frequent visits. Not really, but it wouldn't surprise me. He has a great rapport with the TCU defensive staff. In short, if he doesn't pick the Horned Frogs, it's going to be a tough phone call to make to break the news. Affix your tinfoil hat for these next sentences. Browning will announce on November 29th, his father's birthday. His father played at TCU.

Patterson will wisely stay in Hines' ear in the hopes of procuring Browning, and catching lightning in a bottle with the state's best middle linebacker in years. I'm not optimistic that will work, but Patterson could make it interesting not unlike with Daylon Mack a couple of years ago. Hines too will announce on November 29th.

I know nothing of Bethley, other than he's a versatile d-lineman who would fit an attacking scheme.

Graham selecting anyone but Texas would be one of the shocks of the cycle.

Dobbins is still in touch with TCU last I heard but I don't see that happening even if he would absolutely wreck shop in that offense.

If you haven't seen Josh Thompson's first game highlights, treat yourself. The one-time TCU commit and current Texas pledge is still a priority for the TCU staff. He'll be a very tough pull.

Filiaga has visited recently and his teammate, Wes Harris, has been committed to TCU for ages. I don't think that will play much into his recruitment though. Filiaga appears to be wide open and neither staying in his new home of Texas or returning to California would surprise me.

Closing:
Because of Patterson's eye for talent and ability to mix and match fits to his scheme, he'll always field a team capable of winning a lot of games. If he starts landing difference making talent, he could do the impossible in Fort Worth.

TEXAS TECH

Current national rank: 41
Average composite: .8484
Current commits: 13
Estimated class size: 18-20

Overview:
I like the make-up of the current Tech class and that's a good thing because they don't have much room left. The OL haul is very good and large in numbers, there are your usual receivers and athletes (love Bronson Boyd and Oklahoma's Kamren Curl), and one of Xavier Martin or Jett Duffy from last cycle will become a dangerous collegiate quarterback. The question remains a familiar one, where are the defensive linemen?

Key in-state targets:
WR Omar Manning (Lancaster), WR Cartrell Thomas (Lancaster), LB Dimitri Moore (Cedar Hill), DE David Anenih (Mansfield Timberview)

Manning to Tech isn't likely to happen.

Thomas to Tech could very well. He's the type of slippery, underneath receiver who frustrates defenses out of the Air-Raid. Thomas has a fantastic football mindset, something you want in an inside receiver charged with making tough catches over the middle.

It sounds like Moore isn't likely to join his brother Richard at A&M but we'll see if that changes as we get closer to NSD. He's a great fit for the Big 12 as someone you put muscle on and bring off the edge.

Tech has got to land Anenih. He's the type who ends up at Oklahoma State or K-State and everyone wonders where the hell that guy came from. Tech needs many more "where the hell did that guy come from" types. Guys like D'Vonta Hinton.

*note: Obviously the Tech staff will bomb the state with more d-line and linebacker offers.

Closing:
This is a big year for Kingsbury. I believe his Coach GQ reputation is unfair but the only way to shed that is to get his guys playing some defense. So far his ability to procure defensive talent to Lubbock is questionable at best. Kingsbury's going to have to ride the arm of Mahomes to a quality season and hope the defense is sorted out by 2017 if not sooner.

Also, can a Tech fan tell me why Bart Thomas' son, Ty, isn't in this class?

TEXAS

Current national rank: 58
Average composite: .9045
Current commits: 7
Estimated class size: 20

Overview:
After two high-end recruiting classes, Charlie Strong can no longer sell promise, he must sell results. Related: Many of the states top players have a cursory eye on what Texas does on the field this season. That's fine with Strong as his preference is to finish late anyway, something other schools are struggling to adjust to. If Texas can win 8 or 9, Strong will land a class with his highest star-rating to date. 8 or 9, with his preference for creating late recruiting momentum could see numerous force multipliers resulting in an avalanche of talent. If he doesn't win...well, we'll cross that road if we get there.

Key in-state targets:
LB Baron Browning (Kennedale), OL Walker Little (Bellaire Episcopal), DT Marvin Wilson (Bellaire Episcopal), LB Anthony Hines (Plano East), WR Omar Manning (Lancaster), DE K'Lavon Chaisson (North Shore), RB JK Dobbins (La Grange), TE Major Tennison (Bullard), OL Chuck Filiaga (Aledo), DE Taquon Graham (Temple), CB Chevin Calloway (Bishop Dunne), WR Jalen Reagor (Waxahachie)

*note: I have this many prospects listed not just because I'm most familiar with UT's needs, but also because the Longhorns have a lot of room left. There are other key targets who haven't received offers yet, but will in the coming weeks and months.

Browning has hereditary rights to Malik's throne if he wants it. The two have similar personalities and can be deployed similarly on the field. If Texas wins 8 I think Browning picks Texas, just a hunch.

Little is the key offensive target not yet committed and Texas is in prime position to land him. Only Stanford - who should have a very good season - should challenge UT.

Wilson has the look of a Texas/LSU battle and it could swing either way. The family is favorable to Texas, as is Marvin, but he needs to believe in the trajectory of the program.

Hines is loathe to tip his hand but this feels like a Texas versus A&M battle. Again, if Texas wins 8 or 9, there's reason to like where UT sits.

Manning's a bit more difficult to figure. I think a large part of him feels comfortable at TCU, but he's interested in Texas and OU as well. The longer this plays out for Texas the better. If he picked today, I think it would be TCU but I could be off.

Chaisson's looking for fit on and off the field. Texas offers an attractive coupling of football fit, and business major. Chaisson wants to play stand-up OLB, which is essentially what the Fox position is. Watch for OU and LSU here as well. Don't look for clarity on this recruitment any time soon. I like where Texas sits, though, especially considering where it was two months ago.

Dobbins shocked pretty much everyone when he committed to Ohio State. Since then he's visited Columbus twice and has kept a low recruiting profile given his lofty status. If Ohio State receives a commitment from Mississippi running back Cam Akers, expect Dobbins to be much more vocal about his process. For now I'll maintain Texas is firmly in the conversation.

One-time Texas commit Major Tennison still speaks very highly of UT and it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up back in the class. Comically, while he was committed I was expecting him to de-commit, now that he's de-committed I expect him to re-commit. Crootin, imo.

Filiaga will visit Texas this weekend to a get a good grasp of Saturdays Sundays in Austin. With a good showing perhaps they can get him back for an official visit. Ideal for Texas would be to land an OT, OT/G, and a G/C in the class. That could be Little, Filiaga, Newman.

As stated, "Moonlight" Graham seems destined to be a Longhorn.

Calloway surprised many when he committed to Iowa. He'll surprise even more if he sticks with that commitment. Maybe that's not fair because he seems very happy with his decision, but it would just be a unique result if he remained with Iowa. Texas continues to pursue.

Reagor seems quite pleased with his OU commit but the Sooners will have to hold off overtures from TCU and Texas. He's a flat-running stud, so they shouldn't be surprised by that.

Closing:
It's all there for the taking if Texas wins. I could see Texas landing a majority of those named above if it does.

BAYLOR

Lol.
 
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josephcook

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Bethley will be one to watch. He needs to find a position though. Wasn't impressed by his play against Westlake when he was lined up at DE.
 
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Ktown777

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Damn good write up. I'm loving this board now that I'm in the habit of actually checking it.
 
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Toadvine

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So when does the Aggie class mass-decommit? After Trevor Knight completes 25% of his passes against UCLA? Or do they wait until a lame duck 3-7 Sumlin team, QBed by Jake Hubenak, ekes out a narrow win over UTEP?
 
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Jdhmills

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So when does the Aggie class mass-decommit? After Trevor Knight completes 25% of his passes against UCLA? Or do they wait until a lame duck 3-7 Sumlin team, QBed by Jake Hubenak, ekes out a narrow win over UTEP?
Think we may have to wait, they matchup pretty well against UCLA. Really curious to see how Knight performs, he has been talked up big time.
 

Ian Boyd

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@Eric Nahlin - I know you didn't mention Houston, but do you think Ed Oliver starts game 1 this year?
OU betta hope not.

They'll have enough trouble handling Cameron Malveaux, who's pretty legit, and those LBs. I bet, like @Eric Nahlin already noted, that he gets into the action some but doesn't start. That system is perfect for him, he's gonna be a real load.
I know nothing of Bethley, other than he's a versatile d-lineman who would fit an attacking scheme.
Bethley will be one to watch. He needs to find a position though. Wasn't impressed by his play against Westlake when he was lined up at DE.
They move him inside to 3-tech more now with the Jack OLB outside of him. I think the plan would be to get another 20-30 pounds on him, hope he maintains his quickness, and teach him to use his hands to keep people off so he can be a pass-rushing 3-tech.
 

Toadvine

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Think we may have to wait, they matchup pretty well against UCLA. Really curious to see how Knight performs, he has been talked up big time.
I just don't believe in Trevor Knight at all. Nor do I really believe in Mazzone. Nor do I believe in their linebackers. I'm skeptical of their secondary and OL too. So, I actually expect them to be much worse than people think.
 

stringsays

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trevor knight will be as good as mazzone lets him be. if mazzone expects him to sling the ball around 35 times, then we'll lose. if mazzone puts him position to get the ball to the RBs and WRs in quick/easy fashion, we'll be ok.

at LB we've at least got 4 guys who can play. that's better than what we've had in the past. at CB we've got one really good one in nick harvey, and three really really good safeties.

i'm not worried about the defense. i'm worried about the offense, specifically scheme and OL play.
 

Jdhmills

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trevor knight will be as good as mazzone lets him be. if mazzone expects him to sling the ball around 35 times, then we'll lose. if mazzone puts him position to get the ball to the RBs and WRs in quick/easy fashion, we'll be ok.

at LB we've at least got 4 guys who can play. that's better than what we've had in the past. at CB we've got one really good one in nick harvey, and three really really good safeties.

i'm not worried about the defense. i'm worried about the offense, specifically scheme and OL play.
That's how I have it pegged, if Olaka or Moore get hurt things get ugly quick. I'm also curious to see if your DEs show any interest in run defense this year. DT looks to be more consistent which should help a bit with slowing down the run. Think teams will try to run the ball on ya'll this year till you prove you can stop it.
 

Eric Nahlin

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Thoreau'd on Walden
That's how I have it pegged, if Olaka or Moore get hurt things get ugly quick. I'm also curious to see if your DEs show any interest in run defense this year. DT looks to be more consistent which should help a bit with slowing down the run. Think teams will try to run the ball on ya'll this year till you prove you can stop it.
Garrett and Hall played the run better last year and I suspect they'll make another jump.
 
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Toadvine

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trevor knight will be as good as mazzone lets him be. if mazzone expects him to sling the ball around 35 times, then we'll lose. if mazzone puts him position to get the ball to the RBs and WRs in quick/easy fashion, we'll be ok.

at LB we've at least got 4 guys who can play. that's better than what we've had in the past. at CB we've got one really good one in nick harvey, and three really really good safeties.

i'm not worried about the defense. i'm worried about the offense, specifically scheme and OL play.
I really liked that kid out of Cedar Hill, whose name I cannot remember, at LB (might be Richard Moore). Love your DL, and agree that generally Chavis should get you in a good position to hang defensively. Not convinced on your safeties and other corners, but again, might not matter with the DL.

On offense, like with us, I have no idea what to expect.
 

Jdhmills

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I really liked that kid out of Cedar Hill, whose name I cannot remember, at LB (might be Richard Moore). Love your DL, and agree that generally Chavis should get you in a good position to hang defensively. Not convinced on your safeties and other corners, but again, might not matter with the DL.

On offense, like with us, I have no idea what to expect.
Their safeties are legit
 

Horn17

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Awesome write-up, E. Also, Marvin was wearing Longhorn shorts at practice yesterday. So, calculator? Cool.
 

Justin Wells

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at LB we've at least got 4 guys who can play. that's better than what we've had in the past. at CB we've got one really good one in nick harvey, and three really really good safeties.
Armanti Watts is my favorite Aggie not named Larry Pryor. Future NFL safety.
 

Justin Wells

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What's the word on Larry? Obviously he's behind their starters, think he will contribute next year?
He'll play a little this year, but like you said, he's stuck behind future pro players.

He says mainly special teams and a few different formations. He's really a box safety who could've been a LB.
 
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stringsays

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I really liked that kid out of Cedar Hill, whose name I cannot remember, at LB (might be Richard Moore). Love your DL, and agree that generally Chavis should get you in a good position to hang defensively. Not convinced on your safeties and other corners, but again, might not matter with the DL.

On offense, like with us, I have no idea what to expect.
Safeties aren't an issue at all. Watts Wilson and Evans are all really good

Corner is the question mark. But last year we made do with a converted RB so I think we'll be ok.

Pryor should get a decent amount of mop up duty this year. We lose Evans and will likely lose either watts or Wilson to the draft so Pryor will be in the mix next year
 

Ghost

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trevor knight will be as good as mazzone lets him be. if mazzone expects him to sling the ball around 35 times, then we'll lose. if mazzone puts him position to get the ball to the RBs and WRs in quick/easy fashion, we'll be ok.

at LB we've at least got 4 guys who can play. that's better than what we've had in the past. at CB we've got one really good one in nick harvey, and three really really good safeties.

i'm not worried about the defense. i'm worried about the offense, specifically scheme and OL play.
Personally I don't think A&M's offense will put enough stress on defenses in the SEC. I'm not taking a shot at A&M, Im just not a believer in Mazzone's offensive system.

I do think A&M's receiving core will make Mazzone look better than he is though.
 

b_pittenger

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Safeties aren't an issue at all. Watts Wilson and Evans are all really good

Corner is the question mark. But last year we made do with a converted RB so I think we'll be ok.

Pryor should get a decent amount of mop up duty this year. We lose Evans and will likely lose either watts or Wilson to the draft so Pryor will be in the mix next year
That wasn't just any coverted RB though. Isn't he making a ton of noise in Cardinal's camp?
 
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