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Inside Scoop – 2/6/15

Jeffrey McCulloch. (Courtesy of Nike)
Jeffrey McCulloch. (Courtesy of Nike)

As we wrapped up the foundational class that is UT’s 2015 group, we jump right into 2016 and Texas’ Junior Day is on the horizon. We update the coaching situation, plus go in-depth on a handful of juniors showing Texas love. We add an interesting hoops tidbit all in the Inside Scoop.

From: Eric Nahlin

CHRIS WARREN AND THE SUPPOSED COIN FLIP

When Texas landed one of the best running backs in the nation, its fate seemed to hang in the balance of a quarter. I was told he was going to Texas even if he had to go best 2-of-3 to do it. It was just one of those things, you’ll know where you want to go when the coin is in the air.

You’ll notice during the announcement the guy operating the large screen behind Chris had the Texas logo up almost instantaneously. Warren’s a Longhorn and he couldn’t be happier.

COACHING SITUATIONS

Chris Rumph was expected by many to take the Florida job as recent as late yesterday afternoon. At noon, it become official that Rumph was headed to UF. The whole thing is odd to me because as I understood it, he came to Austin with the expectations of settling in and staying at least through his son going through high school. If it was a money issue, that would seem easy to resolve but he’s already paid handsomely so I’m not sure that’s it.

As for the long time TE/ST opening, you can expect a couple of names to trickle out early next week. I do believe Joey McGuire is still in play but others are expected to interview.

UPCOMING VISITS

Here’s what we have for Junior Day, or at least guys we know will visit in February. Days are a little vague right now. Initially it appeared there would be two days – the 14th and 28th. Now, it sounds like there could be a group of ‘unofficial’ visitors on the 14th but the actual Junior Day is on the 28th.

Examples of visitors that could make it on the 14th are defensive tackle Mike Williams and linebacker Jeffrey McCulloch. They both state they’re visiting next Saturday. Both hold offers so it’s feasible they’re brought in early and told this is going to be a much smaller class and room is tight. The sooner they commit, the better to ensure they will in fact have a spot.

We’ll get the dates of all the actual visitors cleared up but most appear bound for the 28th with a handful a week from tomorrow.

FEBRUARY VISITORS

RB Rakeem Boyd, Stratford (Houston, TX): Has visited Texas a couple of times. He’s sort of in the Tristian Houston mold.

RB Raynard Harmon, Cypress Woods (Cypress, TX): Athletically similar to that Daje. He’s a short, yet powerful APB you can line up anywhere and hurt people in the run or pass. He should get tons of offers.

RB Devwah Whaley, Central (Beaumont, TX) – holds offer: Could be a safety or running back. He’s electric when he plants and goes.

RB Aubrey White, Wylie East (Wylie, TX) – KANSAS: Another back who lines up all over, Strong appears to be looking for a Percy Harvin type for the offense. He’s really seen his stock soar since committing to KU in October. He claims offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arkansas, OU, and TCU amongst others.

RB Trayveon Williams, CE King (Houston, TX): The 5-foot-9, 188-pound all-purpose back already holds offers from Texas A&M, TCU, Missouri, and Arizona State.

WR Devin Duvernay, Sachse (Sachse, TX) – holds offer: One of the most explosive receivers and kick returners in the entire nation. Look for numbers to be tight at the position going forward because of Texas already having two committed. Duvernay will be a priority.

WR Reggie Hemphill, Manvel (Manvel, TX) – TEXAS: The 2-time Texas commit, I think we can comfortably say Hemphill wants to be a Longhorn.

WR Mykel Jones, Patterson (Patterson, LA) – holds offer: Holds an affinity for Charlie Strong but keeping him from LSU will be difficult.

WR Tre Nixon, Viera (Melbourne, FL) – holds offer: Another very explosive receiver, Nixon is woefully underrated by the services.

OL Jean Delance, North Mesquite (Mesquite, TX) – OKLAHOMA: My third favorite OL in the state, Delance is a likely Top 12 player in state.

OL Keenan Murphy, Crosby (Crosby, TX): I wish he was just a bit taller because the kid has very nice tape. He does some uncommon athletic things and is nasty. He plays tackle in high school but will be an interior guy unless he gets taller. He would be a VERY athletic guard.

ATH Sewo Olonilua, Kingwood High (Kingwood, TX) – TCU: He’ll have the ideal size and athleticism to play Mike but he may just be good enough to stick at running back because of some natural traits.

DT Darius Anderson, Fort Bend Hightower (Missouri City, TX): Space eating NT in college, Anderson has a strong base and is good off the ball.

DT Michael Williams, All Saints’ Episcopal (Fort Worth, TX) – holds offer: Sort of like Darrion Daniels in 2014, pretty raw but is very athletic.

DE Mark Jackson, Steele (Cibolo, TX) – holds offer: Great length at d-end, he could be athletic enough to play Fox.

LB DeMarco Boyd, Gilmer (Gilmer, TX) – TEXAS: You know the story here.

LB Nathaniel Evans, John Curtis (River Ridge, LA): Under-recruited thus far, Evans is a solid ILB prospect who plays with good tempo (doesn’t overrun ball carriers). He can get deep in his drops or fill gaps.

LB Dontavious Jackson, Alief Elsik (Houston, TX): Big ILB who is the explosive tackler you’d like to see at his size. He can run too. Jackson is already in high demand.

LB Jeffrey McCulloch, Aldine Davis (Houston, TX) – holds offer: He’ll be a priority in the class as a linebacker with tons of length and basketball athleticism.

CB Eric Cuffee, Waco High (Waco, TX): His recruiting has really picked up steam in just the last week with Michigan, Stanford, Ole Miss, OU, and TCU offers. Don’t be surprised if Texas jumps in the mix. He’s visited a couple of times already.

CB Taylor Perry, Crosby (Crosby, TX): He’s about as physical a player as you’ll find in a 5-foot-9, 160-pound frame. Does this guy think he’s Floyd Mayweather or what? Fun highlights to watch. Kid is ultra quick in everything he does and does not decelerate when tackling. 2017 player. Get to 5-foot-11, Taylor, but even if you don’t you have a bright future.

S Eric Monroe, Galena Park North Shore (Houston, TX) – holds offer: Was injured for much of the season, but when healthy, he’s a hell of a talent who could play corner or safety in college. He’s one of the top rated players in the nation.

ATH Grayland Arnold, Kountze (Kountze, TX) – BAYLOR (holds offer): Great film. He shows the athletic traits to project to either side but also plays with max intensity and effort.

ATH Christian Wallace, Tompkins (Katy, TX) – TCU: Has the size and athleticism to become a big time player but has yet to put it together on the field.

 

 

From: Justin Wells

MORE RECRUITING RANDOMNESS

As I decompress from what was an incredibly stressful yet invigorating Texas signing class for 2015, I instantly think of ‘who’s next’ that will enter the realm of Strong and company. Nahlin gave us a great starter kit with the 2016 Longhorns Prospect Board, and Ian reminded us of the greatness that was the 2015 group with finding fits in the Gameplan.

As soon as the ink dried for this senior group, junior prospects’ phones were buzzing from college coaches across the country. New offers, new invites, new everything is what you get with a brand new set of personalities. It’s time to start working on the new class. Here are some notes on key Texas targets. 2016, here we come.

One of my early favorites is Aldine Davis LB Jeff McCulloch. He’s also one of the coaches favorites because his offer list grows by the day. Michigan, Oklahoma, Nebraska, and LSU have offered while he’s recently taken visits to Texas A&M and Baylor. Not bad for the 6-foot-2, 210-pound tackling machine.

He told me he wouldn’t be attending the UT JD on 2/28, but would be taking an unofficial to Austin on the 14th.

“I’m going down to Austin on the 14th, ” said McCulloch. “It will be me and my parents.” Anytime Charlie Strong gets to meet the parents, good things usually happen. It’s easy to become enamored with the dedication and process involved that Strong demonstrates to developing young men. McCulloch holds a Texas offer and I would consider him a slight Longhorns lean. Stay tuned.

Kountze super ATH Grayland Arnold has become a hot commodity. He’s been invited and will likely attend UT JD in a few weeks. He’s also committed to Baylor. But that shouldn’t scare off Texas. Strong has gotten into a habit of flipping Briles’ Bears. Plus, Arnold’s interested. He’s solid to BU but won’t by any means shut down his recruitment. Here are the highlights from the 5-foot-10, 175-pound multi-sport athlete.

Arnold’s sister played hoops at Texas, and Arnold has seen the campus on an unofficial, so he’s familiar with a lot of what UT offers. And a Longhorns offer would mean something to him.

“It would mean a lot,” said Arnold. “Texas is a really good school and program.” Until then, Arnold is leading his state-ranked hoops squad on the hardwood tonight. He’s an All-state point guard too. He doesn’t lack confidence. When asked which position he wanted to play in college, WR or CB, his answer was pure truth.

“Both,” exclaimed Arnold.

One of my favorite defensive backs for this new class is Waco High’s Eric Cuffee. I took notice of the 6-foot-0, 190-pound athlete last fall and he didn’t disappoint. With his reported 4.47 40-yard dash, Cuffee is one of the real speedsters in the Midlands region and his offer list continues to grow. Michigan and Stanford came calling on Monday. His Hudl/highlights agree.

Cuffee will be headed to Austin on the 14th. Texas is a school he’s very interested in. His HS produced one of the greatest Longhorns of all time, Butkus Award winner Derrick Johnson, who Cuffee calls “the best of best”. He also sees his efforts paying off.

“I just have to keep up the hard work and dedication,” Cuffee said. “A Texas offer would mean a lot. Couple of alums from DBU have the same trainer as me. I’m just staying focused and trying to make it.” They say he belongs. I agree.

Alief Elsik’s Dontavious Jackson will be another highly-sought LB in 2016. He’s one of the top rated in the state and has been on UT’s radar for close to a year now. He attended summer camp in Austin and has also taken an unofficial. He says he’ll be in Austin soon. He’s yet to grab a Texas offer so it’ll be interesting to see what the staff does here. They’ll take likely one LB next year so they can afford to be picky. And at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Jackson could grow into a pass-rushing DE with his 4.6 speed as his highlights show.

It was rumored recently that he committed to Baylor during a visit but he told me that wasn’t the case.

“Just rumors,” said Jackson. “Don’t believe the hype.” We won’t.

And then there’s this 2017 DB you have to meet. Introducing Crosby’s Taylor Perry. He’s the 5-foot-9, 165-pound package of dynamite that explodes on Friday nights. He’s caught the attention of the staff and was invited to the Junior Day on 2/28. He’s supposed to attend. Talked to a coach who described Perry as “special” and “gives you everything you need in a DB. Speed, power, hips, explosion, everything.” He’ll play some ILB for the Cougars next fall, and in the middle in their dime package. Arizona State has already taken notice along with Arkansas, and Texas Tech. It’s good the Texas staff has already began to develop a relationship with the hard-charging hit man.

From: Tim Preston

LATEST FROM TEXAS BASKETBALL

I wish I had good news for you all this week. I’d like to tell you how the team is rallying around each other and committed to turn everything around, that Texas basketball coach Rick Barnes is pushing all the right buttons and getting this thing turned around.

Unfortunately, that’s not where we’re at.

“It’s bad,” a source told Inside Texas. “The players are confused to their roles and why they’re being asked to play the same way. It’s not working. But the message from Barnes never changes. Always the same (stuff). The players clearly don’t get it, but they have to change, not Barnes.”

The good news is that the talent remains on the squad, so counting out the team building some confidence would be too soon.

But to build confidence there has to be belief and, right now, that’s not there.

I haven’t heard definitively if either Felix or Holmes will be available against Kansas State tomorrow, but it sounds like Holmes is closer than Felix.