Texas Blog - College

January 18, 2012

Coaches know best

The back and forth over quarterback recruiting in the 2013 class already has me pulling my hair out. Am I alone?

It seems the Longhorn fan base has already taken sides - team Tyrone Swoopes or team J.T. Barrett - and a full-blown QB controversy has already developed, long before the first offer has even been extended. This situation is already resembling the 2009 debate that had the Texas coaches making what at the time appeared to be a difficult decision between all-everything prospects Garrett Gilbert and Russell Shepard (it turns out, there was no right choice in that debate, as we all now know).

Here's where we stand as of Wednesday. Swoopes, a five-star prospect, will be in Austin on February 12 for a Longhorn junior day. Barrett has been in communication with the Texas staff but has not locked down a junior day invitation. Not yet.

Everyone has an opinion on how this one should be handled by the Texas coaches, and that's part of what makes recruiting fun. But people need to let go of the idea that there is some concrete right or wrong answer. And at some point, you just have to have faith that the Texas coaches have a good handle on what they're doing here and they'll make the right choice.

Fans, and even reporters like those of us at Orangebloods.com, have our opinions, but most people are formulating their thoughts off a handful of highlight clips they've watched or evaluations from random folks who may have watched one game from either prospect.

I promise, the Texas coaches know more about this than you. Or me. Or just about anyone else. They've poured over film. They've spent hours talking to the prospect, their families, their coaches, their opponents' coaches. They've spent time with both players at a Longhorn football camp over the summer, where UT offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin had a chance to work out both players side by side (Swoopes actually stayed for a three-day camp).

It's fun to project. It's fun to have an opinion. But it's also important to remember that the Texas coaches have a lot more experience, a lot more resources than do anyone else, and the success of their livelihood largely depends on them making proper evaluations. It can certainly be argued that the decision to put so much stock in the Gilbert selection in 2009 set the foundation for the program's struggles the past two years, but that decision came under a different staff. Harsin has shown he can develop quarterbacks and Major Applewhite's work as a talent evaluator is exceptional (including at the QB position, his bread and butter).

There's an argument to be made that Barrett could be the "safe" choice of the two because many feel he'd jump at a UT offer if one was presented. Whatever happens, Texas needs a home run at the QB position (which could very well still come from David Ash or one of the incoming freshmen), and if the UT coaches feel Swoopes is that type of player, fans should try to get behind the decision and have faith that they're making the right call.

Only one thins is for certain ... if the wrong call is made, the coaches will surely hear about it.

 ******

Some news (and thoughts) on the nation's top prospect, Springfield Hillcrest WR Dorial Green-Beckham ...

Rumors continue to fly and the speculation is really all over the map. Some feel it's down to Texas and Arkansas. Others have Arkansas and OU in the lead. Missouri is said to be making a late push. There's even been talk this week that Green-Beckham has settled on a decision (Arkansas), meaning Texas is out of the mix.

DGB and his camp continue to play things extremely close to the vest. Here's what we feel comfortable with after making some calls this week.

Coaches from Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri are expected to be in Springfield on Wednesday. Texas assistant coach Darrell Wyatt will make his way in for a visit later this week, and Texas head coach Mack Brown is expected to make an in-home visit sometime next week.

Green-Beckham is expected to take an official visit to Arkansas on Saturday and Sunday. Missouri is a strong possibility for a visit the weekend of January 27. A commitment announcement is set for signing day, February 1.

No school has been officially eliminated, we're told. Green-Beckham and his family have kept the lines of communication open with the coaches who have invested countless hours recruiting Dorial. Dorial's father, John Beckham, is also his head coach at Hillcrest. Mr. Beckham is not one to play games and waste the time of the coaches involved. If a school had been eliminated, the thought among everyone is that the coaches of that program would have been given a heads up so they're not wasting their time getting back and forth to Springfield.

The gut feel ... this one's still open. There does seem to be a feel that Arkansas could be ahead of the pack at this stage, but with key in-home visits still on the table, nothing is set in stone. 

******

From the OB Mailbag:

What happened with Bo Wallace? Why the major interest then all the sudden nothing. I think we should have brought him in to up the competition if nothing else.

From what I've been told, the interest was more on the part of Wallace than it was on Texas. If you remember, when word first broke that Wallace had talked with UT offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin, Wallace was told he and Harsin would talk again later that week to discuss the final details of a possible visit.

I've heard through the grapevine that it was actually Wallace that initiated the contact with Texas. The UT staff met after Wallace and Harsin's initial conversation and after weighing its options, which include David Ash, Case McCoy (whose return was being questioned by some at the time of the Wallace news) and incoming freshmen Connor Brewer and Jalen Overstreet, the Texas coaches decided to move forward with the guys on campus.

Fans' expectations of Ash were a little unrealistic in 2011, but the coaches have confidence he'll make steady progress beginning this spring. That also played a part in the decision.

What are our chances with Torshiro Davis. I hear he knows Texas is the right decision because they want him to play linebacker and an inside source very close to him tells him Texas is the right choice. What's our chances he changes and comes to Texas?

You're partly correct. People very close to Davis feel his future is brightest as a pass-rushing defensive end, where he can pin his ears back and get after the quarterback. Those beliefs were solidified in their eyes when Davis played linebacker at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Of his three finalists (Texas, Alabama and LSU), only the Longhorns are recruiting him as a defensive end.

Davis is from Shreveport and he's been committed to LSU for more than 11 months. Anyone who has followed recruiting understands that LSU just doesn't miss out on these types of recruits very often. That being said, some people who have a tremendous influence on Davis have informed him repeatedly that they feel Texas is his best option due to the defensive end situation and his longstanding relationship with UT assistant coach Bo Davis.

There was a time when Davis was really listening, we've been told. In fact, we hear he told people privately in the past that UT was his leader but he wanted to keep that quiet in order to minimize the pressure from the local LSU fans. A surprise commitment to Texas has been discusses behind closed doors, but it wasn't going to happen until National Signing Day so people wouldn't have time to harass him about his decision. However, as signing day draws closer, those thoughts have seemed to fade and Davis is again strongly in LSU's corner.

"People don't understand the pressure he's under," a person close to him said. "If he went to Texas, he'd be worried about his family staying in Shreveport. That just wouldn't go over well (with people in the area) and it's something he's starting to think about."

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