- May 29, 2001
Still, I feel like we need to take a moment and show some appreciation for this staff's ability to create momentum almost out of thin air upon their arrival. Both Charlie Strong and Tom Herman had excellent rankings in their collective first recruiting class, but it took 5-6 months for both to find serious footing and results.
Sarkisian and Co. have been able to do it in 5-6 weeks, which has been critical when you realize how many top 2022 prospects in Texas have already started making decisions.
If you take a look at my recent Lone Star Recruiting Top 100 List, you'll find that three of the top five, five of the top nine and 12 of the top 22 prospects in the state have already made decisions. That's 55 percent.
Ready or not, the elite of the elite are making decisions early in Sarkisian's tenure.
To their credit, Sarkisian's staff have been more than ready.
No. 2 - The top remaining in-state options...
This list will evolve over the next 11 months, and there will be a few newcomers making breakthroughs in the rankings, especially in a COVID-dominated recruiting world, but with every passing year, it is stunning to see so many of the top names in the debut of each set of rankings end up near the top when the rankings are finished two years later.
With that in mind, here's a look at the top 15 remaining uncommitted prospects in the state by position. (LSR ranking in parenthesis)
* Players in bold have been offered or re-offered by the Texas staff
(1) Cade Klubnik (Austin Westlake)
(26) Alex Orji (Sachse)
(18) Jamarion Miller (Tyler Legacy)
(23) Tavorus Jones (El Paso Burges)
(6) Kam Dewberry (Humble Atascocita)
(10 Devon Campbell (Arlington Bowie)
(11) Kelvin Banks (Houston Summer Creek)
(25) Neto Umeozulu (Allen)
(7) Omari Abor (Duncanville)
(24) Jaray Bledsoe (Bremond)
(27) Ernest Cooper (Arlington Martin)
(14) Harold Perkins (Cypress Park)
(2) Denver Harris (North Shore)
(15) Bryce Anderson (Beaumont Westbrook)
(19) Brenen Thompson (Spearman)
No. 3 - Some impressions on the top remaining prospects ...
* Those four offensive line prospects are pretty much everything in this class considering what happened a year ago. Of course, the Longhorns could hit on an out-of-state guy or two, and there's always a chance that a player emerges from the shadows of the early rankings and becomes a Top 15-25 level prospect, but Banks, Campbell, Dewberry and Umeozulu (ranked in any order you want) are at the core of what this 2022 class will need in order to become a true success.
* Not including Klubnik, the skill position group is thin in impact prospects. The highest-rated skill player remaining (running backs/wide receivers/tight ends) is Miller at No. 18. The importance of the Jaydon "Don't Call Him Alfred" Blue and Evan Stewart commitments cannot be overstated, as they were the last two remaining offensive skill prospects remaining from the five-star and high four-star tiers of the rankings; Brenen Thompson could end up in that area, while technically being recruited as an athlete by a lot of schools.
* The importance of Jason Llewellyn as a prospect is probably impacted by his profile and the scarcity of players at his position. Still, the Longhorns are loaded at the wide receiver position, so if there was ever a year where they could survive a lack of tight end prospects, it's in 2022. Look for Jeff Banks to stay on Llewellyn, while looking for an out-of-state guy to poach; most of the tight ends in Texas look like developmental projects with somewhat limited upside.
* Barring a flip of Bear Alexander or Malick Sylla, the Longhorns aren’t going to fill their needs along the defensive line from the Lone Star State alone. Only Duncanville's Abor remains as an elite option.
* Historically, the value of linebackers is suspect, to say the least, but Perkins is clearly the apple of everyone's eye at his position.
* Denver Harris and Bryce Anderson are in the discussion for best remaining prospects, but there's a pile of defensive backs right outside of the top 25 that does give this position more depth than the top 15 might suggest. Aledo's Bryan Allen, Katy's Bobby Taylor, Plano John Paul's Terrance Brooks and Garland's Chace Biddle would all be in the next 10. I personally view Harris and Alexander on different, higher tiers than the others.
No. 4 - Four weekend thoughts on Maalik Murphy ...
1. While I have Klubnik and Quinn Ewers ranked as five-star quarterback prospects, I'm not sure that either are in the same league as Murphy when it comes to his physical profile and ability to throw the football on an absolute line.
Take a look at this freaking throw and its trajectory. For all of Ewers’ accuracy (and he could end up being the most accurate prospect the state has produced in a decade), he doesn't quite throw the ball consistently like this.
2. I'm really having a hard time coming up with a name for a former Longhorn that Murphy reminds me off. Maybe Chris Simms to a degree, but I think Murphy throws the intermediate and deep intermediate ball better than Simms did at the same age.
3. Watching him throw in 7-on-7 feels like watching an elite power hitter take batting practice.
4. He's got the Hook'em down correctly. This is important.
No. 5 - About 2022 Defensive Back Recruiting ...
If you inspect the plan for the Texas defensive backfield, you'll find that the commitment of Landon Hullaby to Oregon won’t impact the recruiting class much. Consider:
a. The Longhorns will probably take between 4-6 defensive backs, depending on the hit rate at the top of their board. The betting favorite would probably be five defensive backs, but if Texas gets everyone, they'd probably make room for a sixth difference maker. Four feels on the light side and might mean a commitment peeled off, or Texas missed on more players than anticipated.
b. With Port Arthur Memorial's Jaylon Guilbeau already committed, you'd have to think that the staff has two spots reserved for Bryce Anderson and Denver Harris.
c. A commitment by Hullaby would have left the program with less positional versatility in its remaining offers, considering Texas has offered 22 higher-rated players at the position thus far in the 2022 class. Hullaby is a really good prospect, but there's a chance that spot will be filled with a prospect with a higher/more valuable profile.
d. The reality of there being fewer spots available might create some urgency on those final spots in the remaining field of offers.
No. 6 - Uh oh ...
If there's one thing you can say with 100-percent certainty about long-time followers of the Texas men's basketball program, we can spot a late-season collapse coming a mile away.
The program has shown a repeated ability to steal a sad ending from the jaws of a successful season.
So, when the team's inconsistent form turned into a disaster against West Virginia that included an embarrassing argument between two upperclassmen/leaders of the team and blowing a 19-point lead, well.... you'll have to excuse us when we all run into the nearest room and yell, "FIIIIRRRRRREEEEEE!!!!!!!"
For most of this season, I have firmly believed that Texas would make a run in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade, but this was a collapse.
The way this team fumbled and bumbled its way through the final 10 minutes was not the stuff of future NCAA Tournament success, and typically those types of runs come from a team starting to play its best basketball right about now. You won't find many college backcourts with as much experience as the trio of Matt Coleman, Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey, which is why I've been so confident in this group in an early NCAA Tournament setting, but the decision-making and execution from this trio on Saturday was u-g-l-y.
Jones had a poor game that featured a ton of turnovers (6) and missed shots (12), several of which inexplicably felt like mistimed heat checks. Ramey was in NBA Jam "Fire Mode" when he was suckered into committing his fifth foul at a time when the team couldn't afford to lose him. Meanwhile, Coleman ruined a great shooting night when he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 that could have allowed Texas to tie the game at 84-84 with less than 10 seconds left.
Everyone following the program is preparing for the worst because it’s what we have been conditioned to expect.
It's not that this team can't make a run; it would just be insanity to expect different results and not the same thing over and over again.
No. 7 – BUY or SELL …
(Buy) I don't buy it with much confidence, though.Shaka coaches Texas at the new arena.
(Sell) I'm more worried about the closing out of the game on Saturday than the dust-up on the sidelines. It was embarrassing, but this team hasn't been playing its best basketball for a while now.The blowup between ramey and jones derails the rest of the season
(Sell) Is this what people are saying? I think there's more excitement going down on the offensive side of the ball at the moment, which is understandable, but I don't expect this class to be dominated by its offensive prospects alone. I didn't view the Hullaby commitment as anything other than an opportunity.As the Hullaby pick of Oregon over Texas indicates, defensive recruiting improvement will not automatically follow the arrival of the new coaching staff as opposed to what we have seen, early, on the offensive side of the ball.
(Buy) He's more game-ready right now.Quinn Ewers immediate player over Maalik Murphy at their respective programs?
(Buy) Yes and yes.Maalik Murphy ends up a 5*. Texas signs at least 3 5* players in this class?
(Buy) I don't like it.When all is said and done, Djokovic will have more Grand Slam titles than Nadal and Federer?
(Sell) I think common sense indicates there's a good chance of that.The continued recruitment of Klubnik indicates there is a good chance loser of QB battle transfers this fall?
(Buy) The portal will be busy.At least 3 wide receivers will hit the portal after spring practice?
(Buy) No question.You are comfortable with Malik's rating, meaning you agree with it given the lack of real qb experience?
(Sell) I believe they are equal-sized pieces of the puzzle.Yes, recruiting is important, but for OL in particular, coaching and development are more important.
(Sell) Die Hard isn't a Christmas movie, but it is the superior movie.Since it is the off-season, here goes. Karate Kid is a better movie than Die Hard? (Yes it will be a long off-season)
(Buy) You misspelled decades.You’re cool not seeing any ice or snow in Texas for at least 3 more winters
No. 8 - Scattershooting on the world of sports...
... It sucks that the career of Charli Collier likely won't end with a better supporting cast; Vic Schaefer will eventually bring in that kind of talent.
... Tanking all of those seasons to have a chance to see Joel Embiid have a 50-piece to go along with 17 rebounds on Friday night in the middle of a potential MVP season was worth it.
... This will never get old.
... I don't get the "Carson Wentz makes the Colts a Super Bowl threat" talk at all.
... I read a mock draft on Sunday and I can honestly say that I'm not yet in draft-mode at all.
... Can't say I was surprised to see that Derrick Lewis knocked someone out this weekend. Can't say I know what Curtis Blaydes was thinking in terms of his approach.
... Novak Djokovic won No. 18 this weekend. Here's hoping he doesn't get to No. 20. Signed, a Nadal homer.
... It feels like the era of Naomi Osaka is truly upon us.
.... I feel like I'm reliving the 1999 season for the Dallas Cowboys as a Liverpool FC fan, with the injury fallout from losing Michel Irvin looking similar to what has happened since the injury to Virgil Van Dijk. It's been a nightmare. If anyone is wondering how I'm doing this weekend... I'm living in a damn nightmare, and there's no waking up from it.
No. 9 - The List: Top 10 Leo DiCaprio movies ...
After doing a Denzel Washington Top 10 a week ago, I thought I'd stay in the movie wheelhouse and tackle a catalog I once was lukewarm about; now I’m a major fan.
Rewatchability played a big role in the rankings. For instance, Titanic might feel a tad low, but at the end of the day, I'd rather re-watch The Wolf of Wall Street a little more.
10. Revolutionary Road
9. Django Unchained
8. Catch Me If You Can
7. The Aviator
5. The Wolf of Wall Street
3. The Departed
2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
1. Gangs of New York
No. 10 - And Finally ...
Came close to a turkey vulture this weekend while walking around the neighborhood, as it was eating something near the sidewalk. I had the following thoughts and learned the following thing via the Internet..
a. Do other birds look at the turkey vulture and judge it for being so beastly looking?
b. Why do I only see turkey vultures while eating roadkill? Why doesn't it ever hang out on telephone wires around town? If they wanted to take over an area, do they just show up and the other birds get the hell out of the way because of their size and ugliness?
c. How would a suburb deal with hundreds of turkey vultures taking over like a pack of grackles? Imagine walking on a street and being surrounded by them. It doesn't seem like it would be a sightseeing thing... like... say.... a bat.
d. Did you know that a young turkey vulture will defend itself in a nest by throwing up on an intruder? Well, now you do.