- May 29, 2001
I'm doing that thing that I sometimes do.
By sometimes, I mean pretty much always.
I'm writing a Texas football recruiting "what if column" and it's not so much about the next step, as much as it's a big picture overview of the next few steps.
So, please bear with me because at the end of this, I hope to have painted a picture for you that you might not have seen.
Let's start with the reality of Texas sitting at 11 confirmed/public commitments going into this weekend, leaving 14 spots before the Longhorns are bumping up against the 25-man limit. Unlike the last few years, Texas figures to be working with a fairly hard 25-man line because the program is so close to the number with the current 2021 class. There's not going to be room to play around with the numbers by sliding early enrollees into the previous class.
As it stands, 25 might mean 26, but if the Longhorns take another transfer this summer, it'll almost certainly be 25.
The fact that there are 14 spots remaining is kind of a big deal.
So is the fact that the Longhorns want to take five offensive linemen in this class. We can't completely tell you who will take up those five slots, but we can tell you that unless things fall apart, the Longhorns are going to take five.
That leaves nine spots for all other positions for the rest of the class. Oh, and those nine spots will also include any room for transfers that you want to save for next spring/summer.
In my own head, the following 2022 prospects have spots reserved for them in this class, meaning that no matter what happens, the coaches will find a way to get these dudes to Austin:
That's five right there. Five pretty critical targets, we'd all agree.
If Texas can get its hands on all five, suddenly the Longhorns are down to four remaining scholarships and you'd have to think that the defensive line will get at least a few more bodies added to a mix that currently only includes Zac Swanson and Kristopher Ross.
These numbers don't include prospects like Arlis Boardingham, Jeremy Patton or Derrick Brown.
The numbers also don't allow for the Longhorns to leave much room to play next year's transfer lottery.
Of course, none of this matters if the Longhorns miss on all of their top targets. If Sarkisian and Co. fail to land the Moby Dicks of this class, the question of numbers won't be the thing on Orangebloods that folks are worried about.
Yet, in a world where the Longhorns start closing on the top targets, I'm officially screaming from the rafters that the program might be sitting on 11 commitments, but numbers are a thing to be obsessed about right now.
No. 2 - Some commitments are meaningless and it needs to be ok...
All of us need to understand something about 2022 recruiting.
In a completely abnormal year, any commitment made before June 1 is almost meaningless. All of those kids made decisions without the input of actual face-to-face time on visits.
All of our preconceived notions about the unwritten rules of recruiting have been rendered mostly useless in the wave of a pandemic that changed the game for 15 months.
Yes, this is all a bit bonkers, but it's completely understandable.
No. 3 - Checking in on the Big 6...
A few weeks ago, I wrote that there were legitimately six prospects in the 2022 class that are more important than anyone else in this class among current uncommitted prospects. Let's check in to see what's going on with them.
Offensive lineman Kelvin Banks: Now we wait on the five-star offensive tackle to marinate on his options. After taking his official visit to Texas A&M this weekend, Banks plans to name a final three in the near future and announce a decision at the end of July or sometimes in August. The Aggies figure to be the biggest threat to the Longhorns, and while I would contend that no one should casually dismiss the Aggies, I haven't heard anything that suggests that the Longhorns being the favorite to land him has changed.
Offensive lineman Devon Campbell: Getting Campbell in this weekend was a big step for the Longhorns., Now they'll need to do it again and again. The Longhorns have the pole position, but this battle will be won the fall in all likelihood.
Wide receiver Evan Stewart: Texas and Florida make up the top two going into July, while Alabama is likely in third. The Longhorns are in great shape here as long as the offense this season gives him zero reason to second-guess the Longhorns. Few de-commitments end up being re-commitments, but there's a very real chance with Stewart.
Athlete Brenen Thompson: There was some speculation that Thompson might make a commitment sooner rather than later, but with a top six put out this weekend, he's another kid that is starting to look like someone that will wait until after his senior season before he makes a decision. Buckle up.
Cornerback Denver Harris: The Longhorns still have a pole position in his recruitment, but this race will go down to the wire. With Harris likely waiting until after the season to make a final decision on his recruitment, it'll be interesting to see which games he'll attend during the season and if he uses any of his remaining official visits in a way that might add a third team to the mix. There are going to be a lot of 2022, 2023 and 2024 kids at A&M's game against Alabama in the fall. I'm just spitballing a little here, but there's been enough footsy with the Aggies in the last couple of months to suggest that a visit to College Station that weekend could potentially happen. In the meantime, it'll be interesting to see when the Longhorns try to focus on bringing in the likes of Harris during the season. Texas Tech on September 25? Oklahoma State on October 16?
Cornerback Bryce Anderson: Texas has been the favorite for months and finally got him on campus for an official visit this weekend. With a commitment to be announced this week, this has to be the Longhorns. If it's not... uh oh.
No. 4 - 2022 Recruiting Scattershots ...
... I've currently got an OU futurecast in when it comes to Cam Williams, but after this quote, I might be making a change before his July 1 announcement.
"To be honest, I already had the school that I wanted. Now that I came to Texas, now it’s changed," Williams told Orangebloods.
... In case you had any doubt about it, I was told the loss of Newton running back De'Anthony Gatson was a stinging one for the Texas coaches, as Gatson was a player that Stan Drayton was very high on.
... Curious to see what Jamarion Miller's view of the Texas visit once he gets back into town for a few days because there was a sense from the Alabama side of things that he was set to go that way before this weekend's visit. Given the outcome of the Gatson recruitment, the importance of Miller has increased significantly in the last week.
... It feels like the Rueben Owens recruitment has just begun.
... All week long I harped on our YouTube videos that the Longhorns needed to copy the Sooners and bring out the big cars for these recruiting photo shoots. Someone listened! To hell with subtlety.
No. 5 - Thank you, Texas baseball...
Sometimes great teams fall short of the ultimate goal.
While the 2021 Longhorns won't be mentioned in the same breath as the most iconic teams in the history of a storied program, this group was a great team.
It just wasn't the best team in the country. It happens.
I'll always remember that Ivan Melendez ninth-inning home run on Friday night. Same with Cole Quintanilla's seventh inning performance on Saturday night and the Cam Williams home run that came before it.
This team had grit, determination and a flair for the dramatic at all times. It accomplished almost everything that could be accomplished. In doing so, it also cut down on the true dead season for all Texas athletics fans. We're only five weeks away from the football team reporting, while some of these other poor bastards around the country have already been suffering for months.
If there's a bright side to things for a super sad 9th inning walk-off loss, at least the season didn't end like N.C. State. My poor head can't even grasp what Orangebloods would have looked like if the roles had somehow been reversed.
No. 6 - Prediction time...
There's a very real chance that Tara Davis is going to emerge as America's Sweetheart at the Olympics. It's hard to imagine another athlete in any sport that has the natural charisma that she brings to the table.
Can you imagine her winning gold? I can.
No. 7 – BUY or SELL …
B/S: The apparent stall in recruiting is starting to be a problem.
(Sell) This is a big week, though. In seven days from now, we're likely to know the outcome of the recruitments for Bryce Anderson and Cam Williams. The rubber is about to meet the road.
(Buy) Of course. I think one of the first things everyone will need to understand is that I'm not looking to replace Dustin, at least not in the way he's done the job for the last decade-plus. See section 10 for the rest of the answer to this question.
B/S. The NIL will have an immediate positive impact on our football program.
(Buy) It remains to be seen just how big of a positive it will be, but it is certainly not going to be a negative.
Buy or Sell: The future of UT athletics is brighter today than it was in 2001/2002?
(Sell) Vince Young joined the Texas football program in 2002 and that renders everything else moot, if we're being honest.
B/S - Jeff Banks and some of the other coaches on staff have so far not lived up to the rock star recruiter labels that have been given to them?
(Buy) It's not raining five-stars... yet. I would warn against making too much out of it at this point because they aren't losing big fish, even if they haven't landed them yet.
B/S Bryce Anderson will stick to his July 4th announcement date.
B/S If he does stick, we’ll be happy.
(Double Buy) It's been a long time coming, but I think he's coming home next week. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but he seems to have a really different kind of relationship with a few guys on the Texas commitment list and roster that will prove to be critical. If he pushes it back beyond July 4, I'm going to start wondering why it's so hard for him to pull the trigger, and none of those answers would be good ones.
B/S O/U for commitments in July is 5.5. And you would take the over… barely.
(Sell) I'll take the under... barely.
B/S: you think Coach D. Pierce has done a damn good job this season taking his team deep into the CWS.
(Buy) Better than damn good.
B/S - Hudson Card could be a starting WR on this team if he wasn’t playing QB
(Sell) No, not even close.
B/S - Sark signs six or more Rivals 100 prospects in the 2022 class.
(Buy) Yes... or this class won't finish anywhere near where any of us thought it would.
B/S: PK's defense is ranked #1 in the Big 12 at the end of the season?
(Sell) I still think this team lacks personnel pieces needed to be a No.1-ranked defense in the Big 12.
(Sell) I don't think they would have won it in 1995 if they had won it in 1994. That 1994 season really took a lot out of that team's soul, and I think the thing that carried a worse team in 1995 is the fact that they came up just short. Actually winning a three-peat would have made the 1995 season quite a heavy lift.
No. 8 - Scattershooting on the sports weekend...
... Go Vanderbilt. 🤷♂️
... Gotta be honest when I tell you that I have a hard time caring about the Milwaukee/Atlanta series, but this move from Giannis was pretty freaking incredible.
... Chris Paul might just get his ring. Hell, he's one game away from his first Finals appearance. What a year in the NBA.
... The sticky substance stuff in baseball does nothing for me. I've just ignored it.
... Look mom, I made it on TV!
... I am one selfish bastard. My first thought about Portugal losing in the Euros is that it meant that Diogo Jota gets a longer rest before the start of preseason camp for Liverpool in July.
... You get the feeling that the winner of Germany/England might just have a walk all the way to the final.
No. 9 - My Top 10 Guilty Pleasures ...
Don't ask me where this idea even came from. I was struggling to find motivation for a list and it occurred to me how much I wish I was being pampered at a day spa at this exact moment.
That was all the inspiration that I needed.
Here. We. Go. My top 10 guilty pleasures:
9. Cherry-flavored Lifesavers
8. Bert's BBQ Turbo (no beans)
7. Barq's Root beer from a fountain
6. High end Liverpool soccer cards
5. Pride and Prejudice (Keira Knightley version)
3. Going to a movie theater by myself
2. Massages (non-Bob Kraft variety)
No. 10 - And Finally ...
The final days of the Dustin McComas Experience is sadly going to end without a national title in baseball on his final day with Orangebloods.
Damn the baseball gods for that!
Although we will celebrate the hell out of Dustin's tenure all week, I wanted to also give everyone an update on the future of Orangebloods. Over the course of the next month or so, I'll continue the vetting process that will result in multiple staff hires intended to help take OB into the rest of this decade.
The reality of the moment is that we were already going to be hiring a football/football recruiting centric reporter before Dustin decided to leave, which means that we're not looking for a single person to cover the same basketball/baseball beat that Dustin has covered for so long. Instead, the goal is to bring in multiple talented people that will boost the value of the site in multiple ways.
While I have a plan in mind for what I'd like to see occur, I would expect that the announcements will occur in July or August. As sad as it is to lose Dustin, I really excited about what we're aiming to do from a coverage future standpoint.