Texas recruiting needs

January, 20, 2009
1/20/09
2:44
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

Mack Brown has earned the reputation as one of the game's master recruiters as he has developed a program that has run off 10 straight victories over the past eight consecutive seasons.

The Longhorns have a few holes to fill from this season's 12-1 team that claimed the Fiesta Bowl but was disappointed in its hopes to have a shot at the BCS title by a last-second loss at Texas Tech.

The most pressing need will be along the defensive front as starters Brian Orakpo, Roy Miller, Henry Melton and part-time starter Aaron Lewis all will leave from a unit that led the nation with 47 sacks last season. Don't be surprised if linebacker Sergio Kindle moves to defensive end to help fill the talent gap for next season.

More talent for the future could be used at linebacker where both projected starters Jared Norton and Roddrick Muckelroy will be seniors next season. The secondary appears set with eight players in the playing rotation who were either sophomores or freshmen last season, including both starting safeties in Earl Thomas and Blake Gideon.

With Colt McCoy set for his senior season, finding depth at quarterback is an immediate goal. Heralded prospect Garrett Gilbert will likely redshirt in order to prepare for the battle to replace McCoy in 2010.

The Longhorns lose only Cedric Dockery as a starter along the offense line and appear stacked with talented players lined up for playing time. Center Chris Hall, guard Charlie Tanner and tackle Adam Ulatoski all will be seniors next season, giving impetus to finding more depth across the line.

Redshirt freshman Tre Newton appears poised for a battle for playing time at running back, where the lack of a breakaway threat remains a concern. Vondrell McGee has struggled in the featured role and Fozzy Whittaker has been injury-prone.

The need isn't quite as pressing at wide receiver. The development of youngsters like Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll, Brandon Collins and Dan Buckner have the Longhorns apparently set for the loss of Quan Cosby and the eventual departure of Jordan Shipley after the 2009 season.

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