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Thursday, January 16, 2014
Texas coaches back on the road recruiting

By Max Olson

The dead period is over and it’s time to hit the road. Charlie Strong has his new coaching staff in place and is ready to get back to work on closing out Texas’ recruiting class.

The Longhorns currently have 21 committed prospects, though several are looking to take official visits elsewhere this month. There are big-time recruits still available. And don’t forget the new names who are sure to pop up on Texas’ radar in the next few weeks.

Here’s a rundown of where things stand and what names you should know entering the end of the dead period.

Solid commitments

S John Bonney, RB Donald Catalon, C Terrell Cuney, WR Armanti Foreman, RB D'Onta Foreman, S Jason Hall, LB Cameron Hampton, QB Jerrod Heard, WR Dorian Leonard, DT Jake McMillon, DE Derick Roberson, RB Kevin Shorter, DE Sione Teuhema

A good core of this recruiting class will stick together and want to be Longhorns no matter who’s coaching them next season. Heard and Roberson are the gems of the class and have been committed since Aug. 2012. Roberson, Catalon and Teuhema are scheduled to visit Texas this weekend.

Enrolled early

WR Roderick Bernard, LB Andrew Beck, TE Blake Whiteley

Whiteley, a native Canadian and junior college transfer, arrives in Austin soon. Bernard could play a number of roles and should get looks a few spots this spring. Beck was technically the first Florida signee of Mack Brown’s tenure.

Looking around

LB Otaro Alaka, WR Garrett Gray, WR Lorenzo Joe, WR Emanuel Porter, CB Jermaine Roberts

It’s possible Texas could lose a few of these verbal commits due mostly to the fact they committed to coaches who are no longer at Texas. All five have scheduled official visits for January. The toughest ones to keep from this group seem to be Alaka, who will visit Texas A&M, as well as Porter and Roberts. Porter is checking out LSU and TCU, while Roberts is scheduled to visit Ohio State.

Decommitments

DT Zaycoven Henderson, DT Trey Lealaimatafao, DT Courtney Garnett

Henderson, an early enrollee, made the surprising move of flipping to Texas A&M last week and is now in College Station. Lealaimatafao is likely to end up in the Pac-12 and won’t consider Texas, and Garnett likes Oklahoma and Tennessee but could have trouble qualifying.

ESPN 300 targets

S Edwin Freeman, DE Solomon Thomas, DT Poona Ford

These three are high-priority targets who would fill significant needs in this class. Texas has been the favorite for a while for Freeman, a versatile safety/linebacker. The Longhorns' coaches have work to do with Thomas and need to get him on campus again. Ford was the top-rated recruit of Louisville’s class before decommitting and will visit UT this weekend.

New targets

OG Alex Anderson, Arizona State commit; DT Chris Nelson; S Jah'Shawn Johnson, Texas Tech commit; RB Corey Avery; DT Michael Sawyers

Texas could find a few new commitments from this list in the next week. Anderson is set to enroll early and will make his final decision Monday after visiting Texas and ASU. Johnson considers UT his dream school and will visit this weekend, as will Nelson and Avery. Sawyers decommited from Vanderbilt on Wednesday and likes Strong and his coaches. It’s hard to tell whether Avery gets an offer, but he’s been on the radar for months.