NCF Nation: DeMarco Cobbs

AUSTIN, Texas — Manny Diaz refuses to take a step back.

It's just not in his makeup. The Texas defensive coordinator is a full-steam, batten-the-hatches, get-out-of-the-way coach. Luckily for those around him — coaches and players — Diaz has a defense ready to do just that. Because Texas was forced into playing so many young players on defense that meant there were very few redshirts. That, in turn, means Diaz was more hands on with the younger players because they were not littered throughout the scout team.

[+] EnlargeManny Diaz
Patrick Green/Icon SMIManny Diaz and his aggressive style made the Longhorns one of the best defenses in the Big 12.
“That is the exciting part,” Diaz said. “When we get to the spring, now you are not teaching the ‘what.’ Last year, we had to teach the ‘what.’
ESPN The Magazine had a fascinating feature looking back at the past 25 No. 1 high school recruits Insider, where they are now and what the ranking meant to them. With apologies to Vince Young, there aren't a ton of Big 12 talents on the list, but there have been plenty of great recruits to come through the Big 12. We took a look on Thursday at how the All-Big 12 team stacked up as recruits, and you saw quite a mixed bag.

Well, it's the same for the recruits who came to campus with high rankings and high profiles. Going back to 2006, here's how every Big 12 commit from the ESPNU 150 turned out. We'll eventually get to the current class in 2011, around signing day, but here's how the 2010 class breaks down. This class is only a year into their careers, so while some have shown more potential than others, it's ridiculous to be too discouraged by anyone on this list, or make any truly meaningful judgments. No. 2: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas. Got off to fast start in 2010 before being sidelined and slowed by ankle injury. Finished with 13 tackles, five tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and one fumble recovery. Only three tackles after season's first four games.

[+] EnlargeMike Davis
AP Photo/Eric GayTexas freshman wide receiver Mike Davis finished with 47 receptions this past season.
No. 4: Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas. Ohio prospect chose the Longhorns over in-state power Buckeyes. Played in 11 games, including seven at linebacker. Finished with 21 tackles in first year, including 11 in a win against Nebraska.

No. 13: Mike Davis, WR, Texas. No catches in the season opener, and missed the Red River Rivalry with an ankle injury, but ranked second on the team with 47 catches for 478 yards and two touchdown catches, tied for most on the team.

No. 14: Taylor Bible, DT, Texas. Redshirted.

No. 15: Ahmad Dixon, S, Baylor. Waco native forced a fumble and had 16 tackles.

No. 18: DeMarco Cobbs, ATH, Texas. Played special teams in 10 games, and appeared at defensive back in one game. Made four tackles.

No. 20: Darius White, WR, Texas. Played in seven games at wide receiver and one at special teams. Caught one pass for five yards against Florida Atlantic.

No. 21: Tony Jefferson, S, Oklahoma. Won the starting nickelback job, finishing the season with 65 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks. Named co-Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

No. 46: Ashton Dorsey, DT, Texas. Played in seven games, made one tackle.

No. 48: Austin Haywood, TE, Oklahoma. Appeared in 11 games, mostly on special teams. Made three tackles.

No. 62: Corey Nelson, LB, Oklahoma. Switched to the Sooners from Texas A&M on Signing Day 2010. Appeared in all 14 games, making 21 tackles, including 2.5 for loss. Blocked a punt vs. A&M.

No. 65: Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma. Redshirted.

No. 72: Reggie Wilson, DE, Texas. Played in 10 games. Made five tackles.

No. 73: Chris Jones, WR, Texas. Redshirted.

No. 75: Shaun Lewis, LB, Oklahoma State. Became a starter and made 58 tackles and eight tackles for loss. Intercepted three passes, including two against Oklahoma, returning one for a touchdown. Named co-Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

No. 77: Quentin Hayes, S, Oklahoma. Redshirted.

No. 83: Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M. Enrolled early and was the Aggies' starting left tackle by the spring game. Earned All-Big 12 honorable mention.

No. 86: Tevin Jackson, OLB, Texas. Kept off the field by eligibility issues and appeal is still pending.

No. 90: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M. Became Aggies' starting right tackle midway through the season.

No. 114: Aaron Benson, LB, Texas. Redshirted. Cousin of former Longhorn Cedric Benson.

No. 122: Carrington Byndom, CB, Texas. Played in 10 games at defensive back and special teams. Made 11 tackles, all solo.

No. 125: Toney Hurd Jr., CB, Texas A&M. Appeared in 12 games and made nine tackles.

No. 129: Brennan Clay, RB, Oklahoma. Carted off field as a precaution in win against Florida State and missed next two games. Finished with 127 yards on 36 carries.

No. 134: Adrian Phillips, ATH, Texas. Played in 10 games, including five at defensive back. Made eight tackles.

No. 141: Trey Hopkins, OG, Texas. Played in 11 games and made three starts at left guard.

No. 142: Justin McCay, ATH, Oklahoma. Redshirted.

No. 147: Andrew Rodriguez, OG, Nebraska. Appeared in five games as a backup left guard, becoming the first true freshman Nebraska lineman to play since 2006.

Texas recruiting capsule

February, 4, 2010
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Texas Longhorns

Total class: 25

ESPN 150: 15

By position: WR 5, DE 3, DT 3, OLB 3, ATH 2, QB 2, CB 2, G 1, RB 1, C 1, S 1, K 1.

By state: Texas 22, Ohio 1, Oklahoma 1, Louisiana 1.

Already enrolled in school: 3.

The big ones: Jackson Jeffcoat, the nation’s top player at his position and No. 2 player overall, is a dominant speed rusher who should only get better as he fills out. Jordan Hicks, the nation’s top outside linebacker and No. 4 player overall, shows the kind of burst and tackling ability that leads me to think he could win a college Butkus Award to go along with the high school version he picked up last season.

Sleeper: DE Greg Daniels might get lost amongst all of the publicity surrounding Jeffcoat, Hicks and the others on the defense. But he’s a strong, active pass rusher who should challenge for playing time while with the Longhorns.

Needs met: With Sergio Kindle departing and Eddie Jones and Sam Acho both entering their senior seasons, the Longhorns needed defensive ends. They addressed the deficiency by attracting three of the nation’s top 23 defensive ends. Texas coaches were specific about their offensive line needs and attracted Army All-Americans in center Dominic Espinosa and guard Trey Hopkins. And with Garrett Gilbert seemingly entrenched as the starting quarterback, the Longhorns attracted Case McCoy and Connor Wood to battle for depth at the position. Both graduated from high school early and will begin practice with the Longhorns later this month.

Analysis: Texas won the mythical Big 12 recruiting title with a typical strong early spurt and two monster late additions in Jeffcoat and Hicks. It should give Will Muschamp a lot of defensive building blocks to tinker with for the next several seasons. Help was needed at wide receiver and the Longhorns addressed those needs with five players, including potential standouts Mike Davis and Darius White. And look for Demarco Cobbs to challenge for playing time at running back. All of these elements help to make it one of Mack Brown’s top two recruiting classes, ranking with his 2002 class for his very best group.

What Mack Brown said: “I've been asked over the last couple of days, 'Is this the best class that we've ever had?' We feel like it definitely has the potential to be because from top to bottom it covers every position and that's a very difficult thing to do." … On Texas' consistent recruiting success: “Obviously, we had 25 official visits and we got 25 kids. We're not into offering guys that we don't want. We're really not into recruiting guys that don't have interest.”

Scouts Inc. grade/rankings: A-plus, first in Big 12.

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