- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Immediately after returning from Waco, Texas’ coaching staff hit the road on Sunday to begin visiting its committed recruits and targets. Mack Brown is expected to join them today for in-home visits.
The Longhorns picked up commit No. 23 on Monday but still have plenty of work to do. Here’s a look at the positions where Texas needs the most help going into 2014. It’s a safe bet Texas’ final pledges will come from these five spots:
After putting this move off for two consecutive offseasons, Texas needs to bring in a transfer quarterback. The Longhorns briefly pursued Bo Wallace, Nick Marshall and other juco options in recent years, but opted to stick with Case McCoy as the backup.
There are no five-star, big-time options at the junior college level this year. So Texas’ best bet is pursuing a graduate transfer. One QB that Texas and several others major programs are keeping an eye on is Florida State’s Jacob Coker, who would have two seasons of eligibility if he leaves.
2. Defensive end
Jackson Jeffcoat is off to the pros. Cedric Reed could opt to leave early and join him. If he does, Texas will need an end or two who is ready to play right away in 2014. Hence its recent interest in junior college prospects.
New Mexico Military Institute teammates Edmond Boateng and Terry Ayeni will both visit Texas this week. Boateng, ESPN’s No. 3 ranked juco defensive end prospect, arrives Wednesday and will also visit Arizona State this weekend. Ayeni will be in town Friday for the banquet. They want to play together at the next level if possible.
3. Running back
Next season, Texas will enter fall camp with two senior running backs and a junior, Johnathan Gray, who might not be healthy until August following a torn Achilles. That has made taking three running backs in this class a priority. Three are currently committed, but it’s an interesting group.
D’Onta Foreman , (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) had a huge senior year, but could be a close call in terms of qualifying. Kevin Shorter (Newton, Texas/Newton) suffered a spinal injury this fall that could end his playing career. Longtime pledge Donald Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower) is solid, but has shown potential as a DB as well.
4. Defensive back
Of the many ESPN 300 targets still uncommitted, you’d have to say Jamal Adams is at the top of Texas’ board. Tony Brown is a high priority, too, but Adams is a must-get. He’d play right away and possible even start for the Longhorns in 2014.
Adams keeps to himself when it comes to this process, but at the moment this seems to be a battle between Florida, LSU and Texas. Texas already has two safety pledges in Jason Hall (Grand Prairie, Texas/South Grand Prairie) and John Bonney (Houston/Lamar), but Adrian Phillips is set to graduate and the Longhorns haven’t exactly received consistent play from their other safeties this season.
5. Defensive tackle
This priority gets bumped down the list after four-star defensive tackle Zaycoven Henderson (Longview, Texas/Longview) announced his commitment to Texas on Monday, but Texas isn’t done shopping at this spot.
Longtime four-star commit Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Warren) has taken official visits to UCLA, Arizona State and Ole Miss this fall. Since Lealaimatafao is looking around, so will Texas. The Longhorn staff must operate under the assumption he’s no longer committed. If Lealaimatafao doesn’t reaffirm his pledge this weekend at the banquet, don’t be surprised if Texas pursues other options, including at the junior college level.
Henderson, Jake McMillon (Abilene, Texas/Abilene) and Courtney Garnett (New Orleans/St. Augustine) are solid, but losing Chris Whaley and the transfer of Ashton Dorsey made this spot a need, and 2012 signees Paul Boyette Jr. and Alex Norman haven’t panned out.
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