Chat with Max Olson
Welcome to HornsNation! On Tuesday, writer Max Olson stops by to chat about everything Texas.
Olson joined ESPN in 2012 after covering the University of Nebraska for the Omaha World-Herald and high school and college sports for the World-Herald and Rivals.com. Olson is a University of Nebraska graduate and lives in Austin, Texas.
Send your questions now and join Olson Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Max Olson (4:01 PM)
Welcome to this week's HornsNation chat. We've got signing day in 8 days and Texas' first big junior day is only 12 days away, so there's plenty to talk about this afternoon. Send in any and all questions you've got and let's get this started.
Nicolai (Denmark, Europe)
Should we expect any "surprise" NSD additions to this years recruiting class? Any chance for Texas to get Robbie Rhodes the way they got Shiro Davis last year?
Max Olson (4:03 PM)
That would be pretty incredible. I'm going to have to say no on Robbie Rhodes. I've talked to him a bunch this year and it's pretty clear he loves Baylor and what he can do in their offense. Really the only Shiro-caliber guy right now is Dontre Wilson, and that's still looking like an Oregon vs. Ohio State affair despite Texas' best efforts
is there any sleepers thtat texas could add to the recruiting class?>
Max Olson (4:04 PM)
Wrote about one today on HornsNation: Little Elm RB Ke'aun Kinner is still crossing his fingers and hoping Texas finds him a scholarship after signing day. He's got some major grade hurdles to overcome first but UT is interested and he'd commit on the spot if offered. I have a hard time seeing it happening, but he's a sleeper to know about for sure.
What are the reasons that UT's highly-ranked recruiting classes haven't developed into top college players?
Max Olson (4:07 PM)
There's always going to be a few guys who end up being flat-out overrated (remember Darius White and Taylor Bible?) but the real issue for Texas has been development in a several areas. Perhaps the coaching changes played a role in that, because the new coaches were stuck with guys they didn't recruit, but that's a major area for improvement going forward.
Why did Mack and Texas offer so few of the state's highest-ranked players?
Max Olson (4:08 PM)
Interesting question. Texas has known all along that this class needed to be a small one (esp. with only 9 scholarship seniors on the roster). That meant making difficult decisions in the evaluation process and offering only guys who they were prepared to take pledges from this spring. Prime example: Going with Deoundrei Davis over Mike Mitchell. Had this been a full 25-man class, the story would be different.
Odds that Major Applewhite returns UT to more of a spread/pistol offense?
Max Olson (4:10 PM)
I don't know how to put odds on that (70%?) but I do expect that. Texas coaches are telling recruits they're going to an up-tempo attack under Applewhite and I do think that means much more spread.
Chris J (On top of the world)
With Swoopes dropping out of the ESPN 300 rankings, what is it that makes fans think that he can come in and contend for the starting or back up position at QB as a true freshman?. I see Swoopes as being a developmental player and possibly moving to a different position.
Max Olson (4:12 PM)
I have a hard time seeing him at another position, though he has the size to play a number of roles. The bump out of the ESPN 300 should make it clear Swoopes is a developmental prospect with a very high ceiling, a great toolbox but who needs time to master a college offense. I think he redshirts this year, unless something crazy happens.
John (Round Rock)
A'Shawn Robinson latest?
Max Olson (4:13 PM)
He visited Texas this weekend and told me it was the best trip to UT he's taken all year, but Alabama and USC aren't letting up. Nick Saban visited his school yesterday, I'm sure more coaches will during the week. He's keeping quiet and making his final decision on signing day. Still says he's a solid pledge, but...we'll see
What's up on the Billings front? Saw some tweet from will saying something about dropping Baylor because no offer for his highschool teammate adrain Norwood... I don't have a clue who that is or what that means. How's UT stand with him now?
Max Olson (4:14 PM)
I don't buy that. Texas is in very good shape for him. I'd expected Billings to announce his decision by the end of this week. I still think that's possible, but you just don't know with that guy. He's push back decisions several times. He'll announce on a Waco radio station when he is finally ready. I still think he's Texas' 16th and final pledge.
Stephen (Seattle, WA)
Mack says this class is gonna be in the 15-16 range, is that him staying humble or do you think he believes we may only get one more commit?
Max Olson (4:16 PM)
I think he's expecting Andrew Billings. I'll put it this way: I went through the full roster after the three scholarship veterans left the program and counted 72 scholarships. 13 commits puts them at the 85-man limit. I think from a practical standpoint, they're targeting 15-16 as the final number because it's going to affect post-spring attrition.
Stephen (Seattle, WA)
I agree with Sean on we must develop NFL caliber talent to get back to the TOP. Looking RIGHT now, how many players do you think will be NFL ready heading into the season, and who may blossom throughout the season?
Max Olson (4:17 PM)
RIGHT now, Jeffcoat, Hicks, Diggs, Byndom, Mike Davis are NFL ready. I think Hopkins and Walters have a chance to be in that category if they put it all together in 2013.
any news on weather tunsil is still gonna take his texa visit.also hows texas with adams,brown ,and soloman thomas as well as barret
Max Olson (4:19 PM)
Laremy Tunsil isn't visting Texas, that story is dead. Texas is in very good shape with Solomon Thomas and Jamal Adams and they're battling for Tony Brown, though I'd still say they're No. 3 behind LSU and A&M.
With all of the OL recruits coming in, we're pretty much 3-deep across the line. Who starts? Who red-shirts? And which of the current guys (non-starters) may look to transfer to find playing time?
Max Olson (4:22 PM)
It's a wide open battle in 2013. Anyone could start. Seriously. Besides Trey Hopkins I think it's safe to say every starting job is fair game. I do think the plan will be to start Dez Harrison, though we'll see if that works out since he's not enrolling early. Right now it's hard to peg any one of Texas' 5 OL commits as obvious redshirts. Of all of them, maybe Kent Perkins. There are some guys buried in the depth chart now - Hutchins, Doyle, Greenlea - who could move on to clear room for the freshmen.
jason trump (birdville)
Are we going to be able to steal Dontre Wilson? We desperately need him!
Max Olson (4:23 PM)
Sorry, don't see it happening. The thing that surprised me was that every time I talked to Dontre since he committed to Oregon on May 25, he told me he hadn't heard a word from Texas. They really did stop recruiting him until things started looking shaky with Oregon. I'm not saying that cost them, I just think Wilson prefer to go out of state in the end.
how my boy Tyrone gon do at QB next year/?
Max Olson (4:24 PM)
Tyrone Swoopes has a very bright future in my opinion but it would be a mistake to force him onto the field as a true freshman. He needs time to learn and I think he'd really benefit from redshirting in 2013.
Please tell me the coaches will strongly consider redshirting most of these incoming freshmen. I feel the coaching staff did a couple of guys wrong by not redshirting them last season (especially the WRs & DBs).
Max Olson (4:25 PM)
I can't disagree with you on the wide receiver situation. That being said, there's 15 guys in this class and easily more than half of them can play right away. With a smaller class there aren't very many obvious redshirt candidates.
Is ke'aun kinner even worth getting? I mean we shouldn't just offer a 3 star runningback just cause we can't get anyone else right?
Max Olson (4:27 PM)
The fact that Texas already has 2 RB pledges for 2014 means getting on this year isn't a major priority. But Kinner got on the radar with an insane senior season: 2,929 rushing yards, 28 touchdowns, 10 touchdowns of 50-plus yards, 5 from 70+. To put that in perspective, he ran for 1,000 more yards than Dontre Wilson.
Are you concerned that Texas probably won't take a RB in this class and only 2 receivers?
Max Olson (4:29 PM)
Good question. Taking only 2 WRs means they really do need the trio of Jones, Johnson and Sanders to pan out. Those guys have to be the future of the position, though I do have confidence in Oliver and Warrick. As no RBs, yeah, a little bit. But the 2014 class helps.
How confident are you that Texas keeps A'Shawn and gets Billings.
Max Olson (4:30 PM)
For both guys, I'm about 75% confident right now if I'm Texas. Maybe a little higher for A'Shawn.
Eddie (San Antonio)
What are the chances of Texas landing Tony Brown?
Max Olson (4:31 PM)
Going to take an all-out recruiting blitz. As we've said all along, the X-factor could be his sister, Bealoved Brown. She's a major track recruit and down to A&M and LSU. Tony has been to Texas several times in the past year and does like UT, but those other schools have the lead right now.
Hey Max, always a pleasure to ask you questions. I have three questions for you today:1) Will Applewhite stick with power running game long-term plan? I felt we were not a power running team last year because our interior linemen were absolutely man handled by OU and even OSU (oregon), but with these impressive commits from last year and this year, we should dominate at the scrimmage unless we decide to keep the line together... which makes no sense.2) Who do you like between J Gray or D Johnson for the primary back? I know that question seems ridiculous, but every game I watched from J Gray tells me that he has great acceleration out of backfield but there is no breakaway speed there. Daje on the other hand, the only knock on him would be that he is not being allowed to run up the middle for some reason.3) Will Jake Oliver get PT this year? He seems like the perfect end zone threat.
Max Olson (4:34 PM)
1) Texas can still be a power run team that operates out of the spread, but the problem has been a very average offensive line. That's got to improve no matter what. 2) Gray is the lead guy. Daje Johnson needs more reps in 2013. That much is obvious. I think Applewhite can and will do a lot of things with him in this offense. 3) I wouldn't bet against Oliver. Texas is pretty set right now with Davis and Shipley but WR #3 and
Chris (San Antonio)
Of all the '14 commits so far, which one will be the highest rated when the ESPN 150 comes out?
Max Olson (4:36 PM)
That is a good question. I would have to guess Demetrius Knox, but Jerrod Heard and Derick Roberson will be in the conversation.
Chris (San Antonio)
What really happened with Ronald Butler? Was it skill, grades...
Max Olson (4:38 PM)
He was told there were some issues with his transcripts. I just don't think taking a juco WR made a whole lot of sense in the big picture.
How many commits do see Texas getting after the 1st and 2nd junior days?
Max Olson (4:39 PM)
Well, let's see. They've got 6 right now. By the start of the 2nd junior day, I'd take a wild guess that Texas will have 9 or 10. Remember, Mack usually tells kids to go home and think about it before making an instant decision. So you might not see commitments go down at the end of each of those junior days, but they'll happen.
Stars for players really don't matter. Colt McCoy and Earl Thomas where three stars. And look how they turned out. Kinner would be good for Texas as long as he's utilized well.
Max Olson (4:40 PM)
I just think if you can stash that guy, redshirt him and give him to develop, you could have a pretty good weapon at your disposal. Plus, good insurance in case one of the backs leaves over playing time issues.
Chris (East Texas)
After Kabongo returns I think they could make a run through the Big 12 tournament and have a shot at still making the tournament...am I alone in thinking this?
Max Olson (4:40 PM)
That would have to be one heck of a run. I think they've dug too deep a hole and Kabongo won't solve as many problems as people assume.
is texas gonna return to signing 24 or 25 kids are we still strapped scholarship wise
Max Olson (4:41 PM)
Yes, I do think Texas goes back to a full class in 2014.
Do you have a list of the guys that officially got redshirts in 2012?
Max Olson (4:45 PM)
Forgive me if I'm wrong on one of these guys, threw the list together quickly: Bluiett, Boyette, Brewer, Colbert, Cole, Cottrell, Echols, Hughes, Norman, Overstreet, Ridgeway, Riser.
Chris (San Antonio)
Has Jerrod Heard received all the interest he will see in his recruiting? I think with his performance in the Texas playoffs, more schools will start going hard for him. I know its early, but how solid do you think his pledge is?
Max Olson (4:46 PM)
I'm sure there will be lots of schools that still inquire but he's very solid. Nearly every school stopped talking to Swoopes after he committed, but we'll see if rival recruits respect Heard's pledge since he made it so early.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) where was our o-line this past year and where do you think they will be next year.
Max Olson (4:47 PM)
It was a 5 in my book, and maybe lower compared to Texas' standards. It has a chance to be a strong 7 in 2013 if the can find the right combo of starters.
Mack Brown (Austin)
Does Saban replace me after I get fired next year?
Max Olson (4:48 PM)
Imagine how much money it would take to lure Saban to Austin. $10 mil a year? I mean, wouldn't Alabama match that? He's a deity there.
Could Texas add another big time RB in 2014 like Fournette, or is that unlikely with Catalon and Gresham already committed?
Max Olson (4:49 PM)
Have to think with Larry Porter's ties to Louisiana he will make a strong run and have Texas in the mix for Fournette. I don't think Texas gets Nathan Starks but I do think they'll try for Fournette.
Gary (San Antonio)
If Diaz stops trying to out smart and out scheme everyone, don't you think Texas can be the Defense everyone thought they would be in 2012
Max Olson (4:49 PM)
Yes, yes I do.
Is there any buzz about potential transfers?
Max Olson (4:50 PM)
I don't think we'll see this play out until after spring ball when guys start thinking about where they want to spend the 2013-14 school year.
I heard Texas A&M's back up quarterback is transferring and will have 2 years of elgibility left. What are the chances he comes to Austin and starts at safety next year?
Max Olson (4:50 PM)
Haha. Good one.
By the sounds of it, we are going to miss out on A'Shawn and Billings. With a once dominant DT duo gone, is this class in serious trouble?
Max Olson (4:51 PM)
I don't think Texas will lose both of them. Folks will panic if Robinson switches on signing day, and I can't say I'd blame them. Serious trouble, I don't know.
Eric (Huntsville, Al)
Does Texas still see WR as a need position? If so, who should we watch for leading up to signing day?
Max Olson (4:52 PM)
I don't think there's time to land another one, and nobody is slated to take an official visit to Texas on this final weekend.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Who will be the New College Football Players that will Play for Texas in 2013?
Max Olson (4:53 PM)
K.D Cannon. What do you think of him and Texas' chances?
Max Olson (4:54 PM)
I got a chance to see K.D. Cannon play Sulphur Springs this fall and it was a heck of a shootout. He's the real deal, with good size and tremendous acceleration. Texas is at or near the top of his list right now and they'll go all-in on him after failing to sign one more WR for 2013.
Gary (San Antonio)
What is the chance Brewer transfers? Doesn't look like he fits in with Major's plans.
Max Olson (4:55 PM)
I wouldn't make that judgment just yet. The fact that everyone seems to be counting out Brewer should give him lots of motivation. But he's got to make a push this spring if he wants to be in the conversation at QB, there's already 5 on campus.
Max Olson (4:56 PM)
Lots of Texas A&M questions today. I'll try to answer a few before I go.
James (Dallas )
OU just received a commitment from one Charles Walker(DT). I mention this not because I'm particularly impressed with either Walker or OU's recruiting class, but simply because he is pictured giving the "double horns down" sign. Even before they ever set foot in Norman, those guys know how important it is to win the RRS. As a result, Bob has 7 big12 titles , 1 co-title, and lost another 2 titles (KSU 2003) and (OSU 2011). As much as it pains us, we can't think about an NC, a BCS game, or a big12 title unless we take care of the Sooners. If the experience we supposedly have cannot overcome the intensity of those guys it will all be for nothing. The Longhorns must redouble their focus and intensity when it comes to RRS, otherwise the Sooners will simply win the game, irrespective of how much experience we return or how little they bring back.
Max Olson (4:57 PM)
Lance Calloway (College Station, TX)
Howdy Max, what do you think of the bill proposed by Texas representative Ryan Guillen requiring by law that the Aggies and Longhorns play annually?
Max Olson (4:59 PM)
It would be a wonderful sight to see, no question. But does Texas A&M really want to play 9 SEC games and Texas every year? That's brutal. And I'm not saying that to knock the Aggies, it's out of respect for their league. I'm very interested to see how this plays out but I'm not expecting much.
Heard there was some footage of Brewer that came out this last week and he was slinging it. Did you get a chance to see it? If so, any truth to it?
Max Olson (5:02 PM)
They're on Youtube, I believe. Search for the user name "mombrew." I checked them out and Connor definitely shows impressive zip on his ball, which you didn't see much of this spring. Another interesting thing to me was that he was working on PA fakes out of pistol. Makes you wonder if Applewhite is indeed emphasizing more pistol this year.
Max Olson (5:02 PM)
A few last questions...
Adam (Ann Arbor)
Max,How do you see Joe embracing the role of expected move to FB or essentially the new Cody Johnson? Also, when it's all said and done you think we may be talking about Quandre being BETTER than his big bro?
Max Olson (5:04 PM)
By the end of the 2012 season it was obvious they trusted Bergeron more as a short-yardage back. I think he'll handle the role well and he's not going to complain about rushing for 16 touchdowns again. Quandre has a chance to be better than Jammer in my opinion. He just doesn't get the ball thrown his way as much now that he's got a reputation.
With the 2014 class having loads of DB talent, what db's do you see Texas getting?
Max Olson (5:06 PM)
Man, it's really hard to say right now. I'd bet on Texas landing Jamal Adams and Darrion Johnson, but they've got a lot of work to do on the others.
Max Olson (5:08 PM)
Well guys, that's all I've got time for today. Thanks for all your great questions and keep reading HornsNation, the next two weeks will be crazy busy and spring football starts sooner than you think. Have a great day.