Posted on: February 22, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 12:52 pm

Texas grabs star wide receiver for commit #7

Posted by Bryan Fischer

One of the top receivers in the state of Texas decided to end the recruiting process early and was able to do so by flashing the "Hook'em Horns" sign. Skyline (Texas) wide receiver Thomas Johnson was the latest commit to join Texas' 2012 recruiting class, informing Mack Brown and the coaching staff late Monday night according to several recruiting websites.

"It just felt right for me. Overall, it's a great school," Johnson told Orangebloods.com. "It's the school I wanted to go to. If you know where you want to go, why not go ahead and do it now?" 

Johnson picked up a scholarship offer from the Longhorns at the recent Junior Day in Austin and pulled the trigger about a week later. He held upwards of 20 verbal offers from programs such as Auburn, Miami, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, TCU and USC

"It's a big monkey off my back," he added. "I'm just glad to be committed to a place I really want to go to. Now I don't really have to worry about having to do anything with any other colleges. I'm just relieved and excited." 

The 6-foot, 185 pound receiver was hampered by injuries his junior year but had over 2,000 multi-purpose yards and 25 touchdowns as a sophomore. Johnson is the second Skyline receiver to sign with Texas after freshman starter Mike Davis did last year. 

Johnson is the only wide out committed to the Longhorns for the class of 2012 and should team up with current quarterback commit Connor Brewer in a few years.
Posted on: February 21, 2011 9:33 am
Edited on: February 21, 2011 9:35 am

2/21 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Happy President’s Day everyone. If you didn’t get today off, don’t worry, college coaches likely didn’t either.

- Alabama possibly committed a violation involving big name (literally) running back Barry Sanders Jr. while he attended the Tide’s Junior Day this weekend. Alabama says it was not a violation.

- Another top running back enjoyed his visit to Texas A&M. Afterwards, Johnathan Gray did say the Aggies are on his short list of Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

- Flower Mound (Texas) running back Hunter Lee took an unofficial visit to West Virginia.

- In-state recruiting is the key to Penn State’s future (as it is for every team). It will be interesting to see how new Pitt coach Todd Graham does with a full year to recruit and if he can make any inroads in the state as well.

- Some advice from the class of 2011 to future recruits.

Posted on: February 16, 2011 3:45 pm

Commitment number six on-board for Texas

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Slowly but surely, the Texas recruiting momentum is starting to gain steam. Although the Longhorns are not to their usual number of double-digit commitments following their first Junior Day, the coaching staff has locked up several quality players in the class of 2012.

Mansfield (Tex.) defensive end Hassan Ridgeway is the latest to verbally commit to Mack Brown but not after some confusion. Ridgeway attended Texas’ recent Junior Day this past weekend but was unsure of whether or not he actually had a scholarship offer.

A quick call from Brown Wednesday morning ended all confusion.

“He did commit. Mack Brown called about 11:30,” Ridgeway’s head coach, Jeff Hulme told Orangebloods.com. “I think they just wanted to go over his transcript again or something.”

Taking in campus over the weekend seemed to seal the deal for the 6-foot-3, 240 pound end.

“It was good,” Ridgeway said. “I like the campus and the coaches there. They showed us around the campus and the facilities - the weight room, the stadium and all that. We also got to talk to a couple of players. It was ll real nice.”

Texas A&M and TCU were two of the many programs that heavily recruited Ridgeway. A first team All-District selection as a junior, he was a disruptive force against the pass and the rush last year. His size could also allow for a move to outside linebacker depending on how the Texas coaching staff chooses to use him. Just 16 years old, Ridgeway could also grow into a strongside defensive end or defensive tackle before he steps onto campus.

Posted on: February 9, 2011 6:33 pm

MaxPreps: Class of 2012 Top 10 football recruits

By MaxPreps Stephen Spiewak

With a full year remaining before these players will sign, MaxPreps identifies recruits from the class of 2012 who have already established themselves as elite players with extremely bright futures.

1. Dorial Green-Beckham
School: Hillcrest (Springfield, Mo.)
Position: Wide receiver
Early Offers: Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Notre Dame, Florida, et al
Analysis: We first wrote about Green-Beckham after his freshman season, when he was named to our Fresh Faces Top 100 for the Class of 2012 and likened to a young Randy Moss. Since then, he's only gotten bigger, stronger, faster, and downright scarier. He's on pace to shatter receiving records in Missouri, and is college-ready right now.

2. Zach Banner 
School: Lakes (Lakewood, Wash.)
Position: Offensive tackle
Early Offers: Washington, Oregon, Alabama, USC, et al
Analysis: Banner could be the top offensive lineman in a class that features the likes of D.J. Humphries, Vadal Alexander, John Theus, and Arik Armstead (who may play on the defensive side of the ball for USC.) He's still somewhat raw, but his ceiling is sky-high. He has a great build, long arms, and is very agile for his size, as he's also a star basketball player. One college coach called him the best recruit in the state as a junior.

3. Mario Edwards
School: Ryan (Denton, Texas)
Position: Defensive end
Early offers: Florida State, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, et al
Analysis: Arguably the best defensive player in the state of Texas as a junior, Edwards was the total package at defensive end last season. He displayed supreme athleticism and quickness on the outside pass rush but was also strong enough to shed blocks and make tackles. He could end up being recruited as highly as 2009 top recruit Jackson Jeffcoat.

4. Johnathan Gray
School: Aledo (Texas)
Position: Running back
Early offers: Texas Tech, TCU, Texas A&M
Analysis: Gray earned an early reputation as a freshman by flashing outstanding speed in limited varsity reps. He simply exploded after that, winning the MaxPreps National Sophomore of the Year and Junior of the Year in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Gray has terrific burst to the outside, but also runs well between tackles. He has displayed an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well.

5. Rushel Shell 
School: Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.)
Position: Running back
Early offers: Pitt, Ohio State, West Virginia, Florida, et al
Analysis: Shell was the MaxPreps National Freshman of the Year in 2008 after he burst onto the scene in Pennsylvania's well-respected WPIAL, rushing for 1,516 yards and 14 scores as a ninth-grader. A patient back with superb vision, Shell has rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of the last two seasons.

6. Eddie Goldman
School: Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.)
Position: Defensive tackle
Early offers: Maryland, Alabama, Florida, et al
Analysis: Per capita, Washington D.C. produces some of the most talent in the country. In 2012, the nation's capital boasts Goldman, an absolute bully on the defensive line. With his 6-4, 300-pound frame, Goldman is powerful yet agile. On film, he simply overpowers offensive linemen, and as he continues to refine his technique, he'll be extremely difficult to stop.

7. Arik Armstead
School: Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove, Calif.)
Position: Offensive tackle/defensive end
Early offers: Committed to USC
Analysis: Armstead is big, strong, and athletic. The brother of current Trojan Armond Armstead, Arik is a two-way star for Pleasant Grove, dominating on both sides of the line. While he wants to play defensive end at USC, Armstead's value may be higher at offensive tackle.

8. Shaq Thompson
School: Grant (Sacramento, Calif.)
Position: Athlete
Early offers: California, USC, UCLA, et al
Analysis: Thompson is a physical player who lined up at running back and safety for Grant, one of the country's top teams for much of last season. He can play all over the field at the next level, but is probably going to be utilized in the secondary.

9. Kwon Alexander
School: Oxford (Ala.)
Position: Linebacker
Early offers: Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, et al
Analysis: Alexander is a missile on the field, stretching sideline-to-sideline and delivering punishing tackles. He has outstanding closing speed and the quickness to drop back into coverage. With 147 tackles and 17 sacks as a junior, Alexander was one of the most productive juniors in the country.

10. Noah Spence
School: Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.)
Position: Defensive end
Early offers: Pittsburgh, Penn State, USC, et al
Analysis: With 41 career sacks, the three-year starter has proven that he's the next major recruit to emerge from Bishop McDevitt, which has also produced Rickey Watters, LeSean McCoy and most recently, Jameel Poteat. Spence explodes off the ball and is a sure tackler. He has plenty of room to add weight to his 6-4, 240-pound frame.

Posted on: February 3, 2011 10:21 am

2/3 Recruiting Roundup

Posted by Bryan Fischer

There’s not much rest for the weary as we can’t officially close out the class of 2011 yet.

- One key recruit is still on the board in quarterback Jacoby Brissett and he’s especially key to Miami.

- USC might have lost De’Anthony Thomas but their impressive class still means they had more hits than misses on Signing Day.

- CJ Johnson was the prize recruit for Ole Miss in a very impressive class for Houston Nutt. Down the road at Mississippi State, a great defensive line class headlined for Dan Mullen.

- Wrapping up Signing Day at Washington. Another impressive class for Steve Sarkisian so, as he likes to tweet when they get a commitment, Woof!

- Colorado head coach Jon Embree had to hit the recruiting trail hard but had a very solid first class.

- Texas Tech had one of the best classes the school had ever signed yesterday and head coach Tommy Tuberville said recruiting to Lubbock wasn’t an issue.

- Mack Brown told recruits to trust him in the face of the adversity that Texas went through the past few months.

- Great pickup for TCU in Brandon Carter, someone who head coach Gary Patterson had no problem talking about.

- Some more details on Ohio State recruit Chris Carter after he was arrested Tuesday.

Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:06 pm

Video: Lemming on non-BCS conference schools

Posted by Bryan Fischer

CBS College Sports analyst Tom Lemming takes an in-depth look at non-BCS conference programs' signing classes. Did college football's underdogs like Boise State and TCU manage to grab some of the top recruits in the country?   

Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:47 am

Brandon Alexander signs with Texas A&M over Texas

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As mentioned yesterday, one of the key late commitments of the 2011 Big 12 class was going to be DE Brandon Alexander, who was picking up interest from a host of high-level programs as he stayed uncommitted this late in the recruiting process.

Unfortunately for Texas, Burnt Orange Nation's fears were confirmed when Alexander signed with Texas A&M today. A&M was one of the first schools to recruit and offer Alexander, which evidently played a big role in his commitment as he eschewed offers from such big names as Texas, TCU, Arkansas, and Florida.

Alexander is a big-time prospect, as his offer list would suggest, but the real news here is that the Longhorns are still left with three scholarship DEs on the roster. That can be worked around by moving players, of course, but we're sure Mack Brown would have preferred plugging Alexander in on Day 1 and fixing the problem long-term like that instead. 

More Signing Day Coverage

Posted on: February 2, 2011 2:41 am

Big 12 Signing Day at a glance

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The Big 12 may not have 12 members anymore, but it still does recruiting big -- especially down in Texas. Here's what to expect on National Signing Day.

Players to Watch

Brandon Alexander - Typically, Texas gets most of its recruiting out of the way early, and who can blame Mack Brown for that? When recruits in the most football-crazed state in America are beating down your door to get an offer, after all, filling a class full of blue-chippers months ahead of schedule isn't exactly difficult. And yet, when Texas jumps in late on a recruit, the team that was there first may have the inside track. So it appears with Alexander, a highly-touted DE who came into Tuesday still undecided between Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas, and many other high-profile schools. According to Burnt Orange Nation, Alexander reportedly gave a verbal to Texas A&M Tuesday afternoon, but the commitment hasn't been confirmed elsewhere quite yet. We won't have to wait long for an answer on that front, but if it holds up, it's a coup for the Aggies, and a blow to Texas' depth at DE this season and beyond.

Nila Kasitati - TE/OL Nila Kasitati has been a soft verbal for Baylor for a while now, so Signing Day can't get here quick enough for the Bears -- especially since Oklahoma is pushing hard for Kasitati to switch his commitment. Oklahoma has a scholarship open after athlete Brandon Carter flipped from OU to TCU so he could play WR instead of defensive back (OU's favored position for Carter), and while the Sooners don't appear to have a replacement DB in mind, they do have their sights set on Kasitati as a potential star at offensive lineman instead. Does Kasitati honor his 10-month-long commitment to Baylor, or flip at the last second for the Sooners? Missouri is also in the mix here, but this appears to be a two-team race.

John Jenkins - This mammoth 6'4", 340-pound JUCO defensive tackle was an Oklahoma State commit for a while, but he decommitted in January to look farther east. OSU is still in the mix for Jenkins, who probably leans toward Georgia but didn't get an offer from Florida. He'd be a nice cap on an solid recruiting class, plus immediate help in the trenches for a defense that loses its two starting DTs. If OSU can get Jenkins back in the fold even after signing another JUCO DT in the meantime, Mike Gundy should be thrilled.

Teams to Watch

Texas - For somebody whose age suggests he's over the hill, Mack Brown can still recruit like nobody's business. Sure, the school recruits for itself quite a bit, but don't tell that to John Mackovic. Malcolm Brown is a potential Heisman winner at tailback, and Steve Edmond is one of three other MaxPreps Top 100 members of the class if it holds up (most of these commits are almost a year old, so we're assuming they're solid). Texas may have gone 5-7 this year, but it's recruiting like it's never going back. If Alexander's commitment to A&M holds up, it'll be interesting to see what Texas does with the freed scholarship.

Oklahoma - OU doesn't have a lot of players committed for this season -- just 17, which is enough to knock the Sooners down a few pegs on the MaxPreps rankings. There's lots of playmaking ability on offense though, with Troy Metoyer coming in as one of the best wideouts in the nation. Even adjusting for size, Oklahoma's class is good, but it isn't "Texas" good; we'll see what that does to the balance of power in the Red River Rivalry over the coming years. 

Oklahoma State - Any thought that OSU is a flash in the pan brought on by QB Brandon Weeden and/or a couple of stud wideouts should be gone by now; OSU's imminent signings of stud RB Herschel Sims and versatile QB J.W. Walsh mean that the Cowboy offense should keep putting numbers on the scoreboard for years to come. It's the rest of the class that Mike Gundy should focus his attention on; can he and his coaches mold the 10+ linemen in the class into the road graders necessary to compete against elite foes?   

The Below-the-Radar Storyline You'll Need to Follow

With Nebraska and Colorado officially departing from the conference, the Big 12 really had no choice but to do away with its championship game and just go with a nine-game, round-robin football schedule. One indirect result of that decision is that the remaining four Big 12 North teams no longer have the luxury of telling high-profile recruits they could help turn the North into a two-team division. Now, there's no getting around anybody in the South, and that may be the reason that all four of those North teams turned in frankly lackluster classes. Turner Gill recruited reasonably well to a woeful Kansas squad, but "reasonably well" doesn't beat Texas much more than once or twice out of ten tries -- especially at KU. Who's going to be the school from up north that makes a serious run at the conference crown, and how many years will it take before that happens?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com