Tag:Brandon Alexander
Posted on: February 19, 2011 4:42 pm

Class comparison: Texas vs. Texas A&M

Posted by Bryan Fischer

We're still digesting the class of 2011 and what better way to look at it than through the lens of two rivals. Texas and Texas A&M have been going at each other on the recruiting trail for decades and the regular season each team had in 2010 certainly added a bit of intrigue to each class. Despite the down year for the Longhorns, Mack Brown still managed to bring a lot of talent to Austin for next season.

Texas vs. Texas A&M

Johnny Manziel vs. David Ash. Both schools didn’t pick up a five-star quarterback but both of these QB's could be a factor in the Big 12 before too long. Ash is an accurate, pro-style quarterback who can also buy some time with his legs if needed. That said, Manziel is a little bit more electric and has a higher upside if the Aggie offense can be tailored to his strengths.

Running Back

Malcolm Brown vs. Will Randolph. No surprise here as Brown was one of the top running backs in the nation. He should see early playing time and it would shock no one if he became the big time running back that Texas has lacked for several years. Randolph is a nice prospect and should benefit from a redshirt year.

Wide Receiver

Miles Onyegbule and Jaxon Shipley vs. Chance Nelson and Mike Evans. Texas grabs a pair of wide outs who could contribute early in new offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin’s offense. Shipley is a very good route runner with nice speed and is very similar to his older brother, Jordan, who also donned the Orange and White. Evans is a bit of a project but he’s got tremendous upside with his size.

Offensive Line

Josh Cochran, Taylor Doyle, Sedrick Flowers, Garrett Greenlea and Marcus Hutchins vs. Joseph Cheek, Ben Compton, Nathan Gutekunst, and Shayvion Hatten. A very good class in the trenches could have been even better had Texas been able to hang on to Christian Westerman’s commitment. Greenlea and Flowers in particular were two of the top linemen in the country and should be able to compete to be on the two-deep as freshmen. The Aggies have had several freshmen offensive linemen play regularly from the past two classes but they might not have one in this one.

Defensive Line

Cedric Reed, Desmond Jackson and Quincy Russell vs. Brandon Alexander and LeMarc Strahan. A&M beat out Texas for the signature of Alexander but at the end of the day, the Longhorns bring in a more talented group. Neither adds a tremendous amount of depth but there’s several contributors among the names mentioned.



Donnie Baggs, Steven Jenkins, Tyrell Taylor, Darzil Washington and Shaun Ward vs. Steve Edmond, Chet Moss and Kendall Thompson. At first glance, this matchup clearly favors Texas but digging a little deeper, the Aggies brought in quantity and quality. Edmond and Moss are two of the best linebackers in Texas but the Aggies fill their need for linebackers with a few that can compete right away. Grabbing Ward out of Florida was particularly impressive.


Quandre Diggs, Sheroid Evans, Leroy Scott, Josh Turner and Mykkele Thompson vs. Devonta Burns, Deshazor Everett, Johntel Franklin, Howard Matthews and Floyd Raven. If this were about drama, the Aggies would win in a landslide after signing Raven. Talent-wise though, Diggs and Evans should be able to contribute early in nickel packages and the rest of the group can develop into solid players. Considering the revolving door at defensive backs coach, Mack Brown did a great job grabbing this secondary class, just slightly edging A&M.

Special Teams

Texas didn’t sign any kickers though much of their freshman class could see time on special teams. Mike Sherman grabbed the top kicker in the country in Taylor Bertolet and Drew Kaser is a strong-legged kid out of Ohio.


It’s no surprise to see Texas win the recruiting matchup against their rival as the Longhorns have always had a class in the top 10 in the country the past decade or so. Given the results of the season however, grabbing the crown in February doesn’t necessarily translate into winning the big game on Thanksgiving. While A&M didn’t bring in the most talented class, they did address needs and there are several players who will have to play right away. All in all, just another year deep in the heart of Texas.

Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:17 pm

Big 12 Signing Day: Winners and Losers

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Taking stock of National Signing Day in the Big 12.


Texas Tech: While the Red Raiders ended up outside the MaxPreps Top 25 when Signing Day wound down, there's no denying that Tommy Tuberville brought in an impressive class of signees. Branden Jackson should eventually be an asset to a middling front four once he fills out his frame, and for the meantime Tuberville brought in two well-regarded JUCO defensive linemen. It'll be interesting to see what Tech does with the glut of high-profile tailbacks that signed; DeAndre Washington, Bradley Marquez, and Kenny Williams all look talented enough to start, but Washington and/or Marquez might be better suited to some sort of slotback role instead. It's a nice problem to have at a school that doesn't typically bring in strong recruiting classes. 

Texas A&M: The Aggies don't have the recruiting chops of rivals Texas, but A&M did manage to snag Brandon Alexander from the Longhorns' grasp in a Signing Day showdown, which helps bridge the talent gap between the two programs just that little bit. The Aggies were also odd beneficiaries of forgery, as CB Floyd Raven's LOI to Ole Miss was found to be written by Raven's mother (who clearly had her own very strong ideas about what was best for her son); Raven is now officially an Aggie. No word on how awkward Mother's Day will be at the Raven household.

Texas: While Oklahoma's small signing class left it out of Tom Lemming's Top 25, Texas cruised to yet another Top 10 spot, thanks to the signing of stud tailback Malcolm Brown and freak athlete Steve Edmond (who can play wide receiver, linebacker, or pretty much any position that accommodates those between 200 and 290 pounds). Look out for Cedric Reed, a prototypical blue chip DE who could dominate soon. At 60, Mack Brown's not going to be in Austin forever, but if these types of classes keep up, he is going to leave a glut of talent for whoever takes over for him. 


Kansas State: Head coach Bill Snyder lived up to his reputation by bringing in eight JUCO players to this recruiting class (EIGHT!), and few of them are highly regarded. The high school recruits aren't much better, either; for every Ian Seau (Junior's nephew) with a list of decent offers, there are several high school signees with nearly barren offer sheets. The Wildcats were surprisingly decent in 2010, even reaching the Pinstripe Bowl, but their recruiting shows no signs of momentum. This is the type of class one expects from a 3-9 team. 

Baylor: Baylor's fighting an uphill battle in terms of tradition and resources to begin with, so it doesn't help to see Oklahoma poach longtime commit Nila Kasitati from Baylor for barely any better reason than "because Bob Stoops felt like it." The Bears did snipe talented tailback Jermichael Selders from West Virginia today, so it's not as if Art Briles was completely passive, but this still looks like a level of talent that must depend on a game-changer at quarterback like Robert Griffin III if Baylor's going to make any noise in the conference. Baylor needs wideout Jonathan Lee to contribute in a hurry.

Iowa State: The highlight of Iowa State's day, and probably its entire recruiting class, is landing wideout Quenton Bundrage over Cincinnati, Louisville, and Marshall today. ISU's class may end up good, but it probably won't, considering how few recruits ISU had to beat a BCS team other than Minnesota for. Paul Rhoads is a good coach with a bright future in college football, but he didn't strike gold today.

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?

Posted on: January 29, 2011 5:44 pm

Big 12 needs, commits and hopes

Posted by Bryan Fischer


Biggest need: Defensive linemen. Baylor has struggled over the years to get a decent pass rush and the Bears lose their best defensive tackle in Phillip Taylor to the NFL Draft. Getting quality and quantity at this position will be key to continue the momentum from their first bowl season in over a decade.

Best verbal commit: Offensive lineman Spencer Drango.

Hope to get: Running back Jermichael Selders.

Iowa State

Biggest need: Receiver. Iowa State loses their two leading scorers in the passing game and saw Sedrick Johnson transfer. There’s playing time available right away but the Cyclones need someone to break out and not just fill out the depth chart.

Best verbal commit: Running back Devondrick Nealy.

Hope to get: Wide receiver Cedric Gilbert.


Biggest need: Defensive line. The Jayhawks lose three of the four starters off of the line and will need to bring in some players to bolster a unit that was 105th in the country in sacks and 107th in rush defense.

Best verbal commit: Athlete Anthony Pierson.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Terry Redden.

Kansas State 

Biggest need: Offensive line. All three interior linemen are gone from a unit that paved the way for running back Daniel Thomas. While head coach Bill Snyder will typically get some help from the junior college ranks, the Wildcats need some bodies to build around on the O-line.

Best verbal commit: Defensive end Meshak Williams.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds.


Biggest need: Defensive line. Missouri has been hit by graduation and impact player Aldon Smith leaving for the NFL. Finding players who can play right away will be key if they are to re-tool on defense.

Best verbal commit: Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.

Hope to get: Defensive tackle Christopher Cormier.


Biggest need: Secondary. Two starters have graduated and their two replacements should both be upper classmen. The fact that they play in a pass-happy league also means it’s never a bad thing to have several defensive backs.

Best verbal commit: Running back Brandon Williams.

Hope to get: Class is pretty much set for 2011.

Oklahoma State

Biggest need: Linemen. Three starters depart from the defensive line and there will be four seniors on the offensive line. The Cowboys are looking for depth as much as they are players who can compete early.

Best verbal commit: Running back Herschel Sims.

Hope to get: Defensive end Brandon Alexander.


Biggest need: Secondary. Aaron Williams, as expected, left early for the NFL draft and the departures of several seniors leave this group thin. If they’re going to compete against some prolific offenses, Texas needs to grab a few players who can play immediately.

Best verbal commit: Running back Malcolm Brown.

Hope to get: Defensive end Brandon Alexander.

Texas A&M

Biggest need: Linebacker. The loss of Von Miller and Michael Hodges are huge for a defense that was starting to turn the corner under defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter. In the 3-4 scheme, the Aggies need depth as well as playmakers.

Best verbal commit: Quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Hope to get: Linebacker and soft verbal commit Shaun Ward.

Texas Tech

Biggest need: Receiver. All-everything receiver Lyle Leong is gone and the depth at the position looks thin after 2011.

Best verbal commit: Running back Kenny Williams.

Hope to get: Cornerback Marcus Roberson.

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