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Burnt Ends - 7/27

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The point on a brisket is typically the fattiest cut. Pitmasters often trim the point (and select edges) off a brisket and return those pieces to the smoker.


Are burnt ends tough, chewy worthless cuts of meat, or are they heavenly bites of smoky goodness? It depends on who you ask...


Rather than discard the trimmings and fat, we choose to savor all the information that flows through the site. So, sit down and help yourself to some burnt ends.




This is a free site, so anyone can read this report. If you share it with someone, please take time to attribute the information to HornSports.




First up, let’s conclude the UTL reporting with updates on a few 2017 recruits:


1.  Missouri City Elkins 2017 outside linebacker Kenneth Murray didn’t work out at Under the Lights, but did spend a good portion of the day on campus talking with Brian Jean-Mary:


“It was great.  I had a good 45 minute talk with Coach Strong and Coach BJ.  Both of them love my game and want me to come back soon and visit in the future.” 


Murray stands 6’2, 215 pounds, but has the versatility to play on all three levels of the defense: 


“They like me at linebacker but think with my athleticism I could play FOX or even safety.”


With so much personal time spent with the coaching staff, it stands to reason that Murray is squarely on the radar.  Murray told us he feels that an offer could be forthcoming: 


“They gave a lot of hints that it was coming and just told me to be patient.  They still have just a little bit more evaluating to do.”


So would the Longhorns have a good chance if they extended that offer? 


“Definitely. They would be at the top of my list.  I love Coach Strong, he’s a great man and a coach I could look up to.  Texas has always been a childhood favorite too.”


Chalk this one up as another good step for the Texas staff going into 2017 recruiting.


EXTRA:  Like many others in attendance, Murray singled out Cedar Hill receiver Camron Buckley as one of the standout performers at the camp. 




2.  2017 Haltom quarterback Cole Hays isn’t a big name in recruiting circles yet, but he tripped to Austin to take part in Under The Lights and really liked the experience: 


“It was awesome, I loved it.  We got so many reps.”


Hays singled out 2017 Cibolo Steele quarterback Xavier Martin as the guy who stood out for him on the day.  Hays also mentioned getting to spend time with Coach Watson and the high profile recruits on campus as the highlight of his experience. 




3.  Under the Lights Camp ended a couple of weeks ago but the returns are still coming in on which players wowed the Texas coaching staff.  On the running back side of things it was reiterated to HornSports that 2017 Wylie East running back Eno Benjamin had a phenomenal showing.  So much so,  that it was widely agreed that Benjamin was arguably the best back at camp.  Benjamin currently does not possess a Texas offer, but as we indicated in last week’s Burnt Ends, it looks like a formal offer will be coming soon.




4.  Crosby High School running back Carlos Grace holds a pair of offers from SMU and Houston but had an impressive UTL camp.  A member of the coaching staff thought Grace’s performance was equal to Benjamin’s - that’s big news considering the rave reviews for the Wylie East star.  Throw in the fact that Craig “Squirrel” Williams, a freshman all-purpose back from Crosby was the fastest player at UTL (we were told by a staffer), and that rings up a nice July showing for Crosby High School.


EXTRA: The same staffer that praised Craig Williams told us he’s really high on freshman running back Chris Warren.




If you missed the news on the message board, utility player Andy McGuire is transferring out of the Texas baseball program. McGuire talked with both NC State and Clemson before deciding on University of South Carolina at Aiken. By transferring to a Division II school, McGuire will be eligible to play immediately.


After 19 starts at third base and three more at DH as a freshman (2014), McGuire was used sparingly as a pitcher in 2015 (12.0 innings pitched). A source close to McGuire told us that the rising junior wanted more playing time and that does not appear likely in Austin.




One of the most important 2016 recruits on the board is Elsik ILB Dontavious Jackson.  The Houston-area prospect is arguably the top inside linebacker prospect in the nation, and he could hold some sway over several of the state’s other top prospects. 


Last week Jackson cut his list of over sixty offers down to a top twelve. Texas, who remains a constant on his list, was included along with TCU as the only in-state options for Jackson.  While his top twelve has a national slant (including Michigan, Alabama, Florida State, and UCLA), it’s hard to see this one not coming down to the regional programs – Texas, LSU, Oklahoma, and TCU. 


One notable omission in Jackson’s trimmed list is Texas A&M. The Aggies felt confident in the direction of Jackson’s recruitment at one time, but A&M message boards went “scorched earth” on Jackson once his list was released.


We caught up with Jackson to get an idea of where the Longhorns rank for him.  When asked what it was that drew Jackson to Austin, he told us:


“Tradition and the coaching staff.”


One surprise inclusion to his cut was Fresno State – the Bulldogs aren’t a program that shows up on the list of many elite prospects.  Jackson told us he’s comfortable with that team and staff because of familiarity: 


“It’s like a family, I’ve got ex-teammates there.” 


Jackson is thought of as a prospect that could potentially do wonders recruiting others for the program he chooses, but it appears he’s the one getting the hard sell from Reggie Hemphill. The Manvel receiver has been tenacious in his efforts recruiting the best from around the state, and it appears “Recruiter Reggie” has Jackson in his sights – we asked Jackson if Hemphill was hard at work trying to make him a Longhorn. 


“Indeed he is,” Jackson told us with a laugh. 


So what works in favor of Texas for this recruitment?  For one thing, elite defensive players love to play for a defensive-minded coach.  While the Longhorns had their struggles last season, the defense had some standout performances.


Another advantage for UT is that the accountability and core values at the forefront of Charlie Strong’s program resonate deeply with Jackson.  He has been outspoken on Twitter about the need for prospective and current college athletes to take responsibility for their actions and be better representatives of the game. 


Based on what we’ve been told by a few sources, it would be a big surprise if Texas wasn’t in the thick of Jackson’s recruitment until the end, and it was categorized as a “medium surprise” if Texas isn’t the eventual pick.  Jackson told us he isn’t sure about his announcement date, but expect him to take all of his official visits and evaluate his options thoroughly.




We checked in with Texas commit Tope Imade of Arlington (TX) Bowie over the weekend to see how he’s doing. He said he’s busy visualizing goals for the next few years of his life: 


“I’m just chillin sir.  I’ve got dreams of going in the first round even though I’m a three star.  Just like Russell Okung who coach Wick had at OSU.”


Okung, of course, was an underrated high school prospect who blossomed into an All-American tackle under Wickline’s tutelage before being drafted by the Seahawks in the first round.  Imade sees that potential in himself, but also realizes that the Texas offensive line coach knows what it takes to make it there: 


“I want to be that guy.  I’m not really eyeing individual awards like the Outland or Lombardi, but I do want to be a first round pick.  I think coach Wick can get me there.”


Imade is getting ready for Bowie’s upcoming season that faces a very demanding schedule. Throughout the fall, HornSports will have coverage of several Bowie games, focusing on Imade and several other commitments. 




2017 Mansfield (TX) Lake Ridge linebacker Loren Mondy recently attended a camp at Arizona State University. Mondy committed to ASU last year, but could be one to watch if the Longhorns decide to recruit the Mansfield prepster.


We asked Mondy about the camp and he was pleased with his performance: 


“It went great.  I didn’t lose one rep and was top performer in the linebacker group.”


Lake Ridge is located in the competitive Mansfield school district, and Mondy will face some tough competition this season.  One of Lake Ridge’s best matchups will be against Mansfield Timberview and HornSports Top 50 athlete Devin Williams. We have that game circled on the calendar and it appears Mondy does as well: 


“It’s going to be great, I’m going to put on a show.”


Mondy visited Texas over the summer and told us the Longhorns really showed an interest in him.  Keep an eye on the Lake Ridge ‘backer if Texas extends an offer. 




Two positions in dire need of an influx of talent from the incoming freshman class are wide receiver and defensive back. The Texas defensive backfield needs bodies for depth – in contrast Jay Norvell has receivers to choose from, but is in in need of explosive talent.

Over the last month and a half, those two positions have been pitting themselves against each other. The goal is simple – shorten the learning curve in order to be ready to play before fall camp starts.


It’s convenient that the Longhorns’ positional needs can improve each other...whether it’s one-on-one drills in isolation, or in the team’s 7-on-7 work, the young DB’s vs the incoming WR’s has been an intense battle.


Except that it’s been one-sided.


We talked with a player that is at every workout and, according to him, the freshmen receivers are having their way with their classmates in the backfield:


“Those guys [wide receivers] came ready to ball. I don’t know if it’s cause other positions got hyped in the class or what, but they’re making themselves names.”


It’s a classic case of six or one-half dozen…are the receivers that good, or were the defensive backs over-rated?


“Nah, man. The DB’s will be fine with rep’s. There’s two receivers that are making veterans scramble too – in 1’s those two get open on everybody.”

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These 7 on 7 nuggets are good to hear. Reading between the lines, this implies to me that the QBs are actually getting the ball to the WRs. And, WRs getting open. It seems Strong is trying to light a fire under MJ and DJ based on Media Days. Respond or next man up.


Really liking Norvell...hope we throw enough money at him to keep him around a while. Patterson, give him some cafeteria vouchers (cue R Duke).


I know it's just 7 on 7 with little pash rush, but I recall a few years back we got embarrassed by Tx State.

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I'm surprised to read that Boyd & Hill are struggling to cover their classmates. D-Line play is going to be so important early in the season - the longer the DB's have to hold up in coverage, the worse it will be. 


(That's true anywhere, but it'll be magnified with the lack of experience.)

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