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SI: Which School Landed the Best Recruiting Class at Each Position?

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From Henry: What would you say is a Pass mark for year two of the Tom Herman Era at Texas in terms of on-field results and recruiting?

Just keep getting better. There is no need to put a number on this, because Texas has been stuck in a 5–7/6–6 hole for so long that climbing out of that is the top priority.

Winning the Texas Bowl probably provided a bigger psychological boost than anything, because looking back at a 7–6 first year feels radically different than looking back at a 6–7 first year. But the truth of the matter is Texas still went 6–6 in the regular season, and that’s not good enough.

The Longhorns could play defense last year, but their inability to block down the stretch crushed them in winnable games against Oklahoma State and Texas Tech and gave them no chance against TCU. Herb Hand, who does much more than offer great steak recommendations, has been hired to strengthen that group. Herman has been vague about who will call the plays next season, but the offense certainly looked more functional in the bowl game with Herman taking a larger role on that front. And that makes sense. His brilliance as a play-caller at Ohio State was how he got his first head-coaching job at Houston in the first place. Herman has said he doesn’t like calling plays and running the program. He’d rather delegate that duty. But if Tim Beck is as ineffective as he was last season, Herman may need to call plays to keep the program on the proper trajectory.



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Predictions for Calvin Anderson, C.J. Fuller and CFB’s Top 2018 Free Agents


Calvin Anderson, Offensive Tackle



Bob Levey/Getty Images

There's no more highly coveted player out there on the market than Rice offensive tackle Calvin Alexander. 

The 6'5", 300-pound anchor could be a plug-and-play option anywhere, even at the top programs in the nation. That's why he's got the offer list he currently has with schools like Texas, Alabama, TCU, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Auburn, Oklahoma and others.

Anderson is a former Austin (Texas) Westlake product who wasn't highly recruited coming out of high school, but the second time around, it's a different story. Other schools like Tennessee are trying to get into the picture, and Anderson told 247Sports' Brian Perroni recently that he wants a Notre Dame offer.

He referred to the Fighting Irish as "O-line U."

But after visiting Texas and Auburn, this feels like it will come down to one of those schools or perhaps Michigan and Oklahoma. He'd step right in for Orlando Brown in Norman, and the Wolverines have produced some stellar linemen recently, too.

He told Perroni back in January that he'd like to have his decision made by March 25, and while he has some stellar options, Austin is home. That seems to be a huge check mark in the favor of Texas and coach Tom Herman.

With so much young talent around which to build, Herman would love nothing more than to insert a senior who started 36 consecutive games for the Owls to anchor his offensive line. This one is still wide-open, but the prediction is home wins in the end.

Prediction: Texas

Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, Texas


Tim Warner/Getty Images

With a youth movement and rebuild in full effect in Austin and all those star recruits coming in, coach Tom Herman definitely didn't want to lose one of his most promising young offensive playmakers.

But that's exactly what happened to the Longhorns when second-leading receiver and star return man Reggie Hemphill-Mapps announced he was leaving Texas. Maybe he just didn't fit in with the new regime, but it certainly wasn't for a lack of touches.

He finished 2017 with 37 catches for 402 yards and added 17 punt returns for 180 yards and a touchdown. The 6'1", 185-pound pass-catcher isn't returning, and it's something Herman told 247Sports' Jeff Howe was "disappointing" news.

The news just surfaced on national signing day, so this is another transfer with very little news of a destination, so any prediction out there is just a guess. Hemphill-Mapps has the type of size and speed that will make him a hot commodity.

It's unclear whether he'll go the JUCO route or go somewhere and sit out a season, but after redshirting a year ago, he has the potential of at least two more years to play wherever he surfaces.

Hemphill-Mapps was recruited by Charlie Strong, so it's possible he could head to South Florida and play for the coaching staff where he originally pledged. But Texas kids stay in Texas oftentimes, and that's why the guess will come in that state.

He'd be a great fit in Kendal Briles' new offense at Houston, so it'll be interesting to see if the Cougars pursue. But a perfect fit would be Baylor, where Matt Rhule is trying to rebuild the program from the ground up.

Quarterback Charlie Brewer would be an attractive option for any receiver, so watch for Hemphill-Mapps to be linked there.

Prediction: Baylor





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How hot is Shaka Smart's seat at Texas? Why Texas Tech hoops is no flash in the pan


Is Shaka Smart on the hot seat at Texas?

Matt Mosley: I'm not sure it's the hottest of seats, but the new AD Del Conte will want to make a signature hire at some point. I don't think he'll feel any huge loyalty to Shaka Smart since he didn't hire him. Would he try to go after Chris Beard or Jamie Dixon? Absolutely, he would. I think Dixon will be loyal to his alma mater. I think would be wise to stay in Lubbock. But you can always get folks' attention with a little money.




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The 2018 Draft's We-Told-You-So Team: College Stars the NFL Shouldn't Sleep On


Poona Ford, DT, Texas

This may have been the biggest combine snub of this draft class. Though linebacker Malik Jefferson and safety DeShon Elliott have better measurables, Ford may have been the best player on a Texas defense that was quite stout by season’s end. It’s understandable if NFL scouts look at the 5'11", 303-pound Ford and dismiss him as too small to play inside. That’s pretty much what members of the Texas coaching staff thought when they took over last season. It took about one day at practice to realize that Ford is a nightmare for guards and centers who try to block him one-on-one.

Because of his size, Ford will need to play in a defense that prefers gap-shooting defensive tackles. But given the fact that he could be available on day three, he could provide incredible value to such a team.



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