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Burnt Ends (1-5)


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The point on a brisket is typically the fattiest cut. Pitmasters often trim the point and select edges off a whole brisket and return them to the smoker.

 

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

 

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

 

***DO NOT FORWARD***

 

Let’s start things off on the wrong foot, shall we?

 

Despite what other outlets have recently reported about Devonaire Clarington, our understanding is he is still not in a position to qualify (academically) at Texas. In fact a source we talked with went far enough to say that he’d be “shocked” if Clarington qualifies and is able to enroll at UT this year.

 

With other outlets reporting the exact opposite of that (his academic situation is not a concern), our best guess is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. As of now, the only safe thing to assume is that Clarington has work to do in the classroom this Spring, but has a legitimate chance at qualifying.

 

How aggressively the Texas coaching staff continues to pursue additional options at tight end, might offer an early clue as to their expectations on Clarington. With scholarship numbers getting tight, how heavily coaches go after someone like Chris Clark could be telling.

 

+++

 

On the subject of grade risks, we’ve also heard that Anthony Wheeler has work to do in the classroom. The same source that told us about Clarington, said, “Wheeler isn’t in the same risk category as the TE, but he wouldn’t be admitted today. He can absolutely get it done, but he is the one in control of it happening.”

 

That news makes the linebacker class look somewhat more sensible. Without Wheeler the linebacker class is still a dynamic group, but the overall numbers are more aligned with expectations for this signing class with one fewer in the group.

 

+++

 

Still raw after a miserable offensive output in the Texas Bowl, Longhorn fans have been quick to latch on any rumors that involve quarterbacks. The Texas coaches have talked about having open competitions at all positions, and fans are eager to see as many bodies as possible line up to compete with Tyrone Swoopes.

 

One of the names being thrown around is Maryland signal caller Kai Locksley. The 4* quarterback committed to FSU last Summer, but rocked the burnt orange recruiting world when he recently set an official visit date to Texas (January 23rd).

 

To add to the intrigue, Locksley lined up at wide receiver in the Under Armour all star game and looked capable out wide. A 4* athlete that could come in and compete at quarterback and then move to wide receiver if it doesn’t work out? That sounds too good to be true for Texas fans.

 

Not so fast! At least not according to Locksley, who told us:

 

“FSU, Texas and all schools I’m involved with [are recruiting me] at quarterback. [The] Under Armour game has nothing to do with my recruitment.”

 

In case there was any doubt, Locksley added:

 

“The schools that were interested in me as a wide receiver were crossed off my list before I had a top 10. That receiver stuff is dead, and has been dead.”

 

We asked Locksley about a report that FSU had talked to him about playing wide receiver, and got more of the same:

 

“Yeah that was false. [FSU is] strictly quarterback. Wide receiver has never been brought up by a coach, only media.”

 

+++

 

If you haven’t had much of a chance to watch this basketball team, then you’ve missed the slow integration of Jordan Barnett into the lineup. Folks expected, courtesy of his jump shot, that he had potential to contribute immediately.

 

That hasn’t been the case with Barnett, who needed time in practices to adjust to the tempo and physicality of the college game. Evidently practicing with Jonathan Holmes and Myles Turner put Barnett’s learning curve in overdrive – the true freshman looked much more comfortable in his minutes in Lubbock last Saturday. He, again, looked to be in rhythm against Oklahoma (to the degree that anyone on the team had rhythm).

 

We checked in with one of our basketball guys and he had this to say about Barnett, “Things are already slowing down for him. I’m impressed at how quickly it’s happened based on how lost he looked at first. It’s not just the way he’s running the floor nowadays – his confidence in the mental aspects of our game is why he looks more fluid. He understands what we’re doing at both ends of the floor and since he’s thinking less, his natural ability is showing through.”

 

+++

 

Recent conversations around 4-star WR Carlos Strickland have suggested the Longhorns are in position to possibly flip Strickland’s commitment from Texas Tech.  Strickland, #24 in the HornSports Top 50 for 2015, committed to the Red Raiders back in October. 

 

A source told us the Dallas Skyline receiver is still very much committed to Texas Tech, but if he does flip it most likely wouldn’t be to the Longhorns.  We were told to look West -- to Cal.  Strickland visited Berkeley the weekend after his official visit to Lubbock back in mid-October and the Golden Bears still hold interest for Strickland, we’re told.

 

While the Red Raiders should maintain optimism for holding on to Strickland through signing day, there is a chance for a surprise team like the Golden Bears to step in and receive a pledge from Strickland prior to or on National Signing Day.  Unfortunately, for Texas fans, the chance is slim that it will be the ‘Horns.

 

+++

 

If you’ve been reading Burnt Ends you know we’ve periodically talked with 2016 wide receiver Michael Irvin, Jr.  Irvin, a 6-3, 215 lb. 4-star prospect out of Plano’s Prestonwood Christian Academy, is the son of NFL Hall-of Fame WR Michael Irvin and the cousin of newly committed Florida athlete Tim Irvin. 

 

Irvin Jr. holds an early offer from Miami, but told us on Monday that he is still interested in the Longhorns along with a handful of other programs.  The Texas coaches took notice of Irvin when they visited him last spring. One of the keys in his recruitment will be to see which schools offer the junior over the Summer. 

 

It’s way too premature to predict him joining his cousin Tim on the 40 Acres, but Irvin is a dynamic, physical receiver that has all the size and skills to be a force at the collegiate level.  We’ll keep you updated as we hear more.

 

+++

 

Consensus 4-star running back Chris Warren (Rockwall HS) told us after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl he has narrowed his college choices to four:  Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Washington. 

 

As of late, Warren has trended Texas, but it’s not quite in the bag for Charlie Strong and company.  Warren tells us playing at a school like Texas would give him exposure and a chance to potentially have more carries, but specifically mentioned that the offensive line play will dictate the amount of success running backs have in the Texas offense. 

 

The recent surge in commitments by the Longhorns has been noticed by Warren but it’s not enough to entice the 6-2, 235 lb. tailback to pull the Texas trigger just yet:

 

“Texas has a lot of momentum in recruiting right now, and I feel like that’s good for them – and they need it. But I’m not going to make my decision based off other kids committing.”

 

Warren tells us he will announce his decision on February 4, National Signing Day.

 

+++

 

We caught up with Texas commit and Rowlett defensive end Charles Omenihu on Monday, fresh off his return flight from California and the Semper Fi Bowl.  Omenihu gave Texas fans a glimpse of what he plans on bringing to the 40 Acres, with a nasty sack on Semper Fi East quarterback and Vanderbilt commit Kyle Shurmur. The sack served to showcase his speed and tenacious pursuit. 

 

Omenihu told HornSports the competition at Semper Fi overall was good, and he felt good about his performance,  “My quickness off the ball showed well, but my point of attack is something I need to work on.”

 

Omenihu, who takes his official visit to Texas on January 23rd, feels like a significant strength of his lies in the one-on-one pass rush,  “I’m honed in on it.”

 

We asked Charles which of his teammates stood out and he has this to say “Connor Lanfear was the best tackle on the team.”

 

High school football is officially over for Omenihu, but he quickly dismissed any ideas about downtime, “I’m right back at it tomorrow.  Hitting the weight room and staying in shape for Texas.”

 

+++

 

We caught up with a friend that has basketball locker room access, and as fans would expect, it was not a fun place to be at halftime on Monday night (Texas trailed OU, 33-14.) After a quip about Rick Barnes, fire, and brimstone, this is what we were told:

 

“Actually Rick didn’t have to say much by the time Todd Wright got through with them.”

 

Which led to the obvious question of whether Wright served as the team’s “bad cop”. Here’s his answer:

 

“Not at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. Todd doesn’t raise his voice that much, so when he does, everyone listens.”

 

+++

 

We’ll end this edition with everyone’s favorite topic – quarterback.

 

As referenced above, Texas fans are eager to get players on campus to compete at the position this Spring. Different rumors involve players from Braxton Miller all the way to Connor Brewer. We don’t have any specific names to mention yet, and neither does the staff.

 

But we were told two things of interest:

 

1. The staff is doing due diligence and research on any and every player available.

 

2. “Any and every player available” has a strict scope to it – the staff is only interested in an upper classman that has already adjusted to the college game. They only seem willing to consider someone with a legitimate ability to come in, as a starter, and help the team win games.

 

The way it was detailed for us…

Tyrone Swoopes will be a Junior/3rd year player.

Jerrod Heard will be a RS freshman.

Zach Gentry will be a true freshman.

Matt Merrick is a development project already in the pipeline.

 

The staff likes the talent and youth on the current roster and commitment list. They don’t see any reason to add a player to that mix that would clutter up the pipeline being put in place. With some tremendous in-state talent at quarterback in 2016, the staff has even more reason not to take another talented signal caller in 2015….unless he’s an upper classman.

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I think that's right.  Hope that's right.

But what if he were to get injured?

Then where are we?

 

Juan, we are freakin' doomed if Heard were to go out injured next fall with what we know today. 

 

The Horns will still be very skinny at QB in the fall.  If Heard goes out, we are essentially back to Swoopes, Holtz, the V named kid and Gentry who likely will have redshirted and very likely not ready to play even if he wasn't redshirted.

 

If we get a good JUCO or a good transfer that we don't know about today this could all change. 

 

But right now we are dependent on Heard taking the reigns and staying healthy.

 

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IMO...Jerrod Heard will be the man next season..

 

He had better make a significant jump in performance, if so.

 

Look, as bad as Swoopes has played, Heard has played worse.  I'm not trying to defend Swoopes with this statement, that is just the word from the coaches.

 

Don't you think Strong would have jerked Heards shirt in an instant if he could have shown ANY superior ability over Swoopes?  SWOOPES, for gods sake.

 

No, this teams needs an experienced transfer or a JUCO, IMO.

 

Heard is not the answer - he is not making the transition from HS to college, it appears 

 

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He had better make a significant jump in performance, if so.

 

Look, as bad as Swoopes has played, Heard has played worse.  I'm not trying to defend Swoopes with this statement, that is just the word from the coaches.

 

Don't you think Strong would have jerked Heards shirt in an instant if he could have shown ANY superior ability over Swoopes?  SWOOPES, for gods sake.

 

No, this teams needs an experienced transfer or a JUCO, IMO.

 

Heard is not the answer - he is not making the transition from HS to college, it appears

 

Kudos to the coaches for saving Heard's shirt, and Swoopes for staying healthy. I recall coaches saying he was progressing, but not ready. Perhaps it was spin. They never said he was worse.

 

Coaches saved shirts on the O-linemen as well, and instead played Hutchins and NCAA. Strong seems to be thinking long term.

 

I think Heard needs a Spring camp before deciding he is not the answer.

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He had better make a significant jump in performance, if so.

 

Look, as bad as Swoopes has played, Heard has played worse.  I'm not trying to defend Swoopes with this statement, that is just the word from the coaches.

 

Don't you think Strong would have jerked Heards shirt in an instant if he could have shown ANY superior ability over Swoopes?  SWOOPES, for gods sake.

 

No, this teams needs an experienced transfer or a JUCO, IMO.

 

Heard is not the answer - he is not making the transition from HS to college, it appears 

 

 

Doc,

 

I agree with you that we need an experienced transfer or JUCO. But I have a thought or two about some of the other things you are saying.

 

Heard has NOT played worse than Swoopes simply because he has yet to play. All he has done is practice. Until we see Heard actually play, not just practice, none of us knows for sure how his ability compares to Swoopes. Not saying the coaches don't know. Just saying we, the general public, don't know how good or bad Heard is. And I don't give a rat's ass how many "insider's" are giving us practice reports. They don't know either.

 

As far as your last sentence, it is simply too early to tell. To say he is or is not is all conjecture and opinion at this point. What have you seen or know or been told that makes you believe this? Is it just your opinion or is it the opinion of someone you know who is close to the program? Does it come from a coach or are you on the coaching staff or are you a college talent evaluator?

 

Just asking because I'm really curious how one can be some adamant about the prospects of a player who just completed their true freshman year and who we have yet to see actually play a game.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Doc,

 

I agree with you that we need an experienced transfer or JUCO. But I have a thought or two about some of the other things you are saying.

 

Heard has NOT played worse than Swoopes simply because he has yet to play. All he has done is practice. Until we see Heard actually play, not just practice, none of us knows for sure how his ability compares to Swoopes. Not saying the coaches don't know. Just saying we, the general public, don't know how good or bad Heard is. And I don't give a rat's ass how many "insider's" are giving us practice reports. They don't know either.

 

As far as your last sentence, it is simply too early to tell. To say he is or is not is all conjecture and opinion at this point. What have you seen or know or been told that makes you believe this? Is it just your opinion or is it the opinion of someone you know who is close to the program? Does it come from a coach or are you on the coaching staff or are you a college talent evaluator?

 

Just asking because I'm really curious how one can be some adamant about the prospects of a player who just completed their true freshman year and who we have yet to see actually play a game.

 

^^^ This. 

 

I think some players do not practice well but they play well in games, I know my coaches said I did.  Of course many players play about like they do in practice.  Heard???

 

Some soldiers are mediocre or poor in training but on the battlefield when it means something, they step up.

 

Point is, IMO, until we have seen Heard in a meaningful game and it is not mop up time the last 2 minutes of the 4th qtr., we really don't know what we got.

 

Hook 'Em!

 

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Doc,

 

I agree with you that we need an experienced transfer or JUCO. But I have a thought or two about some of the other things you are saying.

 

Heard has NOT played worse than Swoopes simply because he has yet to play. All he has done is practice. Until we see Heard actually play, not just practice, none of us knows for sure how his ability compares to Swoopes. Not saying the coaches don't know. Just saying we, the general public, don't know how good or bad Heard is. And I don't give a rat's ass how many "insider's" are giving us practice reports. They don't know either.

 

As far as your last sentence, it is simply too early to tell. To say he is or is not is all conjecture and opinion at this point. What have you seen or know or been told that makes you believe this? Is it just your opinion or is it the opinion of someone you know who is close to the program? Does it come from a coach or are you on the coaching staff or are you a college talent evaluator?

 

Just asking because I'm really curious how one can be some adamant about the prospects of a player who just completed their true freshman year and who we have yet to see actually play a game.

 

You are right.  Heard has not played worse than Swoopes - in the fans eyes - because they have never seen him play in college.  But he has in the coaches eyes,  a LOT worse than Swoopes.

 

Is he the rare gamer - the player that's awful in practice but shows in a game?  Who knows - the coaches, who are a lot more experienced in this area than all of us, say no.

 

I have to trust them at their word.

 

And, yes, I have heard this, indirectly, from the coaches.

 

All this being said, maybe the kid turns the corner and shows up this spring.  Stranger things have happened and this would be a win/win scenario for our beloved university.

 

I'm pulling for him and, by-the-way, I'm pulling for Swoopes as well - although I am as doubtful of him as I am of Heard.

 

 

Of course, the reports on Heard's poor performance could be nothing more than a red herring - to justify playing Swoopes - regardless of how bad Swoopes plays.

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i have no clue whether Heard will be star or a bust. what i do know is VY had rocky moments even up until his RS Soph year, forget his RS FR year. i can only imagine how raw he might have looked as a true FR.

i also know there's a reason QBs redshirt and that they often improve as a result. spring ball should be more interesting this year than any year is some time.

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You are right.  Heard has not played worse than Swoopes - in the fans eyes - because they have never seen him play in college.  But he has in the coaches eyes,  a LOT worse than Swoopes.

 

Is he the rare gamer - the player that's awful in practice but shows in a game?  Who knows - the coaches, who are a lot more experienced in this area than all of us, say no.

 

I have to trust them at their word.

 

And, yes, I have heard this, indirectly, from the coaches.

 

All this being said, maybe the kid turns the corner and shows up this spring.  Stranger things have happened and this would be a win/win scenario for our beloved university.

 

I'm pulling for him and, by-the-way, I'm pulling for Swoopes as well - although I am as doubtful of him as I am of Heard.

 

 

Of course, the reports on Heard's poor performance could be nothing more than a red herring - to justify playing Swoopes - regardless of how bad Swoopes plays.

 

I believe that Heard was going to be redshirted this year, come hell or high water and I believe that the coaches made that decision from day 1.

 

If Heard is not ahead of Swoopes next year on the depth chart there can be only 3 reasons, none of which I believe will happen.

1. Swoopes makes the most dramatic turnaround as a player in the history of Texas football.

2. Heard is complete and total bust.

3. Heard no longer plays for the University of Texas.

 

If the roster is as it stands now, Heard will be the starting QB next year, no ands, ifs, or buts about it. And I think the coaches already know it.

 

 

 

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I believe that Heard was going to be redshirted this year, come hell or high water and I believe that the coaches made that decision from day 1.

 

If Heard is not ahead of Swoopes next year on the depth chart there can be only 3 reasons, none of which I believe will happen.

1. Swoopes makes the most dramatic turnaround as a player in the history of Texas football.

2. Heard is complete and total bust.

3. Heard no longer plays for the University of Texas.

 

If the roster is as it stands now, Heard will be the starting QB next year, no ands, ifs, or buts about it. And I think the coaches already know it.

 

There is no doubt the intent, from day 1, was to RS him.  We had Ash, remember?

 

And do you remember, in one of his press conference, where Strong said, after spring training, that he and the coaches said Uh Oh about Swoopes - no way he could be a QB?

 

And, do you remember, in one of Strong's PC's where he said he would play the best player - regardless of experience, seniority or the position - red shirts be damned?

 

 

I will say that Watson said, at the end of the year, that Heard was making some progress.

 

But, as the roster stands today, Swoopes is the starting QB - and that is just a fact.  Now, whether he is or not at the beginning of the season - who knows.  As the only game experienced QB on the roster, I would say the odds are that he will be the starter - if we don't get a transfer or a JUCO.

 

We don't have to like this bleak scenario, but it is the realistic expectation, IMO.

 

Believe me, I pray that Heard can play college ball like he played in high school.  Of course, we all said the same about Garrett Gilbert as well.

 

However, I think, when the season finally rolls around, we will see a QB, at the reins, that is not even on the roster today.

 

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He had better make a significant jump in performance, if so.

 

Look, as bad as Swoopes has played, Heard has played worse.  I'm not trying to defend Swoopes with this statement, that is just the word from the coaches.

 

Don't you think Strong would have jerked Heards shirt in an instant if he could have shown ANY superior ability over Swoopes?  SWOOPES, for gods sake.

 

No, this teams needs an experienced transfer or a JUCO, IMO.

 

Heard is not the answer - he is not making the transition from HS to college, it appears 

 

 

Gonna disagree. Wick likes Heard, as do most of the coaches. Except there seems to be some sort of rub between Watson and Heard. I don't know why it's so but Watson was called out on it recently by Wickline.

 

What prompted the confrontation was the fact that during most of the season and especially in the bowl practices, Watson relegated Heard to running the scout team along with a bunch of walk-ons, being protected by walk-on OL against D1 scholarship players.

 

Pardon me, but no one is going to excel, learn, much less look good in that situation. Watson has just repeated the criticism enough for some around him to buy into it and those in the distance just hear it and believe it. Wick had seen enough and was independent minded enough to speak out. It was enough that it got into Charlie's ear as well.

 

If Heard is given a fair shot by Watson, he's gonna fly. The kid is special. 

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I was going to say the very same thing "buy low and sell high" . Right now many are feeling like we are doomed next year at the QB position ...that is understandable.... based on what we seen from swoopes .Swoopes stunk up the field when he was down especially against the better defense's and he played better against average or below average defense's. I feel based on the level of competition swoopes played against in HS (2A ball 1-9 record) he was not ready or able to keep up and make sound decisions at the college level. Heard on the other hand is a two time state champion QB. He may be a little lost on the playbook right now but I surely dont question his ability to make bigtime plays with his legs and his arm . If JH was a stock I would be buying right now . I just have a gut feeling about him when he committed...Now if he gets hurt ..at least swoopes could spell for a game or two...hope that never happens. 

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