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Five Recruits That Can Save the Texas 2017 Class

Walker Little is one of the top recruits in Texas, and could be the cornerstone of the Texas Longhorns 2017 recruiting class. (burntorangenation.com)
Walker Little is one of the top recruits in Texas, and could be the cornerstone of the Texas Longhorns 2017 recruiting class. (burntorangenation.com)

2016 has been a disappointing year for Texas football. After defeating at the time #10 ranked Notre Dame in a double overtime thriller that was given the headline "Texas Football is back," it all came crashing down for the Longhorns. The Longhorns finished the year going 4-7 the rest of the season to crawl to a 5-7 record and lost to Kansas for the first time since 1938. This led to the expected firing of Charlie Strong, and the hiring of former Houston head coach Tom Herman. Herman not only has a lot of work to do to win over a Texas team full of Charlie Strong recruits, but he also has a ton of work to do on the recruiting trail to fix the Longhorns 2017 class. The Longhorns 2017 class currently has only 8 commits, ranks 60th in the nation, and 7th in the big 12. Naturally Texas is going to land more commits and climb up the recruiting rankings, but there are 5 recruits that I feel Tom Herman and the Longhorns staff need to land to save this years class.

Eno Benjamin -

It has been quite the week for the 4 star prospect out of Wylie, Texas running back Eno Benjamin. After picking up a long awaited offer from the Longhorns last Thursday, Eno also took a trip down to Austin on Friday. Benjamin ranks as the 9th best running back and 24th best prospect in the state of Texas according to 247sports.com. If the Longhorns were able to Eno Benjamin, he could see early playing time with D'Onta Foreman declaring for the NFL draft. Eno Benjamin finished his senior season with 367 rushes, 2,604 yards, and 32 touchdowns. Eno Benjamin released his top 6 on Thursday, which consists of Arizona State, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Missouri, Utah, and Texas. According to 247, Texas is the overwhelming favorite to land Eno, with 71% of the crystal ball predictions. He is set to commit on January 7th at the Army All-American Bowl, and I fully expect for the Texas Longhorns to land Eno Benjamin.

Omar Manning -

Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns have gained major ground on TCU commit Omar Manning. The 6'3 receiver out of Lancaster, Texas has been committed to the Horned Frogs since October 21st. Since Tom Herman has been hired as the Longhorns head coach, Texas has ramped up their recruitment of Omar. After taking a visit to Austin on Saturday, a flip to the Longhorns could be imminent. Omar Manning finished his senior season with 45 receptions, 742 yards and 8 touchdowns. Omar could see early playing time, as the Longhorns didn't have a receiver emerge as the #1 option last season. Tom Herman and the staff will have to continue to make Omar Manning a priority if they want the receiver to flip. The Texas commits have been doing their fair share.

K'Lavon Chaisson -

The weak side defensive end out of Houston might have the best name of any recruit in this year's class. K'Lavon Chaisson is the 11th ranked player in the state of Texas, as well as the 86th ranked player in the nation. He has offers from major schools such as Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan and Georgia. K'Lavon finished 2015 with 86 tackles and 21 sacks on the season for North Shore High School. K'Lavon Chaisson has been quiet for a while, but is ready to make a verbal commitment to a school soon. Texas is the favorite at 64% of the crystal ball predictions and has a very good chance to land the edge rusher. Chaisson would be a great addition, and add to the rotation of young pass rusher the Longhorns already have.  

Chevin Calloway -

The former Iowa Hawkeye commit has recently announced his top 3 of Ole Miss, Arkansas, and Texas. Chevin Calloway is a corner out of Bishop, Texas who is currently the #12 ranked corner in the nation. Since decomitting from Iowa, Arkansas has been the heavy favorite to land the 5'10 corner.  Chevin has an official visit lined up with the Razorbacks on January 20th, and is expected to fit in an official visit to Austin before that time. Tom Herman and the Longhorns staff have made up a lot of ground on Chevin, but still have a long way to go if they don't want the corner to end up at Arkansas. If the Longhorns are able to land Chevin Calloway, he would join fellow corner commits Kobe Boyce and Josh Thompson in what would become a very solid secondary class. The Longhorns secondary struggled last season and was constantly moving players around. If Tom Herman was able to Chevin Calloway, he would get the opportunity at early playing time, and bring some stability to the Longhorns secondary.

Walker Little -

Walker Little is the last shot the Longhorns at landing a 5 star prospect. The offensive tackle out of Bellaire, Texas is set to make his commitment on Friday, and has dwindled down his choice to Texas and Stanford. Stanford seemed to be the heavy favorite to land Walker Little, but Tom Herman and the Longhorns have made up a ton of ground. Walker Little hosted the Longhorns for an in home visit, that looked to have gone very well. It seems the Longhorns have made it a 50-50 decision for Walker, and being able to land the offensive tackle would be a huge get for Tom Herman. For what has been an incredibly weak class, Walker Little could be the big fish that the Texas Longhorns need to jumpstart this class.

This isn't going to be an amazing class that we've from the Longhorns in years past, but Tom Herman still has time to make it salvageable. Landing a top 10 class isn't a must for the Longhorns staff with all the young talent already on the team. If I had to guess I still see the Longhorns landing a top 25 class, and landing some of the names listed above will go a long way in achieving that goal. Will the Texas Longhorns be able to land any of these names? Let me know your thoughts by tweeting me @Texashomeboy1 and leaving a comment below. 

 

 

Can Tom Herman Bring Texas Football Back to the College Elite?

Tom Herman signed a 5 year deal to be the head coach of his "dream job," can he bring Texas football back to the top?

The 2016 season was quite the rollercoaster for Texas Longhorns fans. Knocking off Notre Dame in the opening game in a 50-47 double-overtime thriller, Texas was on top of the world. After dominating UTEP in a 41-7 victory, the Longhorns were 2-0 for the first time since 2012 and ranked #11 in the country. This was our year. Charlie Strong in his 3rd season was starting to look like he had turned the corner. Texas found it's next great QB in freshman Shane Buechele, the rushing attack was lead by a two headed monster in D'Onta Foreman and Chris Warren, and the defense looked as good as it has been in years. Then the bottom fell out on the Longhorns. The team would lose its next 3 games to Cal, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma. All very winnable games, the Longhorns just made stupid mistakes and lost to better coached teams. The Longhorns would win 3 of their next 4 including victories over Baylor and Texas Tech, and it had seemed that the season had been turned around. Texas was at 5-4 with West Virginia, Kansas, and TCU left, and there was a slim chance that Charlie could keep his job if he wins out the rest of the season and finishes 8-4.

After a heartbreaking loss to West Virginia, the Kansas Jayhawks put the final nail in the coffin of Charlie Strong's tenure at Texas. The Jayhawks defeated Texas for the first time since 1938. Yes, 1938. The last time Texas lost to Kansas, World War II was about to take place. There's no way you can come back from that. There's 3 things you're guaranteed as a Texas Longhorns fan, death, taxes, and beating the Kansas Jayhawks in football. After the loss to Kansas, numerous reports came out that the Longhorns had fired Charlie Strong. In the final game, the Longhorns were steamrolled by TCU 31-9. This was understandable, as the players had to play in wake of the news that their head coach and in many ways a father figure had been fired. With the loss the Longhorns finished the season 5-7, and as expected Texas fired Charlie Strong.

The coaching search was a very quick process for the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns mourned a loss to TCU Friday night, and by Sunday morning had already found their next head coach. That man is former Houston head coach Tom Herman. Tom Herman was the hottest coach on the market and for good reason. In just two seasons, Herman turned Houston from a 2nd tier program to one of college football's elite. In those two seasons, Tom Herman posted a 22-4 record, and was able to land Ed Oliver in the 2016 recruiting class, the #2 ranked player in Texas, and #6 nationally ranked according to 247sports.com. Ed Oliver was one of the nations best players in his freshman season this year, and became a symbolization of Tom Herman's tenure at Houston.  Tom Herman is now at his "dream job" on a 5 year contract that is very similar to what Charlie Strong received just 3 years ago. 

Tom Herman inhabits a very young and talented Texas Longhorns that is built to make a run at the Big 12 championship and double digit wins. No team in college football started more freshman and sophomores last season than the Texas Longhorns. The youth of this team is going to mask the 2017 recruiting class that currently ranks 60th in the nation, and probably isn't going to have as big of a national signing day as the Longhorns saw with the 2016 class. There is still hope for the 2018 recruiting class. The Longhorns are in the race and considered favorites for many of the top prospects in Texas like BJ Foster, Joshua and Jordan Moore, Keondre Coburn, and Max Wright (according to 247 sports.) 

I believe Tom Herman is the man that will bring Texas back to the top. He has inherited an amazing roster, and is a great recruiter that has built relationships with the Texas high school coaches. Tom Herman was the man that the boosters wanted and is built to be very successful. Let me know your thoughts on the Tom Herman hiring and the expectations for him at Texas by leaving a comment below and tweeting me @Texashomeboy1.       


 

Has Time Run Out for Charlie Strong at Texas?

After another disappointing start to the season for the Texas Longhorns, could Charlie Strong be on his way out? (USA Today.) Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
After another disappointing start to the season for the Texas Longhorns, could Charlie Strong be on his way out? (USA Today.)
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Texas lost a nailbiter to Kansas State 24-21 that would send the Longhorns to 3-4 on the season in a story that we’ve seen far too many times. The Longhorns were the more talented team, but were once again outcoached and allowed their youth to be the team's kryptonite. After jumping out to a 21-7 lead, the Kansas State Wildcats did everything in their power to give the game away, and Texas never took it. The Wildcats turned the ball over three times in the second half, twice in their own territory. Those three possessions for the Longhorns ended up being two turnover on downs and a missed field goal from 35 yards out. The Texas defense once again reared its ugly head. The Longhorns allowed K State QB Jesse Ertz who came into the game with an injured throwing shoulder and only completing 55% of his passes, complete 20 of his 27 pass attempts and combine for 3 total touchdowns. Kansas State possessed the ball for 38:27 of the 60 minute battle, but that wasn’t entirely the defense's fault. The offense didn’t play that well either. Eight of Texas’ eleven drives lasted less than 2:30. It was an overall lackluster performance in a game Charlie Strong couldn’t afford to lose and it's something Longhorn fans have become accustomed to.

The loss was the Longhorns’ 4th in their last 5 games and also makes the Longhorns 0-4 on the road this season. With only three wins on the season so far, it's going to take a miracle for the Longhorns to make it to a bowl game. Still remaining on the schedule is #8 ranked Baylor next week in Austin, at Texas Tech, and West Virginia and TCU in Austin as well. The Longhorns also have to go to Kansas, but that is a pretty much a guaranteed victory as the Longhorns have won the last 13 matchups. That means the Longhorns will have to scrape together two wins against the four remaining games. Charlie Strong lost three of the four matchups last season, and the only win was against a Baylor team that was down to their 4th string QB. I give the Longhorns a decent shot to beat the Red Raiders in lubbock as their defense can’t stop a rock. This means the Longhorns would have to win one of the three big matchups vs Baylor, West Virginia, and TCU to give Charlie Strong another statement victory, and be considered for a bowl game. Will that be enough? If the Longhorns finish 6-6, that would make Charlie Strong’s career record as the head coach at Texas 17-20. As the head coach of the University of Texas that is unacceptable.

It honestly hurts to think about Charlie Strong no longer being the head coach of the Texas Longhorns, but the possibility grows by the week. Charlie Strong is a good coach and even better recruiter. Coach Strong has a team full of Freshman and Sophomores believing in him and continuously pulls in top 10 recruiting classes even with the Longhorns finishing every year with a losing record. I truly believe this team is a year or two away from returning to the college football elite, where Texas football needs to be. Someone is going to inhabit a great young team next year, and it might not be Charlie Strong.

The unfortunate news for Charlie Strong is football is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of sport. Nobody cares about what the Longhorns were 6 or 7 years ago, or what Charlie promises this team is going to get to. It’s about what are you doing right now. Mike Perrin the athletic director has continued to show support and trust in coach Strong but even he is beginning to get to his witts end. After the loss to Kansas State, the AD refused to take questions from the media. He also earlier this week had a one on one meeting with the head coach. If the Longhorns wanted to fire Charlie, after this season would be the perfect time to do it.

Heading into the offseason Texas could see a few potential big name candidates. Les Miles, Tom Herman, and Jimbo Fisher would all be candidates for the next head coaching job at Texas. Les Miles was fired by the LSU Tigers just a month ago after losing to the Auburn Tigers 18-13, sending LSU to a 2-2 record. Les Miles had been on the hot seat at Louisiana State for a while now, and the loss to Auburn was the final nail in the coffin. His offensive system is outdated, but that wouldn’t be a problem at Texas with new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and the spread system that he has brought in. Miles is still an elite recruiter, as LSU finished 3rd in recruiting last season, and is currently 5th in the rankings for this season (according to ESPN.com.) Les Miles would be a big name that could attract the top recruits in the state of Texas, and possibly bring the Longhorns back to dominance.

The next candidate is someone who should receive a lot of attention as he is in the final year of his contract. This candidate is also my favorite to be the next head coach for the Longhorns if Charlie Strong were to be fired, as rumblings have already begun that Tom Herman will be the next Texas head coach.


Tom Herman has turned the Houston Cougars from an average team in the American conference, to a powerhouse in college football. In his first season as the head coach, Herman led Houston to an 11-1 season, an American Conference championship, and a victory over fellow candidate Jimbo Fisher and the Florida State Seminoles in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. This season Houston has been a bit disappointing. Houston currently sits at 6-2 on the season and have lost two of their last three games to Navy and SMU. The Cougars still hold a victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, and are likely going to have a another great season participating in possibly a January bowl game. With all this success in just two years at Houston, imagine what Tom Herman could do at Texas. My good friend Nick Gonzalez has gone over a few key points as to why a Texas and Tom Herman marriage makes sense.


With the brand and resources that Texas provides, Tom Herman could turn Texas into a national championship contender very quickly.

Jimbo Fisher is the least likely candidate of the three to join the Longhorns if Charlie Strong was fired as Jimbo is very happy at Florida State. If there was ever team that could pry him away from Florida State it would be Texas. The Longhorns would likely have to fork out an insane amount of money to get Jimbo, but it would be worth every penny. Jimbo is one of the nation's best college coaches and recruiters, which has caused Florida State to continuously be one of the top teams in the nation and in the running for a national championship. If Texas could somehow land Coach Fisher, I would expect a turnaround something similar to what Jim Harbaugh has done at Michigan.

As the weather gets colder the seat of Charlie Strong continues to get hotter. Let me know your thoughts. Is Charlie Strong going to return to Texas next season? If not, then who will be the coach of the Longhorns next season? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment down below, voting in the poll below, and tweeting me @Texashomeboy1.   

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