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INSIDETEXAS.COM

DECEMBER 2017

THE FAMILY TRADITION

A second-generation Longhorn, Breckyn Hager has made a name for himself

Plus Hoops Non-Conference Review Early Recruiting Recap 1

&

Coverage


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in this issue

Dickson, Defense Shine |

by

6

Joe Cook

Texas rode the foot of Michael Dickson and four turnovers to win the Texas Bowl.

5 Quick Thoughts |

by Ian

12

Boyd

Ian breaks down the win over Missouri.

The Family Tradition |

by

18

Mike Blackwell

Breckyn Hager has made a name for himself at Texas.

Early Signing Day Review |

by

24

Eric Nahlin

Texas cleaned up in the early signing period.

Solid, Almost Amazing |

Tim Preston The non-conference schedule was marked by solid wins and some almost amazing wins.

Youth is Served |

by

by

36

Mike Blackwell

Daniel Young has won the starting RB job as a freshman.

Don’t Root for OU |

by

30

40

Paul Wadlington

There is absolutely no reason to pull for the Sooners......ever.

Publishers -- Michael Pearle, Clendon Ross | Managing Editor--Clendon Ross | Editor-- Mike Blackwell InsideTexas.com Editor -- Justin Wells | Lead Writer -- Joe Cook | Contributor -- Ian Boyd Designer/Photographer -- Will Gallagher | Recruiting Analyst -- Eric Nahlin To Subscribe/Customer Service -- Phone: 512-659-8167 | Email: help@insidetexas.com December - 2017

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DICKSON, DEFENSE

Houston — Texas was without Malik Jefferson, Holton Hill, DeShon Elliott, Connor Williams, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Toneil Carter among others for the Texas Bowl. But they had “the punter.” 6

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E SMOTHER TIGERS by Joe Cook

December - 2017

7

Photos by Will Gallagher


- TEXAS BOWL -

I

n an incredibly rare occurrence, junior

wanted to make sure they left their mark

Dickson’s 10 punts inside the 20 and seven

punter Michael Dickson earned most

on this next chapter of Texas football. They

at or inside the 10 presented Missouri with

valuable player honors in the Texas

did.”

the challenging average starting field posi-

Bowl. Dickson kicked 11 punts during

tion of its own 15. The Tigers did not cross

the game, with 10 of them being downed

The seniors helped guide Texas to its first

into Texas territory until the second quarter

inside the 20. The defense was bolstered

bowl win since the 2012 Alamo Bowl and

while already facing a 14 point deficit.

by his elite field-flipping ability, holding the

its first winning season since Mack Brown’s

Missouri Tigers to just two touchdowns in a

last year in 2013. However, the team was

Missouri deferred to the second half to

33-16 bowl victory, Texas’ first since 2012.

literally put in a position to succeed thanks

open the game and also declined to abide

to Dickson’s phenomenal game.

by the rules early. Three Tiger penalties

“I couldn’t be prouder of this senior class,”

helped Texas quickly move to the 22 on

Herman said following the game. “They

“I’ve never seen one affect the game that

the Longhorns’ first drive. Sophomore

were the glue that held this up-and-down

he did tonight,” Herman said. “I’m glad he’s

quarterback Shane Buechele found fresh-

season together because I think they knew

on our team.”

man running back Daniel Young wide open

what was ahead for this program, and they

on a play-action wheel-route to open the scoring. Buechele would finish just 6-of-14 for 55 yards and one score after sustaining a groin injury late in the first half.

Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger entered the game on the third series and promptly went three and out. On his fourth series, he found Young for a big gain through the air. Several plays later, Ehlinger rolled out to his left and found junior wide receiver John Burt at the near pylon for the Longhorns’ second score. Ehlinger finished the evening 11-of-15 for 112 yards and one touchdown.

Missouri’s first scoring drive came in the second quarter off of Dickson’s shortest punt of the evening, a 37 yarder that just reached midfield. Missouri running back Ish Witter, who eclipsed the 1,000 yard season rushing mark in the game, ran it in from four yards out to cut the Texas lead to just seven with 12 minutes remaining in the second.

Texas failed to score on its next drive, and Dickson placed another perfect punt that Michael Dickson

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sailed 45 yards to be fair caught at the Mis-


- TEXAS BOWL -

souri 10. The Tigers tried to begin a ground attack, but on a third down rush Witter had the ball forced free by junior safety P.J. Locke III, who was playing in Elliott’s position. Junior linebacker Anthony Wheeler picked the ball up, made a few moves, added a stiff arm to a Missouri tight end, and followed his blocks to the end zone to give the Longhorns a 21-7 lead.

“It was just instinct to do it,” Wheeler said. “I don’t really got too many moves. I just went with the stiff arm.”

The Texas defense continued to excel, as on the next drive junior corner Davante

Jason Hall

Davis forced a fumble that was recovered by junior linebacker Breckyn Hager. Hager

fumble.

from Tucker McCann.

“To know that we came in here and we beat

Texas again went three-and-out, but the

an SEC team that had won six straight ball-

defense added two more points with a

games and held one of the best offenses in

crowd assist from a majority of the 67,820

the country — the best offense in the coun-

in attendance. From their own ten with just

try the second half of the season — to six-

more than a minute to play in the third, the

teen points and four turnovers, they should

Missouri center snapped the ball past an

be proud,” Herman said. “They should have

unprepared Lock that sneaked out the back

confidence going into this offseason that

of the end zone for two Longhorn points.

wore No. 60 on his uniform during the game in honor of the late Tommy Nobis.

“Really, what it means to me is something beyond words,” Hagar said about wearing the number associated with defensive excellence at Texas. “It’s more than a number to me to be honest. There’s other greats that also wore it like Brian Jones. You’ve got to mention those guys, too. It was emotional, and I’m so happy that it happened in my lifetime. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Hager’s fumble recovery was part of a

with another year of development and a year of continuity and a year of consistency,

“When Missouri had the football, it was loud

then add in some of these newcomers

and it was very difficult for them,” Herman

that are extremely talented and extremely

said. “I think they had three false starts and

competitive, it gives us a lot of hope.”

then obviously the snap when the quarterback wasn’t ready that resulted in a safety.

strong defensive effort that held an offense that averaged almost 40 points per game to just 16. Junior linebacker Gary Johnson led the Texas defense with 10 tackles, with Locke III just behind him with seven. Junior defensive lineman Charles Omenihu notched the Longhorns only sack, with Hager and Wheeler each adding a TFL apiece. Davis also added an interception late in the game to go along with a forced

Despite the strong first half defensive

Hats off to our fans. You scored points for

performance, Missouri came out of halftime

us. That’s pretty cool.”

with a strong offensive showing. Missouri’s Drew Lock found Johnathan Johnson for

Texas outscored the Tigers 10-0 in the

79 yards on the first play from scrimmage

fourth quarter thanks to a 41-yard field goal

with a perfectly thrown ball. The Longhorns

from junior Joshua Rowland, and an 18

offense continued to struggle, and later in

yard rushing touchdown by senior Armanti

the third quarter the Tigers capped off a 16

Foreman late to ice the game at its final

play, 87 yard drive with a 28 yard field goal

33-16 mark.

December - 2017

9


- TEXAS BOWL -

Herman’s team won the defensive phase of the game thanks to four forced turnovers and nine points scored by the defense. His defense could only do that due to the Texas Bowl MVP, who now has his sights set on the NFL, Michael Dickson.

“I didn’t believe it when they told me at first or at second,” Dickson said. “When they led me up to the stage, I was like ‘wait, why am I going on stage?’ They said ‘you’re the MVP,’ and I didn’t believe it. They said it again and I didn’t believe it. It’s still kind of Tom Herman

sinking in now.”

Micheal Dickson

Now, Texas can add another winning season to its history books. Though the season

“It’s really important for these guys to call

won the Texas Bowl championship,” Her-

mark isn’t terribly impressive for Texas

themselves a winner, to walk around their

man said. “Again, it wasn’t going to be life

football standards, Herman knows it was

hometowns here for the next couple of

or death. We would have been just fine

important in the building of his program.

weeks on Christmas break knowing that

next year, but this was a big step forward.”

they had a winning season and that they

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Belong Here.


- TEXAS BOWL -

WHAT THEY SAID... TOM HERMAN “I credit that safety to our fans. I want to thank them for showing up en masse

BRECKYN HAGER

and making this feel like a home game.

“I’m so excited to wake up at 5 in the

Because when Missouri had the football,

morning to workout. I’m so excited to get

it was loud and it was very difficult for

better and be coached as hard as I’m go-

them.”

ing to be coached.”

SAM EHLINGER “They were just in man coverage inside the 10 yard line like most defenses. John ran a great route, I just put it right by the pylon, and he got his toes in.”

33 - 16 17 113 167 6-18 0 35:15

FIRST DOWNS RUSHING YARDS PASSING YARDS THIRD DOWNS TURNOVERS TIME OF POSSESSION

17 121 269 3-14 4 24:45

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5

QUICK

thoughts by Ian Boyd

T

exas is over .500 for the first time since 2013 and just won their first bowl game since 2012.

There have been only four winning seasons this decade for Texas out of seven seasons total and only three bowl victories.

Savor it Texas fans, but get used to the taste be-

cause I think we’re going to see a lot more wins coming out of this team moving forward.

#1 Drew lock is silenced The star Tiger QB threw 34 passes for 269

The Georgia defense being talked up right

yards with one TD, one INT, and one fumble

now as a potential solution to Oklahoma

at the end of the game. He had the one 79-

didn’t fare this well against Lock and they

yard bomb early in the third quarter, without

weren’t missing some of their key players.

which his numbers plummet to 33 passes for 190 yards at 5.8 yards per attempt, other-

The Missouri offense was incredibly verti-

wise he did virtually nothing.

cally oriented this season with Lock throwing over 40 touchdown passes but the Tigers

I was fairly impressed overall by how

couldn’t find targets deep against Texas to-

he probed and attacked the Texas dime

night and Lock’s game concluded watching

defense, avoided pressure, and placed his

Tom Herman and Sam Ehlinger riling up the

throws. However, he was totally over-

Texas sideline with mocking impersonations

matched by poor field position, good pass-

of his celebratory taunt following the one

rush, and the multiple and conservative dime

79-yard bomb.

coverages that Todd Orlando threw at him all night long.

12

Poona Ford (95) and Jason Hall (31)


#2 Texas stuffed the run in dime This isn’t really a thought, just a remarkable fact with obvious consequences for the Big 12 next season. They did have Poona Ford tonight and won’t have him next year, but Texas’ play against Mizzou’s 11 personnel run game was still very impressive and surely ominous for teams around the league heading into next season. Missouri finished the game with 34 run for 121 yards at 3.6 ypc. Their longest run was a 17-yarder that came in the first half and after 23 carries netted 92 yards at four yards a carry in the first half, they largely abandoned it in the second half in favor of more screens and dropback passes. Charles Omenihu

The play of the Texas 4i-techniques was amazing this season and it should continue next year with Breckyn Hager, Malcolm Roach, and Charles Omenihu all returning. The sensational play of Poona Ford in the middle may be harder to replace, he was probably the best defensive player in the conference this last year and Texas was still plenty good without Malik Jefferson in large part because Ford had been keeping Jefferson pretty clean all year. Malik had a fantastic season, but Ford was the engine of Texas’ dime run defense success. Replacing him this offseason will be the biggest priority after…

December - 2017

13


#3 The offense still needs major work Texas did run a pretty effective four minute offense…conspicuously when Herman was barking into the headset regularly while holding a folder of papers in his hand that were nearly strewn across the field when Ehlinger escorted Armanti Foreman into the end zone on a reverse. The Longhorns came out firing with some varied QB option run schemes, some of which we hadn’t seen this season before tonight, and clever play-action that hurt Missouri early. Then they turtled up and ran some of the plays that had yielded rather mediocre results throughout the season, often finding that the peripheral plays like counter and outside zone were more boom than bust while inside zone probably didn’t get the action it deserved until the good four minute offense drive that sealed the game. Shane Buechele came apart once the script dried up and struggled to make good behind an OL that was facing their betters in the Missouri DL. Sam Ehlinger was much more effective overall, though not incendiary, hitting 11-15 for 112 at 7.5 ypa where Buechele had gone 6-14 for 55 at 3.9 per throw. Both of them avoided turnovers and both of them missed a few throws that were there to be had. Some of the issues with this offense were simply a matter of inconsistent execution. One minute the OL is blowing a protection or getting beat, the next the QB is missing a throw due to weak footwork, then the WR is failing to get separation. Texas’ inability to nail down the execution on some of the base offensive schemes was understandable but still a black stain on the season. It’ll be interesting to see what Herman’s evaluation of the offensive staff performance will prove to be.

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#4 This was an impressive win, overall Now I had Texas pulling out the win here for the exact reasons

it without some of the NFL-bound defenders against a bitter

that bore out in this game. Texas’ dime defense is not a

SEC team that had been feasting off fallen giants is also

strategy that Drew Lock has ever had to deal with before and

meaningful. That win will likely buy Texas some good ink head-

it’s very difficult to reprogram yourself and your offense to deal

ing into the offseason, calm some nerves about losing Malik

with it, even with bowl practices, and especially if your OC has

Jefferson and co, and hopefully fire up the locker room that

left to take a job somewhere else.

ultimately their hard work this past season actually yielded tangible fruit.

Nevertheless, Missouri was a dangerous team (that looks potentially great next year with Terry Beckner back, Jordan Elliott eligible, and Drew Lock back if he returns) and Texas was missing a disturbingly large number of important players from both sides of the ball. Finishing 7-6 (and 5-4 in conference play) is a meaningful victory for the program and doing

Poona Ford

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#5 Michael Dickson… When Dickson made that punt in the 3rd

Texas has secured another well

quarter where he sidestepped a rusher

regarded Aussie kicker and hopefully

then kicked a line drive that bounced at

won’t go over a cliff in terms of punting

the one and spun back into the arms of

production but man….Dickson was

a Longhorn…I was about ready to start

special. He’ll be missed, Texas doesn’t

a petition to retire his jersey number.

finish over .500 without him.

I’ve never seen a punter dominate football games like this before.

This was a nice finish for the first season of the Tom Herman Texas Longhorn

For the game he had 11 kicks for 452

era. I think subsequent seasons will

yards. 10 of those 11 were downed in-

include more highs and fewer lows.

side the 20, another six were inside the 10, four of them were inside the five yard line. Missouri never really had a chance in this game because they were staring at the length of the field all night long.

Michael Dickson

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CONTINUING THE F by Mike Blackwell

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FAMILY TRADITION

Breckyn Hager is not his father. He’s not his brothers. No, Breckyn Hager is his own man. And whether his career reaches the heights of his NFL playing father or brother, rest assured the folks who follow the Texas Longhorns will remember the youngest Hager for a long, long time. What makes Hager so memorable? How much time do you have? December - 2017

19


- hager family tradition -

Y

ou can start with the hair. Long.

playing games at West Virginia.

Blonde. Distinctive, yes, it is that,

the way I was raised and not the way we play football at Texas. Our coaches don’t

too. When the 6-4, 245-pound defensive

“...injure that quarterback.” - Spoken

teach us that or coach us to injure other

end/linebacker/whatever gets after the

when talking about an upcoming game

players in any way. It was a really poor

quarterback, it flies and dances in the

against former Texas Tech quarterback

choice of words, and I truly regret it. My

air, just as it does when he celebrates a

Pat Mahomes, after which he said:

point should have been that it’s our job

big play. And he celebrates a lot.

as defensive linemen to make our pres“I want to apologize for what I said

ence known and affect the quarterback.

He’ll also be remembered for things

earlier today at our press conference.

Life is bigger than a game, and I’m still

that he says. To wit:

I play hard and it’s our team’s goal to

learning how to be a better player on

get pressure on the quarterback, hit him

and off the field. I hope everyone will

“It’s a bunch of hillbillies drinking moon-

and disrupt the offense. When I go out

accept my apology for what I said.”

shine. I remember it all. I remember

there I want to play my most aggressive

looking up seeing someone with no

game, but I’m not trying to do anything

Yes, Hager will be remembered. But

teeth singing (Country Road). I remem-

to physically injure someone. I have too

after a strong finish on the field in 2017

ber I was all mad, about to cry, trying to

much respect for Patrick Mahomes and

- culminating in a stellar performance

block all of that stuff out and get to the

every quarterback I play against to ever

against Missouri in a win at the Acad-

locker room.” - Spoken when discussing

do that. That’s not what I’m about, not

emy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Hager is hoping the memories he makes in the future will pertain to his actions, rather than his words. How strong was his 2017? Consider: * He was second on the team in tackles for loss with nine. * He had two sacks in the shut-down performance against a potent Oklahoma State offense. * He had four passes broken up, including two against Oklahoma. * He had his the first fumble recovery of his career at a pivotal time in the bowl game, when he wore number 60 in tribute for the late Texas great, Tommy Nobis. Yet for all of his quotes, and all of his noteworthy accomplishments after three years at Texas, to truly know Hager and how he has grown as a football player, you probably need to know his father, Britt Hager, and his brothers, Bryce, Bron and Brayven. Considering their

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- hager family tradition -

accomplishments and pedigree, there’s

on, and Herman and defensive coordi-

his final year, he is probably content to

little wonder why Breckyn also has

nator Todd Orlando seemed to get more

forget some of his earlier quotes and

football in his veins.

and more comfortable with how to utilize

ride instead with the one he had after

him as the season progressed.

the Texas Bowl, a statement that he hopes will fit not only his team in 2018,

Britt was an extraordinary linebacker at

but also, himself.

Texas after a storied career at Odessa

For three years, the question with Hager

Permian. So good was Britt that his

has been two-fold: Is he simply a stand-

skills transferred as a third-round draft

up, pass rushing specialist? Or can he

“Today, Coach Herman won the locker

choice to the National Football League,

also play with his hand in the dirt? Even

room,” Hager said. “We have always

where he played parts of nine seasons

after three years, that question remains

played with a chip on our shoulder, but

for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Denver

somewhat unanswered.

we’ve never been a team like we were the past three weeks and in this game

Broncos and the St. Louis Rams. Probably the most accurate descrip-

tonight. It’s important for us to know we

Bryce was a seventh-round pick of the

tion of Hager is that he is, like father

are winners. I think tonight, Coach Her-

then St. Louis Rams in 2015, and is

and brothers, simply a football player.

man won the locker room, 100 percent.

currently a linebacker on that team, after

He’s intense. He hustles. He talks. He’s

an honor-filled career at Baylor. Bron

emotional. He plays to win.

These past three weeks, it really felt like

signed with North Texas; Bayven played at Brinn.

“He now has our hearts as a team.

He was good enough this year to be

a whole new team, a whole new atmo-

named as an honorable mention all-Big

sphere. We all bought in. It’s like you

Clearly Breckyn has the genetic makeup

12 player, and was named to the second

hit the light switch and everything has

to finish his career next year at Texas

team after the 2016 season. He makes

changed. It’s definitely up from here.”

with a flourish worthy of his hair. His play

an impression.

improved in 2017 as the season went

But as he now sets his sights on 2018, Jean Delance

December - 2017

21


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Kraken_Texas_mechanical.indd 1

5/19/11 2:17:09 PM


EARLY SIGNING DAY

D N I W E R

by Eric Nahlin

If you follow recruiting year-round this post isn’t necessarily for you, though maybe it’ll make for a good refresher. If you forgo the drama and only have interest in recruiting to understand what players your program is definitely getting, then this offering should be insightful. INTRODUCTION Tom Herman’s 2017 class underwhelmed the networks and fans alike, but the class has the potential to go from bust to boom. Numerous players from that class acquitted themselves nicely, even if their play was mostly limited. That speaks well of the staff’s evaluating acumen and is something worth filing away as the staff puts this

dependent on a few factors, but generally recruits love the idea of being a part of something new. Herman and his staff (including support staff) did a fantastic job of harnessing this enthusiasm while helping to build a consensus with the bountiful Houston crop. Excitement manifested via an aggressive remodel of facilities, as well as the harnessing of a previously far too

class to bed.

dormant social media hype machine. Texas indeed had

Because that class was signed with little fanfare, Herman

and fans alike.

was forced to create momentum with the 2018 version out of whole cloth. He was able to do so, in part thanks to some fortunate timing. The bulk of the talent in this cycle was located within a 45 minute drive from the college campus Herman spent the prior two years. Herman had

that new car smell and it was palpable to many recruits

None of this matters of course unless recruits start jumping on board. After the Texas junior day in March it was abundant that Texas led for many upper echelon recruits and it was only a matter of time.

the type of familiarity and name cachet he was missing

IN-STATE TALENT DISPARITY

with 2017 headliners. That momentum was lost along the way due to lack of on-field success. We now see the staff scrambling a bit to fill points of need.

HARNESSING MOMENTUM The first real class for a new coach is the one that should get the ball rolling. Whether that ball continues to roll is

24

inside texas

While Herman caught a break by the balance of talent being centered around Houston, he also caught a bad break by the imbalance of talent between ‘little guys’ and ‘big guys’. For much of the cycle I’ve stated the best ‘big’ in the state is tight end Mustapha Muhammad. This was especially unfortunate given UT’s needs after taking only two offensive linemen in the previous cycle, as well as the type of roster attrition that’s difficult to fix with one class. insidetexas.com


CASEY THOMPSON | COMMITTED APRIL 2017 D N I W E R

Still, Texas needed numbers at wide receiver and defen-

state. Both in-state options had fantastic years and each

sive back, so one day fans will be singing the praises of

lead his team into their respective state championship

what 2018 did have to offer. Given the top nine players

games. If you’re going to pass on talents like these two,

in the state according to 247 composite are all defensive

you better hit, and hit the staff did by landing Oklahoma’s

backs or receivers, Texas had to strike hard, strike fast,

Casey Thompson and California’s Cameron Rising.

and offer no mercy, sir! The staff landed an astonishing 7 of those 9 with the sigining of Lamar’s Anthony Cook. No

GETTING THE BALL ROLLING

amount of concern about the offensive line diminishes the fact that this will be an amazing reversal from last

Linebacker Byron Hobbs (4/7/17) was the second

year when Texas landed none in the top 18.

commitment for the class (de-commit Justin Wilkins was first). Landing him was not only huge because of his

Offensive linemen and front-seven personnel were much

untapped talent but also because his mother became

more scarce. Not only that, but many of the state’s best

an integral part to recruiting as she became a liaison for

big players seemed predestined to end up at Texas A&M.

parents of recruits.

Those players are defensive ends Max Wright and Joseph Ossai, as well as offensive linemen Colten Blanton

Just six days later Thompson joined the class ahead

and Luke Matthews. Texas is still in it for Ossai, barely,

of the Spring game. He’s mature and a great fit for the

but will require some good luck to land him.

offense. Texas looked to have its quarterback, but then a funny thing happened.

Texas also needed two quarterbacks and although Denton Ryan’s Spencer Sanders and Waco Midway’s Tanner

One of the most shocking moments of the entire cycle

Mordecai were quality options, the staff looked out-of-

throughout the country occurred when Rising flipped December - 2017

25


D N I W E R (4/22/17) from Oklahoma out of the blue. This bit of re-

kicker in the nation, Ingram is the best running back in

cruiting served notice that Herman’s 2017 finish was an

the state who is still receiving overtures from schools

aberration and he could recruit with the best of them.

who are running back factories, and Overshown is the composite #1 player in the state.

The very next day Texas gained a commitment from offensive tackle Reese Moore. At the time Moore was a

KEEPING THE BALL ROLLING

three-star but it was obvious he had much more upside than most of the other highly rated offensive linemen.

During the Spring I lamented Herman would prefer to

With in-state options limited, this was a fantastic get and

have the bulk of his class committed by two-a-days. April

another win over Oklahoma.

and May showed he meant business but he still needed a big Summer to meet his goals.

Herman went on to top April with a fantastic May. The staff landed kicker Cameron Dicker (5/4/17), Caden

With the in-state crop down, Texas looked out-of-state

Sterns (5/17/17), Keaontay Ingram (5/30/17) and De-

for inside linebacker Ayodele Adeoye. The St. Louis

Marvion Overshown (5/31/17).

product surprised many when he made the call to Texas on 6/4. He’s since flirted with Oklahoma but we expect

Sterns’ commitment was perhaps the second biggest

him to sign with Texas during the early period.

moment of the cycle. Like Rising, he was a clean flip from a regional recruiting rival. What made it even sweet-

For all the talk about Houston recruits, Herman didn’t

er is LSU’s contention that it is the one and only DBU.

receive his first commitment from the area until 6/5 when BJ Foster chose Texas. Foster is the composite #2 play-

To further underline the value of May: Dicker is the best

er in the state and likely would have gone wire-to-wire as

BJ FOSTER | COMMITTED JUNE 2017 D N I W E R

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D N I W E R

AL’VONTE WOODARD | COMMITTED JULY 2017 D N I W E R

the state’s best had he not been injured his Junior year.

into Dekaney, those two would have been high school

Even though it was anticlimactic for many of his friends

teammates. They’ll still be teammates. Coburn signing is

in the area, his commitment was big and in some ways

still up in the air but we feel confident he’ll end up in the

legitimized what Texas was doing.

class.

On 6/25 Texas filled another need when Louisville’s Ron-

Despite the success within the class, the offensive line

dale Moore committed. The Tom Herman offense should

still remained a concern. Those concerns were partially

be an easy sell to slot receivers and Moore was all ears.

allayed when offensive tackle/guard Rafiti Ghirmai com-

Moore will wait to sign until the NSD2 which at this point

mitted on 8/24.

is a good sign. If he was going to do the clean flip to Purdue (yes, seriously, Purdue) it would likely occur this week. Texas has been holding on for dear life since the

RECRUITING SEASON GIVES WAY TO FOOTBALL SEASON

start of the season. The staff met its goal by having the majority of the class Up next was a nine day run of the staff putting Texas

(17) committed before the season. That’s the same num-

leans to bed. Outside receiver Al’vonte Woodard com-

ber it had committed in their first full class at Houston

mitted on 7/15. The state’s #2 player (in my opinion),

which indicates Herman had a plan and he was going to

cornerback Jalen Green, committed on 7/21, and out-

stick to it.

side receiver and physical match-up problem, Brennan Eagles, committed on 7/24.

We all know the season was disappointing, and most understand a good portion of those reasons, including the

The staff likes it’s little runs of recruiting success and

all-important commits. Almost none of the recruits have

another one occurred on 8/7 and 8/8 when defensive

wavered and those who did were exploring their options

tackle Keondre Coburn and tight end Malcolm Epps

more so than showing disapproval of what was happen-

committed in successive days. Had Westfield not split

ing on the field.

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D N I W E R

To somewhat harmonize that thought, D’shawn Jamison

with the remaining players on the Big Board were pretty

committed on 10/14 right as Texas was losing a heart-

clear and the loss wasn’t going to negatively influence

breaking game to Oklahoma.

any particular player.

While the disappointing season didn’t hurt with commits,

That written, the culmination of the season meant the KEONTE INGRAM | COMMITTED MAY 2017 D N I W E R

it certainly didn’t give Texas the push down the stretch it

staff was going to have to scratch and claw to address

needed to maximize the class at positions of need.

class needs. This is why you began to see so many

FOOTBALL SEASON GIVES WAY TO RECRUITING SEASON

late offers, many of which were either too late or made the staff’s life tougher than it should have been. I’ll go into those recruitments -- many of which Texas is still involved in -- in more detail in my NSD2 Rewind.

The staff didn’t neglect recruiting during the season, but I do believe it failed to re-calibrate expectations for recruits

Texas did receive a pleasant surprise when Salt Lake

who were actually attainable. In my opinion, this should

City offensive lineman Junior Angilau committed on

have happened after the Oklahoma State loss when it

12/11. To underscore how nothing is coming easy at this

was pretty clear a signature win wasn’t going to happen.

point, Angilau may take the LDS redshirt that is a two year mission trip, though that has yet to be decided and

The West Virginia win was solid, but the main benefit of

most seem to think he’ll end up in Austin with his class. A

that game was team morale. This morale was given right

case can be made that Angilau is the single most impor-

back the very next week in a terrible loss to Texas Tech.

tant talent in the class.

As I stated then, however, I don’t believe the loss to Tech hurt recruiting all that much. By then I think UT’s chances

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NON-CONFERENCE MARKED BY S

Kerwin Roach

30

inside texas

insidetexas .com Dylan Osetkowski


SOLID, ALMOST GREAT RESULTS by Tim Preston

Almost awesome: extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear… almost.

That’s the best way to describe Texas Basketball’s nonconference slate of results. And, when you think about it, almost awesome implies that it was pretty darn good in the first place. Which it was. Consider this: after an 11-22 season a year ago, Coach Shaka Smart’s men in burnt orange (and black? and anthracite?) were able to check some important boxes that seemed impossible a year ago. Road wins? Check (@VCU) and (@Bama). Neutral-site wins? Check (Butler @PK80). Capable indoctrination of new players? Check (Bamba), (Osetkowski), (Coleman). All in all, it was a successful nonconference schedule. But, man, what could have been. A 16 point second half lead against #1 Duke evaporated and turned into an overtime loss. That would have been pretty awesome. Then, two days later, a furious second half rally saw Texas take a ranked Gonzaga team to overtime only to have another extra stanza defeat. That would have been pretty awesome, too. Then, with Andrew Jones missing some time after a hard fall results in a hairline wrist fracture, it looked like Eric Davis Jr. would have the chance to play hero against his home state school (Michigan). Except he went 0-fer (not that the loss was only on him) and the Wolverines escaped with a win in Austin. That would have been pretty awesome. Instead, Texas is where they probably need to be. They avoided any bad losses. Put themselves into position to qualify for the NCAA Tournament with a credible Big 12 showing. Came out (relatively) unscathed, injury wise. It was almost awesome. Almost.

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- hoops non conference (and how consistently he’s been to showcase that completeness) has been a welcome surprise. The junior big man is second in scoring, second in rebounding, second in three pointers made, first in free throws attempted, second in free throw accuracy, second in steals, fourth in assists... A little bit of everything has added up to a whole lot for the team. The Future is Now Award ANDREW JONES When Jones decided to return for his sophomore season after declaring for the NBA Draft following his freshman campaign, it was with the intent to take to heart what scouts and NBA personnel were telling him about his pro prospects. Namely, that he needed to be more consistent, less pouty and more of a take charge player who brought it each, and every, day. Unfortunately, a wrist injury put a damper on that as Jones sat out the final four games of the non-conference schedule. But his progress and ceiling this year is exciting. The Human Teeter-Totter Award ERIC DAVIS JR. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. The junior guard from Mohammed Bamba

Michigan had about as poor of a sophomore campaign as one

The Human Eraser Award MOHAMED BAMBA Texas has had some shot blocking studs over the years (LaSalle Thompson, Lamarcus Aldridge, Tristan Thompson, etc.), but Mo’s as good as it’s ever been as a rim protector. Bamba’s 7’9” wingspan and surprisingly capable lateral agility have made him a top-five shot blocker almost immediately. The Human Highlight Award KERWIN ROACH II Whether exploding for a posterizing dunk, flying in the open floor for a basket saving block or shutting down the best player on whichever team Texas faces, Kerwin has been a rock for the Longhorns. If you’ve watched a Texas hoops game since Roach’s arrival in Austin, you’ve heard that he was a two-time state triple jump champion. That athleticism has been on full display this season for Texas. The Do-Everything Award DYLAN OSETKOWSKI Texas knew they were getting a capable player in Tulane transfer forward Dylan Osetkowski, but just how complete of a player he is

32

Matt Coleman


- hoops non conference -

the next few years he’s at UT. Coleman’s steady decision making, ability off the dribble and creative flair as a passer have all been welcome additions to a program devoid of point guard play last year. Texas’ 9-3 pre-Big 12 record puts it squarely in line for an NCAA Tournament bid, but there’s lots of work to do. The Longhorns still need at least a .500 resume from league play to feel comfortable and, even then, they’ll likely want to up that to feel truly safe. Texas’ defense and athleticism will keep them in every game against a super-solid, if unspectacular, Big 12. I see the Longhorns squeaking into the Big Dance as something between a 7 and 10 seed as a proverbial “Team Nobody Wants to Face” come March. Whether that promise turns into production come tournament time is another guess, but Shaka Smart and co. do appear to have the program back on the right track after an almost awesome beginning to their season. Andrew Jones

could imagine last year after a promising first year on the 40 Acres. So, while hoping for a totally transformed Davis might have been a stretch, you can forgive Longhorn fans for optimism that Davis would bring back some of his freshman magic. Davis, for his part, has been better this year than last, but the issue is that he can’t seem to maintain any consistency. In fact, the only constant with Eric is that he’s good (often very good) for one game and then not (tragically, soul-crushingly) good the next. Texas needs him to find some type of stability as they move into the Big 12 season. The Straw that Stirs the Drink Award MATT COLEMAN Coleman’s fanfare coming out of famed Oak Hill Academy meant that pretty much every Texas fan knew who he was from the time he was a sophomore until the day he set foot on campus. Meeting those expectations was never going to be easy. And to say that Matt had a perfect non-conference season would be more than a stretch, but he’s certainly shown enough to make Longhorns

Eric Davis

everywhere excited about what he can do as a floor general over

December - 2017

33


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YOUTH IS SERVED DANIEL YOUNG ASCENDED THE DEPTH CHART AND FINISHED HIS FRESHMAN SEASON AS THE STARTER AT RUNNING BACK December - 2017

37

photographs by will gallagher

BY MIKE BLACKWELL


- daniel young -

I

t is called - usually without much argu-

All of these things were true, of course, in

the most promise, and he is the most likely

ment - the most difficult position in all of

various degrees. But lost amongst all of the

candidate to stand out as the main back in

sport: quarterback.

quarterback chatter was even more confu-

2018, incoming freshman Keaontay Ingram

sion as to who the most effective running

notwithstanding.

The best quarterbacks have a myriad of

back would be week-to-week.

attributes: arm strength, mobility, discipline,

Only 18 years old, Young proved to be the

poise, leadership, thick skin and a still

Entering the year, running back Chris

back who is most likely to succeed as Texas

mind. Yet even those who have all of those

Warren was expected to be the healthy

tries and finds its first RB Bevo since the

qualities can struggle - and lose - without

workhorse for the Longhorns. He was

departure of 2,000-rusher D’Onta Foreman,

perhaps the most important attribute of all:

neither healthy, nor a workhorse, and he is

who left for the pros after the 2016 season.

a running back.

now out of the program after being switched to a different position altogether.

All year - from the very beginning of the

Foreman is Exhibit A in the argument that quarterbacking is a lot easier when you

year and the dumpster fire that was the

Kyle Porter was highly-touted out of Katy,

Maryland game, to the very end and the win

one of the best running backs in the nation.

have an alpha runner in the backfield.

in the Academy Sports & Outdoors Texas

He’s a smart, hard-working player who

Buechele was clearly a better quarterback

Bowl - most of the talk around the Texas

doesn’t make mistakes, but he averaged

when he could turn around and hand the

football program revolved around quarter-

barely three yards per carry. Toneil Carter

ball to Foreman.

backs Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger.

showed flashes, but didn’t get the ball very much. All of them - Young included -

Buechele and Ehlinger - or one of the

Herman kept talking about looking for

finished with fewer yards rushing than the

incoming freshmen quarterbacks - will also

separation between the two, and it never

team’s leader in that category: Ehlinger.

be better if Young can give the Longhorns a

happened. Ehlinger wasn’t as good of a passer as Buechele. Buechele couldn’t run

threat while running the rock in 2018. That’s not good.

like Ehlinger. Ehlinger threw too many cata-

Certainly he has shown unique ability in

strophic interceptions. Buechele needed to

Yet with all of the problems Texas had run-

2017. He was the second-leading rusher on

show more passion.

ning the ball, Young has definitely shown

the team - by 12 yards - with 81 carries for

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- daniel young 373 yards, a 4.6 yards-per-carry average. The former three-star Houston Westfield runner also showed himself to be a threat as a receiver, catching 13 balls for 153 yards (11.8 per catch), and a touchdown catch of 22 yards in the bowl game victory. In the game that earned Texas a sixth win - and bowl eligibility - he rushed for a career-high 85 yards on just 12 carries. He rushed seven times for 60 yards in a rout of Baylor; against Texas Tech he rushed 13 times for 55 yards and a touchdown. But the exclamation point on his season came in the bowl game, when he rushed for 48 yards and caught had 64 receiving yards on just three catches when his team needed him the most. While his freshman season was a success, he also knows he must continue to progress, especially considering the arrival of Ingram, who many consider the best running back in the country. “Things have been great, it has been a challenge, but everything good is always going to be a challenge for you,” Young said. “ I mean you just have to keep preparing. I had to be ready when my number was called and help my teammates when I was called up. Things happen and you have to be ready. I had to make sure I knew my stuff.” That readiness will have to continue in the off-season if Young wants to be the first “primary” running back since Foreman. That progression should be a comfortable process for Young in this regard: he knows he has a fan in Herman, who said he might have been the “steal” of the 2017 recruiting class. Herman thought so highly of Young, in fact, that he had earned his commitment

while he was still the coach at Houston. Once Herman got the Texas job, he called

Young sounds as though his mindset is in

Young again, and he flipped to Texas. Now

perfect alignment with that of Herman.

Herman says Young is no longer an under-

“I feel like this offense is in a very good

the-radar “steal”, although he has plenty of

growing stage,” Young says. “I feel like

work to do.

we’re going to keep growing as we progress every day. We get better every day in

“Well I don’t think he’s hidden from

practice.”

anybody,” Herman said. “Danny’s got a lot of work to do, but he provided us with

Ditto, Herman. He’s happy with what he

again a guy back there that could break

has with Young, but clearly wants more.

tackles. That’s what we needed with as

“He’s got a lot of work to do,” Herman

depleted on the offensive line as we were

says, “but I’m excited that we’re going to

we needed a guy that, you know, if it was

have him around here for a long time.”

block for two he could get you four, and if

Buechele and Ehlinger would like that a

it was block for zero he could get you two.

lot.

He gave us that.”

December - 2017

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40


PULLING FOR OU? DON’T DO IT by

O

r if you have a friend who is, send them my screed. It

Paul Wadlington

a soul patch.

happens. Every year. Some Texas fans find contorted, self-hating reasons for pulling for the Oklahoma

Sooners. Let’s explore their thinking obvious mental disorder. Look guys, I know they’re a rival, but I want the Big 12 to look

No one cares we barely beat them. Alabama barely beat Texas A&M. Georgia barely beat Notre Dame. Auburn actually beat both Alabama and Georgia. No one cares. They care about who is hoisting the trophy at the end.

strong! You know who else cares? Recruits in the state of Texas. And in First of all, the Sooner the Big 12 is bathed in layers of sweet

your desired world, our proof of New Head Coach Concept is

napalm, set alight, its ashes gathered together, locked into a tacti-

7-6 and OU’s is Undisputed National Champion with wins over a

cal nuclear warhead, and dropped to the bottom of the Marianas

murderer’s row of the national elite. Tell me how to spin that nar-

Trench from a B-52 cruising at 35,000 feet, the better for Texas.

rative in 2019 living rooms.

The conference stinks. It’s an albatross on the realization of fun

OU already has a story to tell of habitual winning during those

football for the fans, the elevation of our national profile, our

players lifetimes (Texas doesn’t) and now has a young staff that

in-state profile, our participation in the future of sports television,

appears to actually be re-engaged in recruiting Texas. You want to

good game day experiences, epic road trips, and the necessary

fuel that, then try to remora fish them by saying we lost to ‘em in

athletic and institutional pressure required from peer and like

a tight game and held ‘em under 30? Woo-wee. Look at us.

institutions to shake us from the habitual complacency that infests Bellmont like chlamydia on South Padre Island during Spring

That’s your plan?

Break. Hey, I’m just tired of the S-E-C! ESPN and all of the talking Whatever your feeling on the league, OU winning doesn’t make

heads prop them up!

the conference look strong. It makes OU look strong. We never want Oklahoma to look strong. For reasons strategic, tactical,

I’m tired of the SEC, too. So pull for Clemson.

emotional, partisan, objective, karmic and based on any baseline understanding of good and evil.

I hate Clemson.

It makes Texas look better if the Sooners win the MNC.

Then pull for a meteor strike. Or go read a book or play with your

They barely beat us, you know!

kids. Just stop talking about pulling for OU. Or provide me with your UT diploma so I can set it on fire. If you didn’t go to UT,

It’s never good for Texas when OU wins anything. Ever. It’s one

provide me with something else you hold dear so I can place it

of the few Iron Laws of Life. Like never trusting a white guy with

gently into a wood chipper.

December - 2017

41


I don’t know, man. I just feel like it’s good for Texas if Oklahoma wins cuz a lot of their players come from Texas high schools! Let’s support Texas high school football! Those players are traitors who would have fought for the British in the Revolutionary War. The British weren’t evil, but they talked funny, wore crimson, ate crappy food and didn’t know how to act right in public. Just like most Sooners. We should pull for the Big 12! It’s our league – for better or for worse. For not liking the SEC, you sure think like their fans. Specifically, the ones from the loser schools who can’t win anything themselves and so vicariously live through the elite SEC schools that routinely beat their ass. Do you know what a cuck is? Don’t look it up. Just go stand in front of a mirror and spin around with your arms out.

Join the Conversation

But, but….everyone says mean things about the Big 12! I’m tired of it. Most of them are smart Texas fans. Well, I’m pulling for OU. I don’t care what you say. You’re a bully. I’m not a bully. I would just like to physically, verbally and emotionally attack you until you do what I want. Hmm. On second thought, you may have a point. But I’m right. Trust me. There’s no payoff for you here. You’re a Texas fan. Conduct yourself accordingly. And honor the Iron Laws. Hook ‘em.

42

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Inside Texas December 2017  
Inside Texas December 2017  

Wrap-up of the bowl win vs Missouri, Early recruiting signing period recap, non-conference hoops news and features on Breckyn Hager and Dani...