It wasn’t until a few months ago that the Longhorns, for the first time under coach Mack Brown, changed their recruiting ways and started to officially offer juniors before they came down to Austin to Junior Day in February of their junior years.
Now, as of Dec. 6, Texas has started to offer sophomores. Gladewater (Texas) defensive tackle Daylon Mack is the first and only one to date but it’s only a matter of time until other offers are handed out to 2015 prospects.
Here are 15 names from across the state of Texas that the Longhorns might look at:
RB Rodney Anderson | Katy (Texas) | 6-0, 189
Interest: Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas A&M, Baylor
Why Texas should look at him: Anderson broke onto the scene last year when, as a freshman, he became powerhouse Katy’s starting running back after Adam Taylor was lost for the season. Anderson rushed for 1,167 yards last year and has complemented Taylor this season with 839 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’ll have two more seasons of being Katy’s star feature back.
TE Jordan Davis | Houston Clear Lake | 6-4, 250
Offers: Florida State
Why Texas should look at him: The versatile tight end camped at Florida State this summer and has been on the Seminoles’ radar for a while. He was Clear Lake’s second-leading receiver with 338 yards and two touchdowns this season and split out at wideout at times as a freshman. He’s a big target, and finding legit tight ends at that age isn’t always easy.
QB Nathan Elliott | Celina, Texas/Celina | 6-1, 180
Interest: Texas, Georgia, Ohio State, Stanford, TCU and Oregon
Why Texas should look at him: Elliott, a left-hander, is a well-versed dual-threat quarterback with the type of toughness and drive you want under center. He completed 139 of 250 passes for 1,619 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions this season, and also rushed 88 times for 499 yards and 10 scores. Elliott is a huge Longhorns fan, camped at Texas last summer and will do so again this summer.
OL Aaron Garza | Sherman, Texas/Sherman | 6-4, 300
Why Texas should look at him: That’s one big dude. Garza has established himself, along with Rogers, as one of the state’s best young offensive linemen and is already picking up offers. He’s likely more of an interior lineman, but you can’t beat that size for a sophomore prospect.
DT Dominic Hill | Fort Worth, Texas/Boswell | 6-1, 275
Why Texas should look at him: Hill earned District 6-4A Newcomer of the Year honors as a freshmen with 35 tackles and four sacks. Considering Texas only has one defensive tackles commitment in 2013, who just took an official visit to USC, the Longhorns are going to need to stack up at DT in 2014 and 2015 most likely.
QB Christian Hutzler | Plano, Texas/Plano | 6-3, 190
Why Texas should look at him: Hutzler has had to sit behind Connecticut commitment Richard Lagow the past two seasons, but should earn Plano’s starting job next season. He’s shown off his athleticism as a receiver in the meantime.
DL Daylon Mack | Gladewater, Texas/Gladewater | 6-1, 305
Offers: Texas, Texas A&M, TCU
Why Texas should look at him: The Longhorns surprised a lot of people when they offered Mack on Thursday. The fact that Texas offered him isn’t the surprise. It’s that it offered anyone in 2015 so early. It’s very unlike the Longhorns to do something like that, which just goes to show how highly they think of him. 6-1, 305 and can run a 4.9 40. Yes, please.
QB Mickey Mitchell | Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian Academy | 6-7, 220
Interest: Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky
Why Texas should look at him: You know Texas’ basketball program will go after him, that’s for sure. Mitchell is No. 4 in the ESPN 25 for 2015 and the top small forward in the country. The five-star brother of Mike Mitchell plays quarterback in his spare time and was having an impressive sophomore season – 2,628 total yards, 32 touchdowns – before suffering a torn ACL last month.
WR Larry Pryor | Sulphur Springs, Texas/Sulphur Springs | 6-1, 195
Interest: Texas, Alabama, Baylor, Oregon, LSU, TCU, Tennessee
Why Texas should look at him: Pryor could project out as a receiver or a defensive back in college – he mostly focused on playing in the secondary this season – but he’s an impressive talent. If another 2015 prospect could get offered by Texas soon, it might be Pryor. Longhorn coaches visited Sulphur Springs last week to check him out.
OL Zach Rogers | Lewisville, Texas/Hebron | 6-2, 275
Offers: Arkansas and Texas Tech
Interest: Alabama, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma
Why Texas should look at him: Rogers is easily one of the more dominant interior linemen in the Dallas-Fort Worth region right now regardless of classification. The Longhorns should get plenty of looks at him in their recruitment of 2014 safety offer Jamal Adams.
RB Jordan Stevenson | Dallas Skyline | 5-11, 190
Offers: Utah State
Interest: Texas, Oregon, Mississippi State, Arizona State
Why Texas should look at him: On a Skyline offense that was absolutely loaded with weapons, Stevenson split carries with senior Ellis Onic and rushed for 853 yards and 11 scores. He’ll be a major threat going forward for a Raider team losing ESPN 300 recruits Devante Kincade and Ra’Shaad Samples.
WR Jarrison Stewart | Mesquite, Texas/Horn | 6-0, 170
Why Texas should look at him: Stewart caught 24 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns this season. He also rushed 25 times for 193 yards and two scores. He caught 3 passes for 100 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown, in a first round playoff loss to Dallas Skyline and its talented secondary, which includes Texas A&M commitment Cedric Collins.
QB Chason Virgil | Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite | 6-1, 165
Interest: Clemson, West Virginia, Baylor, Auburn, SMU
Why Texas should look at him: The elusive Virgil threw for 2,289 yards and 23 touchdows and rushed for another 400 yards. He’s beginning to draw early interest from recruiters and made an impression on Texas coaches who visited West Mesquite this summer to scout Eldridge Massington and Kam Miles and could be a quarterback to watch.
RB Chris Warren | Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall | 6-2, 210
Interest: Alabama, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Arizona, Arizona State and Duke
Why Texas should look at him: A, he has the numbers to prove it. He rushed 174 times for 1,059 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. He also caught 10 passes for 100 yards and two scores. B, his bloodlines aren’t too shabby. He’s the son of former NFL running back Chris Warren, who spent 11 seasons with the Seahawks, Cowboys and Eagles.
RB Rawleigh Williams | Dallas/Bishop Lynch | 5-10, 195
Offers: Ole Miss
Interest: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas and Vanderbilt
Why Texas should look at him: Williams is one of a handful of very impressive 2015 running backs from the Dallas-Fort Worth area that should compete for top running back in the state as a senior. He rushed 191 times for 1,191 yards and 14 touchdowns this season, and also caught 11 passes for 137 yards and three scores.