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March 29, 2006

Texas tidbits: Horns keep rolling

It's the same story, different week.

Texas has added more key pieces to the puzzle in their 2007 class with three more commitments from this past weekend's junior day. The second event of the year didn't result in the same quantity of commitments, but certainly the quality. Pre-evaluation Rivasl00 athlete John Chiles, top running back Cody Johnson, and Metroplex receiver Malcolm Williams were all new pledges for the Horns.

Chiles, a 6-foot-1, 195-pounder, didn't keep it a secret that he planned on giving coach Mack Brown a commitment face-to-face at the UT junior day. After his trip, he heard all he needed to and followed through with his plans.

"My family prayed about it and we felt like we got the answers, so I might as well commit," Chiles said. "It was probably just the family atmosphere. I felt comfortable around all the players, the coaches, everyone."

Waller running back Johnson wanted to see the "love" from the Texas coaches and leaving without an offer at the first junior day definitely left a lasting impression - at least for a few weeks.

After receiving his offer from the Horns in earlier this month, a second trip was planned and this past weekend Johnson joined the fold.

"They showed me a lot of love," Johnson said about his second junior day trip to Austin. "They have good academics, it's a good family program, and I talked to a lot of their players.

"Overall it was just great."

There seemed to be several wide receiver targets for Texas this year, but it was Garland receiver Williams who was the first big play wide-out to join the fold. Previous wide receiver commit Curtis Brown will play cornerback for the Horns.

Malcolm Williams had a junior season shortened by injury, but is expected to be one of the better senior receivers in Texas this fall.

Tight end Zack Pianalto was big news even before the junior day. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder from Springdale, Arkansas became the first out-of-state commitment for the Longhorns in the 2007 class. He took an unofficial visit last Monday and gave the coaching staff a commitment.

Though it's tough to say who could be next with the class filling up fast, names like Richetti Jones, Ryan Mallett, Lennon Creer, Blaine Irby, and others are all possiblities.

Kinne finds new home

One of the state's top quarterbacks for 2007, G.J. Kinne, decided that it was time for a change before his senior season.

His father, Gary Joe Kinne, is now an assistant coach with Baylor. However, while coaching his son's high school team in Canton, Texas, he was the victim of a near-fatal gunshot. The younger Kinne decided that he would make a change in order to feel comfortable again in his final season of high school.

The 6-foot-3, 207-pounder will finish his high school career at Gilmer High School.

"It's just because I didn't feel safe at Canton," Kinne said. "At Gilmer, it felt like a safe situation for me and just showed up there. I just wanted to go where I could feel safe finishing my senior year."

Kinne is headed to Southern Cal this weekend for an unofficial visit.

"I'm hoping it turns into something," he said. "I've got a verbal offer, but you can be sure about that."

Tigers, Aggies lead for Toliver

Rivals100 wide receiver Terrance Toliver seems to get a new offer each week. However, the two in hand from LSU and Texas A&M comprise his leaders at the current time.

The 6-foot-5, 185-pound prospect says that those stand above the rest for different reasons.

"A&M, it's just their coaching staff," Toliver said. "My dad's girlfriend's brother went to LSU and he told me good things. I watched their national championship game a while back and I liked the way they were doing things."

Many people in the state of Texas believe that the Aggies will be hard to beat. However, teams like Southern Cal could get involved with an offer and shake up the situation dramatically. LSU has been a solid contender in the race for some time.

Toliver plans on taking some more visits before making his commitment.

Just two for Mallett?

Several schools have tried to work their way into the mind of Rivals100 Texarkana quarterback Ryan Mallett, but it appears the big Texas gunslinger has things pretty much narrowed down to two schools very early.

Mallett mentioned such schools as Florida State, Oklahoma, Florida State, and Arkansas early as other possible teams on his list, but the 6-foot-7, 235-pounder came clean this past week with a final two - at least for now.

"If things change, I don't know if they will, but if they do I'll let you know," Mallett said. "Right now, it's just Texas and Michigan."

Mallett is thinking about a return trip to Texas after his junior day visit. He's also possibly going to camp at Michigan this summer. He knows that this will not likely end with his verbal commitment.

"Even if I commit to a school, they will still recruit me and there is never really an end to it until you get to college," he said.

Plenty of offensive lineman to go around

The plentiful quarterback crop has been talked about a great deal, but the state of Texas also has their share of top offensive linemen in 2007.

Leading the way is offensive tackle/offensive guard Tray Allen. The Rivals100 member could fit the profile of a smaller tackle at the next level, but several schools have made it known that could be one of the best incoming freshman at guard. Allen's scholarship offers read like a who's who list of the nation's top programs. Texas, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, LSU, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma State are just a few.

Brownsboro tackle Lonnie Edwards has huge size at 6-foot-6, 315 pounds and the offers to back up his lofty status. Baylor, Ole Miss, Purdue, and Oklahoma State have jumped out early.

Lancaster, Texas tackle Anthony Morgan was a rising star that went from a small stack of offers to a large one almost overnight. Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Kansas, Kansas State, Ole Miss, and Oklahoma State are just a few he's holding. At 6-foot-4, 336 pounds, Morgan has the great frame for the next level already.

Texas grabbed early commitments from several of the state's best. Matt Nader, Jerrod Gooch, Kyle Hix, and Aundre McGaskey are very solid offensive lineman for the class of 2007.

However, fellow UT commitment Michael Huey shows off on film just how aggressive an offensive guard can get. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Huey has a nasty streak on the field and makes collisions a regular occurrence.

Keller (Texas) Fossil Ridge offensive lineman Chris Perry has a bright future at guard, but his play at defensive tackle could be even better. Rivals100 member Marquis Franklin is also ready to prove himself at full speed after nursing a knee injury through most of his junior year.

Texas A&M commitment Evan Eike stands already at 6-foot-4, 318 pounds and has a lot of potential for the next level. His strength is something the Aggie coaches identified early and makes him a big play lineman for this year's group.

The biggest in the state, Dallas Skyline's Terrael Williams, stands at an imposing 6-foot-6, 407 pounds. His basketball skills make him a big prospect with good feet for growth on the next level.

While there are numerous positions stacked in the Lone Star state for 2007, offensive linemen are making their case for a share of the spotlight.


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