Top Targets for 2008: Defense

Myles Walker, the most physically gifted DE in TX

With the 2007 recruiting class drawing to a close (the Horns' three remaining '07 targets are due in Austin this weekend), the Texas Longhorn coaching staff has shifted much of its attention to next year's group. With only 15 seniors on the roster next year, the Longhorns are expected to sign between 17 and 19 kids from the 2008 class. Which prospects will Texas go after?

Defensive End

The Texas Longhorns will probably look to bring in two defensive ends next year. R.J. Washington, from Fossil Ridge High School, is possibly the top prospect in the Lone Star State for the 2008 class. He committed to Oklahoma in December but hasn't closed the door on taking visits to other schools, including UT. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Washington brings explosive speed off the edge and is always a handful for opposing offensive linemen. He recorded 12 sacks during his junior season and was very impressive at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio.

"He is an extreme athlete," Fossil Ridge Head Coach Hal Wasson told Inside Texas in September. "He has good range and is explosive off the edge. He has great pass rushing skills. He is a very competitive kid."

The most physically gifted defensive end in Texas is without a doubt Myles Walker from Antonian College Prep in San Antonio. He has a huge frame but is still very raw. The 6-foot-7, 245-pound Walker has nothing but potential in front of him. However, it is still uncertain as to whether he is through growing. If he continues to get taller, he may be better suited to play basketball on the next level. Walker lists the Longhorns as his overall favorite at this point in time.

Dallas Skyline High School is loaded on the defensive side of the ball. Alfred Dupree anchors their defensive line. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound Dupree is a physical freak and plays with a mean streak on the football field. He is a speed rusher and wreaks havoc off the edge. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.57 seconds.

Another prospect to keep your eye on is DeSoto's Tony Jerod. However, he has expressed interest in following Von Miller to Texas A&M. It might be a tough task to pluck the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Jerod from the Aggies. Damion Square from Houston Yates High School is another kid that might draw interest from the Longhorns.

Defensive Tackle

Defensive tackle is always one of the toughest spots to fill in a recruiting class, and the state of Texas is not exactly loaded with talent at the position this year. Look for the Longhorns to sign two defensive tackles in 2008 and possibly extend their search out of state.

Arguably the best defensive tackle inside the state of Texas is John Tyler's Adren Dorsey. The 6-foot-4, 280-pound Dorsey has already developed the size and strength to be a major contributor on the next level. He lists the Longhorns among his top schools right now.

"He is very quick for his size," John Tyler Head Coach Thomas Brooks told Inside Texas in September.

Linebacker

The Longhorns are expected to sign two linebackers next year.

Nederland's Dravannti Johnson brings size and quickness to the position. He has a knack for finding the ball carrier and makes plays all over the field. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Johnson already holds five offers and heavily favors Texas A&M right now. His interest in the Longhorns will hinge on how much attention they show him.

Skyline's Spencer Reeves is an impact player and brings leadership and experience to the football field. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Reeves started every game as a sophomore in a very talented district. If Reeves gets bigger, he could make a huge impact on the next level.

Defensive Back

The talent in the secondary in Texas is unbelievable. The Longhorns often take athletes and mold them into defensive backs. Texas is expected to sign around three defensive backs in 2008.

Gilmer cornerback Lamar Harris is an absolute stud. Some scouts even think that he is possibly the best prospect on the Gilmer roster, even better than 2007 Longhorn commit Curtis Brown. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Harris would make an excellent safety on the next level. He listed the Longhorns as one of his top five schools back in October.

Pittsburg's Kendall Wright is an athlete in every sense of the word. He spent time at quarterback and wide receiver on offense this year and played corner on defense. He even kicked extra points for Pittsburg. It is still up in the air which position he will play on the next level, but he is mostly being recruited at wide receiver. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Wright has all the attributes that Texas looks for in its defensive backs.

"He does everything well. He can run, catch and play defense. He is a tremendous little athlete," Pittsburg Head Coach Lawrence Cleveland told Inside Texas in November.

D.J. Monroe, from Angleton High School, is another kid that brings tremendous athletic ability to the football field. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Monroe rushed for 1,291 yards and scored 15 touchdowns running the ball and four receiving. On defense, he snagged five interceptions and recorded 67 tackles during his junior season. He is also a track star at Angleton.

"He can do anything he wants to on the football field," Angleton Head Coach Finis Vanover told Inside Texas in November. "He has a great attitude and personality. He has a 3.4 GPA. He has everything in front of him."

Rosenburg Terry's Anthony Brown can also do it all. One of the best pure corners in the state, Brown racked up five interceptions during his junior season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound cover corner also made one big play after another returning kicks.

"He is just a football player," Terry Head Coach Tim Teykl told Inside Texas in November. "I coached college football for 11 years, and he is a Division I player. He is a great athlete. He is a corner for us. You don't find many corners that are over six feet tall. He is just an athlete."

Skyline's Keanon Cooper is more of a prototypical safety than an athlete. He made a ton of plays during his junior season playing beside 2007 prospect Christian Scott. He also brings blazing 4.39 speed to the football field. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Cooper lists Texas as his top school.

Two Central Texas kids that Texas might look at are Plfugerville Connally's Darius Darks and Round Rock McNeil's Aaron Williams. Williams plays safety in McNeil's cover two scheme but showed a knack for press coverage at the U.S. Army National Combine in San Antonio.

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