UT seeks early commits at second Junior Day

Michael Marks

The scene has played out hundreds of times: Junior Day in Austin. A 16-year-old football player and his parents shuffle into the head coach’s office. Their feet carry them to a trio of chairs in front of his desk, even as their eyes flit from the trophy-size longhorn head on the wall, to the signed Earl Campbell jersey, to the replica National Championship trophies.  

Small talk ensues. What do you want to study? How’s track season? How do you like Austin? That’s a nice shade of orange, right, Mom? They laugh and nod and anxiously tap their feet. They’re waiting to hear the word they’ve been waiting on, the word they came here for: scholarship.

This is how Jacorey Warrick remembers it, at least. Warrick, a wide receiver who received his scholarship offer during last year’s second Junior Day, is a member of Texas’ 2013 recruiting class.

“[Junior Day] is definitely the most important day,” Warrick said. “I finally got the offer I was waiting for, and I committed the next day.”

Texas will hold its second Junior Day of 2013 this weekend. While other schools might use Junior Day as a kickoff to the new recruiting cycle, Texas’ cycle starts much earlier. 

From 2009 to 2013, 58.2 percent of the 110 players who signed a letter of intent to play for Texas verbally committed during the month of February. To compare, February commitments accounted for 6.7 percent of Alabama’s signees during the same period, along with 8 percent of Oklahoma’s and 10 percent of Texas A&M’s.

The numbers add up to a critical weekend for Longhorn recruiting. Dallas Carter outside linebacker Cameron Hampton was the first Junior Day’s sole commitment. Even though Texas already had seven verbal commitments for 2014 going into the day, history says picking up a few more this weekend (or shortly thereafter) should be expected.

Abilene Cooper wide receiver Lorenzo Joe thinks that once more players are offered scholarships, the commitments won’t be far behind.

“Texas is sort of a nation in itself, so once you get that offer, it feels like a dream come true,” Joe said. 

Joe committed to play for Texas on Aug. 2 of last year. He attended the first Junior Day along with the six other players who had already verbally committed to Texas.

“It felt like we’d known each other for a while,” Joe said of his future teammates, who spent the day talking up the program to non-committed attendees like Mansfield safety Edward Paris, Ozen cornerback Tony Brown and Houston Lamar safety John Bonney.

This weekend will feature a different group of recruits, who will spend the day talking to coaches, breaking down film and observing spring practice. Expected attendees include New Orleans St. Augustine running back Leonard Fournette, Cypress Falls outside linebacker Otaro Alaka, and Jasper center Terrell Cuney.

Though it’s difficult to predict which recruits will commit to Texas this weekend, Warrick’s experience tells him that it wouldn’t be a surprise.

“If you grow up in Texas, and you grow up watching the Longhorns, and then once you visit and you have a chance to be a part of it, you kind of just don’t want to turn that down,” Warrick said.

Published on February 22, 2013 as "Longhorns host second Junior Day".