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Texas' Joyner Holmes drives and scores against South Carolina's Alaina Coates during the first half on Thursday. Dec. 1, 2016 at Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas. Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell / American-Statesman

Football

The year in review: Top 10 recruits to come to Texas in 2016

Posted December 23rd, 2016

Recruiting is the lifeblood of every successful college sports team. While rankings and evaluations have developed a 24/7 following for fans of major sports (football, men’s and women’s basketball), gathering talent is no less important — in some cases, perhaps even more so — in sports with smaller followings.

Texas pulled in blue chips across the board in 2016. Based on accepted recruiting rankings from football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, volleyball, track and field and swimming and diving, here are the best recruits to land on the 40 Acres this year.

Keep in mind that these recruits are all from the Class of 2016, meaning they arrived at UT this past fall.

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1. Joyner Holmes, women’s basketball, No. 2 overall

A product of Cedar Hill High School near Dallas, Holmes has made an immediate impact for No. 16-ranked Texas. Through 10 games she had started eight times, with averages of 10.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. The 6-foot-3 forward was ranked behind only Baylor’s Lauren Cox on ESPN’s HoopGurlz rankings, and chose Texas over Notre Dame and Tennessee.

RELATED COVERAGE: The high school-to-college learning curve is steep

Holmes has already drawn comparisons to some of the game’s greats.

2. Claire Adams, swimming, No. 3 overall

Imagine, as a 17-year-old, being disappointed to not make an Olympic team. Adams was the 2015 United States champion in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke, but broke her hand in preparation for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials and finished 46th in the 100 back. The Carmel, Indiana, native arrived at Texas this fall and appears to be rounding back into form. At the Texas Invitational earlier this month, she helped break a seven-year-old record in the 800-yard freestyle relay — swimming a team-best 1:43.05.

SAN ANTONIO, TX - AUGUST 09: Claire Adams on the awards stand for the Women's 200 LC Meter Backstroke during the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships at the Northside Swim Center on August 9, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – AUGUST 09: Claire Adams on the awards stand for the Women’s 200 LC Meter Backstroke during the 2015 Phillips 66 National Championships at the Northside Swim Center on August 9, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

3. Orie Agbaji, volleyball, No. 4 overall

How good is Texas volleyball? On their way to a national runner-up finish, the Longhorns used blue-chip recruit Orie Agbaji sparingly. The 6-foot-2 middle blocker from Kansas City appeared in 15 matches, including last week’s national championship. Longhorns coach Jerritt Elliott has mentioned Agbaji as one of the building blocks for future squads, so expect to see a lot more of her next season.

RELATED COVERAGE: Texas has the returning pieces ‘to be extremely special’

4. Alecia Sutton, women’s basketball, No. 6 overall

The only women’s basketball program to snag two of the top six recruits wasn’t UConn, Notre Dame or Baylor. Longhorns coach Karen Aston may look back on this recruiting class when cutting down the nets someday soon. Sutton, a St. Louis native and the No. 2 point guard prospect in the Class of 2016, is already seeing minutes behind All-Big 12 point guard Brooke McCarty.

5. Lauren Case, swimming, No. 7 overall

A semifinalist at the U.S. Trials in the 200-meter butterfly, Case posted the sixth-best time during the prelims in Omaha. She also qualified for Trials in the 400 free and was a two-time member of the USA Swimming Junior National Team. The Woostock, Georgia, native kicked off her Texas career with a third-place finish at the Texas Invitational.

AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 15: Lauren Case swims in the Women's 100 meter butterfly during the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin on January 15, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
AUSTIN, TX – JANUARY 15: Lauren Case swims in the Women’s 100 meter butterfly during the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin on January 15, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

6. Destiny Collins, track and field, No. 8

After her career concluded, a rival coach wrote on the Riverside County track and field website that “Collins will forever be the standard here in Riverside County as we don’t forsee anybody approaching her 4:40 (1,600 meters) and 9:53 (3,200) county records…. perhaps, ….ever?” That’s high praise. Even though she didn’t win state as a senior, Collins proved her status by winning at 3,000 meters in the USATF Junior Championships.

7. Jarrett Allen, men’s basketball, No. 17 overall

This name you’ve definitely heard before. It says something about the strength of Texas athletics as a whole that the most ballyhooed recruit in a major sport was actually the seventh-biggest recruit (by rankings) to land in Austin this year. So far the local product (St. Stephen’s) is averaging 9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds through 10 games.

RELATED COVERAGE: Shaka Smart: Jarrett Allen’s recruitment was ‘unique’

8. Andrew Jones, men’s basketball, No. 31 overall

Not as publicized but just as crucial for Texas coach Shaka Smart as he continues to build the Longhorns program, Jones was the No. 5-ranked point guard in the 2016 class. The MacArthur (Irving, Texas) product has started six games and is averaging 9.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Just off this list was James Banks, the No. 63 overall recruit.

9. Devin Duvernay, football, No. 36 overall

Another familiar name, Duvernay (Sachse) was originally signed with Baylor before the school’s sexual assault scandal and Bears coach Art Briles’ exit led him to Austin. The Longhorns were glad to welcome him, especially once he started hauling in long touchdown passes.

RELATED COVERAGE: Devin Duvernay is Baylor’s loss, Texas’ gain

Devin Duvernay carries the ball for a TD during the second quarter of the Longhorn’s games against Kansas State in Manhattan, KS Saturday October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN.
Devin Duvernay carries the ball for a TD during the second quarter of the Longhorn’s games against Kansas State in Manhattan, KS Saturday October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN.

10. Brandon Jones, football, No. 40 overall

The top safety in the 2016 class, Jones came to Austin as a 4-star prospect from Nacogdoches. He featured in all 12 games as a true freshman, picking up 16 total tackles and two blocked punts. He’s widely considered the future at safety alongside DeShon Elliott.

RELATED COVERAGE: Brandon Jones’ father still a part of safety’s life, game

Texas' Brandon Jones(19) blocks the punt of UTEP's Alan Luna(46) during the first half at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)
Texas’ Brandon Jones(19) blocks the punt of UTEP’s Alan Luna(46) during the first half at Royal-Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

Get caught up with the end of the year series: 

Dec. 19: Texas football’s top 10 plays of 2016

Dec. 20: 10 best Longhorn newcomers of 2016

Dec. 21: 10 best Texas football moments of 2016

Dec. 22: 10 worst moments of 2016 Longhorn football

Dec. 23: Top 10 recruits to come to Texas in 2016

Dec. 24: 10 best Longhorn moments of 2016

Dec. 25: 10 best Longhorn athletes of 2016

Dec. 26: 2017 Longhorn storylines to watch

Dec. 27: 5 Longhorn squads that can win it all next year

Dec. 28: 10 Longhorn football recruits to watch in 2017

Dec. 29: 10 Longhorns athletes to watch in 2017

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