Good morning. Breakfast is served.
It’s January 22nd — 22 down, 344 to go.
And 12 till national signing day.
YESTERDAY: The Spurs won their 12th straight (Suns). NBA All-Star Game starters were announced — LeBron, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Kyle Lowry for the East, Kobe, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry and Russel Westbrook for the West. Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel said thanks, but no thanks to be Chip Kelly‘s defensive coordinator in San Francisco. Bill Johnson, the first American to win an Olympic medal in Alpine skiing (gold in 1984), died. At the Australian Open, Maria Sharapova won her third-round match and former champion Lleyton Hewitt retired from tennis.
TODAY: Australian Open coverage starts at 9 p.m., on ESPN2. The Warriors and Pacers play at 10:30 (ESPN).
TOMORROW: The Texas men, fresh off their upset of No. 6 West Virginia on Wednesday, travel to No. 3-Kansas (1 p.m., ESPN, 104.9). The 6th-ranked women host No. 19 Oklahoma (11 a.m., FSN, 105.3). The 3M Half-Marathon will be run, in Austin. More Australian Open. And former Texas stars Eric Metcalf (48) and Phil Dawson (41) will celebrate birthdays.
Jan. 22 has a sports history. On this date, longtime Penn State coach Joe Paterno died (2012); Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in the Lakers’ win over the Raptors (2006); San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh retired after winning his third Super Bowl (1989); Mike Tyson recorded a TKO win over Larry Holmes for the heavyweight title (1988); the Washington Redskins knocked off the Dallas Cowboys 31-17 in the NFC championship game — the Cowboys’ third straight NFC title game loss (1983); Bum Phillips became the head coach of the New Orleans Saints (1981); the Baltimore Colts traded quarterback Johnny Unitas to the San Diego Chargers (1973); George Foreman, on his 20th birthday, had a TKO win over Joe Frazier to win the heavyweight title (1960); and 24-year old Fidel Castro, a former star pitcher for the University of Havana, pitched as a civilian to one batter in a Cuban winter league game — future MLB player Don Hoak, five years before he led the Cuban Revolution (1951).
Last year on Jan. 22, Jeff Gordon announced that 2015 would be his final season as a full-time NASCAR driver.
Today’s sports birthdays: Greg Oden (28) and Ray Rice (29). Other notables: celebrity chef Guy Fieri (48), former Journey singer Steve Perry (67).
Today’s trivia: Speaking of Journey, what founding member — and original lead singer — now lives in Dripping Springs? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)
Top of the menu: Recruiting.
We had two interesting recruiting reads in today’s paper. One was a Big 12 primer that falls 12 days out of national signing day. The other was generated off a tweet from Texas wide receiver pledge Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, who promised that the Longhorns would finish with a Top 3 national class.
(Right now, Texas’ class ranks 33rd, according to 247Sports’ composite ratings.)
Texas’ class ranked No. 9 in 2015. And while a Top 3 sounds like a pipe dream right now, our own Ryan Autullo identified 11 targets that could get the Longhorns there if Charlie Strong pulls off some late recruiting magic.
Here are those 11 Texas targets, with comments from Ryan:
- Brandon Jones, S, Nacogdoches. The country’s top-ranked safety has visited Texas A&M and Texas and is scheduled to check out Arkansas and Baylor. Fab 55 rank: 3rd
- Patrick Hudson, G, Silsbee: The long-time Baylor commit took a midweek visit to Texas and dined at the Vince Young Steakhouse with WWE superstar Mark Henry, who is also from Silsbee. Fab 55: 4th
- Jordan Elliott, DT, Houston Westside: The one-time Houston commit is currently ticketed for Michigan. He’s flipped before, and Texas is hoping he’ll flip again. He’s set to visit UT this weekend. Fab 55: 10th
- Jeffrey McCulloch, LB, Aldine Davis: He’ll announce on signing day. Fab 55: 16th
- Stephon Taylor, DT, New Orleans (La.) McDonogh: Defensive tackle is a huge need for Texas. Taylor’s the 19th overall prospect in Louisiana. He’ll likely choose between Texas, LSU and Oklahoma.
- Chris Daniels, DT, Euless Trinity: Rescinded his commitment to Oklahoma after visiting Texas last weekend. Read into that what you may. Fab 55: 19th
- Erick Fowler, LB, Manor: Is committed to LSU, but this one’s not over. Fab 55: 21st
- Dontavious Jackson, LB, Alief Elsik: He’ll announce between five schools on signing day. Fab 55: 23rd
- Kyle Porter, RB, Katy: The Horns are running thin on options at running back after losing out on Devwah Whaley (Arkansas) and Darius Anderson (TCU). Interestingly, their competition for Porter is none other than Arkansas and TCU. Fab 55: 39th
- Eric Cuffee, CB, Waco: The belief was he’d be Texas’ by now. What’s the holdup? Fab 55: 35th
- Lil’Jordan Humphrey, ATH, Southlake Carroll: Humphrey played running back in high school, but at 6-5, 200, he’s likely headed for a transition to receiver. Fab 55: 53rd
Here’s a link to our Fab 55, which Ryan updated this past Sunday.
So, what else is being written out there about the Longhorns?
After Wednesday night’s win over West Virginia, Shaka Smart reflected on VCU’s big 2011 upset win over Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, in advance of Saturday’s Texas-Kansas showdown in Lawrence. The Waco Tribune-Herald had a nice read on Fred Akers, who’ll be inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 2.
AROUND THE BIG 12: Oklahoma picked up a commitment from a 4-star defensive tackle on Thursday. And the Sooners’ south end zone expansion project should be ready in 2017, perhaps in the spring, the Tulsa World reported. Kansas coach Bill Self says Frank Mason, who’s averaged three turnovers in his last three games, needs to get right. The Des Moines Register caught up with Rutgers defensive line coach Shane Burham, who had been on Paul Rhoads‘ Iowa State staff since 2009. Burham believes the Cyclones will make a make a bowl game in 2016. And the paper also wrote about Aaron Mends, who’ll be Iowa State’s new inside linebacker.
AROUND THE FORTY ACRES:
Football: Mack Brown was honored with the 2015 Paul “Bear” Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award last week in Houston. And Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles might be ahead of schedule from his ACL injury, the Kansas City Star reported.
Softball: Texas was picked third in this week’s Big 12 coaches’ preseason poll, behind Oklahoma and Baylor. The Longhorns open their season on Feb. 11.
Track and field: Senior thrower Ryan Crouser was named the Big 12’s athlete of the week after winning the shot put at last week’s Texas A&M 11-Team Invitational.
Swimming: Senior Cory Bowersox, who won three of his four events against No. 3 Georgia and No. 8 Auburn, was this week’s Big 12 men’s diver of the week. On the women’s side, junior Madisyn Cox was the conference’s swimmer of the week and senior Meghan Houston was its diver of the week. Last week, Cox beat the nation’s No. 3-ranked swimmer (Georgia’s Emily Cameron) in the 400 IM and won all three of her individual events vs. Auburn. Houston won three of her four events vs. Auburn and Georgia.
Tennis: Senior Breaunna Addison, a two-time All-American, was the Big 12’s women’s player of the week after posting a pair of singles wins and a doubles win at the Miami Spring Invite last weekend.
On Jan. 22, 2010: Conan O’Brien hosted his final Tonight Show episode on NBC.
On Jan. 22, 2008: We lost Heath Ledger, who died from an accidental overdose. He would go on to win a posthumous Oscar for his role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight” a year later.
On Jan. 22, 1973: The U.S. Supreme Court delivered its landmark decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, effectively legalizing abortion.
Trivia answer: Original Journey organist and lead singer Greg Rollie, who left the band in 1980, now lives in Dripping Springs. He still performs with his Greg Rollie Band and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as the former singer of Santana.
OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.
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