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Breakfast with Bevo: Rethinking our 2011 Fabulous 55 (or, heeeere’s Johnny!)

Posted January 30th, 2016

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Good morning. Breakfast is served.

It’s January 30th — 30 down, 335 to go.

And 365 till national signing day (of 2017).

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YESTERDAY: The NCAA levied rules violations against Ole Miss in three sports (football, women’s basketball and track). The Chargers and Rams agreed to share a stadium in Los Angeles, should the Chargers decided to relocate after 2016. The Rockets fell to the Thunder and the Mavericks beat the Nets.

TODAY: The Texas men host Vanderbilt (11 a.m., ESPN2, 104.9) in one of 10 Big 12/SEC Challenge matchups. The women are at Kansas State (7, 104.9). Serena Williams tried to win her 22nd career singles title in the Australian Open finals, against Angelique Kerber.

TOMORROW: The Pro Bowl is played, in Honolulu. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray square off in the Australian Open men’s final.

Jan. 30 has a sports history. On this date, former heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson died at the age of 77 (2009); the Rams held off the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV (2000); Lawrence Taylor was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility (1999); Emmitt Smith earned MVP honors in the Cowboys’ 30-13 win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII (1994); the Houston Oilers, with the No. 1 pick, selected John Matuszak in the NFL Draft (1973); and the UCLA Bruins beat UC Santa Barbara, 74-61 — the first win of their record 88-game winning streak (1971).

Last year on Jan. 30, Texas cut ties with Jet Pack Guy, the alter ego of Nick Macomber who’d fly onto the field at Royal-Memorial Stadium before home games. And Tiger Woods shot a career-worst 82 in the second round of the Phoenix Open.

Today’s sports birthdays: Jalen Rose (46) and Curtis Strange (61). Payne Stewart would’ve turned 59 today. Other notables: Christian Bale (42), Phil Collins (65), Dick Cheney (75) and Gene Hackman (86).

Todays’ trivia: What team snapped UCLA’s 88-game winning streak, on Jan. 19, 1974? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)

Top of the menu: Recruiting.

OK, we get it. Recruiting is hardly an exact science. That’s why every year, just before signing day, we have fun by revisiting our Fabulous 55 list of the state’s top recruits from five years ago. Why five? So that we can give that year’s class of recruits the time to play out their college careers so that we can then reframe it with some 20/20 hindsight. Our own Suzanne Halliburton did the Fab redux treatment in today’s paper.

That year’s top 10 recruits in the state: 1-Steve Edmond (Daingerfield LB, Texas); 2-Brandon Williams (Brookshire Royal RB, Oklahoma); 3-Trey Metoyer (Whitehouse WR, Oklahoma); 4-Sedrick Flowers (Galena Park North Shore OG, Texas); 5-Malcolm Brown (Cibolo Steele RB, Texas); 6-Jaxon Shipley (Brownwood WR, Texas); 7-Quandre Diggs (Angleton DB, Texas); 8-David Jenkins (Lewisville Hebron DB, LSU); 9-Desmond Jackson (Spring Westfield DT, Texas); and 10-Jamal Turner (Arlington Sam Houston QB, Nebraska).

How did those 10 — and the rest of that year’s Fab 55 — pan out? Here’s our look-back list.

But if we had the chance to go back in the Delorean and redo our 2011 list, here’s how we would’ve ranked the state’s top eight players:

  1. Johnny Manziel, Kerrville Tivy QB: Was No. 40 on our Fab 55, but if a guy goes on to win the Heisman Trophy and get drafted in the first round, he belongs at the top spot.
  2. Trevone Boykin, West Mesquite QB: Injuries derailed his final season as well as his Heisman chances, but he helped elevate TCU into a national contender. He was the state’s 125th-rated recruit on 247Sports’ composite rankings of 2011.
  3. Josh Doctson, Mansfield Legacy WR: Signed with Wyoming, then transferred to TCU, where he became one of the country’s top wideouts. Should be a top WR prospect in this year’s draft.
  4. Mike Evans, Galveston Ball WR: See No. 3. Evans became Manziel’s top target, just as Doctson became Boykin’s, and was a first-round pick of Tampa Bay.
  5. Spencer Drango, Cedar Park OL: 247Sports rated him No. 32, but we whiffed on him. Developed into an All-American tackle at Baylor and the anchor of the Bears’ line.
  6. Jace Amaro, S.A. MacArthur TE: He was ranked on our 2011 list, at No. 17. Is now playing for the New York Jets after a solid career at Texas Tech.
  7. Le’Raven Clark, Rockdale OL: We had Clark ranked 32nd in 2011. Developed into one of the nation’s top blockers.
  8. Ty Montgomery, Dallas St. Mark’s WR: Montgomery did make our list, but was rated 48th overall. Made his college mark as a returner, and was the 94th overall pick of last year’s draft by Green Bay.

Coming up with these player rankings isn’t easy. Every year there are hits, misses and really bad misses. Still, nationally, the top 8 overall players in the country didn’t fare too badly out of the 2011 class. There was No. 1 Jadeveon Clowney (South Carolina), who was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2014 draft; No. 2 Cyrus Kouandijo (Alabama), a second-round pick in 2014; No. 3 La’el Collins (LSU), who certainly had his issues in college, went undrafted because of legal risks in 2015, but signed as a free agent with the Cowboys and now is starting for Dallas at guard; No. 4 Karlos Williams (Florida State), who emerged this season as a productive backup running back behind LeSean McCoy for the Bills; No. 6 Isaiah Crowell (Georgia), who’s now a Cleveland Brown; and No. 7 Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Alabama), who became an All-American and now is starring in the Packers’ secondary.

The 2011 national top-10s that weren’t slam dunks? LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson (No. 5), who’s been batted around the Dolphins and Redskins rosters; and USC wide receiver George Farmer (No. 8), who ended up being converted to cornerback in the NFL after knee injuries in college and spent 2015 on the Seahawks’ practice roster.

Four days till signing day, Texas’ class ranks 34th nationally. LSU, Ohio State, Florida State, Michigan State and Ole Miss are the top five in the country, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

So, what’s being written out there about the Longhorns?

Speaking of recruiting, Texas received its 14th commitment on Thursday in Waco’s Eric Cuffee, who may be the start of a small run of pledges over these next couple of days. And here’s the Waco Tribune-Herald story on Cuffee. The Dallas Morning News also tackled recruiting. This week, Kevin Sherrington posed the question: How is Charlie Strong supposed to win at Texas when the Horns can’t even win the war of recruiting? We advanced the Texas-Vandy men’s game, looking at how Shaka Smart has had to rebuild his team’s confidence throughout the season. Friday was the first day of practice for Texas baseball, and we were there, writing about what should be the Horns’ excellent pitching depth this season. And as Big 12 ADs and presidents gather in DFW next week to talk expansion, the Tulsa World’s John E. Hoover makes the case for doing the one thing that’s preventing Big 12 expansion: Pull the plug on the Longhorn Network.

AROUND THE BIG 12: Another interesting piece of that Big 12/SEC Challenge? The return of Rick Barnes, as Tennessee plays at TCU. The Dallas Morning News caught up with the former Horns coach, who said “I believe I’m where God wants me to be.” The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal caught up with Texas Tech players Le’Raven Clark and DeAndre Washington at the Senior Bowl, which will be played Saturday. The Daily Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson wrote on OU hoopster Buddy Hield, explaining how getting a bad NBA Draft grade made all the difference to him. More Big 12/SEC Challenge previews: The Oklahoman compared OU’s Hield to LSU’s Ben Simmons. The Tulsa World’s John Klein wrote about the proliferation of college transfers, which is starting to rival national signing day in terms of off-season headlines. And the Lawrence Journal-World painted the Kansas-Kentucky matchup of the Big 12/SEC Challenge as a battle of college bluebloods.

AROUND THE FORTY ACRES:

Football: Feeling nostalgic for the good old days? You can relive Ricky Williams’ Heisman season on the Longhorn Network (noon today), then the 2005 national championship season at 2 p.m. (Spoiler alert: Texas beats USC.)

Golf: The 10th-ranked men are in second place after the first day of the Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson, and Beau Hossler is in a tie for first. Hossler shot 8-under. The second round was suspended by darkness, which will be resumed at 9:30 this morning. Texas is two shots back of first-place Washington.

Swimming/diving: The No. 1-ranked men beat No. 15 Arizona in Tucson on Friday night, improving to 9-0 on the season. Texas scored wins in the 200 medley relay, the 1000 free (Townley Haas), the 200 free (Ryan Harty), the 100 back (Brett Ringgold), the 100 breast (Austin Temple), the 200 butterfly (Harty), one-meter diving (Mark Anderson), the 100 free (Ringgold), the 200 breast (Hayden Henry), the 500 free (Jonathan Roberts), the 100 butterfly (Will Glass) and 3-meter diving (Sean O’Brien). Texas and Arizona will compete in an unscored exhibition on Saturday. … The fourth-ranked women improved to 8-2 with a 154-146 win over Arizona as well. Joanna Evans (1000 free, 500 free), Madisyn Cox (200 free, 200 IM), Tasija Karosas (100 back, 200 back), Remedy Rule (200 butterfly) and Meghan O’Brien (1-meter diving) all won events. Like the men, the women will go against Arizona in an unscored exhibition today.

On Jan. 30, 1972: British paratroopers killed 14 unarmed civil rights marchers in Northern Ireland, in what became known as Bloody Sunday. Eleven years later, U2 recorded “Sunday Bloody Sunday” about the incident on its 1983 album, War.

On Jan. 30, 1969: The Beatles performed their last public performance, the thrown-together 42-minute rooftop concert on top of Apple Records during lunch hour. Among the highlights: “Get Back,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “I’ve Got a Feeling.”

On Jan. 30, 1948: Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist.

Trivia answer: UCLA’s 88-game winning streak, which began on Jan. 30, 1971, ended on Jan. 19, 1974 in a 71-70 loss in South Bend. FWIW, it was a 1971 loss to the Irish that preceded the streak.

OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.

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