Almost every year, Texas has a football recruit who fails to qualify for enrollment. Last year, it was Tevin Jackson, who was granted admission a few months ago by the NCAA Clearinghouse. In 2008, Antoine Hicks didn’t make the grade and instead attended TCU, where he is now a starting wide receiver. This time around, it’s San Antonio Sam Houston High School defensive tackle Quincy Russell.
The Army All-American hadn’t been taking classes for the first term of summer school, causing speculation that he may not be eligible for fall competition. Tuesday, Sam Houston head coach Gary Green told Orangebloods.com that Russell had in fact failed to qualify and that he would be looking to enroll at a junior college. Green also said that Texas might still be interested in Russell in a few years as a JUCO recruit.
It’s a sad turn for Russell, who was in line to be the first major college football player out of Sam Houston since Green became coach.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” Green told The Daily Texan on national signing day in February. “I told Quincy last year, ‘You’re going to be the first.’ I knew he was going to be great.”
Rivals.com ranked Russell as the No. 11 DT in the country, and the 6-foot-3, 289-pounder possessed abilities as both a run-stopper and a pass-rusher.
Of all the incoming recruits not named Malcolm Brown, Jaxon Shipley or Quandre Diggs, this might have been the one guy Texas could not have afforded to lose. In seven losses in 2010, the Longhorns were gashed for an average of 188 yards on the ground and saw eight rushers eclipse the 100-yard mark. The run defense was already looking like the team’s weak spot heading into this season, with Kheeston Randall looking like the only sure thing at defensive tackle. Russell was a heavy Texas target, and one of just two tackles signed in the 2011 class — with Desmond Jackson being the other.
With Russell failing to qualify, here’s a look at who will be needed to contribute big minutes at the defensive tackle rotation this season:
Kheeston Randall, 6-5, 295 lbs. — A shoe-in to start.
Ashton Dorsey, 6-2, 295 lbs. — The roster says he’s 6-foot-2, but he looks a few inches shorter than that. Regardless, Dorsey did receive strong reviews from the coaches during spring practices, and is the likely second starter.
Calvin Howell, 6-4, 290 lbs. — After redshirting in 2009, Howell saw limited action in 2010, with just two total tackles on the year. But the future could be bright for the former member of the Rivals’ 100 if he gets more playing time.
Greg Daniels, 6-5, 270 lbs. — Coaches hope that Daniels, a converted defensive end who redshirted last year, can make the sort of transition Lamarr Houston did when he went from outside to inside.
Desmond Jackson, 6-1, 278 lbs. — The luxury of redshirt year would have been nice for the incoming tackle, but he now might be forced into action.
Others to Keep an Eye On:
Taylor Bible, 6-3, 310 lbs. — It has been a watch-and-wait year for Bible, who came to Austin highly regarded and, to the disappointment of the coaching staff, highly out-of-shape. He was actually expected to contribute a bit last year, but wasn’t conditioned well enough to see the field, resulting in a redshirt season.
De’Aires Cotton, 6-4, 295 lbs. — Yet another redshirt, Cotton was a member of the three-tackle 2010 recruiting class, but has been a bit of a forgotten name under the shadows of Dorsey and Bible. But Texas will take all the help it can get.