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Get ready for the great JT Barrett-Tyrone Swoopes debate again
Just so y'all can be prepared...
If Texas Longhorns fans have learned one thing about quarterback recruiting since the Horns declined to take a signal-caller in the 2008 class to go all in on Garrett Gilbert in the 2009 class, it's that second-guessing about those decisions will continue for years.
With that in mind, Horns fans should get ready for another round of debate as Ohio State Buckeyes redshirt freshman JT Barrett gets set to take over the reigns of the Big 10 powerhouse following a season-ending shoulder injury to senior starter and potential Heisman contender Braxton Miller.
As some might remember, the 2013 class was quarterback-rich in the state of Texas, allowing plenty of options for the former coaching staff, which honed in on Whitewright product Tyrone Swoopes early in the process and declined to offer any other quarterbacks, including Barrett, Oklahoma's Cody Thomas, and current Texas Tech starter Davis Webb, who wasn't even really on the radar at that point out of Prosper.
Among others who may well surface for more fun revisionist history? Kenny Hill, anyone?
Much of the debate surrounded whether Texas should offer Barrett, who was known to have significant interest in the Longhorns.
Instead, former head coach Mack Brown and co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin took an early commitment at Swoopes in February of 2012 before struggles at The Opening and during Swoopes' senior season caused him to plummet down the rankings, with ESPN notably re-classifying him with the athlete tag.
A longtime Texas fan, Swoopes was a relatively easy sell at a time when it seemed like there was still plenty of time for Brown and his reconstructed staff to turn things around. If the ease of his recruitment was a selling point to the staff, it's at least somewhat understandable in the context of Swoopes as a five-star prospect by some services at that time.
Meanwhile, Barrett suffered a knee injury in early October of his senior season that ended his high school career, but managed to hold his ranking as the No. 100 player in the 247Sports rankings and the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the country in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Much smaller than Swoopes at around 6'2, Barrett had a relatively high 4.6% interception rate during his junior season, though he was a strong athlete with running ability and more developed mechanics and understanding of the game than
What perhaps ultimately made the difference for the staff in choosing between the two passers, per one report?
According to Chip Brown, then at Orangebloods, Harsin wanted to recruit other quarterbacks, but Brown was afraid of being "crucified" by the press and the fan base if he didn't take Swoopes.
At the time, all the easy comparisons with Swoopes were to Vince Young with their similar builds and methods of delivering the football, though most discerning fans understood the monumental separation between Houston Madison's competition level and what Swoopes say at tiny 2A Whitewright.
Similarly, the then-relatively new 247Sports Texas site was also quite vocal in asserting that Barrett at least deserved a shot, so there was hardly a media mind-meld on the issue.
And how silly would it be if Brown really had taken that into consideration over the best interests of the team? Silly, but also believable given the end of his tenure.
In pure evaluation terms, as much as Swoopes showed the incredible flashes of potential that have continued to define his performances at every stop with only modest improvement since Brown and staff made the decision to make him their quarterback take in the 2013 class, it was always clear that Barrett was a safer take.
The flipside was that while Barrett's ceiling was and is lower and his floor higher, Swoopes had and still has a higher ceiling and lower floor.
The relevance of that right now, of course, is that while Swoopes and true freshman Jerrod Heard are battling for the back-up quarterback position, Barrett is set to start for Ohio State in a matter of days and is likely in a better position than Swoopes to take over such a role.
And in the development cycle of Swoopes, that was not news and is not news now -- a more fair comparison will happen next season or the year after, when Swoopes will either prove that he was too much of a risk as a raw prospect or fulfills the potential that has been tantalizing so many for years now.
Of course, if Swoopes ends up getting beat out by Heard and transfers or changes position, the decision will quickly become moot.
And perhaps the potential for that to happen is truly an early and important salvo in the debate heavily favoring Barrett -- at the moment Swoopes is much closer to ending up at his floor as a quarterback than he is at reaching his ceiling.
Why is all this about ready to come up again even though Mack Brown is gone? Because that's how this shit works.
So, when it starts coming up again in a few weeks, at least this discussion right here already happened.
Report: Texas said no to Northwestern RB transfer Venric Mark
Why did the Horns opt to pass on the highly productive back with a need at the position?
The Texas Longhorns could have potentially added former Northwestern Wildcats running back Venric Mark, but the Horns declined to accept the transfer, according to a report from CBS Sports.
A Texas native from Houston St. Pius X who enrolled at Northwestern as a member of the 2010 class, Mark opted to leave Northwestern last week for what were described as "personal reasons." In June, he was suspended for the first two games of the season for violating team rules.
Now headed for a program closer to his mother, who now lives in Lubbock, Mark reportedly had his interest in Texas shot down by head coach Charlie Strong because Strong "is cleaning house and isn't taking on new players at the moment."
Granted an extra year of eligibility after missing most of the 2013 season with a leg injury, Mark will be appealing to the NCAA for a waiver to play immediately because of those personal reasons or perhaps even because Northwestern ran him off, the loophole that Oklahoma is attempting to exploit with former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.
Without knowing more about the circumstances, it's difficult to say whether the NCAA will grant his request for either reason.
And since the Horns are in need of more running back depth following the dismissals of senior Joe Bergeron and sophomore Jalen Overstreet, adding Mark would have made tremendous sense in that regard considering that the former Northwestern back ran for 1,366 yards with 12 touchdowns on the ground and two punt returns for touchdowns in 2012.
But the "no new players" wording makes more sense when considering the two-game suspension of Mark this season -- why would Strong risk giving up the ground that he's gained with his team by accepting a player who faced a suspension with his previous staff?
Having reportedly declined Mark, it appears the Horns will soldier into the 2014 season with only four scholarship running backs following the news that freshman D'Onta Foreman was cleared by the NCAA last week.
Even with the addition of Foreman, depth at the position is still razor thin with junior Johnathan Gray still untested following his return from the Achilles injury that ended his 2013 season.