-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
Athlon Sports continues its Class of 2011 national team recruiting rankings today with the No. 2 class in the nation.
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2. Texas Longhorns (22 signees – 7 AC100)
As usual, the Longhorns got started early and held on for an elite haul. With a nation-leading 17 nationally rated recruits, Texas finished with an embarrassment of riches. The Lone State State is simply the best place to pull talent. Florida might have players that are slightly more talented overall, but there is no state more dedicated to high school football than Texas. The facilities, monetary support and coaching is the best in the country bar none.
Which is why it is so interesting that Mack Brown has had one good running back since Cedric Benson. But the long search for a four-down workhorse should be over as running back Malcolm Brown is the gem of this class. Brown is a slightly smaller version of Adrian Peterson. He runs a bit upright, with high knees and a physicality that will scare away plenty of would-be tacklers. Brown has extraordinary physical gifts that make him the No. 1 running back in the nation.
Brown heads an explosive offensive skill group. Jaxon Shipley, the younger brother of Jordan Shipley, is the smallest of the group but is a great competitor with an excellent pedigree. This skill group is big in stature as tight end M.F. McFarland (6'5", 240), athlete Mykkele Thompson (6'3", 190), jumbo receiver Miles Onyegbule (6'4", 210) and big back Joe Bergeron (6'1", 215) all bring big bodies to the offense.
Blocking for Brown and Co. will be another stellar offensive line haul. The Longhorns do a masterful job along the O-line every year and this group is no exception. This is a massive five-man group averages 6'5" and 276 pounds and claims three nationally rated recruits - including one the nation's best in AC100 blocker Sedrick Flowers. Garrett Greenlea (No. 107 nationally) just missed making the AC100.
The defense is not lacking for playmakers either. Quandre Diggs and Josh Turner have special talents and versatility that earned them high AC100 rankings. Diggs, the younger brother of former Texas standout defensive back Quentin Jammer, has the ability to be the next great lockdown corner - or next great return man. Turner, who is also listed as an athlete and could play on both sides of the ball as well, can be just as electrifying as Diggs. Both will likely play defensive back for Texas, but don't be surprised if they get some looks in special offensive situations and special teams.
Nose guard Desmond Jackson is a bit undersized but makes up for it with excellent agility and explosiveness. He leads a very small three-man defensive line class. However, all three - Jackson, Cedric Reed and Quincy Russell - were highly-touted nationally rated recruits. With the 6'3" 289 pound Russell teamed with Jackson, the Burnt Orange should be stout up the middle.
As usual, Mack Brown was able to handpick the local Texas stars to fill his class. Of the 22 signees, only Turner, from Okahoma City, played his prep ball outside of the Lone Star State.
No. 4 Malcolm Brown, RB (Cibolo, Texas)
No, 23 Steve Edmond, LB (Daingerfield, Texas)
No. 38 Quandre Diggs, ATH (Angleton, Texas)
No. 49 Sedrick Flowers, OL (Galena Park, Texas)
No. 51 Desmond Jackson, DT (Houston, Texas)
No. 59 Josh Turner, ATH (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
No. 98 Jaxon Shipley, WR (Brownwood, Texas)
No. 107 Garrett Greenlea, OL (Klein, Texas)
No. 125 Leroy Scott, DB (Pasadena, Texas)
No. 134 Sheroid Evans, DB (Sugar Land, Texas)
No. 135 Quincy Russell, DT (San Antonio, Texas)
No. 160 Cedric Reed, DE (Cleveland, Texas)
No. 210 Mykkele Thompson, ATH (San Antonio, Texas)
No. 221 M.J. McFarland, TE (El Paso, Texas)
No. 225 Kendall Thompson, LB (Carthage, Texas)
No. 248 David Ash, QB (Belton, Texas)
No. 267 Josh Chochran, OL (Hallsville, Texas)