Things have been very quiet this recruiting season down in Austin. The Texas Longhorns, either men’s or women’s, did not have a single announced verbal commitment, aside from one that rescinded; until today. The Texas men’s staff has been hard at work, however, which has resulted in three big verbals for Eddie Reese.
The marquee name is John Murray, who collegeswimming.com ranks as the #25 recruit in the class. Murray hails from San Antonio’s Alamo Area Aquatics Association, which is one of the largest clubs in the country, and specializes in sprint freestyle. You will recall that the last big sprint freestyler that the Longhorns signed out of this club program, and the same Churchill High School, was current senior Jimmy Feigen, who is a probable National Champion in 2012 and also a strong Olympic hopeful.
The Longhorns will be counting on Murray to pick up a lot of slack after Feigen’s graduation, as their freestyle group is otherwise a bit thin (the great Dax Hill not withstanding). Murray has bests of 20.23/44.3 in the 50 and 100 freestyles, which puts him in the top 4 sprinters in the class and gives him a huge potential for immediate impact for the Longhorns. He is the defending 5A Texas state champion in both races as well.
The 2nd verbal comes from John Martens out of Mission Aurora Colorado. He’s hails from Grandview High School, which is just to miles down the road from Missy Franklin at Regis Jesuit, though they swim for different club teams.
He will be a favorite to win some state titles of his own this year (after distance star Jared Markham moved on to the University of Georgia). He’s got a 4:26.7 in the 500 free and a 15:21.19 in the mile. He’s got a great build to make big improvements, with very long arms that tend to be so good for distance freestylers.
He’ll have some overlap with defending NCAA mile champion Michael McBroom at Texas, and will take the spot of the graduating Jackson Wilcox.
With these first two verbals, the Longhorns have done an excellent job of creating continuity in a roster makeup that has been so successful for them for the last four years. They are making replacements of their top graduating seniors specialty-for-specialty. This is a different strategy than say the Cal men, who have been going after just the best recruits that they can get their hands on. It will be interesting to see in about three years who comes out ahead in this class.
The Longhorns added a bit more freestyle and backstroke depth with a verbal from Frederick Lemastraie, who goes 21.7/46.5/1:40.5 in the 50-200 frees, and is also a solid backstroker (50.4/1:49.3). He is the son of the 1973 Texas state champion in the 200 free, of the same name, who also went to Texas.
Head coach Reese and his assistants still have a lot of money to dole out to this class, however, with graduations of Eric Friedeland, Neil Caskey, and their two All-American divers also set to graduate.
One would imagine that they’ve got their sights set squarely on Houston-area swimmer Gray Umbach, who is the top swimmer in the class. He trains with the Woodlands club team, which currently can claim 3 Texas swimmers and 1 diver.
With top recruit Gray Umbach off the board, and on his way to Stanford, the men’s recruiting pool is approaching the level of the women’s, which is to say there are very few highly-ranked recruits left. The best two left are probably Theodore Kerr out of Ohio and Luke Peddie out of Canada, who are both big-time sprinters. With Texas unlikely to sign an international swimmer, expect the Longhorns to go hard after Kerr and maybe Tynan Stewart out of Mississippi.