A lot can happen in a week. The Dotted Line is a weekly update on the state of Texas recruiting.
2017 overview: 14 commitments, ranked 31st nationally, 2nd in Big 12
The Longhorns are in the middle of three important weekends leading to national signing day on Feb. 1. Tom Herman’s staff is busy hosting visitors, handing out new offers and building momentum for 2018.
Here’s a rundown of current events.
RECAPPING A BUSY WEEKEND OF VISITS
One down, two to go. The Texas staff hosted two handfuls of 2017 prospects on the first of three crucial official visit weekends. The group included commitments and potential members of Herman’s first UT class. The commitments gave the trip high marks.
University of Texas is the best school in the country without a doubt!
— Kobe ?️oyce (@KobeBoyce3) January 15, 2017
“It was just amazing I got to experience something not everyone gets to experience, so I really had to take it all in,” said defensive back Kobe Boyce on his way back home. The Lake Dallas cornerback is one of two corners that are committed to Texas. “The highlight was hanging with the current players and building a relationship with them.”
“Getting to see Austin,” said Brenham linebacker Marqez Bimage when asked for the highlight of his trip. “Just talking to all the defensive guys and getting to know them was a lot of fun. I’m excited about the future.”
Not every commitment is 100-percent locked. At least one, Temple defensive end Taquon Graham, is not a sure thing to sign with Texas. “I wanted to see what was going to be run defensively, and how it was different. Texas showed me what I needed to be confident in my decision,” he said.
“Getting to talk football with the coaches and talk to the players and everything was great,” Graham said. But it doesn’t mean the Longhorns won’t sweat out the next two weekends. Graham plans to visit TCU and Oklahoma the next two weekends. He was no doubt intrigued by Todd Orlando’s defense, saying, “his system is unique, in my opinion. It isn’t anything like what (Charlie) Strong was running.”
The group did make sure to work the uncommitted visitors, which included cornerback Chevin Calloway, defensive tackle Jamari Chisholm, defensive lineman Larrell Murchison, linebacker Gary Johnson and offensive lineman Grant Polley. Polley has shutdown his recruitment and remained committed to Colorado following the visit.
— Chevin Calloway (@_chev1_) January 16, 2017
“We worked real hard on the uncommitted guys,” Boyce said, but he admitted he thinks Calloway will “end up at Arkansas.” That would mean Texas needs to find a Plan B for its third cornerback. The staff offered former Cedar Park prospect Jav Guidry last week and he plans to visit Austin in one of these next two weeks.
Murchison and Johnson were complimentary of the Texas visit. The Longhorns feel good about their position with both JUCO players. Chisholm was an unknown heading into the weekend, and still looks like a secondary option along the defensive line if Graham de-commits and/or Texas whiffs on the remaining targets. Chisolm is a 6-5, 280-pound defensive tackle prospect with offers from Syracuse and Georgia State. A Texas offer would almost assuredly land Chisholm’s commitment.
A LOOK TOWARD THE WEEKEND
There’s no time to rest for Herman and his staff. The group will be on the road again this week, visiting as many 2017 targets and top 2018 prospects as possible. The Longhorns will then host another set of players starting Friday. It will be a mix of commitments and targets, just like last week.
Three commitments — cornerback Josh Thompson, running back Daniel Young and athlete Montrell Estell — will be tasked with carrying the torch for the program around the uncommitted prospects. Young, the most recent pledge from that group, said he’s excited for his first real visit to UT.
“I’ve only been in Austin for track meets, so I’m pretty excited,” Young said. “Just seeing the football side of UT. I’m familiar with the coaching staff and the type of football we’re going to play. Really, I’m pumped to learn more about the school and the campus.”
Texas’ top remaining target, Galena Park North Shore defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson — is scheduled for this weekend. He visited LSU last weekend. The Longhorns are in good shape and could all but lock him into the recruiting class by the end of the weekend.
Chaisson doesn’t do a lot of interviews, but he’s considered a Texas lean heading into the visit.
Henderson athlete Trestan Ebnar had set an official visit to Texas for Friday, but he committed to Baylor on an official visit last weekend. Without an official offer from the Longhorns, it’s unclear whether the potential wide receiver or defensive back will make the visit.
Wide receiver Jordan Pouncey out of Winter Park (Fla.) has a visit set for this weekend, per 247Sports. Texas is in the mix for multiple wide receivers with only Damion Miller in the fold at the position with Estell expected to play defense at Texas.
OTHER TARGETS FOR 2017
— WAVY Zab (@StephanZabie79) January 16, 2017
Horns offer Zabie: Stephan Zabie, a Westlake offensive lineman who was ruled ineligible for his senior season, was offered by Texas on Monday. The 6-6, 290-pound prospect is rated as a four-star and is strongly considering Oklahoma. He’s a member of the Fab 55.
Curl is fading: Texas is likely no longer in the running for Kamren Curl. The athlete moved up his commitment to Jan. 19, which basically eliminates UT. The Longhorns needed to get Curl on campus to have a shot, but it looks like Oklahoma is set to sign him.
Moving on from Manning: Wide receiver is another position of need. Texas target Omar Manning has reaffirmed his commitment to TCU, meaning Texas must look elsewhere for a second receiver for this class. Pouncey, Miller and Jamire Calvin are the top three options right now. Houston commit Jeremy Singleton could get a look if the Longhorns strike out on all three. He’s a talented three-star prospect out of New Orleans. He committed to Herman in June.
Miller offered: Colorado commit Chris Miller is also a UT target, but Notre Dame is considered the favorite if the Denton athlete flips from the Buffaloes. Texas offered Tuesday. Miller is liked as a defensive back by a majority of colleges, but Texas is recruiting him as a wide receiver. He’s inside receiver position in Herman’s offense.
— LEON O'NEAL JR (@Leonslegacyx0) January 14, 2017
- Cy Springs defensive back Leon O’Neal Jr. has received a UT offer. He’s one of the top safeties in the nation, and that position is one of need for the Longhorns in 2018. Angleton’s BJ Foster is arguably the best player in the state and Texas is also after him at the position. Cibolo Steele safety Caden Sterns is already committed to LSU, so the pressure is on for Herman to grab one of the other top-flight safeties from within the state.
- The offensive line isn’t a top priority for the 2017 class; the Longhorns have only one commitment so far from an offensive lineman — San Antonio Reagan’s Derek Kerstetter — and UT is looking for only one more. That means multiple lineman will be taken in 2018. One of the in-state names to emerge early in the process is Chasen Hines from Marshall. Allen’s Trey Stratford is also an in-state target.
- Houston Lamar is known as a hotbed for defensive back products. Current Longhorn Holton Hill is from the school, as was former UT defensive back Rod Babers. The Texas staff hopes to dip back into that pipeline in 2018, having offering cornerback prospects Anthony Cook and D’shawn Jamison.
- Familiarity with Spring Westfield could lead to another commitment in 2018. Texas assistant Corby Meekins spent 15 years at Westfield, where his brother, Matt, is currently the head coach. Getting 2017 running back Daniel Young, a former Houston pledge who decommitted and pledged to Texas in late December, could just be the beginning. The Longhorns want Westfield defensive tackle Keondre Cobrun, a 6-1, 326-pound four-star prospect. Dallas Bishop Dunne’s Calvin Avery and Arlington Lamar’s Bobby Brown also are early targets at defensive tackle.