UT head coach Charlie Strong watches his team warm up before the Baylor game at McLane Stadium in Waco on Saturday December 5, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

20 for 20: A Texas recruiting primer, 20 days from national signing day (Part 1)

Posted January 11th, 2016

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This is our second annual 20 for 20 project, a Longhorns recruiting primer 20 days out of national signing day.

Here are Nos. 1-5.

1. WILL TEXAS SIGN A TOP 10 CLASS FOR THE SECOND YEAR IN A ROW?

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Short answer: Unlikely.

The Longhorns, their class currently ranked 34th nationally, will need to land a slew of stars between now and signing day — and that still might not be enough to break into the top 10. Yet the possibility exists pending the additions of, say, five-star safety Brandon Jones and four-stars Erick Fowler,  Jeffrey McCulloch, Dontavious Jackson, Devwah Whaley, Chris Daniels and Eric Cuffee. Last year, the Horns shook off a slow start to sign the nation’s ninth-ranked class.

2. WHO ARE TEXAS’ COMMITMENTS?

The Longhorns have 13 pledges so far, a class that currently ranks No. 34 nationally. Here they are, listed in order of stars in 247Sports’ composite rankings of the industry’s top ratings:

Texas' 2016 commitments

PlayerPos.SchoolHt./wt.
THE 4-STARS (4)
Jean DelanceOTNorth Mesquite (6A)6-5/291
Shane BuecheleQBArlington Lamar (6A)6-2/185
Collin JohnsonWRSan Jose (Calif.) V. Christian6-6/200
Reggie Hemphill-MappsWRManvel (6A)6-1/172
THE 3-STARS (9)
Obi EbohCBSouthlake Carroll (6A)6-2/190
Andrew FitzgeraldDEFlower Mound Marcus (6A)6-5/250
Denzel OkaforOGLewisville (6A)6-4/295
Demarco BoydILBGilmer (4A)5-11/228
Malcolm RoachDEBaton Rouge (La.) Madison6-3/255
Gerald WilbonDTDestrehan (La.)6-3/311
Davion CurtisWRTemple (5A)5-11/180
Tope ImadeOGArlington Bowie (6A)6-4/327
Peyton AucoinTENew Orleans (La.) Martin6-4/255
The Longhorns' 13 pledges for the 2016 signing class. Texas' class is ranked 34th nationally.

Note: Last year, 20 days out of national signing day, Texas had 26 commitments.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh calls for a flag in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in College Park, Md. Michigan and Florida both entered the season hoping to revive storied programs that had begun to look more pedestrian than they were accustomed to. Enter Wolverines coach Harbaugh and Gators coach Jim McElwain, who both brought their own style and approach to the sidelines in their first seasons on the job. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh calls for a flag in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland in College Park, Md. Michigan and Florida both entered the season hoping to revive storied programs that had begun to look more pedestrian than they were accustomed to. Enter Wolverines coach Harbaugh and Gators coach Jim McElwain, who both brought their own style and approach to the sidelines in their first seasons on the job. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

3. WHO HAS THE NATION’S TOP CLASSES?

It ain’t over yet, but here’s how the national top four looks right now, based on 247Sports’ composite ratings:

No. 1: LSU. Fifteen of the Tigers’ 20 pledges are either 5- or 4-stars, led by a pair of star defensive backs — Florida’s Saivion Smith, the nation’s No. 2-rated cornerback, and Galena Park North Shore’s Eric Monroe, the country’s No. 2 safety.

No. 2: Michigan. Call it the Harbaugh Effect. The Wolverines have 14 4-stars so far, with top-10 position prospects at quarterback, running back, guard and tackle.

No. 3: Ohio State. The 2014 national championship is paying recruiting dividends. The Buckeyes have a pair of 5-star defensive ends pledged — Fort Lauderdale’s Nick Bosa (Joey’s younger brother) and Ohio’s Jonathon Cooper. Bosa’s the No. 6 overall prospect in the country.

No. 4: Florida State. The Seminoles hope they’re getting their next great quarterback — California’s Malik Henry, the fourth-rated passer in the country — and the receiver he’ll throw to (Florida’s Janarius Robinson, the nation’s No. 3 receiver).

4. BIG 12 RANKINGS

Curiously, nearly half of the conference — four teams — is still looking for a 5- or 4-star pledge.

RankNatl.SchoolNo.5-stars4-stars
112Baylor2016
220TCU1907
328Oklahoma1507
435Texas1304
541Texas Tech2602
646West Virginia2102
752Oklahoma State1800
864Iowa State1700
971Kansas State1300
1085Kansas1200
UT linebacker Malik Jefferson picks up a Rice fumble and runs it back for a touchdown in the third quarter at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday September 12, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
UT linebacker Malik Jefferson picks up a Rice fumble and runs it back for a touchdown in the third quarter at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Saturday September 12, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

5. HOW HAVE TEXAS’ RECENT CLASSES RANKED?

How the Longhorns’ last 10 classes have ranked nationally, along with that year’s top recruit:

2015: No. 9 (LB Malik Jefferson)

2014: No. 17 (DE Derick Roberson)

2013: No. 17 (OG Darius James)

2012: No. 2 (RB Johnathan Gray)

2011: No. 4 (RB Malcolm Brown)

2010: No. 2 (DE Jackson Jeffcoat)

2009: No. 6 (QB Garrett Gilbert)

2008: No. 9 (WR Dan Buckner)

2007: No. 4 (CB Ben Wells)

2006: No. 5 (WR Montre Webber)

Nos. 6-10 of this year’s 20 for 20.

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