Texas head coach Charlie Strong walks among his players before their game against Kansas. Texas defeats Kansas 59-20 in their Big 12 football game at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, TX. Saturday night November 7, 2015. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

20 for 20: A Texas recruiting primer, 20 days from national signing day (Part 3)

Posted January 13th, 2016

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

Here are Nos. 11-15. (Nos. 1-5 were on Monday; 6-10 were on Tuesday.)

11. WHERE ARE THE STATE’S TOP PLAYERS HEADED?

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It’s an SEC kind of year for the Lone Star State — three of our top seven-rated players in Texas are headed to Ole Miss, Alabama and LSU. Sixteen of the state’s top 50 players on 247Sports’ composite rankings are SEC-bound, including four pledges for LSU, three for Alabama and two for Ole Miss along with six to Texas A&M.

Here’s how the commitments shake out for the 10 highest-rated prospects from Texas, according to our Fabulous 55 list of the state’s top recruits — Nos. 11-55 will appear on Sunday, with our updated big list:

RankPlayerPos.High schoolCollege
1.Gregory LittleOTAllen (6A)Ole Miss
2.Ed OliverDTSpring Westfield (6A)Houston
3.Brandon JonesSNacogdoches (5A)Undecided
4.Patrick HudsonOTSilsbee (4A)Baylor
5.Deontay AndersonSManvel (6A)Undecided
6.Kendell JonesDTKilleen Shoemaker (6A)Alabama
7.Eric MonroeSGalena Park N. Shore (6A)LSU
8.Devin DuvernayWRGarland Sachse (6A)Baylor
9.Tren'Davian DicksonWRNavasota (4A)Baylor
10.Jordan ElliottDTHouston Westside (6A)Michigan

12. WHICH TOP RECRUITS AREN’T YET COMMITTED?

Nationally, top-ranked Rashan Gary, an explosive defensive tackle from New Jersey, is thought to be leaning toward Michigan, but is still considering USC, where he’ll visit this weekend, and Ole Miss, Auburn, LSU, Alabama and Clemson. This one is far from over.

Only one other national top 10 player has yet to announce his plans — eighth-ranked Derrick Brown, a defensive tackle from Georgia who insiders believe will stay in state and play for the Bulldogs.

In Texas, the top undecideds are safeties Brandon Jones (No. 3, Nacogdoches) and Deontay Anderson (No. 5, Manvel) and linebackers Jeffrey McCulloch (Houston Davis) and Dontavious Jackson (Alief Elsik). The Longhorns are in the running for all four, and will host Jones, Anderson and McCulloch on official visits this weekend.

13. WHO’S WINNING THE STATE?

Baylor — but it’s close.

Art Briles has locked up five-star offensive tackle Patrick Hudson (Silsbee) and top receivers Tren’Davian Dickson (Navasota) and Devin Duvernay (Sachse) in the nation’s No. 13-ranked class. Close behind are Texas A&M (19th) and TCU (20th), and even Houston (25th), which has gone toe-to-toe with bigger schools in the state and landed a commitment from five-star defensive tackle Ed Oliver (Spring Westfield).

Yet it could be said the SEC is winning the state, given that the nation’s top conference has invaded Texas and scooped up the following: Allen offensive tackle Greg Little (No. 1, Ole Miss), Killeen Shoemaker defensive tackle Kendell Jones (No. 6, Alabama), Galena Park North Shore safety Eric Monroe (No. 7, LSU), Manor linebacker Erick Fowler (LSU), West Mesquite receiver Dee Anderson (LSU) and Allen cornerback Jaylon Jones (Ole Miss).

Will Charlie Strong land any Floridians in the 2016 class? John Burt is one of two freshmen from the Sunshine State that contributed in 2015. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Will Charlie Strong land any Floridians in the 2016 class? John Burt is one of two freshmen from the Sunshine State that contributed in 2015. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

14. WILL CHARLIE STRONG LAND ANY FLORIDIANS?

So far, the answer is no.

One year after he tapped his connections to sign five players from the Sunshine State, Strong has pretty much stayed off of the beach. Texas offered scholarships to 13 Florida prospects, but only one came for an official visit — Palm Beach Gardens safety Devin Studstill, who is committed to Notre Dame. Strong’s reasoning for avoiding Florida seem to be obvious after he had mixed success last year. Tim Irvin de-committed before signing day, Devonaire Clarington and Gilbert Johnson failed to qualify, and Cecil Cherry quit the team in the first week of preseason camp.

That left just two Floridans in the freshman class — cornerback Davante Davis, who looks like a keeper after making five starts, and receiver John Burt, whose decision to sign with Texas was less about Strong’s presence than it was about his having family living in Austin. Burt started all 12 games and led the team with 457 yards and two touchdowns.

Mulbah Car, left, turns the corner past Crockett #52, Marc Williams during the first half of District 26-5A action held at Nelson Field in Austin, Texas, on Friday, November 7, 2014. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Mulbah Car, left, turns the corner past Crockett #52, Marc Williams during the first half of District 26-5A action held at Nelson Field in Austin, Texas, on Friday, November 7, 2014. (RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

15. WHO ARE THE AREA’S TOP PROSPECTS?

The big one is Fowler, the Manor linebacker who is thought to be a nice get even though his production tailed off in his senior season. Fowler’s committed to LSU, but Texas is making a push and will host him on an official visit this weekend. Hendrickson three-star cornerback KeShawn Somerville is headed to TCU, while his teammate, defensive end Austin Deshay, is committed to Texas Tech where he’ll join Taylor cornerback Damarcus Fields. Other locals who’ve announced their plans are Reagan running back Mulbah Car (Houston), Cedar Ridge safety Ian Peterson (Kansas), Lake Travis defensive tackle Tevin Paul (Cal) and Round Rock cornerback Brian Bullock (Northwestern).

PlayerPositionSchoolCollege
Uzoma AkunebuLBSt. Stephen'sRice
Ryan BeckerOLMarble FallsSMU
Travis BrannanRBVandegriftNavy
Brian BullockDBRound RockNorthwestern
Tony BrownQBJarrellArmy
Mulbah CarRBReaganHouston
Chase CokleyWRWestlakeNorth Texas
Austin DeshayDLHendricksonTexas Tech
Dominic DistefanoATHHendricksonArmy
Anthony EkpeLBHendricksonRice
DeMarcus FieldsDBTaylorTexas Tech
Erick FowlerLBManorLSU
Carrington KearneyDBHendricksonUTSA
Braeden KentQBHaysTexas State
Tevin PaulDLLake TravisCal
Ian PetersonDBCedar RidgeKansas
Paxton SeginaWRVandegriftRice
KeShawn SomervilleDBHendricksonTCU
Kevin WaitesWRManorArmy
Johnnie WilliamsDLLBJTulsa
Jordan WilliamsDBHendricksonToledo

Coming Thursday: Nos. 16-20 of this year’s 20 for 20.

Monday: Nos. 1-5 20 for 20.

Tuesday: Nos. 6-10 20 for 20

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