While leaving himself some wiggle room for “unforeseen circumstances,” Texas recruiting coordinator Brian Jean-Mary said he thinks that all 24 players who signed with Texas on Wednesday will qualify academically.
That didn’t happen last year, when a top-10 class took a bit of ding before the season because of of non-qualifying scores by four members.
“I feel pretty confident,” Jean-Mary said. “Now, we’re not in the high schools with them. There are some guys on paper who are qualified, but they have to complete their senior year. They’re on track to graduate and qualify, but there’s always unforeseen circumstances like what happened to us in the past that we didn’t account for. We feel confident on all 24 of these guys qualifying.”
Three members of last year’s class — tight end Devonaire Clarington, defensive tackle Du’Vonta Lampkin and wide receiver Gilbert Johnson — never made it to campus because of various academic issues. A fourth member, offensive lineman Ronnie Major, joined the team late and red-shirted. He remains on the roster.
Ones that got away: The day was mostly a success, but there were a handful of setbacks, beginning with Silsbee guard Patrick Hudson’s decision to sign with Baylor. Hudson, the No. 4 player in the American-Statesman’s Fab 55, had long been committed to Baylor but recently took a visit to Texas.
So in essence, the Horns lost a player they never truly had.
In two other instances, UT was left at the altar for Florida State (Alief Elsik linebacker Dontavious Jackson) and South Carolina (New Orleans defensive tackle Stephon Taylor). Manvel safety Deontay Anderson signed with Ole Miss, but Texas was not thought to be a serious contender to land him.
In the end, Texas signed nine of its remaining 13 targets over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ehlinger to enroll early: Wednesday may have been focused on the 2016 class, but it also delivered a nugget regarding the Longhorns’ 2017 class. Westlake junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger told the American-Statesman that he plans to enroll early at Texas and begin taking classes next year at this time.
He texted: “That is my plan. Yes, sir.”
Ehlinger, the Class 6A player of the year this past season, is one of four players committed in the 2017 class, along with Lagaryonn Carson, a four-star defensive end from Liberty-Eylau; Damion Miller, a four-star receiver from Tyler John Tyler; and Major Tennison, a three-star tight end from Bullard.
Loaded at LB: Making it onto the field will be no small accomplishment for Texas’ linebackers, as a whopping eight of them signed in the past two classes. This year’s haul includes Jeffrey McCulloch (Aldine Davis) and Demarco Boyd (Gilmer), and hybrid linebackers Erick Fowler (Manor) and Malcolm Roach (Baton Rogue Madison Prep).
Of last year’s group, Cameron Townsend red-shirted, Cecil Cherry quit and Malik Jefferson was honored as the defensive freshman of the year in the Big 12. Anthony Wheeler and Breckyn Hager played meaningful snaps as well.
Spring game announced: The orange-white scrimmage is set for 1 p.m. on April 16, Texas announced. Spring practices will begin on March 7, and there will be a pause for spring break from March 14-18.
Staff update: With his latest recruiting class secured, Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong said he will turn his attention to hiring a running backs coach. The team has been without one since Tommie Robinson left for USC on Jan. 18.
“I haven’t addressed it because I was trying to get through recruiting,” Strong said. “Now that recruiting’s over, I’ll give these guys a couple of days off and then we’re going to sit down as a staff and go to work and get everybody in place.”