Texas recruiting capsules. Overall national rankings by 247Sports are composite ratings from the nation’s top services.
BRANDON JONES ****
DB, Nacogdoches, 6-0/195
Huge get out of East Texas, who could start early at safety. The irony in Jones picking Texas is that he was the subject of a recruiting documentary made by TexAgs.com. The Aggies finished second or third for Jones, with Baylor finishing in the other spot.
Ranks — Fab 55: 3; National: 40
JEFFREY MCCULLOCH ****
LB, Aldine Davis, 6-2/234
The player known as “The Shark” committed on signing day and joins an impressive group of young linebackers that also includes Malik Jefferson, Anthony Wheeler, Ed Freeman and fellow newcomer Erick Fowler. Not just gifted physically, McCulloch is brainy and was accepted into Stanford.
Ranks — Fab 55: 16; National: 59
ERICK FOWLER ****
OLB, Manor, 6-1/240
Will play the Fox end position manned currently by Naashon Hughes and Charles Omenihu. Despite living 20 minutes away, he had never visited Texas’ campus prior to his official visit. He flipped on signing day from LSU.
Ranks — Fab 55: 21; National: 75
JORDAN ELLIOTT ****
DT, Houston Westside, 6-3/322
Had been committed to Michigan, Houston and Baylor before recently re-opening his recruitment. Texas swooped in on signing day. With thin competition from veterans coming back, Elliott could scale the depth chart quickly.
Ranks — Fab 55: 10; National: 115
JEAN DELANCE ****
OT, North Mesquite, 6-5/299
His Jan. 2 commitment at the U.S. Army All-American game planted seeds for the sizzling finish to this class. Despite pushing 300 pounds, Delance is “light on his feet,” head coach Charlie Strong said. If not a starter, Delance could provide early depth.
Ranks — Fab 55: 13; National: 116
CHRIS DANIELS ****
DT, Euless Trinity, 6-4/328
He’s a growing boy, checking in at one inch taller and 29 pounds heavier in Texas’ official release than in his online recruiting bio. According to recruiting coordinator Brian Jean-Mary, Texas ratcheted up its pursuit after Daniels put together a stellar senior season.
Ranks — Fab 55: 19; National: 183
SHANE BUECHELE ****
QB, Arlington Lamar, 6-1/190
Trapped in a Sooners household, Buechele never wavered on his commitment even after the coach who recruited him, Shawn Watson, was fired. An early enrollee, he will push for a spot on the two-deep in the spring. Could Buechele be the answer to UT’s prolonged quarterback problem?
Ranks — Fab 55: 15; National; 188
COLLIN JOHNSON ****
WR, San Jose Valley Christian, 6-5, 203
This early enrollee is the son of Longhorns great Johnnie Johnson and the brother of sophomore running back Kirk Johnson. He missed almost all of his senior season with a torn labrum, so the spring practices should help him get back up to speed.
Ranks — Fab 55: NA; National: 202
ANDREW FITZGERALD ****
DE, Marcus Flower Mound, 6-5/255
Without being provoked, Strong called Fitzgerald the “darkhorse” of this class, marveling about his motor and how hard he plays.
Ranks — Fab 55: Not ranked; National: 205
KYLE PORTER ****
RB, Katy, 5-10/207
Strong said landing Porter on Tuesday was the “icing on the cake” on this class because the coaches never had a firm feeling one way or another if they were going to get him. Porter, the only running back Texas signed, ran for 188 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Lake Travis in last season’s Class 6A Division II championship.
Ranks — Fab 55: 39; National: 272
ERIC CUFFEE ****
Cuffee fits into Strong’s preference for tall defensive backs. He can play anywhere in the secondary — corner, safety or nickel — so that’ll increase his odds of seeing the field as a freshman.
DB, Waco, 6-0/187
Ranks — Fab 55: 35; National: 280
DENZEL OKAFOR ****
G, Lewisville, 6-4/295
A fast-riser, he was a two-star prospect when he committed on Nov. 14. Incidentally, that was the same day Texas fell to 4-6 in an 18-point loss at West Virginia.
Ranks — Fab 55: 48; National: 288
D’ANDRE CHRISTMAS-GILES ****
DT, New Orleans St. Augustine, 6-2/292
Strong said Christmas-Giles called Texas’ coaches every night with “eight questions.” Their answers led to him committing on the eve of signing day. Like the other four defensive tackles in this class, Christmas-Giles has the opportunity to see the field early.
Ranks — Fab 55: NA; National: 320
REGGIE HEMPHILL-MAPPS ***
WR, Manvel, 6-1/171
He committed to Texas when Mack Brown was still the coach and re-committed after hitting it off with Strong. Hemphill-Mapps was dubbed “Recruiter Reggie” for his persistence in talking up Texas to other prospects.
Ranks — Fab 43; National: 375
LIL’JORDAN HUMPHREY ***
WR, Southlake Carroll, 6-4/210
Nothing little about him. The recruiting sites list him as an athlete, but Humphrey is shown on UT’s signing day release as a wide receiver. The returning pass-catchers haven’t proven much, so Humphrey has a shot to shoot up the depth chart.
Ranks — Fab 55: 53; National: 390
CHRIS BROWN ***
DB, Alief Elsik, 5-10/199
Strong said Brown will come to Texas with “a chip on his shoulder” because he felt he was under-ranked. The recruiting sites list him as a safety, but Texas’ announcement made no such distinction.
Ranks — Fab 55: NA; National: 430
MARCEL SOUTHALL ***
DT, Duncanville, 6-2/287
He’s the smallest of the four new defensive tackles, but he’s plenty big enough to play in the Big 12. Southall had Oklahoma and Miami in his final three.
Ranks — Fab 55: NA; National: 489
DEMARCO BOYD ***
ILB, Gilmer, 5-11/232
The early enrollee is the brother of sophomore cornerback Kris Boyd and played his early years in high school for Longhorns tight ends coach Jeff Traylor. Texas’ linebacker room is loaded, so Boyd will have to be very good to get on the field as a freshman.
Ranks — Fab 55: NA; National; 530
MALCOLM ROACH ***
OLB, Baton Rouge Madison Prep (La.), 6-3/257
Was named Louisiana all-state all four years, including two first-team selections. He’s ticketed for the Fox position, and not defensive end where he’s listed by recruiting sites.
Ranks — Fab 55: Not ranked; National: 584
GERALD WILBON ***
DT, Destrehan (La.), 6-2/327
A space-eater in the middle whose high school team did not lose a regular season game his final two seasons. Wilbon’s among four UT signings from Louisiana.
Ranks — Fab 55: Not ranked; National: 668
DAVION CURTIS ***
WR, Temple, 5-11/178
The one-time Georgia commitment pushed hard for a Texas offer and then committed on the spot in November. He may be the fastest player in this class, running a 4.40 40-yard dash at a Texas camp last summer. At Temple, he played in the exact offense that Sterlin Gilbert is implementing at Texas.
Ranks — Fab 55: Not ranked; National: 780.
TOPE IMADE ***
G, Arlington Bowie, 6-4/322
In May, he became the first of what would become four offensive linemen to commit. He has the prototypical size to play guard, but he might have to lose some mass to play effectively in Gilbert’s uptempo offense.
Ranks — Fab 55: Not ranked; National; 790
PEYTON AUCOIN ***
TE, New Orleans Brother Martin, 6-5/240
He’s the “Smash” in the “Smash and Dash” tight end duo from New Orleans that Texas had hoped to procure. That hope was, uh, dashed when Brother Martin’s Irvin Smith committed to Alabama last week. Landing Aucoin was key because the lone tight end signing in 2015, Devoinaire Clarington, was declared ineligible and did not enroll at Texas.
Ranks — Fab 55: Not ranked; National: 952
ZACH SHACKELFORD ***
G, Belton, 6-3/290
He had maybe the most pressure of any of these players as he committed to Texas literally the day before he moved onto campus in January. Prior to that, he had been committed to Kansas State.
Ranks — Fab 55: Not ranked; National: NA