All four of Texas’ 2017 commitments are planning to attend this weekend’s junior day, as are a slew of other top prospects Charlie Strong’s staff will spend Saturday trying to get in good with.
In all, 12 juniors from the state of Texas who hold an offer from the Longhorns will be on campus to visit with the coaches and tour facilities, including UT pledges Sam Ehlinger (quarterback, Westlake), Damion Miller (receiver, Tyler John Tyler), Major Tennison (tight end, Bullard) and Lagaryonn Carson (defensive end, Liberty-Eylau).
“It’s a terrific group,” 247Sports’ publisher Bobby Burton said.
Among the day’s headliners are two of the state’s three five-star prospects, Jeffrey Okudah (safety, South Grand Prairie) and Baron Browning (outside linebacker, Kennedale). Browning, who reports 34 scholarship offers, de-committed from Baylor and re-opened his recruitment on Feb. 14. The state’s top player, Bellaire Episcopal defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, will not be attending, but is thought have Texas among the schools he’s considering.
Others with UT offers who are expected to be on campus are four-star prospects Anthony Hines (inside linebacker, Plano East), Camron Buckley (receiver, Cedar Hill), Derrick Tucker (safety, Manvel), Grayson Reed (offensive tackle, Cypress Creek) and Taquon Graham (defensive end, Temple). Joining them is three- star defensive end Earnest Brown of Denton Ryan.
The phrase “junior days” is actually a misnomer, as four sophomores are also confirmed as attending — Garland Sachse teammates Jalen Mayden (quarterback), Drue Jackson (receiver) and Isaiah Humphries (defensive back), and Crosby running back Craig Williams.
Based on social media posts, Hines, the state’s No. 8 recruit, is a priority for Strong’s staff.
January 15th is a special day because a great Linebacker was born this day. We need to throw a party big enough to fit in Heinz Field!!!
— Brian Luc Jean-Mary (@luc_brian) January 15, 2016
Though it could be tempting to spend the weekend hitting the refresh button, Burton cautioned that it’s unlikely Texas will land a flurry of commitments like it did when Mack Brown relied on junior days to do the heavy lifting. Strong, who this month snagged nine players in the final 48 hours of the recruiting cycle, has proven to be deliberate in his evaluations and is comfortable extending his chases right up until signing day.
Indeed, this will be a chance to establish relationships, as Strong has replaced five of his nine assistants since December, including three of them — Anthony Johnson (running backs), Charlie Williams (receivers) and Clay Jennings (defensive backs) — in the past two weeks.
“I would be really surprised if they had a bunch of commitments (from junior day),” Burton said. “I just think they’re gonna be judicious and let things play out. For the vast majority of these guys, it will be the first time they’ve met with Texas coaches. The way Charlie Strong likes to recruit, he likes to talk to them multiple times before recruiting them really hard.”