Eight days separate Tom Herman from signing his first recruiting class as head coach of the University of Texas. The Longhorns hold 15 commitments – bolstered by JUCO linebacker Gary Johnson’s pledge Friday. Texas’ 2017 recruiting class ranks 26th in the nation and 2nd in the Big 12.
Herman’s staff isn’t done. A lot of work is left over the next week. The staff will be busy with in-home visits and still have one more official visit weekend to host on campus before Feb. 1. Texas hopes for a class around 20 members, so here are the top five prospects on the wish list.
Johnson leaves the list following his Texas commitment. Omar Manning falls from the list after shutting down his recruitment and reaffirming his pledge to TCU. Chevin Calloway moves off the list as it becomes more of a certainty that the four-star cornerback chooses Arkansas.
1. K’Lavon Chaisson, DE (4-star)
FYI: 6-4/211; Galena Park North Shore; the No. 4 weakside defensive end in the nation and No. 37 overall in the country. Rated No. 6 on the American-Statesman’s Fabulous 55.
Biggest competition: LSU and TCU
Update: Chaisson remains the best player on Texas’ board. The North Shore product was recently rewarded a fifth star by 247Sports and is shooting up the composite rankings heading into national signing day after a superb showing at the Under Armour All-American Game at the turn of the year. The Longhorns hosted Chaisson over the weekend before he headed off for a final visit to TCU. It’s believed that Chaisson will choose between Texas and LSU on national signing day. Texas feels good about its position with eight days left.
2. Stephan Zabie (4-star)
FYI: 6-5, 290; Westlake; the No. 23 offensive tackle in the nation and the No. 215 overall prospect in the nation. He’s No. 38 in the Fab 55.
Biggest competition: Oklahoma
Update: The Westlake product emerged from recruiting obscurity when he was offered by Texas a week ago. Zabie didn’t play varsity football as a sophomore or senior. As a junior, he started 16 games for a state finalist team and was matched up with Chaisson for much of that game. Zabie oozes potential. His frame is ideal for an offensive tackle and he’s as athletic as a 300-pound offensive lineman can be at this stage in his career. The Longhorns are in the driver’s seat and all signs point to Zabie being a full-qualifier.
3. Jordan Pouncey (3-star)
FYI: 6-2, 185; Winter Park (Fla.); the No. 105 ranked wide receiver in the nation.
Biggest competition: Miami and Florida
Update: The need for another receiver in the 2017 class is clear and there are a few options Texas is still recruiting heavily as we inch closer to national signing day. Pouncey took his official visit to Texas over the weekend along with Chaisson, Zabie and a handful of committed prospects. He enjoyed his visit to Texas, but most still feel Pouncey ends up staying in state, most likely at Miami. Texas missed out on Manning and Charleston Rambo, leaving few options available this late in the cycle.
4. Larrell Murchison (3-star)
FYI: 6-4/277; Louisburg (N.C.) College; the No. 10 ranked junior college defensive end in the nation and the No. 107 overall JUCO prospect in the country.
Biggest competition: Ole Miss
Update: The Ole Miss commit is gaining quite a bit of late attention from power schools. Texas entered the fray earlier in January, offering the defensive line prospect on his official visit to Texas on Jan. 13. Texas still has ground to make up before Murchison is considered a candidate to flip his commitment. Still, the Longhorns must feel their chances are decent since Murchison was open to taking an official visit days after committing to Ole Miss. Georgia offered last week and could become a late player for his services. Texas has backup plans at the position in case Murchison sticks with the Rebels.
5. Jav Guidry (3-star)
FYI: 5-9.5/180; Vista Murrieta (Calif.); No. 74 ranked cornerback in the country.
Biggest competition: Utah and Arizona State
Update: The former Cedar Park standout was on campus over the weekend and left with Texas as one of his top schools. Guidry will visit Arizona State before making his decision, but said his top two schools are currently Texas and Utah. Guidry is familiar with Herman and the new staff at Texas. The speedy cornerback was once a Houston commit. The Longhorns want another commitment at cornerback and Guidry feels like the most realistic option at the position. He won a Class 5A state championship in the 100-meter dash at Cedar Park as a junior before moving back to California.
Other prospects to watch: WR Elijah Gardner, DE Bryan Jones, DE Ryan Johnson, CB Chevin Calloway, CB Kary Vincent, DL Brandon Henderson