Tom Herman is unafraid to recruit committed prospects. If it wasn’t clear when he flipped former Houston recruits in the 2017 cycle or 2018 four-star quarterback Cameron Rising weeks ago, but it was proved Sunday when Texas flipped four-star safety Caden Sterns of Cibolo Steele.
Sterns is the eighth member of Texas’ 2018 class. He’s ranked No. 4 on the Fabulous 55 and is a national top 40 prospect, per 247Sports’ composite ratings. Sterns’ high school reached the Class 6A Division I state title game his junior year, where he contributed as a safety and a wide receiver.
Here’s the Commitment 101 on Sterns.
Skill set: Sterns is one of the top safeties in the country, rated fourth. The 6-1, 192-pound four-star prospect is Texas’ highest-rated recruit so far for the 2018 class. He’ll compete at The Opening Finals in Oregon this summer.
“The first time I noticed him was in middle school,” remembers Steele head coach David Saenz. “The way he competed was different than the other kids. He had an urgency about him that is rare for a young player. Of course, we already had Jordan (Sterns) on the team so we knew there was a younger one coming up, but it was still impressive to watch his ball skills and ability at that age.”
His older brother, Jordan, was an all-conference safety at Oklahoma State and recently signed an undrafted rookie free agent deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Here’s what we wrote about Caden’s skill set in his Fabulous 55 profile:
“Sterns can line up at either safety position and isn’t a liability in coverage, which is a key component for modern safeties asked to play more 1-on-1 coverage against spread offenses. He’s long and is at his best when he can play free safety and roam the secondary. His instincts are obvious and his technique is advanced for a high school safety. He’s the best prospect that San Antonio has produced in a few recruiting cycles. Sterns had 82 tackles and returned three interceptions for touchdowns his junior season.”
Immediate impact: Sterns’ commitment puts the rest of the recruiting world on notice. Herman and his staff aren’t playing around and no one is safe. LSU rarely loses commitments. Sterns committed to LSU as a junior, on the day Ed Orgeron was officially named head coach. Sterns’ flip gives Texas its highest-rated commitment since Herman took over. He’s a consensus top five player in the state and an elite safety who can play as a true freshman. There is untapped potential on Texas’ roster Sterns must jump to earn a starting position, but he wouldn’t have flipped from LSU if he didn’t think the chance of immediate playing time wasn’t available.
Fitting into the program: Sterns represents what defensive coordinator Todd Orlando wants in his safeties. He’s a rangy player who isn’t afraid to hit or play close to the line of scrimmage. Versatility is a key trait in Orlando’s vision and Sterns contains plenty. He can play deep safety and roam like a center fielder. He’s also big enough to play strong safety and athletic enough to cover receivers of all sizes. Sterns is a true student of the game with a high football IQ, due in large part to his older brother’s experience. He must trust and like the scheme Orlando is attempting to bring to Texas’ defense.
Recruiting at the position: The Longhorns aren’t done recruiting safeties. One of Texas’ top priorities still on the board is B.J. Foster, the five-star safety from Angleton who’s ranked No. 2 on the Fab 55. The Longhorns also are in pursuit of four-stars Leon O’Neal and DeMarvion Overshown.
2018 Texas Longhorns signing classHere's a look at the recruits who signed with Texas for the 2018 recruiting cycle. Star rankings from 247Sports composite.
|Byron Hobbs||LB||Ft. Worth Eastern Hills||3||Signed|
|Casey Thompson||QB||Southmoore (Okla.)||4||Signed|
|Cameron Rising||QB||Newbury Park (Calif.)||4||Signed|
|Cameron Dicker||K||Lake Travis||3||Signed|
|Caden Sterns||S||Cibolo Steele||4||Signed|
|Ayodele Adeoye||LB||IMG Academy (Fla.)||4||Signed|
|Al'Vonte Woodard||WR||Houston Lamar||4||Signed|
|Jalen Green||CB||Houston Heights||4||Signed|
|Brennan Eagles||WR||Alief Taylor||4||Signed|
|Anthony Cook||CB||Houston Lamar||4||Signed|
|D'Shawn Jamison||CB||Houston Lamar||4||Signed|
|Malcolm Epps||TE||Spring Dekaney||4||Signed|
|Junior Angilau||OT||Salt Lake East (Utah)||4||Signed|
|Mikey Grandy||OT||College of San Mateo (Calif.)||3||Signed|
|Ryan Bujcevski||P||ProKick Austrailia||N/A||Signed|
|Keondre Coburn||DT||Spring Westfield||4||Signed|
|Daniel Carson||DE||William Chrisman (Mo.)||3||Signed|
|Michael Williams||DE||Dunham School (La.)||3||Signed|
|Christian Jones||OT||Cy Woods||3||Signed|
|Joseph Ossai||DE||Conroe Oak Ridge||4||Signed|