It is a testament to the efforts by Texas in the 2018 recruiting cycle that it is hard to find prospects it truly missed out on come national signing day. Tom Herman wanted guy. He got the guy. Rinse and repeat. That’s how most of the year went for the Longhorns, which finished with the third best class in the nation and 27 signees.
A handful of real Texas targets did choose other universities. An offer doesn’t always mean maximum effort is given on an individual recruit, but these five prospects are players who Texas wish it would’ve signed in the 2018 recruiting class.
Ronnie Perkins, defensive end, Lutheran North (Mo.)
FYI: 6-2.5/256; 4 stars; No. 66-ranked player in the country
The Reason: Texas lost the battle for Perkins with its Red River rivals when the 4-star defensive end picked the Sooners in October. The battle was lost for good when Perkins signed with Oklahoma during the early signing period. Perkins is a big-bodied defensive end Texas wanted to play the 4i role currently occupied by Malcolm Roach and Charles Omenihu.
Perkins participated at The Opening Final and played at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 6. Texas hoped his relationship with fellow Missouri-native Ayodele Adeoye would help its recruiting efforts, but in the end, Perkins chose Oklahoma and now the Longhorns must face him for the next few seasons.
Craig Williams, running back, Crosby
FYI: 5-9/170; 4 stars; No. 46 on the Fabulous 55
The Reason: Texas made a late push for the Baylor signee but the all-around athlete decided to stick with his commitment to the Bears and sign during the early period. Williams isn’t a three-down running back, and the Longhorns wanted to couple him with Keaontay Ingram in the backfield as a third-down back and a slot receiver. Williams was close to flipping to Texas.
Williams wanted to play running back and felt his role at Texas would be more as a wide receiver. The long-time relationship with the Baylor staff also helped the Bears. Williams will become a Big 12 rival, and his speed will cause defenses issues at the collegiate level.
DaShaun White, outside linebacker, North Richland Hills
FYI: 6-1/222; 4 stars; No. 19 on the Fabulous 55
— DaShaun White (@dmw23_) January 7, 2018
The Reason: Texas wanted to add a third linebacker to the 2018 recruiting class all the way until national signing day when Andrew Parker remained committed to Arkansas. It was the one real position Texas didn’t fill in the class and White emerged as a real candidate toward the end of his senior season. Even after a commitment to Texas A&M, the Longhorns were still in the picture.
Oklahoma closed the deal in the final month, gaining his commitment on Jan. 6. White took an official visit to Texas on Nov. 10 before committing to Texas A&M in December. He gave teams hope when he passed on signing during the early period and announced his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Nik Bonitto, outside linebacker, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.)
FYI: 6-2.5/204; 4 stars; No. 220-ranked player in country
The Reason: The Longhorns fought hard for Bonitto before eventually falling to Oklahoma. Bonitto announced his decision at the U.S. Under Armour All-America Game despite signing during the early period with the Sooners. For many of the same reasons Texas will regret missing out on White, the Longhorns will miss Bonitto. He was one of the top outside linebacker targets late in the cycle and would’ve filled a need at a prime position.
Mustapha Muhammad, tight end, Fort Bend Ridge Point
FYI: 6-5.5/235; 4 stars; No. 17 on the Fabulous 55
The Reason: Former JUCO commit Dominick Wood-Anderson could easily be placed in this slot because of his readiness as a college prospect. Texas wanted two tight ends in the class, but moved on from the position once Wood-Anderson de-committed and ultimately chose Tennessee. Muhammad is on the list because he’s the best tight end in the state, held an offer from Texas and was one of the few elite members of the Fabulous 55 to not choose an in-state program.