Stay updated on latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Longhorns recruiting beat writer Mike Craven of Hookem.com. The Dotted Line will publish M-F at 10 a.m. each morning to provide Texas fans with an in-depth look at the latest for the Longhorns on the recruiting trail.
Longhorns search for big-bodied defensive linemen
Texas waited until the end of the 2018 recruiting cycle to pull in defensive linemen. The Longhorns signed five players at defensive tackle or defensive end on national signing day after not signing a single player at either position during the early period. The program wants to repeat the trick for the 2019 class and sign a similar group of five players.
Tom Herman and his staff held on to 4-star defensive tackle Keondre Coburn, added edge rusher Joseph Ossai and depth at all three defensive line spots with Moro Ojomo, Mike Williams and Daniel Carson. Coburn was one of just two committed players to not utilize the early period last cycle. Texas added Ossai on signing day, earning a head-to-head win over Texas A&M.
Carson and Williams are out-of-state 3-star ends with upside. Carson is a bigger player while Williams spent most of his prep career playing quarterback and is a freakish athlete at his size. Ojomo won’t turn 18 until his sophomore year of college and has a bright future after a redshirt season.
Texas is set to lose players like Malcolm Roach, Charles Omenihu and Chris Nelson by the time the 2019 class steps on campus. There will be snaps up for grabs with the 2017 and 2018 signees yet to prove capable of holding starting spots.
Overview: Defensive linemen
Needs: 4 or 5
Commits: (1) T’Vondre Sweat, 3-star, Huntsville
Top targets: DeMarvin Leal, defensive tackle, Converse Judson; NaNa Osafo-Mensah, defensive end, Fort Worth Nolan Catholic; Marcus Stripling, defensive end, Mayde Creek; Braedon Mowry, defensive end, Katy Taylor; David Ugwoegbu, defensive end, Katy Seven Lakes
Texas didn’t waste time gaining a commitment from a defensive end in T’Vondre Sweat, a 3-star prospect from Huntsville. He’s best suited to play the 4i position currently held by Omenihu and Roach. Sweat is a big-bodied end with the ability to move and play in space. His commitment continues Herman’s success in East Texas.
The top priority on the defensive board is defensive tackle DeMarvin Leal, who would play the outside tackle position like Nelson. He’s not a true nose guard like Coburn in the 2018 class. He’s more of a big man with sudden movement who can create havoc in the backfield against the run and the pass. Leal is the No. 3-ranked player on the Fabulous 55 and is the best defensive prospect in the state.
A collection of defensive ends are in the picture for the other spots. In-state targets like Marcus Stripling and Nana Osafo-Mensah are unique talents with the ability to play end or outside linebacker. Katy Taylor defensive end Braedon Mowry is a long-time favorite of the Texas staff, as is Katy Seven Lakes’ David Ugwoegbu.
It’s still early in the cycle, so expect new names to surface over time. Texas didn’t get its second defensive line commit for the 2018 class until January. Herman wants to take his time in recruiting, especially at positions like defensive and offensive line. Those positions are harder to project early in a prep career because of potential growth spurts.
Other notable prospects: Jermaine Johnson, defensive end, Independence C.C. (Kans.); Nathan Pickering, defensive end, Seminary (Miss.); Faauti Tuitele, defensive tackle, St. Louis (Hawaii); Rian Davis, defensive end, Wekiva (Fla.); Peter Mpagi, defensive end, Richmond George Ranch
Sweat’s commitment was a jump-start for defensive line coach Oscar Giles, who proved to be a closer. Sweat, a Fab 55 member, was the second 2019 commitment for Texas. He joined 4-star dual-threat quarterback Roschon Johnson of Port Neches-Groves, who committed in July of 2018.
The success in 2019, at least along the line, hinges on signing Leal. He’s the best defensive line prospect in Texas since the 2017 class and the Longhorns failed to sign any of the top-10 players in the state that cycle. He would pair nicely with Coburn at the tackle positions employed by Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando.
Texas needs to find another tackle, preferably a player big enough to handle the nose tackle position. Giles also will search for at least two more ends. A dark horse candidate might be Mpagi, who wants a Texas offer and might be close to picking one up after a stellar performance at The Opening regional.
Ugwoegbu, Stripling and Mowry are Houston-area prospects. Herman has continued to prove his ability to recruit that city and is likely to land at least one of that trio. The Longhorns will feel good if it lands two defensive tackles and three defensive ends in the class, including Sweat.
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