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.
Javonne Shepherd includes Texas in top eight
The Longhorns hope to build a dominant offensive line group in the 2019 class in a year stocked with quality big men. One of the major targets at tackle is Houston North Forest’s 4-star Javonne Shepherd. The mammoth 6-6 lineman included the Longhorns in his top list of schools that he released Saturday.
He is one of three in-state tackles with a Texas offer, joining 5-star Kenyon Green and 4-star Tyler Johnson. Texas also is hotly recruiting Crandall center Branson Bragg. The foursome would be the ideal group for new offensive line coach Herb Hand, especially if the Longhorns can add one more tackle from out of state.
Shepherd also included Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Georgia and USC in his final schools. He’s ranked No. 31 on the initial 2019 Fabulous 55 and is likely to move up the list when its updated after the summer because of his work at elite camps like The Opening regional in Houston, when he showed the ability to move laterally and keep up with the best pass rushers in the area.
Shepherd is yet to announce a commitment date or set up official visits. The two favorites are Texas and Texas A&M with the Longhorns making up ground in March after an unofficial visit.
“I really enjoyed coach Hand and the Texas experience,” Shepherd said after that visit. “The school has a family vibe and the coaches treated me great. It’s definitely a school in the mix.”
Marcus Banks sets official visit
It’s no secret that Spring Dekaney cornerback Marcus Banks is the top in-state priority at the position for the Longhorns in 2019. He was the first corner in the state to receive an offer from Tom Herman’s program and he’s built a strong relationship with the Texas staff after they recruited and eventually signed Banks’ teammate Malcolm Epps in 2018.
Banks announced that he’ll take an official visit to Texas on May 5 over the weekend. He is a 4-star prospect who ranks No. 12 on the Fab 55. LSU appears to be Texas’ biggest competition due to his roots in Baton Rouge. A bulk of Banks’ family still resides in Louisiana and LSU is pushing the home-field angle as much as Texas.
Texas OV May 5 #Hookem 🤘🏽
— Marcus Banks (@MarcusBanks1k) March 31, 2018
“It is weird because I consider myself a Texan and a Louisianan,” Banks said at Texas’ junior day. “I’m in Texas and take great pride in being a Texas high school football player, but a lot of my family and personality comes from the Louisiana side. I can say I have the strongest relationship with the Texas staff because of how long I’ve known coach (Jason) Washington.”
Banks has yet to set up another official visit outside of his planned May trip to Austin. The 4-star holds 19 offers, including from elite programs like LSU, Oklahoma, Alabama and Texas A&M.
Texas recruiting Kenyatta Watson II at cornerback
Texas isn’t afraid to look out of state for a target at a need position. It proved that again on Saturday when 4-star outside linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd of California picked the Longhorns over USC, UCLA, Oregon and Florida. Georgia native Kenyatta Watson II is a top priority in the defensive backfield.
Watson is down to Texas and Notre Dame and has set up official visits to both programs in April with a decision expected to be announced in May. Watson is a 4-star prospect who is ranked as the No. 11 safety in the nation. But Texas isn’t recruiting the Loganville High School product at safety. Instead, the Longhorns view the 6-2, 187-pound prospect as a cornerback.
Texas did a similar thing with Cibolo Steele product Caden Sterns in the 2018 class and the two are similar players in size and skill. Both can run, cover and don’t mind helping against the run. Sterns also played safety in high school and was recruited with the notion that he’d begin his career at cornerback.
Truly, it doesn’t make much difference. Watson says he doesn’t care what position he plays and that he will find his role once he arrives on a campus.
Miss a previous edition of The Dotted Line? Get caught up here.