Outside linebacker NaNa Osafo-Mensah of Nolan Catholic is one of the top 2019 prospects in the state. (Mike Craven)

recruiting

The Dotted Line: Where will the top 10 players on the Fabulous 55 commit?

Posted April 5th, 2018

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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.


Top 10 comes into focus

April will be a busy recruiting month now that juniors can take official visits. The amount of early commitments is sure to rise as the early signing period in December, which started for the 2018 class, becomes the time most prospects sign national letters of intent.

Cuero wide receiver Jordan Whittington at the Future 50 Camp in Orlando. (Mike Craven)

Nineteen of Texas’ eventual 28 commitments signed early and only two who were committed at the time waited until signing day in February. This was true across the nation as nearly 75 percent of 2018 prospects utilized the early signing period. Expect the trend to continue in the 2019 class.

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Three of the top 10 players on the initial 2019 Fabulous 55 are already committed, including Cuero’s Jordan Whittington, the No. 1 player in the state. He chose Texas on March 10. Brian Williams, No. 4 on the list, is a safety committed to Texas A&M, while tight end Austin Stogner, No. 10, is committed to Oklahoma.

The other seven are up for grabs and the Longhorns are in the mix for multiple players. Oklahoma is back to recruiting the top talent in the state and Ohio State is back on top for a pair of prospects after signing a trio of stars from the Lone Star State in 2017.

Here are where the prospects in the top 10 of the Fab 55 currently stand and my guess for where each prospect lands when the fax machines are dusted.

No. 1: Jordan Whittington, wide receiver, Cuero

FYI: 6-1/198; 5 stars; No. 4-ranked wide receiver

Texas offer? Yes

Committed: Texas  

Whittington chose Texas over 29 other FBS offers and has become the biggest recruiter for the Longhorns in the 2019 class. He’s a social kid with a big personality and that lends itself to social media and becoming a leader of a recruiting cycle. It also helps to be the best all-around football player in the state. Whittington plays all over the field at Cuero, but he’ll focus on wide receiver and on the return game once he hits campus.

The verdict: Texas

No. 2: Arjei Henderson, wide receiver, Fort Bend Travis

FYI: 6-1/183; 4 stars; No. 8-ranked wide receiver

Texas offer? Yes

Committed: No

https://twitter.com/king_hendi/status/966030673873121285

Henderson is a prolific receiver with a polished skill set. He’s caught 181 passes for 2,569 yards and 32 touchdowns over the past two seasons. He picked up an early offer from Texas before gravitating toward a final three of Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Alabama. It’s a clear two-team race between the Sooners and Aggies for his signature. The safe money is on Oklahoma because of his bond with the coaching staff and other 2019 prospects heading toward Oklahoma. He plays 7-on-7 with Sooners commit Trejan Bridges.

The verdict: Oklahoma

No. 3: DeMarvin Leal, defensive tackle, Converse Judson

FYI: 6-4/280; 4 stars; No. 7-ranked defensive tackle

Texas offer? Yes

Committed: No

The best defender in the state for this cycle, Leal isn’t a defensive end or a defensive tackle. The 6-4, 280-pound prospect can play both positions. He’s the top priority for the Longhorns on the defensive side of the ball during the 2019 cycle and the Longhorns are in good position as spring approaches. Leal is a great fit for the odd-man front deployed by defensive coordinator Todd Orlando because of his position versatility.

The verdict: Texas

No. 4: Brian Williams, safety, Bishop Dunne

FYI: 6-0/185; 5 stars; No. 1-ranked safety

Texas offer? Yes

Committed: Texas A&M

Williams pulled a shocker when he committed to A&M following a visit to College Station for a junior day in January and his only planned official visit to date is an upcoming return trip to A&M in April. The state’s top defensive back is a key recruit for Jimbo Fisher in his first full recruiting cycle as the Aggies’ head coach. It was a head-to-head win over Texas in Dallas. There are no signs of a de-commitment.

The verdict: Texas A&M

No. 5: Kenyon Green, offensive tackle, Humble Atascocita

FYI: 6-4/317; 5 stars; No. 2-ranked offensive tackle

Texas offer? Yes

Committed: No

Green could go numerous directions and it wouldn’t be considered a shock. The one-time LSU commit was once favored to head to Texas A&M before a recent push by Texas and offensive line coach Herb Hand. The Longhorns are arguably in the pole position with Green entering spring and Herman’s track record in Houston can’t be ignored. Green is the best tackle to come from Texas since the 2017 class.

The verdict: Texas

No. 6: Theo Wease Jr., wide receiver, Allen

FYI: 6-3/194; 4 stars; No. 5-ranked wide receiver

Texas offer? Yes

Committed: No

Wease also plays 7-on-7 with Henderson and Bridges and the trio are favored to choose the Sooners. Oklahoma does a great job recruiting in Texas and Wease would be another victory in Dallas. Wease was offered by Texas but never truly considered the Longhorns. The best big-body receiver in the state is set to officially visit Oklahoma on April 13. He’s also planned visits to LSU in April and USC in the summer.

The verdict: Oklahoma

No. 7: Garrett Wilson, wide receiver, Lake Travis

FYI: 6-0/185; 4 stars; No. 14-ranked wide receiver

Texas offer? Yes

Committed: No

It’s a two-team race between Texas and Ohio State for the best receiver prospect from the Austin area in years. He recently announced planned official visits to Ohio State on April 13 and to Texas the following weekend, where he’ll attend the Orange-White spring game. Wilson is the top priority for the Longhorns on offense with Whittington locked up. Wilson plays football in Austin, but he’s from Ohio. It’s a real coin-flip and Wilson will make his decision shortly after visits.

The verdict: Texas

No. 8: NaNa Osafo-Mensah, defensive end, Fort Worth Nolan Catholic

FYI: 6-4/227; 4 stars; No. 7-ranked weak side defensive end

Texas offer? Yes

Committed: No

It also feels like a two-team race for Osafo-Mensah. He’s the state’s top pure pass rusher and he’s set to make his decision on May 19. He’ll visit Notre Dame on April 13 and then Texas on May 4. The Longhorns getting the final visit closest to his decision date bodes well for Texas. Osafo-Mensah was a slam dunk to Notre Dame a month ago, but recruiting changes in minutes. Texas has the real momentum right now and a final visit might seal the deal.

The verdict: Texas

No. 9: Grant Gunnell, quarterback, Houston St. Pius X

FYI: 6-6/212; 4 stars; No. 2-ranked pro-style quarterback

Texas offer? No

Committed: No

The one-time Texas A&M commit is the top-rated quarterback in the state and a pure passer from the pocket. He was committed to the Aggies under the direction of Kevin Sumlin before rethinking his decision after Fisher took the job because of scheme. Ohio State is the new leader, as the Buckeyes continue their new run of recruiting pocket passers. Ohio State wants to change its offense and produce NFL quarterbacks and Gunnell would be a major step toward that goal.

The verdict: Ohio State

No. 10: Austin Stogner, tight end, Prestonwood Catholic

FYI: 6-6/230; 4 stars; No. 2-ranked tight end

Texas offer? No

Committed: Oklahoma  

The best tight end in the state is seemingly headed to Norman. He’s a tremendous pass catcher and he’s big enough to become an in-line blocker. Stogner’s size makes him a mismatch for defensive backs, and he’s too athletic for linebackers to cover in space. He caught 41 passes for 459 yards 10 touchdowns as a junior and he’s all-in to Oklahoma.

The verdict: Oklahoma

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