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.
Cherry picking DFW talent
Tom Herman made a name recruiting the Houston area as the head coach of the Houston Cougars and has continued that trend since taking over in Austin. It’s clear that the Houston area will be home base of recruiting for the Longhorns under Herman. It’s not a bad home base. Texas signed the No. 3 class in the country in 2018, largely due to the Longhorns’ dominance of Houston.
Texas also is chasing several out-of-state targets. Three of the six 2019 commits hail from outside the state. The three in-state pledges are from Cuero, Huntsville and Port Neches-Groves, respectfully. Not a single DFW prospect is yet in the mix and Texas signed only two players — Fort Worth Eastern Hills’ Byron Hobbs and Frisco Wakeland’s Rafiti Ghirmai — from DFW in the 2018 class.
The Longhorns will continue to rely on Houston, East Texas and out of state prospects, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a handful of DFW-based targets considering Texas. Herman and his staff hope to cherry pick elite prospects from the area in the 2019 class, much like it did last cycle.
The group includes the state’s top pass rusher, its best center and a physically impressive wide receiver who is still learning how to maximize his ability at the position:
NaNa Osafo-Mensah, defensive end, Fort Worth Nolan Catholic
FYI: 6-4/231; 4 stars; No. 8 on the Fabulous 55
Top offers: Texas, Notre Dame
It’s a two-team race for the state’s top pure pass rusher. Osafo-Mensah took his official visit to Texas last weekend and is set to pick between the Longhorns and Fighting Irish on May 19. Notre Dame entered the official visit with the lead and reporters on the Notre Dame side feel confident that Osafo-Mensah will choose the Irish. Losing Osafo-Mensah would be another in-state blow for the Longhorns in 2019 after losing out on commitments from Garrett Wilson (Ohio State) and DeMarvin Leal (Texas A&M).
Dylan Wright, wide receiver, West Mesquite
FYI: 6-4/195; 4 stars; No. 49 on the Fab 55
Top offers: Texas, Arkansas, Florida State
Texas wants to sign at least three receivers. Herman would prefer four. Jordan Whittington, the No. 1 player of the initial 2019 Fabulous 55, is the lone receiver currently committed to the Longhorns. Texas also is in the mix for in-state target Elijah Higgins and out-of-state product Jake Smith, who recently named Texas in his top two schools along with USC. Wright is a raw prospect who is still learning to play the position. His frame and athleticism can’t be taught, making his upside higher than most prep prospects.
Branson Bragg, center, Crandall
FYI: 6-4/295; 4 stars; No. 41 on the Fab 55
Top offers: Texas, Stanford, Texas A&M
Bragg is in no hurry to pick a school and expects to take trips to numerous schools this summer. Texas is clearly among the leaders for the state’s top center. He is the only uncommitted prospect at the position to hold an offer from UT and the Longhorns didn’t sign a true center prospect in the 2017 or 2018 classes. Bragg spent time with offensive line coach Herb Hand and Herman at the Orange-White game, coming away impressed with the new position coach at Texas. The Longhorns will need to fight off programs like Texas A&M and Oklahoma to earn his signature.
Jalen Catalon, safety, Mansfield Legacy
FYI: 5-9/180; 4 stars; No. 19 on the Fab 55
Top offers: Texas, Clemson, Ohio State
Catalon is arguably the best safety in the state. He’s undoubtedly the most versatile. The tackling machine can play deep safety, cornerback or nickel. He excels near the line of scrimmage despite his short frame. Catalon was named the AP’s Class 5A defensive player of the year as a sophomore when he recorded 197 tackles, forced four fumbles and an interception. He was the District 10-5A MVP as a junior after recording 101 tackles and racking up more than 1,000 yards rushing and passing as a quarterback.
Noah Cain, running back, IMG Academy (Fla.)
FYI: 5-10.5/209; four stars; No. 51 prospect nationally
Top offers: Texas, LSU, Ohio State
Cain is finishing his prep career at IMG Academy in Florida, but he began his rise as one of the top running back prospects in the nation as a sophomore at Denton Guyer. He still has ties in the DFW area and returns to Texas during his off time. That’s allowed UT to host the four-star running back numerous times. Cain, and IMG Academy teammate, Trey Sanders, are Texas’ top two running back targets for Texas. Katy’s Deondrick Glass also holds a Longhorns offer.
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