The Dotted Line: Longhorns continue search for defenders in 2019 class

Posted May 15th, 2018


Stay updated on latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Longhorns recruiting beat writer Mike Craven of 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. 

Names to know on the defensive side of the ball

The month of May began with Texas bagging a four-star defensive back from Georgia when cornerback Kenyatta Watson II picked the Longhorns over Notre Dame. He became the third defensive pledge for Texas in the 2019 class, joining four-star outside linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd and three-star defensive end T’Vondre Sweat.

Texas sits at six commitments. The offensive recruiting board is beginning to take real shape as players trim lists and take official visits. The defensive side is murky, mostly because of the number of out-of-state prospects on Texas’ radar. The Longhorns still need to address each level of the defense in this cycle.

Fort Worth Nolan Catholic standout NaNa Osafo-Mensah will pick between Texas and Notre Dame on May 19. (Mike Craven)

Here are five names to know heading into the summer.

NaNa Osafo-Mensah, defensive end, Fort Worth Nolan Catholic

FYI: 6-4/231; 4 stars; No. 8 on the Fabulous 55

Top schools: Notre Dame, Texas

Decision timeline: Saturday

The decision is looming for the state’s top pass rusher. Osafo-Mensah is set to pick between Notre Dame and Texas this weekend. The buzz says Notre Dame. For his part, Osafo-Mensah claimed the race was still 50-50 heading into the final week after practice last Thursday. Texas beat out Notre Dame for Watson. It doesn’t appear like the Longhorns will win out for Osafo-Mensah.

He likes the conventional role of a defensive end employed by Notre Dame and the idea of leaving the state to make a new path. Texas still holds cards, including proximity to his family, so this one won’t be over even if he picks the Fighting Irish on May 19.

Marcus Banks, cornerback, Spring Dekaney

FYI: 6-0/170; 3 stars; No. 12 on the Fabulous 55

Top schools: Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M

Decision timeline: The Opening, June 30-July 3

Banks was set to take an official visit to Austin in early May before cancelling the visit to spend time with family during his mother’s birthday. Banks suffered tragedy in his life this March when his father, Bobby, passed away due to complications during surgery. Banks, who was scheduled to commit early in the cycle, pushed back his date and took the time to visit more universities and broaden his recruiting.

Texas was a one-time favorite, but schools like Texas A&M and Alabama are making a real push for his commitment. A long-lasting relationship with the Texas coaches still gives the Longhorns an advantage.

Chris Adimora, safety, Lakewood (Calif. ) Mayfair

FYI: 6-1/195; 4 stars; No. 21- ranked safety in class

Top schools: Texas, Nebraska, UCLA

Decision timeline: Aug. 11

Teas coach Tom Herman isn’t hesitating to target out-of-state prospects. It’s likely that Texas will sign more prospects from outside of Texas than from the DFW region for the second class in a row. Adimora is a big-bodied safety with physicality and athleticism. He’s announced a decision date of Aug. 11, but the Longhorns are in the lead and he might pull the trigger in June or July. He’s yet to take an official visit to Texas, and that possibility might get tricky considering the Longhorns used most of their official visits in the spring while players like Jake Smith and Banks have yet to take theirs to Texas.

Dual-sport athlete Jalen Catalon of Mansfield Legacy is a top priority for the Longhorns. (Mike Craven)

Jalen Catalon, safety, Mansfield Legacy

FYI: 5-9/180; 4 stars; No. 19 on the Fabulous 55

Top schools: Texas, Stanford, Arkansas, Clemson

Decision timeline: Unknown

Catalon is a Swiss army knife-defender — he’s done it all in high school. He recorded 196 tackles as a sophomore and was named the Associated Press’ Class 5A defensive player of the year. He started on offense and defense as a junior, leading his team as a quarterback while still registering more than 100 tackles on defense. Catalon is also a quality return option in the kick and punt game. Texas has been the long-time leader for Catalon, who also wants to play baseball in college. Texas would provide him that opportunity. He’s yet to release a decision timeline.

David Gbenda, inside linebacker, Katy Cinco Ranch

FYI: 6-0/212; 4 stars; No. 43 on the Fabulous 55

Top schools: Texas, TCU, Texas A&M

Decision timeline: Unknown

The linebacker position is intriguing. Gbenda is the only in-state middle linebacker with a Texas offer. The Longhorns will need to hold off TCU and Texas A&M to gain his signature. Gbenda indicated during spring practice at Katy Cinco Ranch that he isn’t close to picking a school and that he’s likely to concentrate more on recruiting during the summer. He broke his hand in the offseason and spent most of the spring recovering from injury. Texas is in good shape if Gbenda remains on top of its board.

Other names to know: Zach Williams, DeMarvin Leal, Owen Pappoe, Rian Davis, Demani Richardson, MyKael Wright

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