The wish list for Texas recruiting
Texas gained commitment Nos. 12 and 13 this past weekend in the form of Alvin cornerback Marques Caldwell, a member of the Fabulous 55, and Millwood (Okla.) four-star wide receiver Demariyon Houston. That means Tom Herman and the staff are roughly halfway done with the 2019 recruiting class, and a few positions are accounted for barring a de-commitment or extra scholarship.
The recruiting race is halfway run, and the Longhorns moved into the top 10 of the recruiting ranks for the first time in the 2019 cycle after the double-dip on Saturday. Texas finished third in the nation in 2018, Herman’s first full class.
The Longhorns closed shop at quarterback for 2019 last summer, when Roschon Johnson, a four-star dual-threat from Port Neches-Groves, chose the Longhorns. Texas needed only one quarterback after signing two in 2018. Texas is also done at tight end thanks to Jared Wiley and Brayden Liebrock. Cornerback might also be done after Caldwell joined Kenyatta Watson II.
There are at least a dozen spots remaining open for prospects in the 2019 class. Here are the top Texas targets at each position.
Trey Sanders, running back, IMG Academy (Fla.)
FYI: 6-0/216; 5 stars; No. 1-ranked running back
Other targets: Noah Cain, Deondrick Glass
Texas wants to hit a home run at running back. It’s unclear whether the Longhorns want one or two, and it probably depends on which players become realistic options down the stretch. Sanders is the top target because he’s the best of the bunch. He indicated at The Opening Final that he’ll release a top five shortly and take official visits to those schools.
Texas is in the mix if it gets an official visit. In an odd twist, landing Sanders might help land Cain. The duo play together at IMG Academy in Florida and Cain played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Denton Guyer. Glass is the best option in the state and a member of the Fabulous 55.
Dylan Wright, wide receiver, West Mesquite
FYI: 6-3/213; 4 stars; No. 20 on the Fabulous 55
Other targets: Elijah Higgins, Jaylen Ellis, Marcus Washington, Langston Anderson, Peyton Powell
Houston became the third wide receiver to pledge in the 2019 class, joining four-star talents Jake Smith and Jordan Whittington. Texas wants a fourth, and possibly even a fifth wide receiver to complete the class and add firepower to the offense. Wright is the top target because of his raw ability and unteachable size and length combination. He is close with assistant coach Drew Mehringer and plans to visit Austin before the start of his senior season after missing the Heat Wave for a 7-on-7 tournament.
There are plenty of other options for the Longhorns if Wright goes elsewhere, or if the staff finds room for a fifth receiver. Higgins is favored to pick Florida. Washington is favored to choose Ohio State. Ellis is currently committed to Baylor, but is from Austin and is looking at programs like Texas, Michigan and Oregon.
The wildcards at the position are athletes like Bru McCoy and Makiya Tongue, who can be viewed as wide receivers or linebackers. Anderson and Powell are in-state options with big upside.
Javonne Shepherd, offensive tackle, Houston North Forest
FYI: 6-6/319; 4 stars; No. 27 on the Fab 55
Other targets: Stacey Wilkins, Chris Akporoghene, Andrew Coker
Five-star offensive tackle Tyler Johnson is the only offensive lineman currently committed to the Longhorns. Texas feels good about its position with Shepherd, a huge tackle with elite athleticism for a young player his size. He said he ran a 4.9 40-yard dash at The Opening Final. Shepherd is a long prospect with upside, though he isn’t as technically sound as Johnson or Texas A&M commit Kenyon Green.
Texas must identify a new target on the interior after Branson Bragg chose Stanford. The other targets at tackle include Wilkins, an Arkansas-native, and players like TCU commit Andrew Coker. It’s likely that new offers go out along the offensive line once the coaches can watch a few prospects in person this fall.
Taurean Carter, defensive lineman, Mansfield Legacy
FYI: 6-3/260; 3 stars; 16 offers
Other targets: Jermaine Johnson, DeMarvin Leal, Marcus Stripling, Faatui Tuitele
Texas has yet to build a true pipeline into DFW under Herman. That should change with the 2019 class, and then become an obsolete point by 2020. Carter would help quell the noise that UT can’t win battles in north Texas. He holds 16 offers and is the type of defensive lineman the Longhorns are looking for because of his ability to play end or grow into a tackle. Carter is a quick, explosive big man who lives in the backfield.
The Longhorns aren’t done recruiting Leal, the top-ranked defensive lineman in the state and a current commit to Texas A&M. JUCO target Jermaine Johnson and Houston-product Marcus Stripling also hold offers and remain uncommitted. Stripling impressed national scouts at The Opening Final and is likely to shoot up rankings as a senior.
Rian Davis, outside linebacker, Wekiva, Fla.
FYI: 6-2.5/233; 4 stars; No. 5-ranked outside linebacker
Other targets: David Gbenda, Bru McCoy, Makiya Tongue
Texas’ lone commitment at linebacker is De’Gabriel Floyd, a four-star outside linebacker from California. He spent most of his free time at The Opening recruiting Davis for the Longhorns. Georgia remains the leader for Davis, but a recent official visit to Austin left an impression and Floyd did the same with his recruiting pitch in Frisco. Davis used to play high school football at Clear Lake outside of Houston and still has family ties in the state.
Gbenda is the top in-state target and a member of the Fabulous 55. McCoy and Tongue, who were mentioned in the wide receiver section, could also be considered linebacker commits if Texas were to win out on either player. True linebackers won’t be recruited at the same rate as defensive ends and safeties at Texas due to the dime package preferred by defensive coordinator Todd Orlando.
Jalen Catalon, safety, Mansfield Legacy
FYI: 5-9/180; 4 stars; No. 18-ranked safety
Other targets: Lewis Cine, Noa Pola-Gates
Catalon wants to play football and baseball in college and Texas, both Herman and baseball coach David Pearce, are on board if Catalon chooses the Longhorns. Catalon is in no hurry to pick a school but Texas remains among the favorites because of his relationship with assistant coach Craig Naivar. He wants to play deep safety in college, but he also understands that his upside might be at nickel because of his lack of height. Versatility is not something Catalon lacks, as he stars on both sides of the ball in high school.
Texas filled a need at boundary safety when four-star Chris Adimora (Calif.) picked UT on July 1. Pola-Gates placed Texas among his top schools and could make a fall visit. Lewis Cine, a recent Texas move-in from Massachusetts, is also on the board.
2019 Texas Longhorns recruiting class
|Roschon Johnson||QB||Port Neches-Groves||4||July 21 (2017)|
|T'Vondre Sweat||DE||Huntsville||3||Feb. 28|
|Jordan Whittington||WR||Cuero||4||March 10|
|De'Gabriel Floyd||OLB||Westlake Village (Calif.)||4||March 31|
|Kenyatta Watson II||DB||Grayson (Ga.)||4||May 1|
|Brayden Liebrock||TE||Chandler (Ariz.)||3||May 8|
|Tyler Johnson||OL||Conroe Oak Ridge||4||May 25|
|Jared Wiley||TE||Temple||3||May 26|
|Jake Smith||WR||Notre Dame Preparatory (Ariz.)||4||June 3|
|Peter Mpagi||DE||George Ranch||3||June 16|
|Chris Adimora||S||Mayfair (Calif.)||4||July 1|
|Marques Caldwell||CB||Alvin||3||July 7|
|Marcus Tillman Jr.||OLB||Jones (Fla.)||3||July 28|
|Javonne Shepherd||OT||North Forest||4||July 29|
|Derrian Brown||RB||Buford (Ga.)||4||Sept. 16|
|Tyler Owens||S||Plano East||4||Sept. 24|
|David Gbenda||ILB||Katy Cinco Ranch||4||Sept. 30|
|Marcus Washington||WR||Trinity Catholic (Mo.)||4||Oct. 26|
|Myron Warren||DE||Many (La.)||3||Nov. 19|
|Jacoby Jones||DE||Butler C.C.||3||Nov. 21|
|Caleb Johnson||OLB||Fullerton College (Calif.)||3||Dec. 17|
|Kennedy Lewis||WR||Melissa||3||Dec. 18|
|Isaiah Hookfin||OT||Fort Bend Dulles||4||Dec. 21|
|Bru McCoy||ATH||Mater Dei (Calif.)||5||Jan. 25|
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