The 2019 class officially ends on Wednesday when a lackluster national signing day comes and goes with little fanfare or potential fireworks thanks to the early signing period in December. Texas signed 22 prospects in December and hasn’t added a single commitment since (unless the transfer of five-star athlete Bru McCoy counts). This is the new normal. February is now a formality for all but a handful of prospects.
Texas’ class consists of 24 prospects, 23 of whom are locked into national letters of intent. The Longhorns expect to add the signature of four-star offensive tackle Javonne Shepherd at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Texas’ class is ranked third in the country, trailing only Alabama and Georgia, heading into national signing day. As we approach the close of another impressive recruiting effort by UT coach Tom Herman and his staff, here’s a closer look at the Longhorns’ 2019 class. It’s awards season.
De’Gabriel Floyd, inside linebacker, Westlake Village, Calif.
No player in the class took more outward pride in his pledge to Texas than the California linebacker. Floyd was constantly working on social media to entice other recruits and rep his future program. He took several trips to Austin on his own dime. Oh, and he was instrumental in keeping Texas an option for Bru McCoy throughout the recruiting process.
Floyd was the face of the out-of-state audible that Herman called when it became obvious that Texas A&M and Oklahoma held the early in-state momentum for the cycle. The Longhorns were being forced to settle on lesser in-state talents or expand their search. Herman picked talent and signed 12 players from outside the state. Floyd was arguably the most important and visible. He is already enrolled at Texas and should compete for a starting spot left by the departed Gary Johnson or Anthony Wheeler.
Best player in the class
Bru McCoy, athlete, Santa Ana (Calif. ) Mater Dei
McCoy is the highest-ranked recruit Texas has signed since Aledo’s Jonathan Gray in 2012. He’s a rare athlete who’s athletic enough to play wide receiver and physical enough to be a standout at outside linebacker. McCoy’s ideal plan is to contribute on both sides of the ball, spending the majority of his time at receiver while getting in on defense on third downs and nickel situations.
McCoy’s route to Texas was unprecedented as he signed with USC, then enrolled early — and then transferred to Texas a week into school. He’s now enrolled at UT and will be ready for spring practice. It’s unclear whether he’ll get to play as a freshman or if he’ll be forced to sit out a year due to the transfer rule. There’s been no announced timetable for a decision by the NCAA.
Most likely to have the best freshman season
Jordan Whittington, wide receiver, Cuero
Whittington is a college-ready weapon who enrolled early and is expected to play at wide receiver and running back. He scored six touchdowns in the state championship game win and was recently awarded five-star status. The 6-1 playmaker is the No. 6-ranked player on the Fabulous 55. The departure of Lil’Jordan Humphrey coupled with depth concerns at running back mean Whittington should get plenty of touches as a freshman.
T’Vondre Sweat, defensive end, Huntsville
Maybe it was location that cost Sweat more respect from recruiting sites. Huntsville isn’t East Texas or Houston, meaning it’s not a stop that many make to watch prospects. But underestimating the three-star defensive lineman is an error. He’s only scratching the surface of his potential and is still adding weight to his 6-3 frame. Sweat can play outside in an odd-man front or at three-technique in a four-man defense.
Texas recruited a potentially historic wide receiver class. We’ve discussed the value of McCoy and Whittington. Add Jake Smith, who won the Gatorade national player of the year award, along with Marcus Washington and Kennedy Lewis, and this group could be the modern-day version of Texas’ 2000 class that included Roy Williams, B.J. Johnson and Sloan Thomas. Washington scored two touchdowns in the Under Armour All-American Game and was named the game’s MVP. Lewis is a big-bodied wide receiver with a 6-4 frame.
Most NFL upside
Tyler Johnson, offensive tackle, Conroe Oak Ridge
The easiest evaluation in Texas’ class was always Johnson, a true bookend tackle with a long-term future at right tackle or at guard. He’s big. He’s mean. He’s agile. There isn’t much Johnson doesn’t possess as a prep prospect. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed a future in the NFL, or even at Texas, but he checks all the boxes wanted in an offensive lineman.
Roschon Johnson, quarterback, Port Neches-Groves
Quarterbacks tend to be advanced socially and Johnson fits the mold. He’s mature beyond his years and was always thoughtful with his answers and accessible to reporters wanting to tell his story. Johnson is an old soul and reminded me of Caden Sterns with his ability to communicate about football and life as a teenager.
Most likely to win a brawl
Isaiah Hookfin, offensive tackle, Fort Bend Dulles
There might not be a more physically impressive player in the class. Hookfin is a big and relatively lean big man who can move his feet. The combination of size and athleticism makes him the favorite in a back alley. He possesses a long reach and the size to bully most humans.
Most likely to win a race
Tyler Owens, safety, Plano East
No player in the class watched his stock rise more as a senior than Owens. He missed the elite camps as a sophomore and junior, keeping him out of the spotlight for recruiting services; his offer list didn’t begin to grow until the summer before his senior season. Owens is among a group of speedy recruits in the class, joining Smith, Whittington, Washington and Chris Adimora.
2019 Texas Longhorns recruiting class
Player Pos. School Stars Commitment date
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
Tomorrow’s Dotted Line: A look at the five candidates for top player in 2020