CYPRESS — Houston Cypress Ridge defensive lineman Vernon Broughton thought his future was in basketball until his sophomore year of high school, when college scouts began asking questions about the big kid with athleticism. Two years later, he began his senior season with a 31-14 win over Cy Woods last week. The Texas commit ended the game with five tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.
“I’m happy to be back with my teammates and playing real football. We’ve worked hard all summer, and to be back on the field feels good,” Broughton said after the win. “The option is hard to defend because they kept identifying where I was and running it the other way.”
Broughton said he is now 6-6 and 290 pounds. He still moves with basketball athleticism, which is what makes him the state’s top-rated defensive lineman for the 2020 cycle. He is the seventh-ranked player on the Fabulous 55. He’s the size of a defensive end, but plays over the tackle, much like the 4i position at Texas.
“My defensive line coaches think it’ll be great for me to play this defensive scheme because I’ll be doing something similar at Texas,” he said. “I’m a big guy, but I’m athletic enough to play defensive end in an odd-man front.”
His motor stood out in the season opening win. Broughton was as effective late in the game as he was in the first quarter. His fumble recovery helped seal the game in the fourth, and he attributes that stamina to his former sport.
“Basketball helped my motor. It’s instinct from running up and down the court,” he said. “The fourth quarter is a fight. You have to push through it.”
Broughton plans to attend the LSU game along with most of the commitments and targets from the next two recruiting classes, along with select prospects from the 2022 cycle. Broughton is excited to visit Texas, take in the big game, and continue recruiting the 2020 class. The main target of his attention is Bastrop Cedar Creek’s Alfred Collins, who visited UT for the Louisiana Tech game. Broughton hopes Collins joins himself, Princely Umanmielen and Van Fillinger up front for the Longhorns.
“We’re still working on Alfred Collins,” he said. “If we get him, we’re straight.”
Collins is trending toward Texas after a successful visit over the weekend. He is a two-time all-district selection despite not starting football until his freshman season. He grew into a national prospect as a junior after recording 92 tackles, including 25 for loss, and six sacks. He also caused three fumbles, recovering two.
Landing Collins would complete a clean sweep for Texas along the defensive line, beating rivals Oklahoma and Texas A&M for the best prospects within the state.
“The Texas defensive line looked great,” said Collins after the game. “They were strong, fast, and physical. I enjoyed the company of the coaches.”
Collins has stated throughout the recruiting process that he’ll take his official visits before picking a school. He’s scheduled to visit Oklahoma next week and Texas A&M in October. He’s the No. 14-ranked player on the Fab 55 and a national top-200 prospect. It’s a hectic schedule for the 6-6, 275-pound defensive lineman.
“It’s busy, but I’m used to it,” Collins admitted. “The process doesn’t bother me like it did when it first began.”