Early offers are the best indication of how a coaching staff views the next recruiting cycle. Texas prefers to keep offer numbers low, especially early. Only 29 juniors-to-be hold UT offers heading into the spring evaluation period. If history holds, the Longhorns will begin adding commitments to the 2022 class by the start of the 2020 season. Five of Texas’ six pledges in the 2021 class committed before the start of their junior seasons.
Twelve in-state offers are currently out on the defensive side of the ball. These are the players Texas places on top of the recruiting board in the 2022 cycle. We looked at the offensive side on Tuesday.
Offers: 3 — Omari Abor, Duncanville; Ernest Cooper IV, Arlington Martin; Malick Sylla, Katy
Texas’ expected move to a four-man front can only be successful if the Longhorns add talent at edge rusher. Texas has already identified a trio of ends for the 2022 cycle.
Texas did a great job at defensive tackle in 2020 and hopes to perform equally as well at defensive end in 2021. Tom Herman’s program is off to a great start in 2021 with the commitment of Denton Ryan five-star Ja’Tavion Sanders.
The most physically imposing player of the 2022 trio is Abor, a 6-4, 240-pound sophomore from Duncanville. That’s the same south Dallas powerhouse that produced 2020 signee Ja’Quinden Jackson and 2021 target Savion Byrd. Abor picked up a UT offer on March 4. He was the District 8-6A defensive newcomer of the year as a sophomore for a team that reached the Class 6A state championship game for the second consecutive season.
Martin and Sylla are leaner, longer prospects who are considered weak-side ends by recruiting services. Cooper recorded 61 tackles and three sacks as a sophomore. He also forced four fumbles and returned one for a touchdown. Sylla is a 6-5, 225-pound prospect who will draw physical comparisons to Joseph Ossai.
Offers: 1 — Bear Alexander, Dallas Skyline
Alexander, a 6-4, 333-pound lineman from Dallas, is the only in-state defensive tackle to hold an offer from Texas in the 2021 or 2022 classes.
He holds 26 offers despite not playing varsity as a sophomore last year following his transfer from Terrell, where he was District 8-5A Division II’s defensive newcomer of the year as a freshman. Texas feels good about its interior defensive line depth after signing Vernon Broughton, Alfred Collins and Sawyer Goram-Welch in 2020.
Offers: 1 — OLB Martrell Harris, The Woodlands
Texas’ defense will likely resemble a 4-2-5, which requires only two linebackers in base defense. That means the Longhorns don’t need the numbers at the position that they required in the 3-3 stack that was preferred by former defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Still, Texas does need to improve the talent at the position with a young, inexperienced group waiting behind Juwan Mitchell and DeMarvion Overshown.
Harris is the only in-state linebacker with an offer. The 6-1, 205-pound outside linebacker holds five offers, including Baylor and Texas A&M. He played junior varsity football as a sophomore because of a transfer from Conroe Grand Oaks following his freshman season.
Offers: 4 — Denver Harris, Galena Park North Shore, Austin Jordan, Denton Ryan, Bobby Taylor, Katy; Jaylon Guilbeau, Port Arthur Memorial
Recruiting is cyclical. Some cycles are loaded at certain positions and weak at others. The 2018 class was headlined by elite defensive backs. The 2020 cycle was loaded at running back and wide receiver. The 2021 cycle will be remembered for the talent at offensive line. The 2022 cycle is destined to be another year led by a handful of borderline five-star defensive backs.
The Houston area is home to three cornerbacks already holding Texas offers. Harris, a 6-1, 180-pound prospect from two-time defending Class 6A state champion Galena Park North Shore, will draw comparisons to Anthony Cook and Jalen Green because of his overwhelming length and technical ability. He already holds 18 offers. Taylor and Guilbeau also boast a strong offers list.
Jordan is a 5-11, 185-pound athlete who can play outside or move to nickel. Texas hopes to build a stranglehold at Denton Ryan considering 2020 stars Ja’Tavion Sanders and Billy Bowman are the two highest-rated commitments in Texas’ class.
Offers: 3 — Christian Driver, Argyle Liberty Christian; Bryce Anderson, Beaumont West Brook; Bryan Allen Jr., Aledo
Texas’ defensive staff is eyeing the Dallas-Fort Worth area for safeties considering Anderson is already pledged to LSU. Driver plays private school football but already holds 33 offers. The 6-1, 180-pound prospect is the son of Donald Driver, a former NFL All-Pro wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers. Christian recorded 67 tackles and two interceptions as a sophomore. Allen is the next big prospect out of Aledo, a perennial Class 5A powerhouse. He took an unofficial visit to Texas over the weekend. He was named the District 4-5A Division II newcomer of the year after recording 122 tackles as a sophomore.