Atascocita junior wide receiver Landen King, right, celebrates a touchdown against South Houston with teammate Colby Mouton in 2019. [Houston Chronicle]

Football

Commitment 101: Tight end Landen King provides athleticism, versatility to future Texas offense

Posted April 26th, 2020

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Texas’ 2021 recruiting class grew to seven members on Sunday night when three-star Humble Atascocita tight end Landen King gave his pledge to the Longhorns. The 6-5, 210-pound prospect held 28 offers, picking Texas over programs like Georgia, Texas A&M and Oregon. King was a first-team all-district selection as an H-Back his junior season, catching 53 passes for 853 yards and nine touchdowns.

“Texas recruiting me hardest and showed that they wanted me on the team,” King said. “I love the staff and the city of Austin.”

King is Texas’ first commitment in the 2021 class since five-star athlete Ja’Tavion Sanders pledged back in September of 2019. The travel restrictions placed on prospects and coaches due to COVID-19 slowed down the 2021 recruiting cycle. Players are currently not allowed to visit campuses and college coaches cannot go to high school campuses. King is the 38th-ranked tight end in the country, per 247Sports composite rankings.

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Skill set: King creates mismatches in the passing game. He’s too big for cornerbacks and too athletic for linebackers and safeties. He came into his own as a junior, learning how to use his body size as an advantage as a receiver. It’s easy to see that King is a solid basketball player because of his vertical and ability to high-point a football. Texas wants big, athletic weapons at tight end and H-Back, much like the Longhorns plan to use former wide receiver Malcolm Epps in 2020. 

“I see myself playing all over the field,” King said. “I can play H-Back or traditional tight end with my hand on the ground or in the slot. I’m versatile, so I’ll be wherever the team needs me.”

King isn’t physically ready to be a three-down tight end. He doesn’t possess the ability to block bigger defensive ends at the point of attack, but that’s not something he’s asked to do a ton in high school. He should be able to improve on his physicality once he dedicates himself to a college strength and conditioning program. The Longhorns have searched for difference makers at tight end with little success for a decade. Texas hopes the combination of King and Juan Davis, a fellow commitment in the 2021 cycle, can help inject athleticism into the position. 

Immediate impact: Texas shouldn’t need King to become an instant contributor and that is a sign of a healthy program. King needs a year or two to develop into a three-down tight end and the depth at the position should allow him to do that without much trouble. The Longhorns like the potential of Jared Wiley and Brayden Liebrock, as well as position shift for Epps. Texas signed three-star Jaden Hullaby in 2020. 

Fitting into the program: King is the first commitment for Texas since the staff underwent significant personnel changes on offense and defense. Moving forward, each commitment in the 2021 class should reflect what the new coordinators envision for the future at each position. King’s inclusion, along with the move of Epps inside, suggests that the new offensive staff wants the tight end position to be a featured weapon and not simply an extra blocker in short-yardage situations. 

Recruiting at the position: King is a true tight end that the coaching staff will count towards the numbers at that position. Davis, a three-star athlete from Everman High School, is listed as an athlete. He’s played quarterback and wide receiver in college, but his 6-4, 217-pound frame could be used as a wide receiver, tight end or even defensive end at the collegiate level. If Davis is considered a prospect at a different position, or if he de-commits, expect Texas to search for a second tight end in the class. 

PLAYERPOS.HIGH SCHOOLSTARSCOMMITMENT DATE
Hayden ConnerOTKaty Taylor4July 23 (2019)
Juan DavisWR/TEEverman3July 26 (2019)
Derrick Harris Jr.DENew Caney4Aug. 3 (2019)
Ja'Tavion SandersATHDenton Ryan5Sept. 8 (2019)
Jordon ThomasDEPort Arthur Memorial4May 2
Morice BlackwellOLBArlington Martin4May 10
Jonathon BrooksRBHallettsville3May 15
Casey CainWRWarren Easton (La.)3May 15
Isaac PearsonPProKick AustrailiaNRMay 29
Ishmael IbraheemCBDallas Kimball4June 15
JD CoffeySKennedale4June 15
Jamier JohnsonCBJohn Muir (Pasadena, Calif.)4July 3
Gunnar HelmTECherry Creek (Englewood, Colo.)3July 27
Michael MyslinskiCBishop Kennedy (Jacksonville, Fla.)3Aug. 6
Jaden AlexisWRMonarch Prep (Pompano Beach, Fla.)3Aug. 8
Charles WrightQBAustin3Aug. 22
Max MerrilOTStrake Jesuit3Sept. 25
Terrence CooksOLBAlvin Shadow Creek4Nov. 14
Byron Murphy IIDTDeSoto3Nov. 18

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