Texas’ 2021 recruiting class is headlined by defensive stars. Eight of the Longhorns’ nine highest-ranked pledges project to the defensive side of the ball, including two-way athletes Ja’Tavion Sanders and Billy Bowman Jr. The offense added two players over the last week with three-star center Michael Myslinski and three-star wide receiver Jaden Alexis joining the fold.
Tom Herman’s class currently ranks 13th in the nation and first in the Big 12. The new defensive staff headed up by coordinator Chris Ash wants to add potential playmakers along the line and at linebacker. Texas is also in the mix for a local safety.
The Longhorns, hoping to sign a fourth straight top-10 class, remain in great shape with a handful of prospects to finish out the cycle:
Andrew Mukuba, S, Austin LBJ
FYI: 6-0, 185; four stars; No. 12-ranked safety
Fab 55 rank: 30th
Top schools: Texas, Clemson, Oklahoma
The Longhorns are among the top schools for Mukuba, a local prospect with an impressive offer list. He was one of five players to debut on the updated version of the Fabulous 55. Mukuba was a two-way starter for LBJ as a junior, earning first-team all-district honors on offense and second-team honors on defense. But safety is his long-term position.
Texas is battling it out with Clemson and Oklahoma. Its sights are set firmly on Mukuba with Manor safety Devin Lemear picking Baylor on Saturday night. The trio of Bowman, JD Coffey and Mukuba would form the best safety class in America.
Terrence Cooks, OLB, Alvin Shadow Creek
FYI: 6-2, 210; three stars; No. 25-ranked outside linebacker
Fab 55 rank: 44
Top schools: Texas, Oklahoma, Texas A&M
Cooks is a long-time target for Texas. He was announced as the program’s top priority at linebacker during a visit to campus before the pandemic halted travel. He’s an athletic linebacker with a high upside. He helped Shadow Creek win the Class 5A Division I state championship as a junior. His former teammate, safety Xavion Alford, signed with the Longhorns in 2020.
Albert Regis, DT, La Porte
FYI: 6-1, 300; three stars; No. 33-ranked defensive tackle
Top schools: Texas, Texas A&M, Minnesota
Texas did a great job signing interior line prospects in 2020 with Vernon Broughton, Alfred Collins and Sawyer Goram-Welch. The Longhorns are searching for multiple defensive ends in the cycle, but only one true defensive tackle. Regis in the mold of a nose tackle like Keondre Coburn. He’s a run stopper with surprising athleticism for a big man. Regis plays tight end on offense for La Porte. He was a first-team all-district selection as a junior and his district’s sophomore of the year in 2018. Texas is considered the favorite over in-state rivals Texas A&M and Baylor.
Marcus Burris, DL, Texarkana Pleasant Grove
FYI: 6-4, 280; four stars; No. 8-ranked strong-side defensive end
Top schools: Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas
Fab 55: 14
Burris a longshot, but Texas is still in the mix after he released a top-three list of schools consisting of the Longhorns, Texas A&M and Oklahoma. The Sooners are considered the favorite. Pleasant Grove is also home to four-star defensive end Landon Jackson, who is committed to LSU. Burris is ranked as a strong-side defensive end by recruiting services, though a move to three-technique as a tackle is the most likely destination for Burris on the field. He’s recorded 167 tackles, including 18 sacks, over the past two seasons. He’s helped his high school win a pair of state championships in three years of varsity contributions.
Shemar Turner, DE, DeSoto
FYI: 6-4, 282; four stars; No. 10-ranked strong-side defensive end
Top schools: Alabama, Texas, Geogia, LSU
Fab 55 rank: 15
Turner is another big-bodied defensive end with a chance to move inside to three-technique in a traditional four-man defensive front. He’s also an ideal candidate to play end in an odd-man front. Turner’s scheme preference likely determines his college destination. Texas is battling SEC powers like Alabama, Georgia and LSU. He’s recorded 124 tackles, including 12 sacks, in the past two seasons. Turner plays a higher level of competition on a weekly basis than Regis and Burris.