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Texas head coach Tom Herman looks at the replay of a touchdown catch by wide receiver Brennan Eagles (13) against Iowa State during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Football

The Dotted Line: A handful of 2022 defensive targets that Texas is watching closely

Posted September 23rd, 2020

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Football begins across the state of Texas this week for most Class 5A and 6A programs. Texas’ 2021 class is nearly complete, shifting the coaching staff’s focus to the next year’s crop of 2022 recruits. The Longhorns already hold three 2022 pledges. Here are five defensive targets that I want to see early in the 2020 season. We looked at five offensive targets in Tuesday’s Dotted Line:

 

Bear Alexander, DT, Denton Ryan

FYI: 6-3, 325; four stars; No. 10-ranked defensive tackle

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Top offers: Texas A&M, Texas, Baylor, Florida

Texas had success at Denton Ryan in the 2021 cycle by gaining commitments from Ja’Tavion Sanders and Billy Bowman Jr., the two highest-rated pledges in the Longhorns’ current class. Texas hopes to add another duo from Denton Ryan in 2022, including Alexander. 

The big man transferred from Dallas Skyline to Denton Ryan after his sophomore year. He joins a state championship contender. Alexander is at his third high school in as many seasons. He was forced to play junior varsity as a sophomore at Skyline after leaving Terrell following his freshman year. 

 

Justin Medlock, inside linebacker, Manvel

FYI: 6-1, 210; three stars; No. 13-ranked inside linebacker

Top offers: Ohio State, Texas, LSU, Oregon

Manvel isn’t the hotbed of talent it was before the 2016 opening of neighboring high school Shadow Creek, which won the Class 5A Division I state championship last year. Medlock puts Manvel back on the recruiting map for the next two cycles. His offer list is more impressive than his recruiting ranking, and I imagine he moves into the four-star range as a junior. Medlock is the only in-state middle linebacker to hold an offer from the Longhorns. 

He was a first-team all-district selection as a sophomore. He moved to south Houston from DeSoto following his freshman year. His father, Jason, played linebacker at Texas A&M. His brother, Jayce, is a tight end at Connecticut. 

 

Matrell Harris, OLB, The Woodlands

FYI: 6-1, 205; three stars; No. 30-ranked outside linebacker 

Top offers: Texas A&M, Texas, Baylor

Harris holds six offers despite not playing varsity as a sophomore due to transfer rules. He played his freshman season at Conroe Grand Oaks before transferring to The Woodlands. Texas offered him back in February. He was a player I wanted to see during the camp season before everything was canceled. 

Harris is one of two in-state outside linebacker prospects to hold a Texas offer. Finding linebackers in Texas is increasingly difficult as defenses move away from normal schemes in favor of nickel defenses that are more effective against spread offenses.

 

Terrance Brooks, CB, Plano John Paul II

FYI: 6-0, 185; three stars; No. 32-ranked cornerback

Top offers: Oklahoma, Texas, LSU, Texas A&M

Texas started building its 2022 defensive class over the weekend when four-star cornerback Jaylon Guilbeau pledged to the Longhorns over dozens of other Power Five options. Brooks is UT’s only remaining cornerback offer from the state that I haven’t seen in person because of where he plays. I’d like to see how he stacks up against the other offers at the position. He helped John Paul achieve a 10-3 record and a runner-up finish in the TAPPS Division I playoffs. His father, Chet, played safety at Texas A&M and in the NFL. 

 

Christian Driver, S, Argyle Liberty Christian

FYI: 6-1, 180; four stars; No. 12-ranked safety

Top offers: LSU, Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma

Driver is another private school prospect that I hope to see. He’s entering his third season as a varsity starter. His father, Donald, was a star wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers when Brett Favre was throwing him passes. Driver is a big, rangy safety with an impressive offer list. He’ll be a member of the 2022 Fabulous 55 when the list debuts next Februrary. 

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