Texas made its intentions to increase the role of the tight end clear on Saturday when Temple High School’s Jared Wiley chose the Longhorns over Missouri and Houston. The 6-5, 225-pound Temple native is the No. 44-ranked tight end in the country, per the 247Sports composite.
Tom Herman’s program gained a pledge from four-star tight end Brayden Liebrock on May 8. He and Wiley would become the fourth and fifth tight ends signed by Herman in three cycles as head coach of the Longhorns. That doesn’t include welcoming a grad transfer in 2017.
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— J12👀 (@Jaredwiley23) May 26, 2018
“I just followed my heart,” Wiley said. “Home is where the heart is. My gut told me to go there.”
Wiley caught 25 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns as a junior. He could start at quarterback for Temple as a senior, however. The Longhorns now hold eight commitments in the 2019 cycle, which is led by four-stars Jordan Whittington, De’Gabriel Floyd and Kenyatta Watson II.
Skill set: Wiley is a large-framed tight end with athleticism. He’s yet to spend years honing his craft as a receiver as he splits time at quarterback. He’s in position to win the starting quarterback spot at Temple as of spring practice. What Wiley lacks in experience or sheer production, he makes up for with potential. The coaching staff will hope to mold his height, length and athleticism into a three-down tight end who can also play H-back or flex out into the slot.
“I know my upside is at tight end and that can get me to the next level,” Wiley said of his future position. “I’ll need to work on my blocking and footwork. I think I have the receiving part down.”
He should be afforded the time to develop considering the wealth of talent signed by Herman since arriving in Austin. Wiley proved as a junior that he can be a productive tight end. His tape shows a willing blocker who understands how to use his big body as a receiver.
Immediate impact: Wiley won’t need to make an immediate impact as a freshman, which is a testament to the job done on the recruiting trail by the UT staff at the position the past two cycles. Brewer was forced to be ready because of the numbers and a rash of injuries in 2017. Barring something major, the Longhorns should be afforded the luxury of stashing Wiley for a season while Brewer, Leitao and Epps lead the charge.
That doesn’t mean Wiley can’t earn snaps as a freshman. The staff is going to play the best players and Wiley could arrive on campus and play too well to leave on the bench. Liebrock is considered the more college-ready prospect of the two, so it makes sense to assume Wiley is headed toward a redshirt in 2019. That will benefit him in the long run.
Fitting into the program: Texas found gold at Temple in Ta’Quon Graham, a former three-star recruit who is emerging as a key lineman for the Longhorns. Herman hopes the same is true for Wiley. Texas is targeting multiple out-of-state prospects in the 2019 class. Wiley gives the Longhorns an in-state commitment to develop. Wiley’s hard-nosed personality should serve him well under Herman.
Recruiting at the position: Texas accomplished its goal at the tight end position for 2019. The attention now turns to keeping the pair committed until signing day. The Longhorns held two commitments at one point in the 2018 cycle but ended up signing just one prospect at the position. Recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint, and the position will be judged by who signs a national letter of intent. The combination of Liebrock and Wiley would be a success for the staff as it quietly puts together a strong tight end room.
2019 Texas Longhorns recruiting class
|Roschon Johnson||QB||Port Neches-Groves||4||July 21 (2017)|
|T'Vondre Sweat||DE||Huntsville||3||Feb. 28|
|Jordan Whittington||WR||Cuero||4||March 10|
|De'Gabriel Floyd||OLB||Westlake Village (Calif.)||4||March 31|
|Kenyatta Watson II||DB||Grayson (Ga.)||4||May 1|
|Brayden Liebrock||TE||Chandler (Ariz.)||3||May 8|
|Tyler Johnson||OL||Conroe Oak Ridge||5||May 25|
|Jared Wiley||TE||Temple||3||May 26|
|Jake Smith||WR||Notre Dame Preparatory (Ariz.)||4||June 3|
|Peter Mpagi||DE||George Ranch||3||June 16|
|Chris Adimora||S||Mayfair (Calif.)||4||July 1|
|Marques Caldwell||CB||Alvin||3||July 7|
|Demariyon Houston||WR||Millwood (Okla.)||4||July 7|
|Marcus Tillman Jr.||OLB||Jones (Fla.)||3||July 28|
|Javonne Shepherd||OT||North Forest||4||July 29|
|Derrian Brown||RB||Buford (Ga.)||4||Sept. 16|
|Tyler Owens||S||Plano East||4||Sept. 24|
|David Gbenda||ILB||Katy Cinco Ranch||4||Sept. 30|
|Peyton Powell||ATH||Odessa Permian||4||Oct. 23|
|Marcus Washington||WR||Trinity Catholic (Mo.)||4||Oct. 26|