Texas continued the recruiting momentum it gained during the 2018 class on Saturday when Jordan Whittington — a 5-star wide receiver from Cuero and the state’s No. 1-ranked player on the Fabulous 55 — committed to the Longhorns over Texas A&M, UCLA and Florida.
Whittington is Texas’ third commitment for 2019. He’s the No. 26-ranked overall player in the country, per the 247Sports composite ratings.
Whittington plays several positions at the prep level and began his varsity career as a freshman, earning first-team all-district honors as a wide receiver and a safety in 2015. He stepped his game up even more the past two seasons and is the reigning two-time District 15-4A MVP.
“The key for me was the relationships with the coaching staff and the ability to play early,” Whittington said. “Coach (Drew) Mehringer made me a priority and let me know that there is a chance for me to play early because Texas is lacking at the slot receiver position.”
The fact Texas signed an all-star cast of defensive backs in the 2018 class also helped Tom Herman’s program land Whittington.
“Texas’ defensive back class opened my eyes because I’d be going up against them every day,” Whittington said at the Future 50 Camp in Orlando in early January. “We all want to play with great players because the goal is to win a national championship.”
Skill set: Whittington is the best player in the state because of his overall versatility. He does it all on the field and has dominated the Class 4A level like few players. As a junior, he caught 73 passes for 1,457 yards and 16 touchdowns. He added 227 yards and five touchdowns as a rusher and returned one of his three interceptions for a touchdown.
Some think he’s better suited for safety because of his build. The 6-1, 198-pound prospect is ranked as the No. 4 wide receiver in the country and he’s also an excellent return option. Whittington has great hands and route-running ability. He’s also hard to tackle after the catch because of his speed and strength.
Whittington is an elite safety, but prefers the offensive side of the ball. Expect him to play slot and move around the backfield for the Longhorns. He’s played nearly every position at the prep level except for offensive and defensive line. He’s accounted for 37 touchdowns and nine interceptions the last two seasons.
Immediate impact: Whittington is primed to compete for starting snaps as a freshman because of Texas’ lack of consistency at slot receiver. Reggie Hemphill-Mapps has left the program and guys like Jerrod Heard will be gone by the 2019 season. That leaves Whittington to compete with Devin Duvernay and the 2018 signees for snaps.
Whittington chose Texas under the premise that he’ll play early. His type of playmaking ability should be highlighted in a package of plays from the first game and he also can make an immediate impact in the return game, which is another place Texas has lacked explosiveness.
Fitting into the program: Texas is doing a great job recruiting South Texas under Herman. The Longhorns signed San Antonio’s Derek Kerstetter in 2017 and Cibolo Steele 5-star safety Caden Sterns in 2018. Two of the top targets in the 2019 class are Whittington, who is now committed, and Converse Judson defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal. Adding Whittington should only help bolster Texas’ already-good chances of landing Leal, the state’s top-rated defensive tackle.
Recruiting at the position: Whittington is the first piece of the puzzle for Texas at wide receiver. The focus with him in the bag will now shift to Austin-area receivers Garrett Wilson and Elijah Higgins. Landing that trio is the dream scenario for the Longhorns in terms of 2019 receivers. That would give Texas three receivers ranked on the Fab 55 for the second straight class. Other targets include Jake Smith, Dylan Wright and Arjei Henderson.
Tops in Texas — for Texas
Texas has secured the state’s No. 1 recruit 13 times since the American-Statesman’s annual Fabulous 55 rankings of the top recruits began in 1989. Cuero’s Jordan Whittington, who committed to UT on Saturday, would be only the second wide receiver ranked No. 1 to end up a Longhorn:
1992: Shea Morenz, QB, San Angelo Central
1998: Antwan Kirk Hughes, OL, Waxahachie
2000: B.J. Johnson, WR, South Grand Prairie
2001: Cedric Benson, RB, Midland Lee
2002: Vince Young, QB, Houston Madison
2003: Tony Hills, TE, Alief Elsik
2006: Sergio Kindle, LB, Dallas Wilson
2008: Aaron Williams, DB, Round Rock McNeil
2009: Garrett Gilbert, QB, Lake Travis
2010: Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Plano West
2011: Steve Edmond, ILB, Daingerfield
2015: Malik Jefferson, OLB, Mesquite Poteet
2018: BJ Foster, S, Angleton
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|