Football

The Dotted Line: David Gbenda, Rashad Wisdom talk recruiting, Texas interest

Posted April 18th, 2018

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Stay updated on latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Longhorns recruiting beat writer Mike Craven of Hookem.com. The Dotted Line will publish M-F at 10 a.m. each morning to provide Texas fans with an in-depth look at the latest for the Longhorns on the recruiting trail.


David Gbenda remains a priority for the Longhorns

A recent hand injury kept Katy Cinco Ranch linebacker David Gbenda from participating at the recent Under Armour All-America Camp Series at Spring Westfield. The 6-foot, 212-pound four-star raised his stock with a strong performance at The Opening regional in Houston earlier in the offseason.

That led to offers from programs like Texas, TCU, Texas A&M and others. It way admittedly overwhelming for Gbenda, at least at first.

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Katy Cinco Ranch linebacker David Gbenda is the only in-state middle linebacker with a Texas offer. (Mike Craven)

“I didn’t expect it to be like this, so the goal is stay humble and grounded,” Gbenda said. “It’s great to come to camps like this because it reminds you that there are better players out there and that a lot of work is to be done.”

Gbenda views himself as a middle linebacker who can get sideline-to-sideline. He’s also not afraid to mix it up inside the tackle box. He uses speed instead of brute force and is solid in coverage against running backs and defensive backs. Gbenda is the No. 43-ranked player on the initial 2019 Fabulous 55 and the only in-state middle linebacker with an offer from Texas.

“My athleticism and ability to create big plays are what I hope shows up on film. I’m becoming a student of the game and the district I play in against Katy, Katy Taylor and some of the other great schools make you focus on technique and the mental aspect of the game,” he said. “I’m still evaluating the schools and trying to put together a list.”

Texas is likely to be on any top schools list Gbenda releases in the future. He’s close with defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and likes the scheme used in Austin.

“I like that Todd Orlando is about business and knows how to coach a defense,” Gbenda said. “Texas runs a lot of stunts and uses the linebacker in different ways, so the way Texas plays is appealing.”

A new defensive back target emerges

The in-state options at safety are becoming thin with Texas targets like Brian Williams and Demani Richardson choosing Texas A&M. Four-star safety Jamal Morris, who also held a Texas offer, chose Oklahoma after a visit to Norman for the spring game. Jalen Catalon of Mansfield Legacy and recent move-in Lewis Cine of Cedar Hill Trinity Christian are the only in-state safeties in the state who are uncommitted.

A player moving up Texas’ board, and maybe even approaching an offer, is Converse Judson safety Rashad Wisdom. The three-star defensive back can play safety or nickel back. That versatility is something Texas likes in defenders.

Wisdom is planning to attend Texas’ Orange-White game on Saturday and is in contact with the Texas staff. A trip to College Station with teammate DeMarvin Leal, the top-rated defensive linemen in the state, helped move Texas A&M up his board.

“Texas A&M is standing out right now. It feels like home and they’ve had me up there twice,” Wisdom said. “Boston College and UTSA are also showing me a lot of love. I see myself playing nickel back, and even help at running back and slot receiver. I also want to return kicks.”

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound prospect holds seven offers, including Boston College, Virginia and a collection of non-P5 offers from programs like UTSA and North Texas. A recent run of impressive camp performances raised his stock, and he hopes upcoming spring practice at Judson leads to higher-profile offers.

“I always want to dominate at these camps and I’ve been doing that consistently,” Wisdom said Sunday after the Under Armour All-America Camp Series. “It’s a chance to make a statement. I feel like once we start spring ball more offers will start coming my way.”

Orange-White game expected to host dozens of elite targets

A spring game and junior days are the most important recruiting events for a program each offseason. A junior day allows potential targets to become more familiar with the coaching staff, current players, the campus and facilities.

A spring game provides an opportunity for the program to showcase what it feels like to play for the football team because of the fan involvement and game-like scrimmage inside the home stadium. It’s a preview for the next four years, and with the changes in recruiting rules, it’s also a time where recruits can take official visits.

Garrett Wilson, a four-star wide receiver from Lake Travis, is planning to take his official visit this weekend. He was in Columbus for an official visit to Ohio State last weekend and admitted that Ohio State holds an edge leading into the weekend.

Wilson won’t be the only star on campus. Texas’ list of expectant visitors is growing by the minute on social media, including current commits Jordan Whittington and De’Gabriel Floyd. The list also includes elite offensive linemen like Branson Bragg, EJ Ndoma-Ogar and Javonne Shepherd.

It’s important weekend for Texas because of the recent recruiting momentum built by Texas A&M and Oklahoma following their spring games last weekend. Oklahoma picked up commitments from a trio of Fabulous 55 members, while Texas A&M landed tight end Baylor Cupp and, according to rumors, Converse Judson defensive linemen DeMarvin Leal.

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