Football

The Dotted Line: DeMarvin Leal visits Texas; Elijah Higgins focuses on three schools

Posted May 7th, 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. 


DeMarvin Leal makes unexpected visit to Texas

Austin played host to some of raps elite Saturday night when J. Cole, Migos, Young Thug and others gathered at Circuit of the Americas for JMBLYA, an all-day music festival. The Longhorns leveraged the lineup to put on a show for the visitors on campus over the weekend.

That visitors list included four-star defensive tackle DeMarvin Leal. The Texas A&M commit took an official visit to Austin and took in the concert with current players, 2018 commits and 2019 targets. Leal, who plays football at Converse Judson, surprised many by committing to the Aggies following his official visit to College Station in mid-April. He announced his commitment on April 18.

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The decision surprised many, including sources within the Judson coaching staff and within Leal’s own family. The Longhorns were considered the favorite for the No. 3-ranked player on the initial 2019 Fabulous 55 before Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies wowed the 6–4, 280-pounder. It was a win for Fisher, sure, but it won’t matter unless Texas A&M can fend off Texas until Leal signs a national letter of intent.

Leal is the best defender in the state. He’s also an ideal fit for an odd-man front like the one employed by UT defensive coordinator Todd Orlando because of his ability to play tackle or end. Leal plays both for Judson, playing a similar position to the one occupied by Chris Nelson on the Longhorns’ defense. Texas was never going to throw in the towel for Leal until he signs, and that point was proven when he took an official visit despite his commitment.

This will be a head-to-head battle behind the scenes throughout the cycle. The winner won’t be declared until Leal puts ink to paper during the early signing period in December or on national signing day in February. Leal was the District 27-6A defensive MVP as a junior and a first-team all-district selection as a sophomore.

Texas used the city of Austin itself to bolster its recruiting efforts by taking advantage of an all-star lineup of artists the young generation of players worship. It’s another example of Herman playing to Texas’ strengths instead of forcing the issue early in a recruiting cycle. Herman got a grill when he coached at Houston. He gets it. Using a rap concert to lure top prospects to his campus is recruiting in 2018.

Elijah Higgins narrows focus to three teams

Texas lost one superstar wide receiver prospect to an out-of-state program when Lake Travis five-star Garrett Wilson chose Ohio State over the Longhorns. Herman hopes he won’t lose another one in the cycle in Elijah Higgins. Texas is firmly in the mix, but so are programs like Ohio State and Stanford. Higgins, an Austin Bowie product, will visit Stanford this weekend.

Austin Bowie wide receiver Elijah Higgins at Texas’ junior day. (Mike Craven)

He was also at JMBLYA with UT players and targets despite not using the weekend for a visit. That’s the advantage of living in the city. The Longhorns will use that proximity to help recruit the four-star wide receiver and Higgins admits the city of Austin is a big reason that Texas is among his top schools.

“I have great relationships with the coaching staff and I love Austin,” Higgins said. “Ohio State has an amazing football program where they develop athletes and put a lot of players into the league. Stanford is a ridiculous mix of top football and academics.”

The 6-3, 215-pound receiver is a big-bodied recruit who is a nightmare for defenders on third downs and in the red zone. Higgins was a first-team all-district selection as a sophomore and a junior. He’s recorded 1,053 yards and 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons. He fractured his wrist in April but expects to return to spring practice following his visit to Stanford.

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