A month remains before the start of the early signing period and nearly every Texas commitment has confirmed he’ll sign in December. Five of those players are expected to enroll early and that number could grow if Texas closes out with its top targets on offense and defense. The Longhorns currently possess 21 pledges and hope to sign at least 25. That list grew Monday afternoon when Tom Herman’s program landed three-star defensive end Myron Warren out of Louisiana.
Here are four players leaning toward the Longhorns as December approaches:
Isaiah Hookfin, offensive tackle, Fort Bend Dulles
FYI: 6-5/270; 3 stars; No. 35-ranked offensive tackle
Top competition: Arizona State, Illinois, Houston
I watched Hookfin and Dulles fall to Katy Taylor in the bi-district round of the playoffs last Friday night in Houston. Hookfin is a big, athletic tackle with a solid frame and good footwork. He was matched up with Oklahoma commit Braedon Mowry and more than held his own. Hookfin needs more weight and strength added to his frame, but he’d represent a great late-in-class addition at a need position. Texas pulled a similar trick in 2017 with Samuel Cosmi, who’s starting at right tackle as a redshirt freshman.
Noah Cain, running back, IMG Academy (Fla.)
FYI: 5-10/212; 4 stars; No. 7-ranked running back
Top competition: Auburn, LSU, Penn State
The recruiting process went full circle for Cain. The former Denton Guyer star and native of Baton Rouge started the cycle listing LSU and Texas as his most likely destinations. That still rings true with a month before the first signing period. Cain will pick a school on Dec. 19 and enroll early in January. Texas emerged as the favorite after LSU grabbed a pledge from five-star John Emery Jr. Texas also holds a commitment from a running back in four-star Derrian Brown, but it is clear Cain could contribute a lot as a freshman in Austin with only Keaontay Ingram returning with much experience.
Jacoby Jones, defensive end, Butler C.C. (Kans.)
FYI: 6-4/250; 3 stars; No. 1-ranked JUCO strong side defensive end
Top competition: Oregon
Texas is set to lose all three defensive line starters after the season and a JUCO piece on the edge would go a long way in helping this defense rebound in 2019. Jones recently backed away from his commitment to Oklahoma due to the changes ahead on the defensive side of the ball under a new coordinator. That’s allowed Texas and Oregon to emerge as favorites. He took in the Iowa State game last weekend and will visit Oregon this weekend. The Longhorns need Jones and made that clear to the JUCO product on his visit.
Caleb Johnson, outside linebacker, Fullerton College (Calif.)
FYI: 6-1/215; 3 stars; No. 3-ranked JUCO outside linebacker
Top competition: Oregon, UCLA
Johnson is the top target remaining at linebacker. The Longhorns want a fourth prospect to add to De’Gabriel Brooks, Marcus Tillman Jr. and David Gbenda. Johnson was a one-time Iowa State commitment and put Texas on top of his list once he opened back up. Oregon is a team to watch here. Texas is set to lose Gary Johnson and Anthony Wheeler following the season so plenty of snaps are available for Johnson if he picks Texas.