The 2019 class is officially in the rearview mirror now that national signing day came and went with a whimper. The bulk of Texas’ class signed in December during the early period with Bru McCoy’s transfer from USC and the signing of four-star offensive lineman Javonne Shepherd taking place this year. McCoy transferred in January while Shepherd elected to not sign early and take some official visits before ultimately sticking with Texas.
Here are the offensive grades for this year’s class. We’ll grade the defensive signees at noon.
Signings: Roschon Johnson
Nothing wrong with signing the best dual-threat quarterback in the state. Texas identified Johnson as its priority at the position early and earned his commitment back in July 2017. It was a down year for quarterbacks in Texas and around the country. Johnson wasn’t as highly regarded as Cameron Rising was in 2018, but that doesn’t mean a thing once a prospect is on campus.
Running backs: Unknown
Signings: Derrian Brown
Brown is a legit prospect worthy of his four-star status. He’s the No. 13-ranked running back in the nation and played at a major prep program in Buford, Ga. The disappointment was missing out on both Trey Sanders and Noah Cain of IMG Academy. Cain picked Penn State. Sanders is headed to Alabama. None of that matters, however, if Brown doesn’t recover fully from surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain.
That leaves the Longhorns in a bind because the numbers aren’t great at running back. Only Keaontay Ingram and Daniel Young return with any real experience. Expect Jordan Whittington to get some backfield carries, and it might even be correct to include the Cuero five-star as a running back in this year’s class.
Wide receivers: A+
Signings: Jordan Whittington, Jake Smith, Kennedy Lewis, Marcus Washington, Bru McCoy
Texas managed to sign a strong five-man wide receivers group despite the lost commitments of guys like Demariyon Houston (Nebraska) and Peyton Powell (Baylor). Texas also missed out on local prospects like Garrett Wilson (Ohio State) and Elijah Higgins (Stanford). Whittington is a stud and Smith won Gatorade’s national player of the year award after recording more than 2,000 yards of total offense as a junior and a senior. Lewis is a well-rounded athlete with a 6-3 frame and Washington was named MVP of the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando after scoring two touchdowns.
McCoy’s transfer made this wide receivers class move from good to great. Whether he can play in 2019 or 2020, he brings a level of physicality and explosiveness that is hard to find in prep athletes. He may spend some time on defense, but his primary position will be receiver where he can work the slot or play outside.
Tight ends: A
Signings: Brayden Liebrock, Jared Wiley
The Longhorns were masterful recruiting at tight end. Liebrock is a polished receiving threat who can flex out and create mismatches whether he lines up against smaller cornerbacks or slower safeties and linebackers. He’s also a known winner from his time at Chandler High in Arizona. Wiley is more of a project after spending time at quarterback in high school. Texas wants to utilize its tight ends more in the passing game and both guys excel at that part of the position.
Offensive line: A-
Signings: Tyler Johnson, Isaiah Hookfin, Javonne Shepherd
The offensive line was almost a real concern when Texas managed just one signature on Wednesday. Johnson is a four-star prospect and the best tackle Herman has signed since taking the job in Austin, but Texas needed multiple players at the position. The potential meltdown started when Javonne Shepherd chose not to sign in December, adding more smoke to the rumors of a potential flip to Texas A&M. The concerns heightened when four-star tackle Isaiah Hookfin appeared headed to Baylor instead of Texas.
Hookfin postponed his planned decision on Friday — the final day of the early period — but eventually signed with Texas that night. It gave Texas a strong pair of in-state tackles and the chance to convince Shepherd to stick with the Longhorns. Shepherd signed on Wednesday to close out the class. The Longhorns are still expected to pursue graduate transfers along the line.
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||4||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|
|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|
|Marcus Washington||WR||Trinity Catholic (Mo.)||4||Oct. 26|
|Myron Warren||DE||Many (La.)||3||Nov. 19|
|Jacoby Jones||DE||Butler C.C.||3||Nov. 21|
|Caleb Johnson||OLB||Fullerton College (Calif.)||3||Dec. 17|
|Kennedy Lewis||WR||Melissa||3||Dec. 18|
|Isaiah Hookfin||OT||Fort Bend Dulles||4||Dec. 21|
|Bru McCoy||ATH||Mater Dei (Calif.)||5||Jan. 25|