The Dotted Line

Stay updated on the 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.

A Texas cheerleader runs onto the field with a giant Longhorns flag before an NCAA college football game between Texas and Kansas State on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Austin, Texas. [NICK WAGNER/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

Football

The Dotted Line: Grading Texas’ 2020 defensive signing class

Posted February 11th, 2020

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Texas signed 19 prospects in its 2020 recruiting class after adding a pair of letters of intent on national signing day, following 17 signings in the early period. Defensive lineman Alfred Collins was the only addition on signing day to the defensive class.

Texas’ class ended ranked ninth in the nation and first in the Big 12. Here’s how the Longhorns’ defensive recruits graded out. We graded the offensive class on Monday:

Bastrop Cedar Creek’s Alfred Collins was either a five-star or a four-star prospect depending on the recruiting list, but he definitely was a big signing day get for Texas. (Nick Wagner/American-Statesman)

Defensive linemen: A

Signed (2): Vernon Broughton (4 stars), Sawyer Goram-Welch (3), Alfred Collins (4)

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Texas landed Collins from nearby Bastrop Cedar Creek on signing day; the four-star end was the highest-rated unsigned defensive lineman in the country. The Longhorns can pair him with Broughton, giving them the best pair of defensive linemen signatures in the Big 12. Collins easily can be 300 pounds by the time he makes it to campus.

Broughton was a major get for assistant coach Oscar Giles. He was the highest-rated defensive tackle on the 2020 Fabulous 55 and he enrolled early, providing the 6-5, 286-pound former basketball player an opportunity to learn new defensive coordinator Chris Ash’s scheme early and find a way into the two-deep as a freshman. A schematic move to a four-man front likely helps Broughton find a way onto the field early. 

Goram-Welch is more of a project. The one-time Oklahoma State commit won a state title as a junior. He received an offer from Texas late in the cycle after Utah’s Van Fillinger decommitted. Goram-Welch also enrolled early, and is capable of playing either defensive tackle position in a four-man front. 

Linebackers: B

Signed (2): Prince Dorbah (4), Jaylan Ford (3)

Dorbah is the best pass rusher in the state. He recorded more than 40 sacks in three varsity years. The Highland Park standout was the defensive MVP of the Class 5A Division I state championship last year. He played defensive end in his prep career but is expected to transition to linebacker in the same vein as Joseph Ossai. That could change, however, with Ash needing defensive ends capable of rushing the quarterback. Dorbah needs to add weight to be a three-down defensive end. 

Texas flipped Ford from Utah on the second day of the early signing period. He’s a 6-2, 205-pound outside linebacker who can run like a safety. He held 11 offers, including Utah, Minnesota and Kansas. He is the model of production. He was the District 13-5A defensive newcomer of the year as a sophomore and the District 5-5A Division I MVP as a junior.

Tyler John Tyler’s Kitan Crawford ended up being  the only cornerback that Texas signed in the 2020 recruiting class. (Sarah A. Miller/Tyler Morning Telegraph)

Safeties: B+

Signed (2): Xavion Alford (4), Jerrin Thompson (4)

The Longhorns did a great job at safety with Alford and Thompson. Alford enrolled early and could make an impact as a freshman in the same way Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster did in 2018. Alford helped Alvin Shadow Creek reach back-to-back state title games. He’s considered a versatile safety who can play either deep position or nickel. 

Thompson is a thumper who exudes East Texas physicality. He’ll become a fan favorite because of his pension for big hits. The four-star was always around the ball in his three-year varsity career at Lufkin. 

Cornerbacks: C+

Signed (1): Kitan Crawford (4) 

Crawford is UT’s lone cornerback signee. The East Texas product is a fast, physical player who starred on both sides of the ball at Tyler John Tyler. He’s also a special teams ace and a team player considering his 1,000-yard season at running back as a senior. The Fab 55 member looked great at the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando in January.

But Texas missed on cornerback targets like Kelee Ringo (Georgia) and Ennis Rakestraw (Missouri) and also suffering decommitments from Ethan Pouncey (Florida) and Joshua Eaton (Oklahoma) during the season. The Longhorns wanted to sign at least two corners. And Crawford might up at nickel or safety, leaving a possibility that Texas failed to sign a true cornerback in the cycle. 

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