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.

Texas head coach Tom Herman stand for the Eyes of Texas after falling to TCU 37-27 during an NCAA college football game in Fort Worth, Saturday, Oct., 26, 2019. [Stephen Spillman for Statesman]

Football

The Dotted Line: A guide to Texas’ expectations during the early signing period

Posted December 17th, 2019

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A new crop of Longhorns will sign early Wednesday morning. Texas holds 16 commitments entering the early signing period, and each of them indicated that signing early is more likely than waiting until February. Eight of the 16 pledges are expected to enroll early, including quarterback Hudson Card, safety Xavion Alford and defensive lineman Vernon Broughton.

Hudson Card is a four-star prospect from Lake Travis. (Erich Schlegel/Special Contributor)

Texas’ class ranks 10th in the nation and second in the Big 12. Texas and Georgia are the only two programs with a top-10 class despite fewer than 20 commitments. The Longhorns signed top-three classes in 2018 and 2019.

Major news took place late Monday night when four-star wide receiver Quentin Johnston flipped to TCU hours after USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell announced that he was staying with the Trojans. Texas has lost Ty Jordan, Princely Umanmielen, Ethan Pouncey and Joshua Eaton to de-commitments since October. 

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Let’s take a closer look at what to expect during the early signing period.

 

Early morning paperwork

Signing a national letter of intent to a school locks in a commitment. It’s an official agreement between a player and a school. The inception of the early signing period two cycles ago shifted the recruiting calendar. No longer is February’s national signing day the big draw. The early signing period is the new trend with nearly 80 percent of FBS athletes now signing in December. 

Players will hold signing ceremonies throughout the day, but most of the official paperwork will be signed and sent to UT before 9 a.m. Texas will start announcing signings on Twitter in the early morning hours. The Longhorns expect each of their 16 pledges to fax, or digitally email, their letters on Wednesday morning. The latest to arrive might be five-star running back Bijan Robinson because of the time difference in Arizona. 

The early signing period also erased some of the anticipation of signing day. Not as many prospects wait for the hat ceremony anymore as more players began committing before their senior season. The old rules dictated that official visits couldn’t happen until a player’s senior year. The early signing period forced a rule change that allows juniors to take visits in the spring and summer. 

If all goes right for Tom Herman’s program, the 16 pledges should be locked in by noon. He’ll host a press conference at 3 p.m. to discuss the class. 

A lack of fireworks

It’s ill-advised to speak in certainties on the topic of recruiting. These are teenagers who can change their minds on a whim, so nothing is ever a given until a player signs on the dotted line. That said, the Longhorns don’t expect many surprises. Their remaining commitments appear locked in and no news is good news for Texas on Wednesday. Herman hopes his contingent of future players sign without drama or fuss. 

Texas’ class isn’t complete. The Longhorns want to sign at least 20 players, but many of the remaining targets are planning to wait until an all-star game in January or for signing day in February to make a decision. 

Bastrop Cedar Creek defensive tackle Alfred Collins is expected to announce at the all-star game in Antonio on Jan. 4. Five-star cornerback Kelee Ringo is also waiting until the all-star game. Carthage athlete Kelvontay Dixon said he wants to wait until February. 

There is the possibility that Texas swoops in late on a junior college transfer, but it’s more likely that Texas stands pat and focuses on filling out the class in January once the staff knows which players on the current roster are entering the transfer portal after the bowl game. 

An important January 

Herman wrapped up the majority of his previous two classes during the early signing period. That’s not as true this year. The Longhorns still need bodies at several positions before turning the page to the 2021 class. There are only six defensive commits and the new defensive coordinator will want to do some late shopping to add prospects that fit the system. Same with a new offensive coordinator. 

The likelihood of multiple players entering the transfer portal is strong following coaching changes and a 7-5 season. There are sure to be more staff changes once coordinator hires are made official. A new slate could keep some players in Austin, but some will find greener pastures at other programs. 

The amount of players who enter the portal determines how many prospects Texas must pursue in January, or even on the graduate transfer market in the summer. A new coaching staff must hit the ground running and make real impressions on the available targets in order to close the 2020 cycle with momentum. 

Texas' 2020 recruiting class

A list of Texas commitments in the 2020 recruiting class.
PLAYERPOS.SCHOOLSTARSCOMMITMENT DATE
Hudson CardQBLake Travis4May 25 (2018)
Logan ParrOGSan Antonio O'Connor4Oct. 28 (2018)
Jake MajorsOGProsper4Jan. 24
Jaylen GarthOTPort Neches-Groves4Feb. 17
Jaden HullabyATHBishop Dunne3March 30
Ja'Quinden JacksonQB/ATHDuncanville4June 3
Kitan CrawfordCBJohn Tyler4June 21
Prince DorbahOLBHighland Park4July 9
Vernon BroughtonDTCy Ridge4July 17
Andrej KaricOTSouthlake Carroll3July 24
Bijan RobinsonRBSalpointe Catholic (Ariz.)5Aug. 2
Jerrin ThompsonSLufkin4Aug. 11
Xavion AlfordSAlvin Shadow Creek4Aug. 16
Troy OmeireWRFort Bend Austin4Sept. 20
Dajon HarrisonATHHutto3Nov. 5
Sawyer Goram-WelchDTLongview3Dec. 15
Jaylan FordOLBFrisco Lone Star3Dec. 19
Kelvontay DixonWRCarthage4Feb. 4

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