Texas’ offensive line is in good hands. The unit improved on the field under assistant coach Herb Hand in 2018 and recruits are taking notice. The Longhorns hold commitments from five prospects in the 2020 class, and three of them are offensive linemen. All have given credit to Hand for their early pledge. Texas signed three linemen in 2019 and all three were four-star prospects, as are the three 2020 pledges.
Logan Parr was the first lineman to commit to Texas in this cycle. Jake Majors and Jaylen Garth followed. The Longhorns hope four-stars Chad Lindberg and Damien George follow. That’d be five Fab 55 offensive linemen in one class.
“I’ve been talking with Chad (Lindberg), Jake (Majors), Jaylen (Garth) and Damien George since The Opening sophomore year,” Parr said. “It’s cool to make that connection with them if they do choose Texas.”
That connection matters. All five share a text message group. Parr and Lindberg communicate every day on Snapchat. The connection with Hand matters, too. He’s grown close with the big men in the state with his straightforward nature and love of food.
“Coach Hand isn’t on your back like some coaches who text you four times a day, but he makes sure Texas is on my mind,” Lindberg said. “He also loves food, so we share that in common.”
Sophomore tackle Hayden Conner also mentioned Hand’s culinary efforts at the Under Armour camp in Houston.
“Herb Hand is an awesome guy. I love hanging out with him, and I know that he cooks for his guys each Friday, so that is a plus,” he said. “Texas is in my top three.”
Texas wants to become the bully of the Big 12. A big, powerful offensive line is how Tom Herman and company go from competing for the Big 12 title to competing for a national championship. It all starts with recruiting. Herman knows it, as does Hand. The two need SEC-caliber linemen to contend with SEC programs on the upcoming schedules, as well as for any potential matchups in the college football playoff.
“Texas wants me to make an impact, especially in the SEC games lined up,” Lindberg said. “I can be a big recruiter for them to help get Zachary Evans and Damien George.”
There are levels in recruiting. Each piece of the puzzle is important. Evans, a five-star running back from Galena Park North Shore, is the state’s top prize in 2020. He’s ranked as the country’s best running back and is in the conversation for best prospect in the country. Texas missed on its big running back targets in 2019. Landing Evans is imperative for the Longhorns’ plan to run the Big 12 by running the football.
“The offensive line is the most important thing to me and I’m noticing what Texas is doing right now in my class and in the class before me,” Evans said. “Those are the guys who will block for me and the best running back in the world can’t do anything without a dominant offensive line.”
It’s also working for the 2021 class. Conner is among a great crop of offensive line talent in the next cycle. Sophomores Reuben Fatheree II, Bryce Foster, Conner and Donovan Jackson are all Houston-based big men with early UT offers. The four talk about joining forces in college and Texas is in the mix for each prospect.
“Texas was among my top three visits. It was amazing,” Jackson said. “I loved it. I spent the whole day with coach Hand touring the facilities and talking to academic advisors.”
Foster, who plays with Conner at Katy Taylor, echoed those sentiments.
“Coach Hand stands out at Texas,” he said. “He was at Auburn and he gave me the second offer I ever got. It is also close to home.”