Football

The Dotted Line: Longhorns continue to explore outside of borders for 2019 talent

Posted June 7th, 2018

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Stay updated on 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 sets sights outside borders

Texas’ nine-man 2019 class consists of four out-of-state commitments. It started in California when four-star outside linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd pledged to the Longhorns. His commitment was followed by four-star cornerback Kenyatta Watson II (Ga.) and three-star tight end Brayden Liebrock (Ariz.). Jake Smith, a four-star wide receiver from Arizona, chose Texas over USC on Sunday night.

IMG Academy running back Noah Cain at the Future 50 Camp in Orlando. (Mike Craven/American-Statesman)

Tom Herman isn’t done recruiting outside the borders. Texas dominated the 2018 Fabulous 55 by signing 11 of the top 16 players in the state, including the entire top five. That success won’t be repeated inside the state in 2019. The entire top 10 of the 2019 Fabulous 55 is already committed. Two of them are headed to Texas. It’s a year that Herman and his staff must search outside of the state.

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Here are realistic out-of-state options who already hold offers from Texas:

Noah Cain, running back, IMG Academy (Fla.)

FYI: 5-10.5/216; 4 stars; No. 2-ranked running back

Top schools: Texas, LSU, Ohio State

Cain remains Texas’ top target at running back. The Louisiana native moved to Texas before high school and made a name for himself early in his high school career at Denton Guyer. He was the District 5-6A newcomer of the year as a freshman and a second-team all-state selection as a sophomore before heading to IMG Academy.

He split time with Trey Sanders, the No. 1-ranked running back in the 2019 class and a fellow Texas target, as a junior and will do so again as a senior. The only in-state running back holding an offer from the Longhorns is Katy four-star Deondrick Glass.

Makiya Tongue, athlete, LSU University Lab (La.)

FYI: 6-2/210; 4 stars; No. 14-ranked athlete

Top schools: Texas, Arizona State, Florida

Texas has yet to gain a commitment in 2019 from a Louisiana prospect and that could change with Tongue, an intriguing athlete who can play wide receiver or linebacker. He’d prefer to start his career on offense and get a chance to make plays with the football. His body size and athleticism make defensive coordinators drool at the prospect of turning him into an outside linebacker who can blitz and cover in space.

The Longhorns offered him on Feb. 22 and immediately emerged as a leading candidate for his signature. Tongue took a recent official to Arizona State and was in Austin for his visit during spring practice. He is the son of Oregon State product and NFL safety Reggie Tongue.

Chris Adimora, safety, Mayfair, Calif.

FYI: 6-1/195; 4 stars; No. 23-ranked safety

Top schools: Texas, Nebraska, Boise State

Herman enjoys his trips back to the west coast to recruit his old stopping grounds, signified by the signature of quarterback Cameron Rising in 2018 and the current commitment of outside linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd. Texas might not be done pillaging talent from California if it can close on Adimora, who set a commitment date for Aug. 11. A decision could come sooner than planned, however, and Texas is in pole position.

Texas has yet to get a pledge from a safety in the 2019 class, though Watson, who is committed as a cornerback, possesses the size and experience to play safety. The top in-state target at the position is four-star Jalen Catalon of Mansfield Legacy.

Stacey Wilkins, offensive tackle, Camden (Ark.) Fairview

FYI: 6-6.5/280; 4 stars; No. 22-ranked offensive tackle

Top schools: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas

The Longhorns landed their first piece along the offensive line in the 2019 class when five-star Tyler Johnson pledged to Texas. Herman and offensive line coach Herb Hand want to add at least two more linemen to the mix, and would prefer to sign a minimum of four in 2019. Johnson is accounted for, and the Longhorns feel good about their chances to eventually land tackle Javonne Shepherd and center Branson Bragg.

That, in theory, leads one spot open if scholarship numbers allow. Wilkins is the top uncommitted prospect remaining on the board. He was offered by Texas on junior day and is reportedly high on the Longhorns and Hand. Oklahoma is the current leader with Arkansas a threat because of the in-state advantage.

Faatui Tuitele, defensive tackle, Honolulu (HI) St. Louis

FYI: 6-4/299; 5 stars; No. 2-ranked defensive tackle

Top schools: Alabama, Clemson, Texas

Tuitele is a longshot, but Texas did make the big Hawaiian’s final five. Alabama is considered the favorite with Clemson in second place. That doesn’t mean the Longhorns are out of the race. A visit could help move the Longhorns toward the front of the pack. Herman wants to sign a true defensive tackle in 2019 and Tuitele would represent a massive rebound after losing out, at least for the moment, on Texas A&M commit DeMarvin Leal.

Rian Davis, outside linebacker, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fla.)

FYI: 6-2.5/233; 4 stars; No. 25-ranked outside linebacker

Top schools: Georgia, Louisville, Texas

Texas’ only linebacker commit so far is from Floyd, a similar prospect to Davis. Both are big, hard-nosed players with rare athleticism for linebackers. Davis is set to visit Austin in June and the Longhorns hope to make him part of a trio of linebacker commitments in 2019. Tongue, who does prefer wide receiver, could be considered part of the linebacker group by the staff if he chooses the Longhorns. The only real in-state target at linebacker for Texas is Katy Cinco Ranch four-star inside linebacker David Gbenda.

Zach Williams, defensive end, Joe T. Robinson (Ark.)

FYI: 6-4/220; 4 stars; No. 26-ranked defensive end

Top schools: Arkansas, Texas

Williams picked up an Oregon offer on Tuesday night and continues to watch his recruiting stock grow. He’s a long, athletic edge rusher who can grow into a three-down end or play outside linebacker in a four-linebacker scheme. Texas runs such a scheme and Williams would fit into the same position projected for 2018 signee Joseph Ossai. He and Wilkins are two of the best players in Arkansas and the Longhorns are actively in pursuit of both.

Derek Stingley, cornerback, Dunham School (La.)

FYI: 6-0.5/193; 5 stars; No. 1-ranked cornerback

Top schools: LSU, Florida, Texas

Stingley will pick between LSU, Florida and Texas on June 20. He plans to sign in December and enroll early. He’s a big, athletic cornerback who is without question the best player at his position in the 2019 cycle. LSU is the overwhelming favorite. No team closes its borders for top targets better than LSU and the Tigers should be favored for every in-state prospect it wants until proven otherwise. Stingley is an instant-impact cornerback.

Other names to know: Derek Stingley (CB), Zach Williams (DE), Noa Pola-Gates (S), Trey Sanders (RB), Jermaine Johnson (DE), Marcus Hicks (DE), Jacoby Jones (DE), Jaren Mangham (ATH), Nathan Pickering Jr. (DE)

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