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.
Names to know on the offensive side
Texas added its third piece to the 2019 offensive recruiting puzzle on May 8 when three-star tight end Brayden Liebrock (Ariz.) pledged to the Longhorns. He joined four-star quarterback Roschon Johnson and four-star wide receiver Jordan Whittington on the offensive side. Tom Herman’s program also holds three defensive commitments.
Texas’ class ranks No. 18 in the nation. The plan is starting to reveal itself as prospects take official visits, release top schools lists and coaches hit the road to watch spring football practices. It’s clear that the 2019 class will possess an out-of-state flair. Three of the six current commitments play outside of Texas and that number could grow to seven or eight by national signing day.
Texas still needs to address the offensive line, add at least one playmaker at running back and build depth at wide receiver and tight end. The summer was when Herman and his staff made a move in the 2018 class and the Longhorns will need similar success to sign another top 10 group.
Here are five offensive targets eyeing commitments to Texas by the end of the cycle.
Noah Cain, running back, IMG Academy (Fla.)
FYI: 5-10/209; 4 stars; No. 2-ranked running back in 2019 class
Top schools: Texas, LSU, Oklahoma
Decision timeline: December
Texas wants to sign at least one of the IMG Academy running backs in 2019. Cain is the clear candidate because of his Texas ties; the powerful, shifty running back played at Denton Guyer as a freshman and sophomore before taking his talents to Florida. He’s the top target at the position and made multiple trips to campus during Herman’s first year as head coach.
Cain splits time in the backfield with Trey Sanders, the nation’s No. 1-rated running back, and holds a Texas offer. He’s quietly in the mix for the Longhorns. Cain says he won’t decide until December. Deondrick Glass, a four-star from Katy, is the only in-state running back with a UT offer.
Jake Smith, wide receiver, Notre Dame Preparatory (Ariz.)
FYI: 6-1/189; 4 stars; No. 18-ranked wide receiver
Top schools: Texas, USC
Decision timeline: June
Texas hopes Smith takes the sting away from missing out on Lake Travis wide receiver Garrett Wilson. Smith is a similar player because of his versatility and playmaking ability. Smith can play in the slot or outside. He can also help as a kick and punt returner. Smith is a refined prospect who can help immediately because of his route-running awareness and consistency with his hands.
Smith became the first Arizona football player since Christian Kirk to rush and receive for more than 1,000 yards in a season when Smith did it as a junior. He’ll take an official visit to USC on May 18 and then to Texas on June 1. Smith is expected to announce his decision soon after the visit to Austin.
Jared Wiley, tight end, Temple
FYI: 6-5/225; 3 stars; No. 43-ranked tight end
Top schools: Texas, Houston, Missouri
Decision timeline: Summer
Gaining a commitment from Liebrock won’t stop the Longhorns from pursuing Wiley. The Temple product recently named Texas in his final three schools, along with Houston and Missouri. A decision is expected by the start of his senior season, and it could come sooner now that his finalists are named. Wiley is a big, long tight end with a ton of upside. He’s a raw prospect who likely needs a redshirt, but that is fine as the No. 2 tight end in the class.
Texas almost signed two tight ends in 2018 but JUCO product Dominick Wood-Anderson de-committed before the early signing period. Herman wants to revitalize the tight end position at Texas and he needs to overhaul the roster to accomplish the mission. Wiley is a player who can be stashed away and develop while guys like Cade Brewer and Reese Leitao lead the way.
Tyler Johnson, offensive tackle, Conroe Oak Ridge
FYI: 6-foot-5/308; 5 stars; No. 15 on the Fabulous 55
Top schools: Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Alabama
Decision timeline: Unknown
Johnson says he wants to wait to pick a college. He’s a Georgia native and would like to visit some SEC schools before pulling the trigger. Still, it appears like the Longhorns are the clear-cut leader for the recently named five-star prospect. Johnson plays at the same high school that produced outside linebacker Joseph Ossai, who signed with Texas in the 2018 class. That relationship should pay dividends for the Longhorns.
Johnson took an official visit to Austin in early May and is Texas’ to lose. He’s yet to announce a top schools list or a timetable for his decision. It is clear that he is Texas’ top target at tackle.
Branson Bragg, center, Crandall
FYI: 6-4/295; 4 stars; No. 41 on the Fabulous 55
Top schools: Texas, Stanford, Texas A&M
Decision timeline: December
Herman is yet to sign a true center prospect in the two cycles in charge at Texas. That could change in the 2019 cycle if the Longhorns land Bragg, the only in-state center to receive a scholarship offer from Texas with Herman in charge. Bragg is a future Under Armour All-American and the No. 3-ranked center in the country. He included Texas among his top eight schools and maintains he’s in no hurry to pick one. He indicated that his decision could extend until December at The Opening regional in April.
Other names to know: Trey Sanders, Dylan Wright, Makiya Tongue, Elijah Higgins, Javonne Shepherd, Stacey Wilkins
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