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.
Location hurts T’Vondre Sweat’s recruiting stock
There are huge personalities in the recruiting game, whether it be high school prospects, trainers or recruiting coordinators. It’s as much of a tell-me world as it is a show-me world. Bravado reigns supreme on social media, and players with big mouths — or Twitter accounts — tend to get the most attention. Texas defensive line commitment T’Vondre Sweat doesn’t care about any of the hype.
“I’m committed to the University of Texas, so I don’t really care about star rankings and who is ranked ahead of me. I know I can play,” Sweat said last week after a spring practice at Huntsville. “Scholarships mattered to me more than hype. I’ve been waiting for pads to come back on. I’m ready for my senior season.”
Sweat is one of the five 2019 commitments for Texas. The three-star defensive end is ranked as the No. 642nd-best overall prospect in the nation by the 247Sports composite ratings. Texas’ next lowest-ranked player in the class is quarterback Roschon Johnson, who’s ranked No. 201.
The 6-3, 265-pound defensive lineman doesn’t sweat the lack of attention. He understands location plays against him in recruiting circles. He also knows the state of Texas understands his talent. Sweat is ranked No. 46 on the initial 2019 Fabulous 55.
“Huntsville isn’t really East Texas or Houston. Not too many people get this way, which doesn’t make sense because we have some talent out this way,” Sweat said. “At the end of the day, none of the other stuff matters. All that matters is the faith I have in myself and the faith the coaching staff has in me.”
Sweat readies to contribute as a freshman
Defensive line coach Oscar Giles has faith in Sweat. Giles told the 16-year-old to get his body and mind right for his freshman season because the Longhorns will need depth up front. The Longhorns are set to lose linemen like Chris Nelson and Charles Omenihu before Sweat arrives on campus. His high school coach thinks Sweat’s future is at defensive line because of his big frame.
“We’re talking about a guy who already plays at 260 and he’s only 16. He’ll probably grow into a three-technique defensive tackle who can keep the pass rushing skills and speed that make him special,” said Huntsville head coach Rodney Southern. “We knew as a freshman he was special because of how he moved at tight end and defensive end. He’s a coachable player, also.”
Sweat wants to take his official visit to Texas by the end of the spring. He became Texas’ second pledge of the 2019 class when he pledged on Feb. 28 over offers from Texas A&M, Oklahoma and Alabama. His reasoning for picking the Longhorns was simple.
“I wanted to stay inside the state, so I decided that I might as well go to Texas because it is the best school,” he said. “I have a great relationship with coach Giles and coach (Tom) Herman is like a father figure to me.”
Roschon Johnson with a clear message to his peers
The job of a quarterback extends beyond completion percentages and touchdowns. A quarterback is expected to be a leader and that remains true even for quarterback commitments. Texas started its 2019 class in the summer of 2017 when four-star dual-threat quarterback Roschon Johnson of Port Neches-Groves picked the Longhorns.
It was one dream fulfilled.
“I was 10 when I started playing quarterback. I realized I wanted to pursue it full-on at 12 and that’s what I’ve been chasing since,” Johnson said. “I knew where I wanted to go and who I wanted to play for, so I committed. My focus is now on my senior year and improving as a quarterback before I reach college.”
Johnson earned MVP honors for the quarterbacks at a recent The Opening regional at Euless Trinity. The performance earned him a trip to the Elite 11 Finals in Los Angeles starting on June 1. Of the four quarterbacks currently on campus, only Sam Ehlinger earned an invite to the most exclusive quarterback camp in the country.
“These camps allow you to get better and learn from the best. I know there is a lot of work for me to do, so I go into it with an open mind and try to learn,” he said. “It is also fun to hang out with the other top players in the state.”
The camps also allow Johnson to recruit in person. He lives in southeast Texas away from most of the other prospects in the state. The quarterback is expected to lead the class, and Johnson has a message for his peers when they talk about Texas.
“You can’t go wrong with a place like Texas,” Johnson said. “The combination of education, Tom Herman and the city is amazing. If we can get the right pieces in place, there is no stopping us.”
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