Football

The Dotted Line: Texas’ master plan for the secondary remains possible

Posted June 13th, 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.


The secondary dilemma

Recruiting is prone to exaggeration. We rank classes based on the perceived talents of teenagers and crown programs champions before a single player hits the field. It’s no different than the NFL draft. Mel Kiper sits at his table, full of pumpkin pie, and opines about a future no one knows. The ratings are through the roof. The high school equivalent to draft day is the hat ceremony.

Grayson High School defensive back Kenyatta Watson II chose the Longhorns over Notre Dame. (David Barnes/AJC)

Fewer prospects are waiting to announce on national signing day, instead choosing to use an edit or commitment video on social media. It’s forced college coaches to adjust. It’s also caused fan bases to panic over recruiting rankings and early commitments at an alarming level. But will the winner in June remain the champion when the fax machines are plugged into the wall?

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Texas was dealt another blow in the secondary when three-star cornerback Marcus Banks chose LSU over the Longhorns, Texas A&M and Alabama. The Spring Dekaney product, and former teammate of tight end Malcolm Epps, who signed with Texas in 2018, is a native of Baton Rouge and picked home. The top 12 players on the 2019 Fabulous 55 are committed. Only three prospects in the top 20 remain uncommitted with six months to go until signing day.

Banks is another in-state recruiting loss in the secondary. Texas signed a historic group in 2018, locking in the top three cornerbacks and safeties in the state. It’s proven a deterrent for some players, who openly talk about depth charts as deciding factors. Kenyatta Watson II, a four-star defensive back from Georgia, is the only secondary prospect currently committed to the Longhorns.

Five in-state cornerbacks hold UT offers. The only one considered a legitimate Longhorns target is Oregon commit Marques Caldwell, a three-star cornerback from Alvin. It’s no time for panic, however. There is a clear plan at corner and safety for Tom Herman and his staff in the 2019 class.

Cornerbacks

Texas only needs to sign two cornerback prospects in this cycle. Watson is half of the puzzle. Flipping Caldwell, who picked up an offer in May, could complete the position because of the three cornerbacks signed in 2018. The Longhorns also like four-star safety Jalen Catalon as a nickel back, which means the staff could count him as a corner when it comes to numbers.

The trio of Watson, Catalon and Caldwell would give Texas two big cornerbacks and a player capable of covering slot receivers a year removed from landing the trio of Anthony Cook, Jalen Green and D’Shawn Jamison. The 2019 group might not hold the headlines or rankings of that trio from 2018, but that doesn’t matter.

Safeties

Texas is yet to land a commitment from a safety for 2019, though Watson has the frame to play safety and some experience at the position. The Longhorns signed Caden Sterns, BJ Foster and DeMarvion Overshown in 2018. Catalon is the top in-state prize at the position. He can play free safety but would likely slide to nickel corner in college. He can also help in the return game.

Chris Adimora (Calif.) is another top target who named Texas among his top schools. He’s expected to announce his pick by the start of his senior season. Like at cornerback, Texas needs only two players in the 2019 cycle. If Catalon counts towards cornerback, Texas, at least in theory, only needs to find a partner for Adimora. The obvious target is Lewis Cine, a member of the Fabulous 55 who plays at Cedar Hill Trinity Christian after transferring from Massachusetts following his junior season.

RANK (PREV.)PLAYERPOS.HIGH SCHOOLCOLLEGE
1. (7)Garrett WilsonWRLake Travis (6A)Ohio State
2. (3)DeMarvin LealDLConverse Judson (6A)Texas A&M
3. (1)Jordan WhittingtonWRCuero (4A)Texas
4. (4)Brian WilliamsSBishop Dunne (TAPPS)Texas A&M
5. (15)Tyler JohnsonOTConroe Oak Ridge (6A)Texas
6. (5)Kenyon GreenOTHumble Atascocita (6A)Texas A&M
7, (8)NaNa Osafo-MensahDEFort Worth Nolan Catholic (TAPPS)Notre Dame
8. (10)Austin StognerTEPrestonwood Catholic (TAPPS)Oklahoma
9. (44)Trejan BridgesWRCarrolton Hebron (6A)Oklahoma
10. (6)Theo Wease Jr.WRAllen (6A)Oklahoma
11. (9)Grant GunnellQBSt. Pius X (TAPPS)Arizona
12. (12)Marcus BanksCBSpring Dekaney (6A)LSU
13. (38)Jeffery CarterCBAledo (5A)Uncommitted
14. (17)Marcel BrooksOLBFlower Mound (6A)LSU
15. (13)Marcus StriplingDEMayde Creek (6A)Uncommitted
16. (2)Arjei HendersonWRFort Bend Travis (6A)Oklahoma
17. (14)Marquez BeasonCBBishop Dunne (TAPPS) Illinois
18. (19)Jalen CatalonSMansfield Legacy (6A)Uncommitted
19. (24)Demani RichardsonSWaxahachie (6A)Texas A&M
20. (49)Dylan WrightWRWest Mesquite (5A)Uncommitted
21. (11)Jalen CurryWRSt. Pius X (TAPPS)Uncommitted
22. (22)Erick YoungCBFort Bend Bush (6A)Uncommitted
23. (39)Elijah HigginsWRAustin Bowie (6A)Uncommitted
24. (NR)Lewis CineSCedar Hill Trinity Christian (TAPPS)Uncommitted
25. (23)EJ Ndoma-OgarOGAllen (6A)Oklahoma
26. (21)Roschon JohnsonQBPort Neches-Groves (5A)Texas
27. (31)Javonne ShepherdOTNorth Forest (4A)Uncommitted
28. (48)Bobby WolfeCBHouston Madison (6A)Uncommitted
29. (41)Branson BraggCCrandall (4A)Stanford
30. (30)Tamauzia BrownWRNewton (3A)Uncommitted
31. (32)Jaylen EllisWRRound Rock Cedar Ridge (6A)Baylor
32. (43)David GbendaILBKaty Cinco Ranch (6A)Uncommitted
33. (16)Kam BrownWRColleyville Heritage (5A)Texas A&M
34. (NR)Baylor CuppTEBrock (3A)Texas A&M
35. (18)Deondrick GlassRBKaty (6A)Uncommitted
36. (20)Nelson CaesarDEFort Bend Ridge Point (6A)Uncommitted
37. (28)Isaiah SpillerRBKlein Collins (6A)Uncommitted
38. (46)T'Vondre SweatDEHuntsville (5A)Texas
39. (25)Hunter SpearsDTSachse (6A)Notre Dame
40. (40)Braedon MowryDEKaty Taylor (6A)Texas A&M
41. (NR)Myles Brooks SPflugerville Hendrickson (6A)Uncommitted
42. (27)Grant TisdaleQBAllen (6A)Ole Miss
43. (29)Jonathan McGillSCoppell (5A)Uncommitted
44. (36)Josh EllisonDTA&M Consolidated (5A)Texas A&M
45. (33)Steven ParkerDESouth Oak Cliff (5A)Texas Tech
46. (50)Velton GardnerATHDallas Skyline (6A)Kansas State
47. (34)Jamal MorrisSFort Bend Bush (6A)Oklahoma
48. (52)Darwin BarlowRBNewton (3A)Uncommitted
49. (37)David UgwoebuDEKaty Seven Lakes (6A)Uncommitted
50. (26)Brannon BrownOGSan Antonio O'Connor (6A)TCU
51. (47)Kori RobersonDEManvel (5A)Oklahoma
52. (53)Gilbert IbenemeDEPearland (6A)Uncommitted
53. (NR)Andrew CokerOTKaty Taylor (6A)TCU
54. (NR)Marques CaldwellCBAlvin (6A)Oregon
55. (NR)Thomas GordonTEStrake Jesuit (6A)Northwestern

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