The bulk of Texas’ 2019 recruiting class signed during the early period when 22 prospects inked national letters of intent. The Longhorns only possess a handful of scholarships available and the remaining weeks until national signing day can be spent focusing on the remaining targets and continuing to build strong relationships with the 2020 class. Texas’ 2019 class ranks ninth in the nation and nine of those 22 signees are enrolling early.
Needs still remain for the Longhorns. Here are some names and positions of need remaining for Tom Herman and his class.
1. Hold on to Javonne Shepherd
The four-star offensive lineman from Houston North Forest was the only Texas commit to hold off on signing. That means teams from the SEC, specifically Texas A&M, still hold a shot at flipping the member of the Fabulous 55. The Longhorns took a step to ease that loss by signing Isaiah Hookfin right before the end of the early period. Still, Texas wants Shepherd on campus and it’d be a real loss if he ends up signing with A&M.
Shepherd is a raw prospect who won’t impact the 2019 season, but he’s the type of athlete who can develop into an all-conference type performer. Not many teenagers at 6-7 and more than 300 pounds move like Shepherd. Fending off the competition remains priority No. 1 for Texas and it won’t be an easy task.
Catalon is expected to announce his decision before the end of the month. He’s the highest-rated member of the Fab 55 yet to sign a national letter of intent. Catalon is a two-sport star who also wants to play baseball in college, though football is his first priority. He’ll play safety or nickel at the next level. He was an all-state safety early in his career at Mansfield Legacy before splitting time at quarterback late in his career. Catalon suffered a season-ending injury in the first game of his senior season. Texas is right there with teams like TCU and Arkansas.
3. Lakia Henry
Texas struck gold in 2017 when it found Gary Johnson at Dodge City C.C. The Longhorns hope to find his possible replacement from the same school now that Henry is an available prospect after de-committing from Tennessee. Getting him on campus before signing day in February is the key for Texas as it battles programs like Ole Miss, Florida State and Arkansas. Henry is a 6-foot, 225-pound prospect who ranks as the No. 1 middle linebacker from the JUCO ranks.
4. An older offensive lineman
Texas needs another mature body capable of competing for a starting spot in 2019 regardless of whether Shepherd remains committed or flips to another school. Texas did a great job in identifying and landing Calvin Anderson in the grad transfer market last summer and it wouldn’t surprise if Texas tries a similar tactic this year. The dead period ends this weekend and I’d expect the Longhorns to be on the recruiting trail in search for an under-the-radar JUCO or grad transfer talent to add to the growing depth along the offensive line.
5. Will Texas recruit a second running back?
The 2020 cycle is loaded with talented running backs with interest in Texas, which could allow the Longhorns to save that scholarship for the next cycle if they feel comfortable with their running back depth. Texas doesn’t want to take a running back just to get a body at the position and doesn’t want to settle after barely missing out on Trey Sanders and Noah Cain. Katy’s Deondrick Glass is the best in-state option still available and he’d likely listen to a pitch from Texas if presented one this month.