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.
New year, new problems
The Longhorns and head coach Tom Herman put a bow on the 2018 recruiting class on Feb. 7, signing 27 prospects to a class ranked third in the nation and first in the Big 12. Texas signed a player at almost every position, including punter and kicker, while signing the top five players on the 2018 Fabulous 55.
It was a dominating effort on the recruiting trail. It was made more impressive considering the Longhorns needed a bowl win over Missouri to finish with their first winning record in years. Herman ran the state. It’s that simple. Can it continue?
These are the three reasons why recruiting for the 2019 class may be a challenge for Herman:
Hello, Jimbo Fisher
Texas A&M will be in the mix for elite athletes under new head coach Jimbo Fisher. Most new coaches get a bump in recruiting in their first full cycle, much like what Texas experienced in the 2018 class under Herman. Fisher is a crafty recruiter with a national championship ring. He’ll use the SEC angle and his past success to lure top recruits. He’s already done it by flipping 2018 defensive linemen Vernon Jackson and Bobby Brown.
Fisher will recruit even better in 2019 with a full cycle to work on in-state prospects. Texas A&M already holds four commitments from players on the 2019 Fabulous 55, including top-10 talents Brian Williams and Grant Gunnell.
The cycle is far from over and Texas doesn’t mind losing early battles. Herman tends to slow-play in recruiting and could probably already have a five-man 2019 class if he liked to accept early commitments. Instead, he tends to offer fewer prospects than most and wait until they’re completely ready to commit before allowing it to go public.
Lack of Houston talent
The 2018 class set up perfectly for Herman. The best players in the state hailed from the Houston area and that’s Herman’s comfort zone as a recruiter. He built tremendous relationships with the coaching staffs in the city during his tenure at Houston and relied on those bonds throughout 2018.
Many of the signees in the class received early offers from Herman at UH and knew him for three years before signing with Texas.
That won’t be the case in 2019. Only three Houston-area players rank inside the top 10 of the new Fab 55, compared to eight in 2018. The Dallas-Fort Worth area experienced a down cycle in the 2018 class, but that’s not true in 2019.
For Texas to repeat its success in recruiting, Herman must find a way to effectively recruit DFW in a way he already recruits Houston. Programs like Allen, Fort Worth Nolan Catholic and Dallas Bishop Dunne are loaded with talent Texas wants in 2019.
The 2018 class
Talent can be a double-edged sword in recruiting. On one hand, recruits want to compete for championships. On the other, those same players want to get on the field early. Texas is facing the challenge of recruiting against both. The Longhorns haven’t won a lot of games in recent years and the 2018 class will give some prospects pause due to an overloading at certain positions like cornerback and safety.
Teams like Alabama and Ohio State jump these hurdles on a yearly basis. The next step for Herman and his program is to keep the pipelines hot. The Longhorns can’t simply wait on the 2018 class to cure the ills of the program. It’ll take more than one class to become a national championship contender.
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