Texas designed the 2019 recruiting class to move slow. The Longhorns don’t want to win early in the cycle. Tom Herman and his staff want to win by national signing day. The fewer de-commits and drama around the class the better, at least for Herman.
Four-star quarterback Roschon Johnson of Port Neches-Groves is the lone commitment for Texas. Texas A&M and Oklahoma each have six. Herman wants to play tortoise while his main recruiting rivals take the early lead.
Expect the number to start growing for the Longhorns as the spring approaches. The 2019 class can take official visits in the spring, meaning early commitments are expected. The early signing period might become the new national signing day with the recruiting landscape quickening each cycle.
Here are five players leaning toward Texas as the calendar inches closer to March.
DeMarvin Leal, defensive tackle, Converse Judson
FYI: 6-4/280; 4 stars; No. 3 on the Fabulous 55
Texas is in great shape with the state’s best defensive lineman. Leal is a diverse big man who can play nose tackle, the three-technique or as a defensive end in an odd-man front like the one Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando employs.
Leal attended Texas’ junior day and likes the scheme and location of Texas. The Longhorns want to attract the top San Antonio-based prospects each cycle and Leal would give them one for the third consecutive class. Texas signed Derek Kerstetter in 2017 and Caden Sterns in 2018.
Marcus Banks, cornerback, Spring Dekaney
FYI: 6-0/170; 4 stars; No. 12 on the Fabulous 55
There were rumors that Banks left Texas’ junior day on Sunday as a silent commitment. He pushed his commitment date back following the visit, which shouldn’t worry Longhorn fans. Tom Herman wants his class built slowly and would rather a prospect wait to commit and take more visits before making it official than to announce a commitment and then continue flirting with other programs.
Banks seems destined to become a Longhorn. The Texas staff spent plenty of time at Dekaney High School recruiting 2018 tight end Malcolm Epps. Those existing relationships between Banks and the coaches will pay dividends for the Longhorns.
Tyler Johnson, offensive tackle, Conroe Oak Ridge
FYI: 6-5/308; 4 stars; No. 15 on the Fabulous 55
The Conroe Oak Ridge product would be Texas’ highest-rated offensive tackle prospect in multiple cycles. Like Banks, the Texas staff spent more time around Johnson than most 2019 recruits last cycle because of a teammate. The Longhorns signed Johnson’s teammate Joseph Ossai on national signing day. The two challenged each other every day in practice and Ossai is already working Johnson.
Elijah Higgins, wide receiver, Austin Bowie
FYI: 6-3/215; 3 stars; No. 39 on the Fabulous 55
Higgins is a hometown offer who the Longhorns want to sign. Texas would like to end the cycle with at least three wide receivers and the Longhorns want Higgins and Lake Travis product Garrett Wilson to make up two-thirds of the wide receiver group. Higgins is a big-bodied wide receiver who could grow into a flex tight end. He visited Texas for junior day along with Wilson and Round Rock Cedar Ridge wide receiver Jaylen Ellis.
Jared Wiley, tight end, Temple
FYI: 6-5/225; 3 stars; No. 44-ranked tight end in country
Tight end will remain a priority for the Longhorns during the Herman tenure. Texas signed one tight end in the 2018 class, and it wouldn’t be shocking if the Longhorns tried to sign a pair of prospects at the position in the 2019 class. Temple High School tight end Jared Wiley, a three-star with a big frame, recently picked up an offer from Texas and is favored to pick the Longhorns.