Grading Texas' 2018 signing class: Offense

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Story highlights
  • We give top marks to QB, RB group
  • OL was a concern until the final stretch before the early signing period
  • Longhorns added three 4-star receivers to the position group

Posted February 9th, 2018

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. 


Texas adds quarterback depth, offensive weapons

Texas did most of the heavy lifting in recruiting before national signing day, utilizing the early period by inking 19 of its then 21 commitments. Texas held on to both guys who didn’t sign early, including a 4-star running back, while adding depth to positions like wide receiver and offensive tackle.

The defensive side of the ball will get most of the headlines because the Longhorns signed the state’s three best safeties and cornerbacks during the cycle, while adding the best pass-rushing defensive end and run-stopping defensive tackle in the state.

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The offensive class is full of playmakers, however, and it is also stacked with future talent along the offensive line. Here are our grades for the offense with the defensive section to be posted later in the day.

Quarterbacks

Signings: Casey Thompson (Okla.), Cameron Rising (Calif.)

2019 needs: 1 (Roschon Johnson, committed)

Grade: A-

Texas did a great job holding on to both Thompson and Rising. They enrolled early and will immediately push the quarterback room occupied by Shane Buechele and Sam Ehlinger. The Longhorns hope Thompson and Rising can push both returning quarterbacks and provide immediate depth. Expect one of the two to redshirt.

Rising is a 4-star from Newbury Park, Calif. The 6-2 prospect was ranked as the No. 9 pro-style quarterback in the nation, but he runs well enough to cause problems for defenses. He’s recovering from surgery to repair a torn MCL suffered at the end of his senior season but expects to be ready for spring practice.

Thompson is a prototypical Tom Herman quarterback. He set the Oklahoma state high school record for career passing yards. He’s also capable of taking over games with his legs. The dual-threat quarterback is a 4-star prospect who was a national top 300 player, per 247Sports composite.

Carthage running back Keaontay Ingram signed with the University of Texas on Wednesday. The 13th-ranked recruit on the Statesman’s 2018 Fab 55 rushed for 2,225 yards and scored 31 rushing touchdowns, but equally impressive was his 46 receptions for 475 yards and two touchdowns. (Mark Martin/ETSN.fm)

Running backs

Signings: Keaontay Ingram

2019 needs: 2

Grade: A

The only thing Texas wanted to accomplish at running back was holding on to Ingram, the best running back in the state by a wide margin. The three-down playmaker was busy helping Carthage win its second straight state championship or he would’ve signed in December.

Ingram is one of three Carthage running backs to top 5,000 rushing yards in his career. He’s also a proven receiver out of the backfield and a willing blocker. Herman wants Ingram to report to campus in June ready to compete for the starting running back position.

Wide receivers

Signings: Brennan Eagles, Al’vonte Woodard, Joshua Moore

2019 needs: 3 or 4

Grade: B+

Texas got two of the best wide receiver prospects in the state when Eagles, another early enrollee, and Woodard signed in December. Texas lost a commitment from Rondale Moore, a 4-star slot receiver from Kentucky, before the early signing period. He eventually signed with Purdue. Texas needed a replacement at the slot position and arguably improved there with Yoakum’s Joshua Moore, a Fabulous 55 member.

The Longhorns are adding three 4-star receivers to the position group. All three participated in The Opening Finals. Moore and Woodard played in the Under Armour All-America Game, while Eagles participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl before enrolling at Texas.

Spring Dekaney High School’s Malcolm Epps catches a 60 yard pass for a touchdown and gain over a 100 yard in pass reception in the first half versus Macarthur High School. (Tony Gaines/Houston Community Newspapers)

Tight ends

Signings: Malcolm Epps

2019 needs: 1 or 2

Grade: B-

Texas stood pat at tight end with Spring Dekaney’s Malcolm Epps in the bag. The 6-6 tight end isn’t physically ready to be an in-line blocker, but his sheer height and length makes him a potential matchup nightmare on third downs and in the red zone. The 4-star prospect has a big catch radius and does a good job using his hands to catch the ball.

The Longhorns once had two tight ends committed, but JUCO product Dominick Wood-Anderson de-committed during the season. With attrition and NFL declarations freeing up scholarships, it wouldn’t be surprising for the staff to add a late addition to the tight ends room with a grad transfer.

Frisco Wakeland lineman Rafiti Ghirmai is one of 19 early signees for Texas’ 2018 recruiting class. (Mike Craven/American-Statesman)

Offensive linemen

Signings: OT Mikey Grandy (JUCO), OT Junior Angilau, OT Reese Moore, OT Rafiti Ghirmai, OT Christian Jones

2019 needs: 3 or 4

Grade: B+

The offensive line was a concern for the 2018 class until the final stretch before the early signing period. Texas added Angilau, a 4-star prospect out of Utah, and then Grandy, a JUCO product who chose Texas over UCLA. Grandy should compete instantly at left or right tackle. He’s one of nine prospects from the 2018 class already on campus as early enrollees.

Angilau is the most college-ready of the trio of high school signees, but he could take a two-year LDS mission before enrolling at Texas. Moore played tight end at Seminole and likely needs a year to add weight and learn the position. Ghirmai, a 4-star from Frisco Wakeland, could add depth in year one at tackle or guard.

The Longhorns closed out the cycle with Houston Cypress Woods tackle Christian Jones. The former soccer player is a 6-6 project for new offensive line coach Herb Hand. Jones also spent time at defensive end in high school and could flip to that position if it doesn’t work out on offense.

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