Could the Texas Longhorns make it a duo of Louisiana defensive tackles in the 2016 class?
The coaching staff picked up a June pledge from Destrehan's Gerald Wilbon after a visit and had a major positive development on Tuesday in hosting New Orleans (La.) McDonogh 35's Stephon Taylor and teammate Sci Martin, a defensive end:
Had a great time in Austin #HookEm @lilsci49 pic.twitter.com/JrVPkYRqf7— stephon taylor (@lah_bama) July 29, 2015
There isn't a commitment watch on Taylor like there was with Wilbon back in June, because there's some question about where the Horns stand with the 6'4, 292-pound Taylor. NOLA.com reported a top three of Auburn, Florida State, and LSU back in June, but then added that sources informed the outlet that Texas was in the top two for New Orleans product.
What's the actual situation?
Taylor said that his mother wants him at LSU, while his father lives in Auburn, so there are forces working against head coach Charlie Strong and his staff, even though the addition of former LSU defensive tackles coach Brick Haley is surely a positive. The problem is competing against mom and current Tigers defensive line coach Ed Orgeron, one of the top handful of recruiters in all of college football.
So Texas is in his top four at the moment along with the three schools that he mentioned to NOLA.com.
An explosive athlete with ideal size and quickness to shoot gaps and create disruptive plays in the backfield, Taylor projects as the three-technique who would help complement Wilbon's ability to hold the point of attack in the middle with his massive frame.
As for Martin, he's a consensus three-star defensive end with offers from the likes of LSU, Oklahoma, and TCU, the latter of which he also visited on Tuesday. Originally set to make a decision on Wednesday, he decided to push it back and no longer has a timetable. He now lists a top five of Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas, and TCU. Based on his comments about backing away from a post-visit decision, the Horned Frogs may hold the current top spot.
So Martin's recruitment is a beginning and ongoing process that likely won't include an impending commitment to another program. Taylor's recruitment represents an uphill climb against the family and local forces pushing the big defensive tackle towards Baton Rouge and Auburn, respectively, but there's a legitimate chance, especially if the Tigers reach capacity in pledges along the defensive line.
The two recruitments will hardly define Haley's upside as a recruiter in Louisiana, but the results will help start the early narrative. Haley surely hopes that narrative includes some much-needed depth additions at positions the Horns have struggled to fill in the 2016 class.