Tom Herman and his partial Texas Longhorns staff have been on the 40 Acres for just over a week now, but they’re utilizing what seems to be every waking moment on the recruiting front.
Unfortunately, the news hasn’t all been positive — within that week, five-star linebacker Baron Browning committed to Ohio State and four-star linebacker Anthony Hines gave his verbal to Texas A&M.
There was really nothing the staff could have done to prevent Browning from leaving the state, but with Hines, an early enrollee, Herman and his staff are still seeking a flip.
Hines hosted Texas defensive line Oscar Giles for an in-home visit just days before his commitment to Texas A&M and will now reportedly host Herman for an in-home at some point this week, per 247Sports. Though time is limited considering Hines will enroll in college next month, and he’s not sure what it would take to flip him, he’s still willing to hear Texas’ pitch.
“He’s welcome,” Hines told 247Sports. “I just want to hear a pitch. At a time, Texas was really way up there. He’s a good coach, and I think Texas has a bright future. I met Coach Herman at Ohio State, and he came by the school while he was at Houston.”
Hines isn’t the only potential flip the Texas staff is pursuing.
Offensive line coach Derek Warehime offered three-star Colorado offensive tackle commit Grant Polley November 29.
Blessed to have received an offer from the University of Texas! pic.twitter.com/X45HRC5qDz— Grant Polley (@gapolley44) November 29, 2016
Polley committed to Colorado in July and until he’s actually on campus in Boulder, expect Texas to keep in contact.
A more recognizable name within the state who surprisingly never picked up an offer from Charlie Strong and his staff is four-star Cedar Hill wide receiver and Oklahoma commit Charleston Rambo. That offer finally came November 30.
Rambo has previously said he’s solid to Oklahoma, but he’s also said that he would consider Texas if that offer ever came. He’s a potential flip to keep an eye on.
Three-star JUCO cornerback Kendall Sheffield also picked up a Texas offer on November 30. The Blinn C.C. talent is a former Alabama transfer, but Texas may be too late as Sheffield is expected to ultimately sign with Texas A&M or Ohio State. Sheffield did visit Houston while Herman was there, though, so he’s familiar with the new Texas staff.
Much of the same followed on December 1. Likely Ttght ends coach Corby Meekins hit the road for an in-home visit with four-star wide receiver and LSU commit Mannie Netherly.
The Crosby product officially visited LSU the following day and it would take some work to earn a flip, but he’s another name to keep an eye on.
While Meekins was checking in on Netherly, new cornerbacks and special teams coach Jason Washington was visiting with another LSU commit in Kary Vincent.
The four-star Port Arthur product chose the Tigers over Texas, TCU and Texas A&M, among others.
While it doesn’t seem Texas will pursue Browning following his commitment to Ohio State, Herman is still actively recruiting Bueckeye pledge J.K. Dobbins, per reports.
The four-star in-state product is the nation’s No. 1-ranked all-purpose back. Strong’s staff obviously wasn’t able to flip Dobbins, who has noted he’s solid to Ohio State, but with D’Onta Foreman headed to the NFL and Texas being without a 2017 running back commit, Herman and his staff will likely make Dobbins a priority.
The latest pledge to add a Texas offer is Texas A&M tight end commit Camron Horry, who was offered on Monday. The current Texas staff recruited Horry at Houston.
Aside from programs like Texas A&M, LSU and TCU, a handful of Houston commits are potential flips now that the staff that recruited them is in Austin.
Among those are three-star linebackers Mohamed Sanogo and Marquez Bimage. Three-star cornerback Timarcus Davis and three-star offensive tackle Matthew Huhn can be added to that list, along with three-star safety Donovan Stiner, who told 247Sports he’s “excited about Texas hiring Herman and hopes to join him in Austin in the near future.”
Meanwhile, the staff has made the rounds with the current crop of committed Longhorns.
Giles reportedly spoke with four-star Temple weak side defensive end Taquon Graham, and Washington spoke with three-star Lake Dallas cornerback Kobe Boyce. Warehime reached out to three-star Nacogdoches cornerback Josh Thompson, who shut his recruitment down on Monday.
Four-star quarterback commit Sam Ehlinger visited the 40 Acres to meet with Herman just days after he was hired and will visit Texas this weekend. It would take nothing short of a miracle for another program to flip Ehlinger before he arrives on campus as an early enrollee in January.
As far as the uncommitted market is concerned, there’s been plenty of activity to that end, as well.
One of the hottest names on Texas’ big board is five-star Houston Episcopal offensive tackle Walker Little, whom Warehime and Giles have already made an in-home visit with.
Texas has long been considered amid a three-horse race for Little with Stanford and Ole Miss.
It’s also been reported, but Burnt Orange Nation hasn’t been able to confirm that Texas visited Little’s teammate, five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, for an in-home the same day. Expect the new staff to make each of them a top priority. Herman already has a relationship with Little and Wilson from his time at Houston.
Texas has been in touch with four-star running back Eno Benjamin, who decommitted from Iowa in October. The staff has yet to offer, but that may change in the very near future, as he plans to announce at U.S. Army All-American Bowl on January 7.
Three-star tight end Chase Rogers has heard from the Texas staff, as well, who said Meekins recently reached out to set up an in-home visit.
“I think Texas is up there on top of my list,” Rogers told the Sun Herald. “Look at what they did at Houston in two years. I can only imagine what they can do at Texas in four years.”
Rogers, a recent Tennessee decommit, was in attendance for the 24-20 Texas loss to West Virginia late in the season.
Sunday’s action included Texas offering three-star Lake Travis tight end Cade Brewer after the staff saw him on Friday night in a huge blowout victory over crosstown rival Westlake, and four-star offensive lineman Chuck Filiaga was on campus for an unofficial visit on Saturday.
Another name to know is four-star weak-side defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson. The Houston North Shore talent had a top three of Texas, Houston and LSU, but the bulk of the Houston staff is now in Austin and Oklahoma has made a strong late push.
Although building upon what’s currently a seven-man 2017 class has been the priority, the staff has done its due diligence in keeping up with future classes.
As seen with the current 2017 targets, tight ends are a priority for this staff and one of the nation’s best is hearing from the ‘Horns. Four-star Ridge Point product Mustapha Muhammad confirmed to BON that Meekins stopped by Ridge Point last Wednesday to visit the nation’s No. 4 tight end and his interest in Texas is high to this point.
“I'm interested in their new coach, Coach Herman and I like Coach Meekins as well,” Muhammad told BON. “So I think that Texas sits well with me.”
The day before we spoke with Muhammad, Texas offered a pair of Bishop Dunne talents in four-star 2018 defensive tackle Calvin Avery and and four-star 2019 safety Brian Williams. Avery was at Under the Lights during the summer, but was never offered by the previous staff. Williams, the nation’s No. 1-ranked 2019 safety, called the Texas offer “a big deal,” noting that Texas is the biggest school in his home state and he grew up watching the Longhorns play.
The current staff is picking up where the previous staff left off with four-star Yoakum wide receiver Joshua Moore, who will receive an in-home visit on Monday, which likely means the staff will speak with his brother, Jordan, as well.
With National Signing Day just three months away and a handful of targets and potential flips set on enrolling early, the Texas staff is going to have its hands full piecing together a quality 2017 class.
Don’t be surprised if the final unit signing in February consists of a few current Houston pledges, as well as a few others committed elsewhere.