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Texas Longhorns staff hands out offers at ‘Under the Lights’ Camp

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One key 2017 cornerback target and three rising 2018 prospects are now officially on the recruiting radar.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Texas Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday evening, the Texas Longhorns hosted their annual Under the Lights Camp, inviting dozens of recruits from across the country to the one-night football camp at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

Instituted during head coach Charlie Strong’s first year in Austin, the camp has developed into a pivotal recruiting event for the Texas Longhorns and acts as a key opportunity to gain momentum with recruits in upcoming recruiting classes.

Following the camp, Charlie Strong and the Texas coaching staff offered a couple of recruits from the Lone Star state. We take a look at each.

2017 DB Josh Thompson (Nacogdoches HS)

The TCU commit has been on the radar of the Texas coaching staff for a while now, and the coaches decided to extend an offer earlier this morning. With the Longhorns losing ground with other well-regarded 2017 defensive backs on their board, the offer to Thompson makes sense at this point in the recruiting cycle.

As fellow BON writer Jack Keyes discussed this morning, the consensus three-star prospect’s recruiting stock has been rising this summer, capped by an impressive performance at the Opening. A former teammate of current Longhorns safety Brandon Jones, Texas has long been considered a strong player for Thompson’s services.

At this time, Thompson maintains his commitment to the Horned Frogs, but he’s a player I would put on flip watch in the coming months.

2018 DB Atanza Vongor (South Grand Prairie HS)

Another defensive back prospect offered by the Longhorns on Saturday was 2018 recruit Atanza Vongor. A four-star prospect according to 247 Sports Composite rankings, Vongor has already collected eleven offers, including ones from Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Texas A&M, and Texas.

The South Grand Prairie standout started last season at safety, collecting 67 tackles and earning District 8-6A Defensive Sophomore MVP honors. So far this summer, Vongor has gained attention for impressive play at regional camps by Rivals and the Opening.

Due to his age and the amount of schools in the recruitment already, there’s a long way to go before Vongor makes a decision, but Texas may have one slight edge — they were one of his favorite teams growing up. In an interview with Today’s U Sports earlier this year, he listed the Longhorns as a team his family grew up watching.

“My dad always loved Texas, the Longhorns and TCU,” Vongor said. “He’s always loved the Texas teams, so I’ve grown up liking TCU and Texas.”

An impressive prospect that now holds a Longhorn offer, Vongor is a name fans should look out for as the recruiting process heats up for 2018 players.

2018 DB Caden Sterns (Cibolo Steele HS)

In addition to Vongor, the Longhorns also offered highly-touted 2018 defensive back Caden Sterns. The Cibolo Steele stud is already considered one of the best prospects in the country, ranking as the fifth-best player in Texas, according to 247 Sports Composite Rankings.

So far, he has collected offers from the likes of LSU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma State, TCU, and Baylor. Last season, he earned second team all-district honors by racking up 57 tackles and three interceptions in a breakout season.

At the Under the Lights camp, Sterns put on a strong performance and walked away with a big Texas offer.

Sterns’ older brother, Jordan, currently plays for the Oklahoma State Cowboys and was named to the preseason All-Big 12 team at safety. His father also played basketball for Baylor.

In addition to good genes, Sterns has impressive instincts and play making ability that make him a force on the defensive side of the ball. With those traits, Sterns has shown the tools to become a game-changing college player — he’ll easily be one of most coveted players in the entire 2018 class as his recruitment develops.

It’s hard to predict how the Longhorns fair in his recruitment, but an early offer should improve their chances.

2018 OL Chasen Hines (Marshall HS)

After a breakout performance on Saturday, the Texas coaching staff also offered Marshall offensive lineman Chasen Hines. A bit of an unknown commodity, Hines holds three scholarship offers at the moment from Texas, TCU, and Baylor. A consensus three-star prospect, the Marshall standout shined Saturday evening in drills, consistently beating pass rushers in one-on-ones.

Recently, Hines has seen his stock sky rocket (his ranking jumped from the 590s to 413 on 247Sports) with strong performances at several summer camps including TCU, where he also picked up his offer. During his sophomore season, he earned second team all-district honors.

As seen on his film, Hines shows great strength already and a outstanding aggression at the point of attack that make him an interesting prospect. At a 6’3 and 310 pounds entering his junior year, he also has a good frame to work with at the college level. While he may lack the developed footwork or technique of higher-rated recruits, his raw tools will make him an asset for any team.

2018 WR Stanley Lambert (San Antonio Marshall)

Perhaps the biggest splash at the Under the Lights camp was made by San Antonio Marshall receiver Stanley Lambert. After making play after play in one-on-ones, the Longhorns offered Lambert shortly following the end of camp.

As of right now, Lambert is a player who few have on their recruiting shortlists — he’s unranked by most recruiting services — but that soon could change.

What’s most impressive about the Marshall prospect is that he only picked up football last season. In fact, Lambert first excelled in basketball for Marshall High School, playing varsity his freshman season. After picking up football, he realized he had a special gift.

Standing at 6’3 and 185 pounds, Lambert has the frame college coaches love in a wide receiver. For a player with only a year under his belt, he also shows solid ball skills, dominating smaller defensive backs by high pointing the football. With equally gifted speed, he worked at kick returner for Marshall last season as well.

Stanley Lambert (left) at Texas
via @stanleypearsons6

The Marshall receiver only has one other offer, UTSA, so the Longhorns are the first big time program to step into his recruitment, which could be significant as it begins to take off. He will need time to develop his finer points in his game like route running, but his physical tools and innate skills at the wide receiver position make him a legitimate college prospect.