The Texas Longhorns coaching staff zeroed in on the second offensive tackle target to close out the 2017 class with current Colorado commit Grant Polley on Sunday — former Austin Westlake offensive tackle Stephan Zabie:
Extremely excited and honored to have received an offer from THE University of Texas #hookem pic.twitter.com/TEufbmiCi1— WAVY Zab (@StephanZabie79) January 16, 2017
Parsing the language of offers in tweets from recruits generally doesn’t yield, but this seems a little more emphatic than most.
The 6’5, 290-pounder wasn’t able to play during his senior season because the UIL denied his appeal to waive the “Four Year Rule”:
The UIL declined to give specifics about the appeal, but Westlake head coach Todd Dodge said the issue centered on Zabie’s time in his hometown of Philadelphia. After a return from living with family in the Ivory Coast, Zabie struggled academically after he was classified as an eighth-grader despite being only 11.
Zabie, 18, was officially classified as a high school student during the 2012-13 school year, and he then had to repeat the ninth grade.
So the one negative with Zabie is that he wasn’t able to get the year of growth on the field. However, that wasn’t enough to keep the ‘Horns from offering, a justifiable position given his overall offer list.
Notably, Zabie holds an offer from Houston, so he has at least some prior relationship with the staff, in addition to his offers from Arkansas, Baylor, LSU, Nebraska, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M.
The Sooners were considered the favorite throughout the fall, but the Longhorns offer to Zabie immediately sparked a flurry of predictions that he make the short journey from Westlake to Austin to play his college football.
The connection with his former teammate, Texas early enrollee quarterback Sam Ehlinger, plays a significant role in that belief:
January 16, 2017
At this point, nothing more really needs to be said publicly, but you can be sure that Ehlinger is talking to Zabie behind the scenes about playing together once again.
And all signs point to Zabie being receptive to that pitch, from Ehlinger and from the coaching staff he started to get to know at Houston.
A consensus four-star prospect, Zabie is ranked as the No. 215 player nationally, No. 23, and No. 35 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite.
Texas currently holds a commitment from San Antonio Reagan offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter, a 2017 US Army All-American, and hopes to flip Polley after he took an official visit this weekend.
If Herman can land Zabie, it would be an entirely respectable haul with only two months to work that was split by the dead period, but adding Polley would make for a promising group to add to last season’s additions and pieces like Connor Williams, Zach Shackelford, and Jake McMillon.