On Sunday, Carterville (Ill.) tight end Luke Ford released his list of top five schools and the Texas Longhorns, somewhat surprisingly, didn’t make the cut:
Top 5... #ILLINI #GoDawgs #WarEagle #GigEm #RollTide #NoOrder Thankful and Blessed #Lion4Life #CHS pic.twitter.com/bqOODlLo21— L U K E F O R D™ (@lukeredx97) December 17, 2017
The omission of Texas was made all the more remarkable by Ford’s inclusion of home-state Illinois, which hasn’t been a serious contender at any point in Ford’s recruitment, and Texas A&M, which just offered.
From the standpoint of Ford’s ongoing recruitment, which appears likely to extend all the way to the second National Signing Day in February, the nation’s No. 2 tight end is headed to the SEC. Georgia currently looms as the favorite after taking over the top spot from Alabama in November.
For the ‘Horns, not remaining in Ford’s recruitment is a bit of a disappointment, as the staff clearly made him a priority — after offering in June, he took an unofficial visit in July and an official visit in November.
Even after landing junior college prospect Dominick Wood-Anderson and Houston-area talent Malcolm Epps, head coach Tom Herman continued to pursue Ford. Following Wood-Anderson’s decommitment, Ford had a better opportunity to come in and play early for Texas.
That obviously won’t happen now and the Longhorns will have to continue evaluating high school and junior college prospects if the staff wants to add another tight end to the 2018 recruiting class.
With Epps profiling as a large inside wide receiver until he can add significant strength and mass and freshman Cade Brewer rehabbing from a torn ACL, there’s not ideal depth at the position. However, the return of Andrew Beck from will help, assuming he can stay healthy next season.