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Texas poised to address remaining needs in the 2018 recruiting class

Since the early signing period, the Longhorns have generated an impressive amount of momentum with key targets.

Texas Tech v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

On the first day of the early signing period, Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman declared that his program wasn’t done yet on the recruiting trail.

Herman wasn’t joking — inking nine early enrollees meant that Texas could take as many as 28 or 29 recruits in the 2018 recruiting class, an unusually large group.

Mostly, though, Herman meant that he and his staff were going to continue to address the remaining needs. With two commitments from future defensive linemen in the last five days and a remarkable amount of momentum with other top targets, the Longhorns are poised to land an absolutely elite group with few, if any, holes.

Here’s a look at the remaining targets and where Texas stands with those players.

Running back

With the state championship game for Carthage coming during the early signing period, running back Keaontay Ingram, who pledged back at the end of May, did not sign. Ingram is locked in with his pledge and simply didn’t want to distract from his team’s run to the state title.

All-purpose back/slot receiver

When longtime commit Rondale Moore opened up his recruitment and eventually landed at Purdue, Texas had plenty of ground to make up with slot receiver targets. The staff has accomplished that task, while also reaching out to other outside wide receivers, indicating that there may be two spots remaining at the position.

After re-offering Yoakum’s Joshua Moore in December, the ‘Horns have made the most progress with the 2018 Under Armour All-American. An official visit over the weekend had Moore giving high marks to his time in Austin:

Texas now feels like the favorite heading into Moore’s final official visits to Florida State and Oregon. Either of those programs could blow him away and secure his signature on National Signing Day, but the guess right now is that he joins the revolution and stays close to home.

After the Texas Bowl, the staff sent out an offer to New Orleans (La.) McDonogh 35 wide receiver Lawrence Keys III and will host him on an official visit this weekend. Though he’s a much more pure slot receiver than Moore, Keys is less likely to end up at Texas after visiting Notre Dame, a school that has been in his recruitment for a much longer period of time.

Texas A&M commit Jalen Preston take an official visit to Texas on February 2, putting another wide receiver in play for the Longhorns.

A recent in-home visit from Texas re-established contact with Schertz Clemens wide receiver Tommy Bush, who could take an official visit. If not, the odds of landing him aren’t particularly high.

Houston Episcopal wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is still uncommitted, as well, but he hasn’t been particularly high on Texas since last spring. Unless he makes an unofficial visit to Austin in the next several weeks, it’s not going to happen between the Longhorns and Waddle.

Offensive line

Following the early signing period, the staff shifted its focus from high school and junior college prospects to graduate transfers, hosting former Stanford offensive tackle Casey Tucker and former Rice offensive tackle Calvin Anderson on official visits.

An Austin Westlake product, Anderson is the top target and said that the visit exceeded his expectations. Michigan is expected to host Anderson this weekend. However, with the hire of Herb Hand might be what helps put Texas over the top in this recruitment.

Tucker was back in Arizona visiting the Sun Devils last weekend and planned on visiting TCU and Colorado, as well. Since the Longhorns can sell him on playing right tackle even if Anderson ends up in Austin, Texas has a shot. Tucker isn’t giving interviews, though, so there’s much less available information about his thought process.

The staff is also evaluating Ohio State graduate transfer offensive tackle Kevin Feder and pursuing, but Texas is most likely done recruiting high school and junior college offensive linemen with four recruits currently signed.

Defensive line

Keeping Houston Westfield defensive tackle Keondre Cobun in the class and landing his signature in February is the top priority, as his talent is irreplaceable. Coburn took an official visit to Miami last weekend and could still visit Texas A&M. Especially within the state, there’s just not much buzz surrounding the Aggies, so it’s hard to imagine Coburn flipping to A&M, even if he does visit.

The other target at the defensive tackle position, Katy’s Moro Ojomo, is expected on campus this weekend before he trips to Oregon during the final weekend before National Signing Day. Notre Dame and Oklahoma hosted him the last two weekends.

Unless Ojomo takes a midweek visit to Texas A&M, the Aggies are likely virtually out of it — and don’t even have a defensive tackles coach right now — leaving the Sooners as the top competition for the Longhorns. Those head-to-head battles haven’t gone particularly well for Texas late in the cycle, but perhaps Ojomo ends up bucking that trend.

Much maligned a month ago for his lack of success on the recruiting trail, position coach Oscar Giles has made some big moves in the last few days to change the narrative of his recruiting ability by landing Missouri defensive end Daniel Carson and Louisiana native Mike Williams, a jumbo athlete who will also play along the defensive line.

Though neither prospect is on the level of a player like former commit Ron Tatum, Giles also has some time to finish out strong with several other remaining targets.

On the top of the list is Conroe Oak Ridge’s Joseph Ossai, who has been trending towards Texas in recent weeks as Texas A&M has fallen behind. Other than the Crystal Ball picks, things have been pretty silent with Ossai’s recruitment. There have been plenty of swings back and forth between the Aggies and Longhorns with Ossai and there may be one more left. If not, Texas likely lands his signature.

Landing Ojomo and Ossai would be the ideal finish to the class along the defensive line.


Securing the signature of Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy’s Ayodele Adeoye during the early signing period was huge for the ‘Horns, allowing the staff to focus on the other two remaining targets at linebacker.

With Ayodele in the fold, the focus for the staff has mostly been on hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end types who could play the B-backer role for defensive coordinator Todd Orlando after the ‘Horns missed out on DaShaun White to the Sooners.

Texas offered Texas A&M commit Tyree Wilson, a standout edge player from West Rusk, and tried to get him on campus, but it doesn’t appear that will happen now. Wilson visited Arkansas last weekend and is expected to choose between the Razorbacks and Aggies.

That leaves Washington (D.C.) St John’s College’s Caleb Okechukwu, who received his offer on an official visit last weekend. Where he ends up could depend on the numbers for Arkansas, Tennessee, and Texas, the three remaining contenders for his services. If the Longhorns land Ojomo and Ossai, then there probably isn’t a spot remaining for Okechukwu. Right now, it looks like the best fit for him may be at Tennessee since the Volunteers could use another edge rusher in the class.

With five or six spots remaining in the class — not including the graduate transfers — an ideal finish would look like this:

  • WR Joshua Moore
  • WR Jalen Preston
  • OT Calvin Anderson
  • OT Casey Tucker
  • DT Moro Ojomo
  • DE Joseph Ossai

Of that group, Preston and Tucker are the biggest longshots at this time, but even securing the other four players and adding the signatures of Ingram and Coburn would fill all the major needs in this class.

With two weeks until National Signing Day, Herman has already fulfilled his promise of delivering a top-10 class in this cycle. And while Texas isn’t going to catch Ohio State or Georgia to ranks as the nation’s top overall class, it’s going to be an elite group that should help build quality depth in a program that desperately needs it.