A little more than a month ago, we mapped what an ideal close to the Texas Longhorns’ 2020 recruiting class may look like. Throughout the five-plus weeks since then, quite a bit has changed on the recruiting trail.
Half of what’s now a 14-member class has come together, including the commitments of previously noted ideal additions in Tucson (Az.) Salpointe Catholic running back Bijan Robinson, Houston Cy Ridge defensive tackle Vernon Broughton, and Dallas Highland Park outside linebacker Prince Dorbah. Another near-handful has joined the class, as well, with the pledges of Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon strong-side defensive end Van Fillinger, Southlake Carroll offensive tackle Andrej Karic, Winter Park (Fla.) cornerback Ethan Pouncey, and Lufkin safety Jerrin Thompson.
Meanwhile, the Longhorns were left on the outside with eight targets previously mentioned while mapping an ideal finish, with League City Clear Creek offensive tackle Chad Lindberg (Georgia), Duncanville safety Chris Thompson Jr. (Auburn), and Calabasas (Calif.) wide receiver Johnny Wilson (Oregon) serving as the more notable misses.
Bearing this all in mind, Texas’ 2020 big board now looks far different than it did just a few weeks ago.
Quentin Johnston — 4-star WR — Temple: Texas is still searching for its first pledge at wide receiver, and Johnston is now arguably the priority at the position. Similar to our previous update, all remains fairly quiet regarding Johnston’s recruitment, though he has since returned to the Forty Acres for the Stars at Night event, where he won the dunk contest. TCU, Oklahoma, and Baylor remain factors, but beyond Johnston developing a strong relationship with Longhorns receivers coach Drew Mehinger, Texas’ strongest selling point may be the McCombs School of Business, as Johnston previously told BON that an education in business is his priority when making a decision.
Javian Hester — 4-star WR — Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington: Much like Johnson, Hester fits the mold of Texas’ preferred receiver recruits, standing at 6’4. And also much like Johnson, the Longhorns have been heavily involved since February, offering Hester on Feb. 16, just one day after offering Johnson. Hester has since made two trips to Texas, including late last month for the Stars at Night event, which provided an opportunity for the Horns to create some separation in a recruitment that has long favored the Longhorns. Per 247Sports Mike Roach, Hester could announce around mid-season, and at this point, his pledge appears to be the Longhorns to lose. Texas currently owns eight of his nine Crystal Ball picks.
LV Bunkley-Shelton — 4-star WR — Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra: Bunkley-Shelton’s name hasn’t been on Texas’ big board for too long, but he’s quietly and quickly become a very realistic option as a slot receiver. After adding an offer in early June, Bunkley-Shelton unofficially visited Austin for the Stars at Night event, calling it one of his best visits to date, per 247Sports Greg Biggins. “I definitely had a home vibe there, like I was where I was supposed to be,” he said. Bunkley-Shelton plans to return to Austin for an official visit, per 247Sports. He isn’t aiming to announce any decision until the All-American Bowl, but Texas has positioned itself well with the top-250 national prospect.
Xavion Alford — 4-star S — Pearland Shadow Creek: After swinging and missing with multiple key safety prospects, Texas finally found its first pledge at the position on Sunday in Lufkin product Jerrin Thompson, but that won’t alter the Horns’ pursuit of Alford. In the not too distant past, Alford appeared headed for Alabama, though entering the final stretch of his recruitment, things have shaped up to be a good, old-fashioned Texas-Texas A&M recruiting battle, as reported by The Football Brainiacs. To that end, the Aggies are currently surging following Alford’s late-July trip to College Station, with eight Crystal Ball picks being placed since last Thursday. Alford, who has been a mainstay on the Forty Acres this offseason, was aiming to officially visit Austin for the LSU game, but now that he intends to announce ahead of Shadow Creek’s season opener on Aug. 31, Texas is left with limited time to re-capture what appears to be an Aggies lead.
Princely Umanmielen — 4-star SDE — Manor: A little more than two months remain before Umanmielen will bring his recruitment to a close on Oct. 15. While Oregon and LSU remain options, this continues to shape up as a three-horse race between Texas, Texas A&M, and Oklahoma. Earlier this spring, following one of Umanmielen’s multiple offseason visits to the Forty Acres, Tom Herman told the local product that “he’ll be damned if he let a kid from Austin go to any other school in the nation,” and the staff has put forth the effort to support that statement, recruiting Umanmielen since his freshman year. After all that time, Texas has positioned itself fairly ideally, but a strong finish is a must. Texas (Sept. 6) and Oklahoma (Sept. 27) will each welcome Umanmielen for official visits, but Texas A&M, which is arguably Texas’ primary competition here, will get the final say when he officially visits on Oct. 11.
Alfred Collins — 4-star SDE — Bastrop Cedar Creek: Another local product, Collins is quite familiar with the Forty Acres and was back on campus just weeks ago for the Stars at Night event. It only helps the Horns here that Collins is a Longhorn legacy, yet despite the close proximity and ties to the program, he’s remained patient with his recruitment. Collins plans to utilize each of his official visits before making a decision, though his only scheduled trip to date is to Texas A&M on Oct. 11. Oklahoma, LSU, and Alabama — Collins’ other top options — are expected to officially host him, as well, so the key for Texas seems to be simply weathering the storm as he visits elsewhere and trying to secure another couple visits throughout the season, which should prove relatively easy given the close proximity. As least entering this crucial stretch, as has been the case for some time, Texas appears to be the team to beat.
Ty Jordan — 3-star APB — West Mesquite: Entering August, it was unclear where Texas would find even one running back pledge this cycle. Now, nearing the month’s mid-point, it appears Texas is primed to ultimately pair West Mesquite star Ty Jordan with the No. 3-ranked running back, Bijan Robinson. Texas has been involved with Jordan dating back to last summer, and that long-standing relationship may soon prove rewarding, as he told BON this spring that relationships beyond mere recruiting is key to earning his commitment. Though this recruitment has largely unfolded behind the scenes, that relationship with the Texas staff is likely why, after USC and Tennessee each enjoyed some momentum throughout the summer, the Horns are suddenly surging again with eight Crystal Ball picks rolling in throughout the past week.
Beyond the more realistic options still remaining on the Longhorns’ big board — Alford aside — Texas is still targeting talents such as five-star Scottsdale (Az.) Saguaro cornerback Kelee Ringo and Houston Aldine MacArthur cornerback Joshua Eaton. At one point, each looked to be Longhorns leans, though that’s no longer the case with Ringo seemingly Georgia-bound and Eaton trending to Texas A&M ahead of his looming decision.
If Texas could alter either of those recruitments, Ringo or Eaton would still be a take, but the Horns are in solid shape at the position with pledges from two of the nation’s top corners in Winter Park (Fla.) product Ethan Pouncey (No. 10 CB) and John Tyler standout Kitan Crawford (No. 11 CB).
Elsewhere, as is always the case as options come off the board and a class takes shape, filling needs along the way, more offers will surface and more realistic options will emerge.
Offensively, Texas’ 2020 class may be pretty close to complete if the Horns can add a few commitments from key targets noted above. Defensively, the secondary is shaping up well with a trio of four-star pledges on board, and and defensive line could boast even more talent before it’s all said and done. With only Prince Dorbah in the fold, though, linebacker will likely be a position the Longhorns prioritize going forward.