clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Nine Texas early enrollees begin arriving on the Forty Acres

New, 5 comments

Half of the 2021 class that signed in December are starting their Longhorns careers early.

As the Steve Sarkisian era begins, the nine Texas Longhorns early enrollees began arriving on the Forty Acres on Wednesday ahead of the start of the spring semester.

The group represents a full half of the 18 players who signed in December during the early signing period and will all participate in the first spring practices under Sarkisian, giving them a chance of contributing early, although most are likely special teams contributors if they see the field.

Here’s the full list, in order of their rankings.

Kennedale S JD Coffey | 6’0, 180 | **** | No. 156 nationally | No. 7 safety

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

“I don’t know how to call his hitting potential. Every week when you watch this film, it’s highlight-worthy hits and I know he’s going to be roaming the secondary for a while here at DKR are imposing his will on some of those receivers coming across the middle.”

Projection: Whether Sarkisian decides to keep senior Jalen Green at safety will impact the possibility of Coffey seeing the field on defense early, but with Caden Sterns and Chris Brown off to the NFL and Xavion Alford’s transfer to USC, the depth chart has opened up some at safety. He’s the most likely early enrollee to earn playing time this season beyond special teams.

Pasadena (Cali.) Muir CB Jamier Johnson | 6’0, 170 | **** | No. 263 nationally | No. 20 CB

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

“Again, really excited about his length and athleticism, plays extremely physical. For a defensive back that’s one of the things that we were really drawn to was his physicality and he has impacted the game on both sides of the football.”

Projection: Johnson’s senior season was pushed back to the spring, so that likely set back his development. He’s most likely to contribute on special teams as a freshman with all the cornerbacks returning and both freshmen from the 2020 class seeing the field in limited action.

New Caney LB Derrick Harris Jr. | 6’2, 215 | **** | No. 272 nationally | No. 19 WDE

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

Had a great sophomore and junior year. Great length and athleticism off the edge. The interesting tidbit that some of you may or may not know, DJ is actually a competitive swimmer. So I don’t know if you guys know that or not. I’m sure Edie Reese will be calling me in any moment to get to the 411 on DJ.”

Projection: Harris missed his senior season due to injuries and is likely to compete at weak-side defensive end or potentially the hybrid position, depending on who Sarkisian hires at defensive coordinator and what scheme they employ. Expect Harris to redshirt.

Pearland Shadow Creek LB Terrence Cooks | 6’2, 210 | **** | No. 306 nationally | No. 18 OLB

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

“Extremely excited about his athletic ability, could play either Spur or Will for us in our package we believe. Again, another great athletic pedigree in his family is that father played in the National Football League as well. He won a state championship in 2019.”

Projection: With both starters and both backups returning, Cooks will have to wait for playing on defense. Expect him to redshirt.

Pompano Beach (Fla.) Monarch WR Jaden Alexis | 5’11, 185 | **** | No. 347 nationally | No. 56 WR

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

“One of the things that really made me drawn me to him was just his work ethic. And he would tell me about these training sessions that he would have throughout the COVID lockdown and all that and he actually had shoulder pads and helmets on. So whenever he goes and does his running drills, he’s got shoulder pads and helmets and just really, really cool to see that kind of work ethic.”

Projection: With 10.75 speed in the 100m, Alexis has the type of speed that could make him an intriguing option for Sarkisian as a freshman, but he’s another player who will have to compete with a handful of veterans for playing time.

Katy Taylor OT Hayden Conner | 6’5, 315 | *** | No. 388 nationally | No. 30 OT

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

“It feels like we’ve been recruiting him since he was in kindergarten. I think he told me a funny story — I don’t think he’s weighed under 200 pounds since his fifth grade year or something like that, but started off playing tight end and high school, so you can tell that athletic ability is there. Obviously grew in to an offensive tackle, really excited about his versatility. And as I said, great, great family, great program, and is our longest-tenured commit as well.”

Projection: After three freshmen emerged as starters in the Alamo Bowl, Conner will have a more difficult path to playing time. Expect him to redshirt.

Englewood (Colo.) TE Gunnar Helm | 6’5, 230 | *** | No. 652 nationally | No. 33 TE

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

“Back-to-back state champion. Gunnar played wide receiver as a sophomore, a little bit as a junior, and I believe his dad told me a story about John Elway actually suggesting to him that with that frame he learn how to play out of a three-point stance and play tight end. The rest is history when he fell in love with that position. So unique story there and great skill set to fit in our offense as well.”

Projection: Expect Helm to redshirt at a position that includes three returning players with signifiant experience.

Austin High QB Charles Wright | 6’1, 195 | *** | No. 885 nationally | No. 32 pro-style QB

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

“Obviously, we think the world of Charles, three-time captain at Austin High, started as a freshman on the varsity team there at Austin high. He’s a Texas legacy here at the university, I think both his parents went to school here and so he’s gonna fit right in with our culture.”

Projection: As a pro-style quarterback with the willingness to throw into small windows, his quick release, and his ability to make off-platform throws, Wright is an intriguing fit in Sarkisian’s offense. With the change in scheme, Wright will be learning the new offense along with Casey Thompson and Hudson Card, but expect him to redshirt nonetheless.

Prokick Australia P Isaac Pearson | 6’2, 215 | *** | No. 1,990 nationally | No. 4 P

Signing Day story

What Tom Herman said:

“Obviously, we’ve had tremendous success both here and at other places going down to ProKick to find our punters and we expect Isaac to be much of the same. This is t guy that I think was working as a mechanic in a coal mine when he was approached by ProKick and trained with those guys for a year or two.”

Projection: Ryan Bujcevski should be back from his ACL injury in time for the 2021, so Pearson is likely to redshirt and wait behind Bujcevski for a year or two, but Bujcevski hasn’t been able to finish either or the last two seasons because of injuries.