Last week didn’t go well for position coach Jeff Choate and the Texas Longhorns at the linebacker position — on Wednesday, Illinois product Sebastian Cheeks committed to the North Carolina Tar Heels and on Saturday, versatile Tenaha product Jeremy Patton committed to the Baylor Bears.
Both players were key targets at the position, with the Horns seemingly holding a strong position with Cheeks both before and immediately after his official visit to Austin on June 11 and with Patton following his own official visit the week before.
Unfortunately, standout recruiter Tommy Thigpen, who serves as the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Tar Heels, help lure Cheeks to Chapel Hill as a big coup for head coach Mack Brown. And Texas ultimately finished third for Patton, whose wild final days of his recruitment featured a cancelled trip to Austin for the pool party, a big swing in the direction of Michigan, and then a final swing towards Baylor.
With those two players off the board, the Longhorns moved quickly to target a new prospect at the position.
Meet Eoghan Kerry.
A 6’3, 225-pounder who plays for California powerhouse Mater Dei, where Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian’s son is a student and football player, Kerry is a consensus three-star prospect with 10 offers, including Arizona, Boston College, Colorado, UCLA, as well as a handful of Ivy League schools.
So Kerry is clearly intelligent, but like a lot of California recruits who weren’t already well known when the pandemic started, a five-game junior season has perhaps depressed his stock. And Sarkisian has been clear that his staff does its own evaluations instead of relying on recruiting rankings or only offering prospects who have high-profile offers from other schools.
Mater Dei played a 3-4 defense in 2019 and Kerry often served as a hybrid edge player who could rush from two-point or three-point stances, but also saw playing time as a second-level linebacker, his likely position at Texas. With a verified 4.8 40, there are questions about Kerry’s top-end speed, but he does show good burst off the ball. On more than a handful of plays, Kerry struggles to sink his hips as he approaches ball carriers, resulting in a lot of drag-down tackles up around the shoulders — he doesn’t always appear to be the most fluid and flexible player.
The major need for Texas is for an inside linebacker who could play in the middle or on the weakside, but if the Horns land Kerry and he ends up gaining weight, he could land at the hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker position he plays at times in high school.
Texas may be the leader after hosting Kerry on a weekend visit and extending an offer at that time, as 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions came in on Sunday and Monday in favor of the Longhorns.
As the nation’s No. 587 prospect overall and the No. 61 linebacker, Kerry profiles as more of a developmental prospect Texas hopes they evaluated well. Given the need in the recruiting class, especially with the potential that longtime commit Trevell Johnson is wavering, Kerry would make a fine addition when he makes his decision on Wednesday morning.