After flipping some of the nation’s premier prospects this cycle, Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns fell victim to the same fate on Monday afternoon with defensive end Ron Tatum’s change of heart keeping him at home with the Oklahoma Sooners.
The loss of Tatum served as a big blow to Herman and his staff’s recruiting efforts, not just because he’s nothing short of an elite prospect, but Tatum also filled a key need after a wave of defensive line departures this offseason.
Going forward, Tatum may not be the only Texas commit to flip this cycle.
As expected, considering previous talk of a potential flip and new Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley making a statement on the recruiting trail by flipping Tatum, many may presume Oklahoma native Casey Thompson is next in line.
It certainly appears Riley has the same intentions in mind, as well.
Time to hunt down 2 more from the home state...— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) June 12, 2017
Surprisingly, Thompson may not be the current pledge to worry about. Since the time of his commitment to Texas, multiple reports have indicated Thompson’s pledge and relationship with the staff in Austin have only grown stronger. At this point, there’s reason to believe Oklahoma is far from the threat it was following Cameron Rising’s flip from the Sooners to the Longhorns in April. And it’s unclear if the following was in response to Riley’s tweet about hunting down two more in-state prospects after Tatum’s flip, but Thompson seemingly made a statement in favor of Texas by tweeting out his new profile picture just minutes after Riley’s comment.
Justin Watkins, on the other hand, appears to be a different story as of late.
Reports recently surfaced that the first Texas pledge this cycle will continue taking visits to Alabama, LSU, Louisville, Ohio State and Penn State. After previously backing out of his commitment to LSU and then flipping from Florida State to the Longhorns during Texas junior day in February, it was fairly clear at the time of his flip that retaining the East Ridge (Fla.) product for the next 12 months would be a tall task.
Within the past week, a pair of Crystal Ball projections have rolled in in favor of Alabama, and in a sense, Watkins potentially flipping may actually benefit the Longhorns.
Jaylen Waddle, a key wide receiver target from the Houston area, has made it clear he wants to be the only slot receiver addition at the school of his choice and that role is currently filled by Watkins at Texas. By many accounts, Waddle is the more intriguing option for Texas for a variety of reasons. Waddle is extremely high on the Longhorns and if Watkins heads elsewhere and Texas can handle business on the field in 2017, there’s plenty to like about the ‘Horns chances with the elite Bellaire Episcopal product.
Based on the current outlook, there’s no indication that any of the current Longhorn pledges are expected to land elsewhere aside from Watkins, but as noted, that may be a loss Texas gains from.