You’ve heard it numerous times this cycle and you’ll likely continue hearing it all the way up until National Signing Day — if you win Houston, you win Texas.
Naturally, Tom Herman inherited such expectations at Texas after becoming a household name in the Houston-area during his two seasons with the Cougars. On Saturday evening, Herman and the ‘Horns took a significant step towards bringing those aspirations to fruition with the addition of Houston Lamar wide receiver Al’vonte Woodard.
Woodard’s mid-July commitment is significant for a variety of reasons.
For starters, the timing is ideal. Remember when Caden Sterns’ decision to flip from LSU sparked a surge of elite recruits committing to Texas within a month? Prior to Saturday, Texas hadn’t picked up a pledge since Rondale Moore on June 25, but another momentum-building flurry may be on the horizon, beginning with Woodard.
D’shawn Jamison, Malcolm Epps, Brennan Eagles and Keondre Coburn — all elite Houston-area priority prospects — could be committed within the next month and as it stands, Texas would seemingly be the pick for all four.
As Horns247 said, the Houston recruiting dominos are starting to fall for Texas.
Woodard, whose name holds weight among fellow recruits in the critical Houston-area, will surely serve as a benefit for the ‘Horns, just as it should with Woodard slated to visit the Forty Acres next weekend as part of Texas’ ‘Stars at Night’ recruiting event. Jamison and Coburn are among a small army of Texas targets expected to attend.
Furthermore, Woodard is currently teammates with a pair of major Texas targets in Anthony Cook, the state’s No. 1 player, and the aforementioned Jamison.
Texas still remains firmly in the mix with Cook, although he’ll need some additional convincing to ultimately side with the ‘Horns over options such as Ohio State and Clemson. Cook, who’s scheduled to visit Texas on July 28, previously told Burnt Orange Nation that Woodard has been in his ear to join him at Texas for a while now.
Jamison, on the other hand, is slated to announce his decision next month in what’s largely considered a two-horse race between Texas and TCU. The Longhorns are already the perceived leader and Woodard will likely remain an advocate for Jamison to remain his teammate at the next level.
Woodard’s influence should extend well beyond Houston Lamar High School, as well. Similar to fellow pledge BJ Foster, Woodard has established relationships with key Texas targets from around Houston and the state, due in part to attending events such as The Opening, and he’s the kind of talent of recruits will want to join in Austin.
That’s certainly the hope for Herman and the ‘Horns.
With Woodard on board, Texas currently holds commitments from four of the top 11 players in the state in Foster (No. 2), Sterns (No. 4), Woodard (No. 8) and DeMarvion Overshown (No. 11). While only Woodard and Foster stem from the Houston-area thus far, Texas remains in a good position with Cook (No. 1), Eagles (No. 3) and Jalen Green (No. 5), and being able to haul all three in would give Texas pledges from each of the top five players in the state and seven of the top 11, overall.
Factor in Coburn (No. 13), Jamison (No. 16) and Epps (No. 22) and it’s quite possible that Texas hauls in at least half of the top 22 talents the state has to offer this cycle, which seems more likely than not at this point.
Of course, there’s still plenty of work to be done to that end, but Texas received a welcomed and significant step forward on Saturday with Woodard’s pledge.
The question going forward doesn’t seem to be if other recruits will follow suit, but rather, how long before the other Houston dominos fall?