Throughout the past few days, the Texas Longhorns have signed 22 talents from around the nation as part of a class that currently sits within the top 10 nationally at No. 9 overall and No. 2 in the Big 12. With the early signing period now in the rearview, the Burnt Orange Nation staff got together to grade Tom Herman’s 2019 recruiting haul, discuss potential day-one contributors, and more.
Whether it was their social media presence or how they performed on the field, which recruit was your favorite to follow throughout the process?
Cody Daniel — Co-Editor: I have to go with De’Gabriel Floyd simply because of how active and involved his was recruiting for Texas, whether it be through social media or on campus. Not to mention, he’s a tremendously versatile talent.
Joe Hamilton — Recruiting Reporter: My favorite recruit to follow throughout this process would have to be Roschon Johnson. The numbers he put up week in and week out were astonishing.
Gerald Goodridge — Contributor: Social media follow has to be Whittington. I love seeing the outspoken recruiting. On the field is Jake Smith. Dude put up video game numbers his senior year and won the Gatorade National Player of the Year for his efforts.
Anthony Rizzo — Contributor: Jordan Whittington. Whittington got things going for this class -- he was one of the first commits and stayed loyal to the Horns throughout his whole recruiting process. Outside of Floyd, Whittington seemed to be the most active and engaged recruit on social media.
JUCO signees Caleb Johnson and Jacoby Jones fill immediate positions of need, but which freshman may be the most likely to start the 2019 season?
Cody: Should Lil’Jordan Humphrey turn pro, I could see either Jake Smith or Jordan Whittington starting in the slot. De’Gabriel Floyd may make things interesting as well as Texas looks to replace Anthony Wheeler.
Joe: It has to be either Jordan Whittington or Jake Smith. They bring a lot of electricity to the field. Texas needs that on the offensive end and in the return game.
Gerald: Depending on the decisions of Collin Johnson and LilJordan Humphrey, I’ll say Whittington or Smith. They’re both the type of player to make the “wow” plays.
Anthony: With Gary Johnson and Anthony Wheeler gone, De’Gabriel Floyd has a chance to make an instant impact at linebacker.
Texas signed several All-Americans and top 300 recruits, but which signee isn’t being discussed as much as he probably should be?
Cody: I know there are several under-discussed three-star guys, but Derrian Brown was quietly a great pickup for Texas. He’s the highest-ranked running back signed to any Big 12 team and he rushed for nearly 2,000 yards as a senior, but I think Texas missing on guys like Noah Cain and Trey Sanders has overshadowed the fact that Texas signed a really solid back in Brown. I also think Brayden Liebrock will prove to be an amazing pickup at tight end.
Joe: Definitely T’Vondre Sweat. He’ll open a ton of eyes during camp.
Gerald: Derrian Brown was overshadowed by the pursuit of Trey Sanders and Noah Cain, but Texas fans should be excited. He’s a dynamic runner with incredible body control and the ability to make himself small when the holes are cluttered. He has the makings of a great Texas running back.
Anthony: Marcus Washington. It’s easy to overlook Washington in a loaded wide receiver class with Smith and Whittington. But, the Saint Louis product has some serious potential at the position with his elite speed.
By this time next year, which freshmen will have had the biggest impact on offense, defense, and special teams?
Cody: Offensively, I’ll go with Jake Smith, and I think he can be really impactful on special teams if he earns the job as a returner, which is far from solidified entering the offseason. Defensively, the lack of depth at linebacker makes De’Gabriel Floyd the obvious answer.
Joe: I’d have to go with Jordan Whittington.
Gerald: Whittington has that thing that excited fans about Daje Johnson’s on-field potential back in the day. You can line him up anywhere, get him the ball and watch something fun happen.
Anthony: I’ll go with Jake Smith. This year’s HS Gatorade Player of the Year has the tools to contribute significantly at the slot receiver position right away.
Texas suffered some major misses at home, but landed 11 out-of-state recruits, including six four-star prospects. Given that success, should the staff emphasize out-of-state recruiting even when things are going well in Texas?
Cody: I think Texas’ emphasis will always be at home, but the Longhorns need to continue to go after the best guys in the country, regardless of where they’re located. Half the class won’t come from out-of-state too often, but signing 7-9 out-of-state guys each cycle would be ideal.
Joe: I think you emphasize out-of-state recruiting when things aren’t necessarily going well with in-state prospects. I think it’s good to have a class like this, though. It shows a good balance and proves that if it comes down to having to go out-of-state and reel in some top notch recruits, this staff can make that happen. But landing top in state guys should be the priority every year. No other state is #TexasTested!
Gerald: This year’s in-state haul for Texas was impacted by the new car smell emanating out of College Station. I think Texas should focus inside-out when it comes to recruiting, but don’t let geography hamstring your strategy. Go after the best players at the positions of need. Why those two don’t conflict is that the state of Texas generally produces top-tier talent every year.
Anthony: Elite programs like Alabama and Ohio State always have the luxury to land top prospects across the country. While Texas isn’t necessarily securing prospects to that extent, they should definitely expand their out-of-state recruiting. Considering the competition for in-state talents with Lincoln Riley and Jimbo Fisher recruiting at a high level, targeting more California and Florida prospects would be a smart move.
Aside from the obvious answer — Bru McCoy — which recruit still out there should Texas zero in on between now and February?
Cody: Considering that Daniel Young struggled in a limited role this season, the possibility that Kyle Porter could look to transfer, and the fact that Kirk Johnson has never been healthy in Austin, I’d say Deondrick Glass. The four-star RB out of Katy rushed nearly 2,000 yards this season and Texas needs able bodies in that backfield next season.
Joe: They definitely need to add another running back to this class. I’d say Deondrick Glass or possibly make a late push for TCU verbal commit Darwin Barlow.
Gerald: Glass is the obvious choice after McCoy. The need for depth in the RB room is evident and having backs that can take some of the pressure off of Sam Ehlinger to get the physical yards only makes the team better.
Anthony: Outside of McCoy, securing OT Javonne Shepard should be the No. 1 focus for the staff right now.
As long as it holds through February, this will be Tom Herman’s second consecutive top 10 class. What grade would you give the #fUTure19 class?
Cody: I’d say a B+. It was expected that Texas would suffer some from Texas A&M’s first-year momentum under Fisher and Oklahoma’s success, but not landing at least one of Cain, DeMarvin Leal, Elijah Higgins, NaNa Osafo-Mensah, or Garrett Wilson stings a bit.
Joe: I’d give this class a B+
Gerald: I’d give it a solid A. I think this class is being judged more by the players that aren’t there, rather than the players that are. The group of wide receivers is absolutely insane, Tyler Johnson could be a four-year starter, the linebackers are all playmakers, and people are somehow people aren’t talking about Roschon Johnson.
Anthony: High B - Low A. Missing on an elite running back hurts, but overall this turned out to be a successful class. The staff did a nice job at filling positions of need and signed some talented out-of-state prospects.