After being named as one of two finalists several weeks ago, the Texas Longhorns suffered a major miss on the recruiting trail on Saturday, as Fort Worth Nolan Catholic weak-side defensive end NaNa Osafo-Mensah announced his commitment to Notre Dame.
An elite hybrid edge rusher, Osafo-Mensah has been among the Longhorns top defensive targets this cycle. Texas appeared to be the team to beat following his March 31 unofficial visit. Although Osafo-Mensah has long remained firm on the stance that he was torn between the two, the industry perception in early April was the Longhorns held a narrow edge following his March 31 unofficial visit.
Set to receive his final official visit on May 4, Texas was believed to be in position to essentially close the deal weeks before his decision.
However, after being blown away during his April 13 official visit to South Bend, Notre Dame quickly snagged the momentum and maintained that throughout the past five weeks, even after his official tour to Texas.
The Longhorns’ hope down the stretch hinged on Osafo-Mensah’s public sentiments about wanting his family to watch him play in person, but of course, Notre Dame’s excellent academics, Catholic culture and the family atmosphere Osafo-Mensah felt during his time on campus outweighed proximity.
With that now the reality, Texas will turn its attention to other targets, such as four-star Little Rock Joe T. Robinson weak-side defensive end Zach Williams. Despite being an Arkansas legacy, Williams raved of Texas after visiting for the spring game, even telling his father that Texas was his top school. Expect to hear Williams’ name much more now that Osafo-Mensah is a Notre Dame pledge, although Texas quite likely continues its pitch between now and the early signing period.
With Osafo-Mensah now a Notre Dame commit, Texas has missed on or is currently out of the mix with 10 of the top 15 prospects in the state. Last cycle, the Longhorns landed 11 of the top 15 prospects in Texas.