Approximately five and a half months remain until National Signing Day — four months and some change for those eyeing the early signing period — and to this point, head coach Tom Herman’s 2019 recruiting class sits comfortably within the top 10 nationally.
Despite the notable national ranking, though, the reality remains that the Texas Longhorns have been dealt their fair share of body blows this cycle, especially within the state that Herman and his staff dominated so thoroughly in 2018, forcing Texas to cultivate a greater national presence to augment the in-state takes.
After inking 12 of the top 20 talents in Texas last cycle, including six of the top seven, the Horns hold pledges from just two of the top 20 in-state prospects this time around (No. 4 Tyler Johnson and No. 6 Jordan Whittington). Only two of the 18 other recruits, No. 7 Lewis Cine and No. 15 Elijah Higgins, remain uncommitted, and neither is projected to play football on the Forty Acres.
Simply put, Texas hasn’t come remotely close to enjoying the kind of in-state success the 2018 cycle provided, which was expected considering the circumstances surrounding the most prominent Texas recruiting rivals — Texas A&M and Oklahoma.
Across the Red River, Oklahoma is essentially able to boast all that appeals in the recruiting process — one of the most prolific offensives in the country, the most recent Heisman winner and No. 1 overall pick, Baker Mayfield, three consecutive Big 12 titles, and an appearance in the most recent College Football Playoff. In College Station, the Aggies are enjoying the benefits of that new car smell with Jimbo Fisher arriving from Florida State, similar to what Texas enjoyed last cycle.
With Oklahoma and Texas A&M collectively featuring 26 commits from Texas — many of which were on Texas’ big board — the Horns have remained relevant this cycle by constructing a class comprised of talent beyond of the state borders.
The out-of-state emphasis has proven effective thus far.
After extending 74 out-of-state offers throughout the entire 2018 cycle, Texas has increased that total to 85 for the current class, and again, approximately five and a half months remain before the February signing day. More invitations will surely be sent out. Of those 85 offers, seven have resulted in commitments, which matches the Longhorns entire out-of-state haul in 2018.
More notably, the out-of-state additions have helped make up for in-state misses.
Texas missed the cut for four-star Flower Mound Marcus outside linebacker Marcel Brooks but added elite California product De’Gabriel Floyd to the commitment list weeks later on March 31.
It was expected that recruiting defensive backs this cycle would prove challenging after signing six All-Americans in 2018. After in-state targets such as Brian Williams and Jamal Morris took their talents to Texas A&M and Oklahoma, respectively, Texas earned a pair of four-star pledges from California safety Chris Adimora and Georgia cornerback Kenyatta Watson II.
A similar picture can be painted portraying the wide receiver position. Arjei Henderson excluded the Longhorns from his final cut in February before ultimately announcing his commitment to Oklahoma, and months later, top target Garrett Wilson, a local five-star talent out of Lake Travis, committed to Ohio State over Texas days after an official visit. To address its in-state misses, Texas added a pair of speedy out-of-state pass-catchers to its class throughout the summer in the form of Arizona product Jake Smith and Oklahoma native Demariyon Houston.
While the in-state Texas recruiting efforts obviously haven’t gone according to plan this cycle, the out-of-state additions weren’t simply a matter of Herman and his staff settling on whomever they could add just to fill out the class.
Each of the aforementioned commits is ranked within the top 200 nationally, per the 247Sports Composite, as is Arizona tight end Brayden Liebrock, who’s arguably the Longhorns top option at the position, in-state or otherwise.
The Longhorns likely aren’t done, either.
Four-star Buford (Ga.) running back Derrian Brown has Texas as his top school and a decision could come soon. The Longhorns are also firmly in the mix with other out-of-state options such as Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy running back Noah Cain, Columbus (Oh.) St. Francis De Sales defensive tackle Rodas Johnson, and Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei athlete Bru McCoy, among others. With a successful season on the field, Texas could see as many as four or five more out-of-state prospects side with the Horns before National Signing Day.
Johnson and Whittington headline the Texas recruiting haul, but six of the top eight talents in the class hail from outside of the state. This may not have been the outcome Herman and his staff envisioned entering the 2019 cycle, but the out-of-state emphasis and the success Texas has enjoyed as a result is largely why the Longhorns class sits within the top 10 nationally.