The Texas Longhorns’ search for an inside linebacker pledge this cycle continues.
Head coach Tom Herman’s program was firmly in the mix to fill that void on Monday with Honolulu (Hi.) Punahou product Maninoa Tufono bringing his recruitment to a close, but the four-star talent ultimately sided with USC over Texas, Washington, UCLA, and LSU.
C O M M I T T E D— 5 (@maninoa_tufono) August 6, 2018
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The nation’s No. 6 inside linebacker prospect, Tufono made a summer trip to the Forty Acres for the Longhorns Heat Wave pool party and weeks later, he named Texas as one of his finalists in mid-July.
At the time, the overall expectation was that Tufono was Pac-12 bound. However, the narrative altered a bit down the stretch and a trio of Crystal Ball projections were placed for Texas thanks in large part to positional depth at Washington and USC, the Longhorns lack thereof, and recruiting assistant Jake Langi’s Polynesian ties.
Those pick projections were flipped in favor of USC less than 24 hours before Tufono’s decision, but nevertheless, Texas made much more of a push than initially expected earlier in the spring.
That push, of course, didn’t pay off with a pledge, and Texas will now have to continue looking elsewhere in hopes of adding an inside linebacker to its 2019 class.
Texas is still in the mix with Saint Louis (Mo.) Trinity Catholic product Shammond Cooper, Menia Park (Cali.) Atherton standout Daniel Heimuli, and Katy Cinco Ranch star David Gbenda, with the latter looming as the most likely addition as Texas intensifies its push. The Longhorns staff is also still pursuing Dodge City (Kan.) C.C. pruduct and Tennessee pledge Lakia Henry, who may visit the Forty Acres this fall.
Thus far, the recruiting haul for Texas ranks in the top 10 nationally and includes a pair of outside linebacker pledges in the form of Westlake (Cali.) Village product De’Gabriel Floyd and three-star Orlando (Fla.) Jones standout Marcus Tillman Jr.