In the midst of a critical stretch that will largely define the quality of the 2020 recruiting class for the Texas Longhorns, head coach Tom Herman and his staff picked up their third commitment of the month with the pledge of Houston Cy Ridge defensive tackle Vernon Broughton.
The 6’5, 286-pounder who wants to major in Business Management chose the Longhorns over a final group that included the Arkansas Razorbacks, LSU Tigers, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Texas A&M Aggies, with each of those schools hosting Broughton on official visits in recent weeks.
Though his first official visit was to Austin, Broughton returned to the Forty Acres amid his official visit tour on an unofficial basis, as he told Burnt Orange Nation’s Joe Hamilton that the Texas staff wanted to host him once more ahead of his decision.
“They wanted me to come up there so they could show me love,” he said at The Opening Finals last week, where he was learning to use his hands better and new pass-rushing techniques.
“It was stupid live. It was stupid live,” Broughton told BON of his Texas official visit. “Coach Giles, we’re just chopping it up. And they got everybody in the room and looked at my player personnel, what I can do better, and what they can do to help me out.”
Since the trip to Frisco, Broughton sat down with his mother and grandmother at a restaurant and broke down the pros and cons of each finalist.
Ohio State was a place that Broughton told Burnt Orange Nation that he could see himself playing after his first trip to Columbus. The proximity of College Station allowed him to take multiple visits to Aggieland, where he built a relationship with position coach Terry Price, “another great” in Broughton’s opinion. LSU likely fell out of the race when Broughton visited and didn’t come away with an especially positive impression.
“It was alright,” he said, struggling to find anything that stood out about the visit.
Arkansas, on the other hand, remained in the mix because of new coach Chad Morris and his vision for the program.
“It was live. Getting to meet Coach Morris and that campus is nice. Everybody will say look at their record, but I’m looking at the bigger picture: What can I do to impact that school?”
In the end, however, despite the fact that recruiting momentum seemingly waned at times for Texas in an important recruitment, Broughton’s decision ultimately came down to which school could take care of him and his family.
And after that conversation at the restaurant, the Broughton family decided that it was Texas that could offer more than the other four finalists.
The fact that the Horns were in such a advantageous position for such a long time in Broughton’s recruitment increased his importance to the 2020 recruiting class — defensive line coach Oscar Giles simply needed to close with Broughton after building a strong relationship with the big prospect.
Difficulties recruiting the defensive tackle position also increased the need to land Broughton. Of the eight other defensive tackles with offers, only one, Louisiana product Jacobian Guillory, is still considering the Longhorns. It wasn’t quite Broughton or bust at the position, but it wasn’t far off, either.
The upside that Broughton possesses makes him an even more intriguing prospect — the Cy Ridge product is still in the early stages of his development because he focused on basketball before discovering his abilities as a football prospect.
So he is still learning technique and how to play with proper leverage, which will be especially important as he moves inside in college with the Longhorns, but his movement abilities are a large part of what makes him such a well-regarded prospect. And if he’s able to put everything together under Giles, he has tremendous upside.
A consensus four-star prospect, Broughton is ranked as the No. 70 player nationally, the No. 6 defensive tackle, and the No. 10 prospect in Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.