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Mapping an ideal close to the 2020 recruiting class for Texas

With decisions looming, the Longhorns’ 2020 class may be set to enjoy a major boost, while other elite national targets remain high on Texas.

Lathan Ransom (left) with Caden Sterns at The Opening Finals.
Joe Hamilton

The summer is in full swing, which, as far as the Texas Longhorns are concerned, may mean that a flurry of additions to the #cloUT2020 class is on the horizon.

Thus far, Tom Herman’s 2020 class features seven members and considering the Longhorns’ scholarship numbers, Texas will likely add 13-to-15 more pledges before it’s all said and done. With that in mind, what would an ideal, yet realistic close to the 2020 cycle look like?

Bijan Robinson — 5-star RB — Tucson (Az.) Salpointe Catholic OR Jase McClellan — 5-star RB — Aledo — Oklahoma commit: Top-ranked running back Zachary Evans had long been the Longhorns priority at the position, but when the Houston North Shore star trimmed Texas from his top five in late May, that title transitioned to Bijan Robinson. Throughout the previous couple months, Texas has emerged from simply being an option into a very legitimate, if not likely landing spot, and his Crystal Ball now favors the Horns following a recent official visit for the Heat Wave pool party. Ohio State, too, is a major factor here, and this recruitment is likely neck-and-neck between the Horns and Buckeyes, but Texas is in an excellent position with the nation’s No. 4 running back down the stretch.

If things with Robinson don’t end favorably for the Horns, Texas is still in pursuit of long-time Oklahoma pledge Jase McClellan, who officially visited Austin in mid-June. McClellan rarely discusses too much with the media, but he did tell BON that despite being firm to his Oklahoma pledge, he’s still being thorough and evaluating his options — namely, Texas and Alabama.

It’s also worth noting that though Evans did exclude Texas from his top list, he has since returned for an unofficial visit in late June, so it appears that door isn’t entirely closed.

Johnny Wilson — 5-star WR — Calabasas (Calif.): If Texas had its choice and could sign only one receiver this cycle, it would be Johnny Wilson. The elite California product visited Texas twice throughout the month of June, and during his most recent stay for Texas’ Heat Wave pool party, Wilson didn’t want to leave.

“I was supposed to leave Sunday, but I talked to my mom and was like, ‘I’m enjoying my time out here and I really don’t want to go back,’” Wilson told Burnt Orange Nation.

This recruitment is far from over and Wilson plans to officially visit each of his four finalists, including a return trip to Texas, but it appears the Longhorns have placed themselves comfortably in a two-horse race with Oregon.

Mookie Cooper — 4-star WR — Saint Louis (Mo.) Trinity Catholic A one-time Texas commit, Mookie Cooper re-opened his recruitment in March, just one month after siding with the Horns, but he’s remained in contact with the staff and even named Texas in his top five on June 4. Unofficially, Cooper has a top three in his head that includes the Longhorns, he told BON’s Joe Hamilton at The Opening while rocking Texas shorts. He plans to be back in Austin at some point during the season for an official visit, and if Texas gets its way, he’ll be back in Austin for the start of his collegiate career. That said, Cooper’s recruitment appears fairly wide open and though Ohio State is trending at the moment, he doesn’t have a timeframe for a new decision.

Update: Mookie Cooper has committed to Ohio State.

Quentin Johnston — 4-star WR — Temple: Quentin Johnston’s recruitment has garnered a minimal amount of media attention for a top-60 national prospect, but he’s quite comfortable with the few options he has in hand. Specifically, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, and Texas are the teams most actively pursuing his services, he told BON’s Wescott Eberts at the Texas State 7-on-7 Championships, and TCU, in particular, appears to have his eye, courtesy of a “homey feel.” However, Johnston, who was in Austin for the Heat Wave pool party, loves the relationship he’s developed with Texas wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer, and The McCombs School of Business is an ideal selling point, as the big-bodied, 6’4 receiver wants to major in business. There doesn’t appear to be a favorite at this point, but Texas is certainly pushing here.

Chad Lindberg — 4-star OT — League City Clear Creek: At one point, Lindberg appeared to be a lock to Texas, and for good reason. Beyond him making numerous trips to Austin, including a May 3 official visit, he’s built relationships with each of the Longhorns current offensive line pledges and quarterback commit Hudson Card. Furthermore, his older brother is currently enrolled at Texas. Nevertheless, Lindberg has entertained other options, making official visits to Georgia (May 31), LSU (June 14), USC (June 18), and Texas A&M (June 21). That said, with his recruitment entering what will likely be its final few weeks, the Longhorns still appear to be in the driver’s seat. Texas currently owns each of his five Crystal Ball picks.

Vernon Broughton — 4-star DT — Houston Cy Ridge: The official visit portion of Vernon Broughton’s recruitment is now in the rearview and it’s possible that a decision could be coming as soon as next week. Broughton told BON’s Joe Hamilton at The Opening that he plans to sit down with his mother and grandmother in the coming days and weight the pros and cons of each option. As far as that decision is concerned, Broughton said he’s open to each of his finalists, but when speaking with BON about each remaining option, his excitement was apparent when discussing Texas, calling his May 4 official visit “stupid live.” Arkansas appears to be the only real competition here, but Texas helped itself balance any momentum elsewhere with a June 19 unofficial visit amid his official visit tour. When Broughton comes to a decision in the coming days or weeks, it would be a fairly significant surprise if he takes his talents anywhere other than Texas.

Princely Umanmielen — 4-star SDE — Manor: Officially, Princely Umanmielen has a top five featuring Texas, LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, and Oregon, but unofficially, as is the case with Cooper, Texas is among his top three, he told BON’s Joe Hamilton at The Opening. With a few months remaining in his recruitment, Umanmielen, who’s made numerous trips to Texas this offseason, said he will officially visit Texas during the season, and also named Alabama as a team he’ll officially visit. That said, it would be safe to expect that he’ll ultimately side with either Texas, Texas A&M, or Oklahoma. Umanmielen is currently scheduled to officially visit the latter on Aug. 30, and the Aggies will have the final say during his Oct. 11 official visit. Umanmielen is another example of a talent Texas is in a great position with, but there’s still plenty of work to be done if the Longhorns want the last laugh when the local product commits on Oct. 15.

Alfred Collins — 4-star SDE — Bastrop Cedar Creek: On June 4, Alfred Collins named Texas in his top five, alongside Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama, and Texas A&M, but there are reasons to believe he’ll ultimately end up in burnt orange. A Longhorns legacy, as his mother played basketball at Texas, Collins unsurprisingly grew up a fan of the Texas program and he’s been to Austin on numerous occasions since adding an offer last September, with his most recent trip taking place for the Heat Wave pool party. His only scheduled official visit thus far is to Texas A&M on Oct. 11, but Texas will almost certainly host him as well. Given that timeline, his recruitment will extend well into the 2019 season, but at this point, his pledge appears to be the Longhorns’ to lose.

Prince Dorbah — 4-star OLB — Dallas Highland Park: By this time next week, Prince Dorbah may very well be a member of Tom Herman’s 2020 class. The nation’s No. 7 outside linebacker is set to announce his decision on July 10, and the odds are in Texas’ favor for their priority at the position, with the Horns owning each of his four Crystal Ball picks. Despite his decision being just days away, Dorbah has taken only one official visit, to Texas on June 14, which marked just the latest of several trips to Austin this offseason. Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State are also options.

Brennon Scott — 4-star OLB — Dallas Bishop Dunne: As is the case with several of Texas’ remaining targets, a summer decision timeline looms for Bishop Dunne product Brennon Scott. On June 10, just days after a trip to Texas, Scott made his second list cut, trimming 11 options down to five, with Texas, Auburn, USC, Oregon, and Kansas each still standing. He’s since officially visited USC and Kansas, and he’ll likely take his official tour to Texas once the dead period ends, which should play in Texas favor with a decision expected to come within the next month or so. Scott’s lone Crystal Ball pick expect that he’ll ultimately continue to #DallasToAustin movement, and it can only help the Horns that Scott’s teammate, three-star athlete Jaden Hullaby, has been a member of Texas’ 2020 class since March.

Kelee Ringo — 5-star CB — Scottsdale (Az.) Saguaro: Earlier this spring, Texas emerged as the clear favorite for the nation’s top-ranked cornerback, and understandably so. Having already visited Texas more than any other program, Ringo returned to Austin in mid-March and spent the entire spring break on the Forty Acres. However, Georgia has since taken hold as a major player in his recruitment, and arguably even unseated Texas as the team to beat. Both the Bulldogs and Longhorns are now in Ringo’s top five, which he released late last month, alongside Alabama, Ohio State, and Oregon — Washington was a surprising exclusion. Though Alabama, Ohio State, and Oregon are each recruiting powers in their own right, this should prove to be a two-horse race between the Horns and Bulldogs. Texas may not be in the driver’s seat, but it isn’t far from it and that could easily change during the season once Texas secures an official visit.

Jahari Rogers — 4-star CB — Arlington: Texas and Florida are widely considered the top schools for the consensus four-star prospect and Rogers did take official visits to both this spring — he was in Gainesville in mid-May and then tripped to Austin in June for the Heat Wave recruiting event. However, Rogers told BON’s Joe Hamilton at The Opening that there are some “undercover” schools in his recruitment that he’ll reveal at some point. One possibility is Arkansas — Rogers took an official visit to Fayetteville in early May.

“I’m going to do it and people are going to be shocked that I’m doing it,” he said.

Originally, Rogers planned on announcing his decision at The Opening on July 4, but with a spate of commitments already planned, the Arlington standout decided to push back his decision until the end of the month. Texas holds six of his 10 Crystal Ball picks.

Chris Thompson Jr. — 4-star S — Duncanville: Of the several safety targets on Texas’ big board, Chris Thompson Jr. has long been considered the most likely to land in Austin, and that’s now likely even more true with his teammate, four-star quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson, committed to the program. As was the case with Jackson, Longhorns assistant receivers coach Ra’Shaad Samples’ presence and ties to Duncanville can only help the Horns here. After numerous trips throughout the 2018 calendar year, Thompson made the short trek to Austin to take in a spring practice earlier this offseason, and he’s since returned for an official visit on May 3. More recently, he’s officially visited Ohio State, Notre Dame, and USC, and Auburn is a factor, as well. However, despite Thompson telling BON he’s open to leaving the stare, there’s little reason to believe Thompson will be taking his talents elsewhere. With an early August decision looming, Thompson’s Crystal Ball is entirely in favor of Texas, with eight picks placed to date.

Bryson Washington — 4-star S — Houston C.E. King OR Lathan Ransom — 4-star S — Tucson (Az.) Salpointe Catholic: On July 4 at 7 p.m. CT, Bryson Washington will bring his recruitment to a close and choose between Texas and Oklahoma. Washington is just weeks removed from his June 21 official visit to Texas, and though his Crystal Ball favors Oklahoma, it’s anyone’s guess as to which way he’s really leaning. We’ll find out on Thursday evening.

If Texas misses on Washington, expect the staff’s full attention to turn towards Lathan Ransom in hopes of a late push ahead of his July 16 decision. Ransom made his first trip to Texas on June 1 and returned two weeks later on June 14 for an official visit, and all indications were that Texas is very much a factor. However, Ohio State enjoyed his most recent official visit on June 21 and the Buckeyes now appear to be the heavy favorite.

If Texas misses on one or both of Washington and Ransom, the good news is the Horns are still heavily involved with elite Shadow Creek star Xavion Alford, who’s set to officially visit Austin for the LSU game. Alford has been in Austin on numerous occasions, including for the Heat Wave event, but keeping him away from the SEC will be a tall task.

Update: Bryson Washington has committed to Oklahoma.

Texas’ class, as it’s currently constructed, features seven pledges and ranks No. 40 nationally and No. 6 in the Big 12.

  • Ja’Quinden Jackson — 4-star ATH/QB — Duncanville
  • Hudson Card — 4-star QB — Austin Lake Travis
  • Jaylen Garth — 4-star OT — Port Neches-Groves
  • Jake Majors — 4-star C — Prosper
  • Kitan Crawford — 4-star ATH/CB — Tyler John Tyler
  • Logan Parr — 4-star OG — Helotes O’Connor
  • Jaden Hullaby — 3-star ATH/TE

If the coming days and weeks go as expected, the Longhorns may soon boast a class that’s once again hovering around the top-10 nationally.