We have almost hit the middle of the summer and typically that would mean that the talk of camp and the season would really start to heat up, but we all know this year and cycle has not been a typical year. We are well into uncharted territory with the country being in the midst of a full blown pandemic and as you can imagine college coaching staffs and recruits have had to adjust on the fly along with everyone else when it comes handling recruiting process.
At this point we don’t know when or if recruits are going to be permitted to make campus visits this fall and with Power 5 conferences beginning to nix out of conference games this fall it seems like things are trending towards an even more uncertain direction. With the way things trending right now it is very possible that some recruits in this class could end up signing with a school that they have never physically laid eyes on or visited and that is wild to me.
The Texas staff has continued to press on through some early cycle adversity has accumulated 14 commitments and has the 10th ranked recruiting class in the country. The Longhorns are in a solid spot all things considered, but there is still plenty of work to be done and that particularly goes for the offensive side of the ball.
With that said, lets look at where things stand with Texas targets as of today.
· Jake Garcia – La Habra (CA) – 4 Star (USC)
· Jalen Milroe – Katy Tompkins – 4 Star (Committed)
· Garrett Nussmeier – Flower Mound Marcus – 4 Star (LSU)
· Sawyer Robertson – Lubbock Coronado – 4 Star (Mississippi State)
· Preston Stone – Parish Episcopal – 4 Star (SMU)
Not much needs to be said here. Milroe was the early take by the staff and aside from a couple offers going out to Garrett Nussmeier and Sawyer Robertson when offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich arrived things have been pretty status quo. There was chatter of Alabama trying to make a push for Milroe, but all signs point to him being locked in with Texas as he continues to be a vocal recruiter for the Longhorns.
· Jonathon Brooks – Hallettsville – 3 Star (Committed)
· LJ Johnson – Cy-Fair – 4 Star
· Camar Wheaton – Lakeview Centennial – 5 Star
The focus for the running back group has been set for some time now and like last cycle, running backs coach Stan Drayton and going to have to earn his keep. Both Johnson and Wheaton are bell cow backs that have all the elite programs in pursuit of their commitment, and neither will be cake walk. Wheaton has been notoriously hard to get a read on since early on in his recruitment and both A&M and LSU have made Johnson a big priority for some time now. Drayton did well in landing Bijan Robinson last cycle, but it is time to see what he can do for encore in 2021.
The floor for the running back class was set with the commitment of Brooks, who was an eval by the staff, but they will need to hit on one of their primary targets for this position group to be viewed as a success. If things start slipping with the priority targets, then I imagine we will see some more names surface and see some offers extending.
· Jaden Alexis – Monarch (FL) – 3 Star
· Casey Cain – Warren Easton (LA) – 3 Star (Committed)
· Dekel Crowdus – Frederick Douglas (KY) – 4 Star (Kentucky)
· Quaydarius Davis – Dallas Skyline – 4 Star (USC)
· Jojo Earle – Aledo – 4 Star (LSU)
· Antonio Harmon – Kosciusko (MS) – 4 Star
· JJ Henry – McKinney North – 3 Star
· Ketron Jackson – Royse City – 4 Star
· Malcolm Johnson Jr- St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes (VA) – 4 Star
· Theodore Knox – The Woodlands – 4 Star (Mississippi State)
· Adonai Mitchell – Cane Ridge (TN) – 3 Star (Ole Miss)
· Hal Presley – Mansfield Summit – 3 star (Baylor)
As you can tell a wide net has been cast at the position and wide receivers coach Andre Coleman has his work cut out for him. Texas entered this cycle needing to add some juice to add some more juice to the position group after losing several productive players to the NFL and graduation over the past couple of years and so far, it has been a bit underwhelming.
The staff landed a commitment from Cain and he is a solid addition to the class, but they will need to compliment him with at least two more receivers. Earle was arguably priority number one for the position and there is no easy way to sugarcoat losing him to LSU given how early Texas was to the party on offering him and that now makes landing JJ Henry an even bigger priority. Henry is both dynamic and productive and would fill a big need in the slot for Texas this cycle. The staff was a little slow to offer Henry, but they seem to be in solid shape despite that.
Alexis and Crowdus are two out of state targets that are on the radar for the Longhorns, with Crowdus being a more recent addition. Crowdus has been committed to the in-state Wildcats since May, but recent buzz has the Longhorns trying to make a push on that front and try to pull off the flip. Alexis has reportedly been high on the Longhorns for awhile now and it would not be surprising if he ended up in the class, but it would be a sight unseen type of commitment.
There is a long way to go with this position group and a lot of names already on the big board. It will be interesting to see how things shake out.
· Elijah Arroyo – Frisco Independence – 4 Star (Miami)
· Gunnar Helm – Cherry Creek (CO) – 3 Star
· Landen King – Atascocita – 3 Star (Auburn)
· Lake McRee – Lake Travis – 3 Star (USC)
This cycle has not been kind to the Longhorns at the tight end position despite getting early position on several guys on their board. The staff took the commitment from McRee before he ended up missing his junior season due to an injury and then McRee ultimately decided to re-open his recruitment before landing at USC. The staff bounced back nicely by landing King, but then he surprisingly de-committed and opted to join his childhood friend Demetrius Davis at Auburn.
Arroyo eliminated the Longhorns from contention early on before committing to The U and the staff opted to extend an offer to Helm in early June. Helm has scheduled a visit to Austin to get a feel for the city, so that is certainly encouraging and while he can’t visit with the staff he and his family can take in the sights and sounds of campus and surrounding area.
The saving grace for the position group right now and that Juan Davis is likely to factor in here down the road once he hits campus, but I am not listing him here since his future position is a bit ambiguous in my opinion
· James Brockermeyer – All Saints Episcopal – 4 Star
· Tommy Brockermeyer – All Saints Episcopal – 5 Star
· Jager Burton – Frederick Douglas (KY) – 4 Star
· Savion Byrd – Duncanville – 4 Star
· Hayden Conner – Katy Taylor – 4 Star (Committed)
· Reuben Fatheree – Richmond Foster – 4 Star (Texas A&M)
· Bryce Foster – Katy Taylor – 4 Star
· Donovan Jackson – Bellaire Episcopal – 5 Star (Ohio State)
· Jonah Miller – Sahuaro (AZ) – 4 Star (Oregon)
· Michael Mysliniski – Bishop Kenny (FL) – 3 Star
· Ezra Dotson-Oyetade – Lakeview Centennial – 4 Star
· Bram Walden – Saguaro (AZ) – 4 Star (Oregon)
· Matthew Wykoff – Magnolia – 3 Star (Texas A&M)
Entering the cycle everyone knew this class was loaded in the trenches and that Texas needed to hit a home run at this position group and as things sit now it has been very underwhelming and I think that is being generous. Getting Conner in the boat early on was a nice get and was completely out of the blue, but since then the staff has not done a good job building off that.
After seeing Donovan Jackson last summer it was obvious he should be priority number one outside of the Brockermeyer twins and a can’t miss talent, and when he went off the board early to Ohio State there was no real way of replacing him in this class. Speaking of the Brockermeyers, it has basically been whittled down to Alabama and Texas and despite them being Longhorn legacies the Crimson Tide probably leads. Missing on the Brockermeyers would be as big of a miss as I can recall in recent memory Texas simply needs to find a way to win that recruitment and there is no other way of putting it. The Brockermeyers announced today that they will be declaring their commitments tomorrow and all signs seem to point towards the Crimson Tide.
Texas has legit contingency plans in place for James Brockermeyer in Ezra Dotson-Oyetade and Michael Mysliniski, but they will need to offer Oyetade soon or risk falling further behind. That kid is a stud and even if you do not like him at center you can plug him at guard and still be fine.
The targets were laid out pretty clear for this cycle for some time. It is past time to see more contingency plans in place for this group because it is getting painfully obvious things are not going according to plan.
· Tunmise Adeleye – IMG Academy (FL) – 4 Star (Ohio State)
· David Abiara – Mansfield Legacy – 4 Star (Notre Dame)
· Aaron Armitage – Blair Academy (NJ) – 4 Star
· Marcus Burris – Pleasant Grove – 4 Star
· Kelvin Gilliam – Highland Springs (VA) – 4 Star
· Derrick Harris Jr. – New Caney – 4 Star (Committed)
· Ikechukwu Iwunnah – Lakeview Centennial – 3 Star
· Landon Jackson – Pleasant Grove – 4 Star (LSU)
· Jonathan Jones – McKinney – 3 Star (Missouri)
· Albert Regis – La Porte – 3 Star
· Clayton Smith – Texas High – 4 Star (Oklahoma)
· Jordon Thomas – Port Arthur Memorial – 4 Star (Committed)
· Shemar Turner – DeSoto – 4 Star
· Arden Walker – Cherry Creek (CO) – 3 Star
Texas suffered some bad beats early with Jackson and Smith, but also already have two nice pieces in the boat in Harris and Thomas. Jackson’s commitment to LSU caught a lot of people off guard at the time and staff is going to stay on him to the bitter end.
Shemar Turner recently named the Longhorns among his finalists and that will certainly be a slugfest with Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M all in the hunt. The staff is trying to make a push for Abiara, but he has long been rumored to be on the verge of a flip to Oklahoma despite still being committed to Notre Dame.
I am a big fan of the offers out to Iwunnah and Regis, as both are both underrated prospects with fantastic athletic profiles. Big guys with uncommon athleticism are highly coveted and they both have upside that is through the roof. Find a way to get them in the class and let the chips fall how they may.
Gilliam and Walker are two out of state targets to keep an eye on going forward. Gilliam recently included the Longhorns in his top grouping of schools and Walker is pursued along with his teammate Gunnar Helm.
· Morice Blackwell – Arlington Martin – 4 Star (Committed)
· Terrence Cooks – Pearland Shadow Creek – 3 Star
· Raesjon Davis – Mater Dei (CA) – 4 Star (LSU)
· Smael Mondon – Paulding County (GA)- 5 Star
· Julien Simon – Lincoln (WA) – 4 Star (USC)
· Bryce Steele – Episcopal (VA) – 3 Star (South Carolina)
· Jaydon Williams – South Oak Cliff – 3 Star (Arizona State)
· Aaron Willis – St. Frances Academy (MD) – 4 Star (Tennessee)
The staff baited the line for some big fish nationally at the linebacker position, but they are more than likely going to make their money in-state this cycle with guys they targeted early on. The staff has already landed a stud in Blackwell, who until recently was egregiously underrated by recruiting networks. He has great production and great tape to back it up, so it was good to see the networks catch up on that this spring.
Texas was early to the part on Cooks and the Longhorns continue to sit in a favorable position, as he is set to narrow his group schools later this month once again. Pairing Blackwell with Cooks as off the ball backers in this class would be a great pull for the staff and would allow them to be diligent if they choose to add another at the position.
The staff suffered a beat on Williams when he opted for the Sun Devils, but they were able to rebound nicely by landing Blackwell, who some had pegged to commit to Baylor.
· JD Coffey – Kennedale – 4 Star (Committed)
· Jaylin Davies – Mater Dei (CA) – 4 Star (Oregon)
· Avante Dickerson – Westside (NE) – 4 Star (Minnesota)
· Jantzen Dunn – South Warren (KY) – 4 Star (Ohio State)
· Tony Grimes – Princess Anne (VA) 5 Star (North Carolina)
· Jordan Hancock – North Gwinnett (GA) – 4 Star
· Deuce Harmon – Denton Guyer – 4 Star (Texas A&M)
· Ishmael Ibraheem – Dallas Kimball – 4 Star (Committed)
· Isaiah Johnson – Bluefield (WV) – 4 Star
· Jamier Johnson – John Muir (CA) – 4 Star (Committed)
· Devin Lemear – Manor – 3 Star
· Andrew Mukuba – Austin LBJ – 4 Star
· Romario Noel – Cy-Ranch – 3 Star (Baylor)
· Isaiah Nwokobia – Dallas Skyline – 3 Star (SMU)
· Hunter Washington – Katy – 4 Star (Florida State)
· Julon Williams – South Grand Prairie – 3 Star
· Ceyair Wright – Loyola (CA) – 4 Star
Defensive back is another spot where we have seen the staff cast a wide net nationally, as they aggressively tried to address numbers at the position. Chris Ash and Jay Valai have done well up to this point, as they have landed two tall and long corners in Ibraheem and Johnson and have also landed a productive, ball hawking safety in Coffey.
The biggest target remaining on the board is without a doubt Andrew Mukaba and the Longhorns are going to have to hold off the likes of Clemson and LSU to keep the blue-chip safety home. Mukaba has stated frequently that he wants to take his visits before deciding, but if the dead period continues to get pushed back you must wonder how that will impact his timeline.
The staff worked hard Denton Guyer’s Deuce Harmon, but by the time they decided to go all in and offer Texas A&M was well established and held the upper hand in that recruitment. Isaiah Johnson, Devin Lemear, and Julon Williams are all guys that have recently earned offers, but with the way the numbers are at the position you have to think someone is going to be the odd man out depending on how things play out.
· Billy Bowman – Denton Ryan – 4 Star (Committed)
· Calen Bullock – John Muir (CA) – 4 Star (USC)
· Denzel Burke – Saguaro (AZ) – 4 Star (Ohio State)
· Juan Davis – Everman – 3 Star (Committed)
· AJ Green – Union (OK) – 4 Star (Arkansas)
· Ja’Tavion Sanders – Denton Ryan – 5 Star (Committed)
· Jaylin Smith – Bishop Alemany (CA) – 4 Star (USC)
The Longhorns have done well so far this cycle when it comes to two-way players, as they were able to land two absolute monsters in Bowman and Sanders. Both players are five-star talents and they are both project to the defensive side of the ball at the collegiate level. I know some have kicked the idea around of having both play offense, but I think edge rushers like Sanders are extremely valuable and that goes double for ball hawking, versatile playmakers in the secondary like Bowman. When you factor those guy into the defensive line and secondary groups, the staff is doing well at the respective positions.
Texas locked up Davis early in the game and he likely projects to tight end long term, but he is a bit of a tough projection for me personally. I am really hoping to see senior tape on him this fall to have a better idea of where he is heading before he hits campus. He is looking like a slam dunk redshirt candidate as things sit, as he will need a good bit of refining whichever way the staff decides to go.