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By: The HornSports Staff
With the dead period kicking in we’ve officially reached that point in the summer months where things will get a little quiet on the recruiting front with players and coaches being restricted to certain kinds of contact. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean something couldn’t pop off here soon, but right now is the perfect time to recalibrate and refresh everyone on the players currently on the board for Texas and to give a update on where thing sit.
There may be some players not listed below, but that probably means interest hasn’t really be reciprocated or that Texas isn’t necessarily pressing hard right now for one reason or the other despite an offer being reported.
RB Trey Sanders
The 5-star ball carrier out of IMG took an unofficial visit to Texas earlier this month. If Sanders continues to let his recruitment play out and take his official visits, there is a good chance he will make a return trip to the 40 acres on UT’s dime. With that being said, it is hard to envision Sanders ending up in Burnt Orange. Right now, Alabama or Florida likely have the lead for the nations top running back, with UT sitting in third.
RB Noah Cain
There is talk Sanders and fellow IMG RB Noah Cain want to stick together and play together at the next level. We need to see it to believe it. Unlike Sanders though, we feel fairly confident in Texas’ chances at landing Cain, who originally played at Denton Guyer before transferring to IMG. RB coach Stan Drayton has done an excellent job in this recruitment and has prioritized Cain from the very beginning. The Longhorns will need to fend off LSU, Ohio State and Georgia, who recently hosted Cain for an unofficial visit, but if Texas stays the course, they have an excellent chance and reeling in one of the top backs in the nation.
RB Deondrick Glass
Glass attended junior day back in February and was impressed with what the Longhorns had to offer. The 4-star from Katy named his top 10 schools in February, and Texas made the cut. If the Longhorns choose to take one running back in 2019, it is not likely to be Glass unless Sanders and Cain end up at other schools. Should Stan Drayton and Tom Herman choose to take two running backs, Glass could become a realistic option.
An important note with all 3 running back targets is they appear to be in no rush to make commitments. It would not be surprising to see things move quickly though once one name comes off the board and the dominoes begin to fall.
WR Elijah Higgins
Higgins recruitment has been a little more complicated than most people expected. Most had the Austin native pegged to Texas, but those assumptions have not come to fruition. Several factors are working against Texas, including Stanford, who we would put as the favorite at this time. Percentages or confidence numbers are useless this time of year and subject to change, but based on what we know, we would handicap Texas’ chances at 60/40 in favor of the Cardinal.
WR Dylan Wright
Unlike some of the other targets, Wright has a firm commitment date set in stone, January 4th at the Under Armor All-American game. Texas is squarely in the mix, but so to is Alabama, TCU, Texas A&M and Arkansas. He will likely use all 5 of his official visits this fall, and Texas is a likely to receive one.
WR Jaylen Ellis
Last year, Texas got burned on several targets who were offered too late in the recruiting cycle and were locked into other schools. This year, Tom Herman and his staff have done a much better job of getting offers to guys the staff knows may be a priority down the road. Ellis is still committed to Baylor, but he wasn’t shy in the past about saying Texas was an offer he really wanted. Right now, we wouldn’t expect much movement regarding Ellis until a little later in the cycle, but if Texas pushes they have a very good chance of flipping the talented speedster.
WR Langston Anderson
Similar to Ellis, Anderson received an offer from the staff but may not be the highest priority at the moment. As a matter of fact, Anderson could be very close to commiting to Baylor. The 3-star wideout could become a priority down the line if Texas misses on a couple of other wide receiver targets, but for right now it appears Anderson is trending to the Bears.
OT Stacey Wilkins
The 4-star OT from Arkansas received an offer in February during Junior Day and expressed legitimate interest in the Longhorns. Despite his interest, it appears OU is the leader in his recruitment, and there were multiple times where it was thought Wilkins would shut down everything and commit. Wilkins told HornSports he will be taking an official visit to Texas for the USC game, but it will take an unbelievable visit and a great season by the Longhorns for Texas to have a chance.
OT Javonne Shepherd
If you are still riding the rollercoaster that is the Javonne Shepherd recruitment, congratulations. The 4-star has said in the past Texas is his number one school, and his actions have supported it. He has visited Texas multiple times and gives greats remarks following every visits. A&M is running second and is doing everything they can to try to catch Texas. Shepherd could shut down and commit at any time, but right now the Longhorns are firmly in the driver’s seat.
OT Chris Akporoghene
Akporoghene recently named a top 5 of Texas, Tennessee, Nebraska, Oregon and Duke. The 3-star IMG product attended the heat wave pool party and came away impressed. If there was a front-runner at the moment it would likely be Oregon, but Texas seems to be in good enough position to host Akporoghene for an official visit at some point this fall. His ranking does not reflect his play on film, so it wouldn’t be surprising to us if he is a priority for the Texas staff.
DE Jermaine Johnson
The highly sought after JUCO edge defender made his way to Austin recently for the Heat Wave event and by all accounts really enjoyed his time on the 40 Acres. As things sit right now, Texas is battling for one of the remaining official visit dates with trips to Colorado and Oregon already in the books. Georgia has been the trendy pick here so they are likely getting one of those dates, so it will be a dog fight for those last two OVs.
DE Taurean Carter
Carter’s recruitment is a bit of an interesting one because it likely comes down to whether Texas decides to go all in and press for his commitment. Personally I think he is a take right now after taking a look at the tape, but I’m not a Texas staffer and they are still evaluating their options. Carter is teammates with Jalen Catalon and now Jeffrey Carter, and landing him could potentially help with the others.
DT DeMarvin Leal
This one felt like it was going to get interesting after Leal quietly made his way to Austin for an OV shortly after committing to Texas A&M, but things have been oddly quiet since. Leal recently made his OV to Alabama, which resulted in some scuttle of a possible flip, but that hasn’t transpired and he is scheduled to make his way to Clemson next. Anything that loosens Leal’s commitment to A&M is good news for Texas, but the staff needs to continue working the right angles and get him back to campus this fall.
DT Faatui Tuitele
This one was always a long shot from the beginning, but despite only making one trip to Austin this spring, Tuitele named Texas in his Top 5 and will likely get an OV at some point this fall. Getting a shot at a player of Tuitele’s caliber is all you can really ask for and kudos must be given to Jake Langi for serving as the point man in this one from the beginning. At this time Alabama is viewed as the favorite, which is scary to think they may be building a polynesian pipeline.
LB Maninoa Tufonu
Tufonu is another stud from the island that made his way to Austin recently and like Tuitele he left giving rave reviews about his time on campus. Unlike with Tuitele, the odds seem much stronger that Tufonu will play his collegiate ball on the West Coast and Texas still has to solidify its spot for an OV this fall.
LB David Gbenda
Gbenda’s recruitment has been an interesting one given how quickly his stock seem take off and then abruptly cool this spring. Texas and Texas A&M seem to be the key players in this one, but ironically neither one seems to be pressing very hard for his commitment and that’s particularly interesting given Texas’ need for linebackers. It will be interesting to see how this recruitment unfolds this fall, but it definitely feels like Gbenda is being kept warm at this point.
LB Rian Davis
The former Texas resident made his way back to the Lone Star State for an OV in Austin and he came out of the visit saying Texas co-leaders with Georgia who has been the trending favorite in his recruitment. Texas drawing even in this one was an accomplishment in itself, but he still has his visit to Athens on the docket and can you can never count out someone like Alabama. Texas will keep its foot on the gas here, but they may end up needing some things to go their way to get him out of the Southeast.
LB Jaren Mangham
Despite Mangham being offered early and tripping to Austin there hasn’t been a ton of chatter since. Mangham recently dropped his Top 9 and listed both Texas and Texas A&M on that list, but time will tell how serious of a player Texas is in this one.
CB Jeffrey Carter
Saying Carter’s recruitment has been all over the map would be putting it mildly. He committed to Oklahoma early, but decommitted once he received a Texas offer, but since then he’s been linked to several different schools including Alabama, Oregon, and Texas A&M. Carter recently moved from Aledo to Mansfield Legacy where he will team up with two other Texas targets in Jalen Catalon and Taurean Carter. There have been some off the field issues implied in this recruitment, which is why things have been off and on in regards to Texas, but the two parties are staying in contact with each other and the Longhorns made the final cut for Carter.
CB Marques Caldwell
This is one we’ve had the good vibes about ever since an offer was extended. Caldwell has never been shy about his love for Texas despite being committed to Oregon, but that commitment is likely not going to last much longer I imagine. There were some things transpiring behind the scenes in regards to Caldwell making his trip to Austin last week, but he was able to make it in just before the dead period kicked off. In my opinion you just have to let nature take its course in this one.
(Update: Caldwell de-committed from Oregon last night.)
S Jalen Catalon
There is not much new to report on this front and that’s good news for Texas given that they started surging in this recruitment once they extended an offer and Craig Naivar got on his trail. Naivar has been putting in overtime and pressing all the right buttons with Catalon, including sharing a love a of baseball which the two have bonded over during the process. Texas just needs to stay the course with this one and I think when it comes decision time the staff will be happy due to the amount of effort they’ve put into it.
S Demani Richardson
I wish I had something positive to put here in regards to Richardson and Texas, but the efforts of the staff to get him on campus this spring just haven’t had any returns. As things sit, Richardson seems to be pretty content with his commitment to Texas A&M, which is why efforts have been tuned up a notch elsewhere.
S Chris Adimora
Here’s your Demani Richardson “contingency” plan. Adimora is a baller in his own right and if you look at the tape it makes you wonder how schools out West would let him get out of California. Adimora was blown away when he made a visit to Austin this spring and it made a lasting impression on the four star safety that will have Texas in the thick of this recruitment. Texas is in a very strong spot here and just needs to stay the course and make sure they do what they do when Adimora comes to town for his OV.
S Lewis Cine
When Cine was initially offered it seemed like his recruitment was going to be a bit of an afterthought given the geography involved, but once Cine relocated to Cedar Hill Trinity Christian in Dallas things got a bit interesting. With proximity now on Texas’ side that opens up the door for Texas staff to get a leg up in this recruitment, but they will still have to fend off some heavy hitters if they want to land Cine. Cine was recently in Austin for an UOV and enjoyed his time on campus. You can probably expect him to make his way back to campus this fall as the staff continues to stay after him.
ATH Bru McCoy
Probably the bluest of blue chips on this list and while the odds still favor him heading to USC, Texas at minimum has his attention after his trip to Austin this spring. It doesn’t hurt that De’Gabriel Floyd is in his ear about the Longhorns and he is likely to make way back to Austin for an OV this fall. All you can ask for is a shot here when it comes to elite players like McCoy, and he seems to have legit interest in Texas at this point.
ATH Makiya Tongue
Tongue’s recruitment is another weird one that’s had a few twists and turns as of late. At one point it looked like he could be nearing a commitment to Texas and that his OV would seal the deal, but now that visit is well in the rearview and the latest scuttle is that he is favoring Georgia. The interesting part about that is that Georgia is recruiting at a very high level right now and while Tongue certainly isn’t a bad take, he may not necessarily be a take for them as things sit today. Tongue recently narrowed his list down to Arizona State, Georgia, and Texas, so it will certainly be interesting to see how things unfold going forward. If the Bulldogs take his commitment then it’s likely the destination, but if not then things get interesting.