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ALSO INSIDE:

Eric Nahlin’s

IT

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That’s where DeMarvion Overshown and the other members of the 2018 Recruiting Class want to take Texas.

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February/March 2018

in this issue Inside The Gameplan | Ian sizes up the 2018 recruiting class.

Big Picture Recruiting |

by Ian

by

Boyd

Paul Waddlington

6 11

How this class fits into the larger picture.

Inside Texas Top 100 |

15

Big XII Rankings |

Joe Cook

27

IT Staff

28

By Eric Nahlin A comprehensive breakdown of the 2018 class.

by

A quick look at how the rest of the Big XII fared.

Junior Day Recap |

by

Second Junior Day under Herman was very successful.

Getting the QB Room Right |

by

Joe Cook

Herman and Beck deserve credit for improving QB situation.

34

Publishers -- Michael Pearle, Clendon Ross | Managing Editor--Clendon Ross | Editor-- Mike Blackwell InsideTexas.com Editor -- Justin Wells | Lead Writer -- Bill Frisbie | Contributor -- Ian Boyd Designer/Photographer -- Will Gallagher | Recruiting Analyst -- Eric Nahlin To Subscribe/Customer Service -- Phone: 512-249-8916 | Email: help@insidetexas.com February/March - 2018

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4

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by Ian

Boyd

Cameron Rising | photo by Will Gallagher/IT

The 2017 class, Tom Herman’s first at Texas, was an underrated success and for being a lower rated class it seems likely to punch above its weight. The 2018 class is a heavyweight group rated third nationally and first in the Big 12 by 247 and including much of the state’s top rated prospects and 19 Texans overall bolstered by seven highly-ranked out of state signees. Here’s how it should fit together into the Herman vision for the program.

T

he reality of college football is that

ally how things play out on the field.

teams are comprised mostly of role players with a few stars and

state and then develop them into a culture that stresses teamwork and role aware-

If you can recruit mostly kids with super-

ness effectively.

the skills and talents of everyone involved

star upside that can be great, but most of

need to fit together for the team to be suc-

them are going to have to learn how to

In the meantime, here’s how his staff has

cessful and for the talent of the stars to be

be role players or you might as well have

done in putting together a first class that

evident.

taken kids with lower ceilings but more self

can fit together and provide some infra-

awareness.

structure for the future.

Everyone loves the Mack Brown “recruit 22 guys that can win their individual

Ultimately the hope is that Herman will

matchup in every game” but that’s not re-

know how to land the best athletes in the

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OFFENSE QUARTERBACK Herman’s offense is actually somewhat flexible in being primarily inside zonebased and a “pro-style spread” in design intended to power the ball between the tackles and spread the field with 11 personnel sets and some dropback passing concepts included. QBs with varying skill sets could potentially fit here but Herman has a personal preference for using guys that can allow the offense to run option or direct snap QB run game to gain a numbers’ advantage and be able to control the ball by running on the ground. Additionally, run-centric spread offenses usually fare better with a QB that can do some of his own pass protecting. The ideal QB here is one that can execute a spread passing game and be both an outside constrain threat or an inside track runner in the op-

tools that would make for a guy that could

could allow him to play relatively early.

run the option, be nails on RPOs, and then

burn opponents down the field with playaction BUT he didn’t operate any RPOs

Thompson is a prototype Herman QB recruit, a sort of “jack of all trades” QB prospect with good athleticism and a solid arm that could grow into executing most of the offense at a workable level. He’s like J.T. Barrett in that with added bulk, good decision-making, and with a good supporting cast he could become proficient enough to unlock a diverse playbook and set up teammates for big success.

Cam Rising: 6-2, 230. 4*** Newbury Park, CA (Newbury Park) Rising could also grow and master a pretty diverse set of skills and concepts that would open up the playbook nicely but he has a better arm than Thompson and can beat safeties in the seams or push the ball outside of the hash marks. He’s probably a touch less athletic and dangerous than Thompson in the run game but not by too great a distance. Rising’s HS film shows him utilizing the

Texas only got one guy here but the room

or a very diverse QB run game playbook

is well stocked (and will likely add much

at Newbury Park. So like Thompson, he’ll

more in coming seasons) and he’s not only

need some time in the oven to add a lot of

a great fit but a potentially dominant back.

understanding of defenses and new techniques to make good on his potential.

TIGHT END

Grade: A-

Texas got two guys who can probably

Texas uses a TE as an extensive part of

carry the kind of run game load that Her-

the strategy. Herman likes to have the abil-

man prefers (8-15 carries a game) and

ity to create an extra gap in the run game

execute a spread passing game while

that forces a DB to be a primary part of the

adding extra dimensions that could make

run fit and also likes to flex the TE out to

the offense special. In Thompson’s case,

either serve as some extra muscle in the

he might prove a really dangerous runner

screen and rub routes or to mess with op-

whereas Rising has a really special arm.

posing defensive schemes, create favor-

The QB room will be well stocked now

able matchups for more athletic receivers,

which should ease the worries about QB

and to allow Texas to attack opponents on

health and allow Texas to build a future in

third down without allowing the defense to

which their team is finally led by a devel-

substitute into a sub-package. So this guy

oped, experienced upperclassman. Can

needs to be a jack of all trades and add

you imagine?

enough in each area to complicate matters for opposing defenses.

tion game.

Casey Thompson: 6-1, 184. 4**** Newcastle, OK (Newcastle)

Grade: B

RUNNING BACK

Malcolm Epps: 6-6, 218. 4**** Houston, TX (Dekaney) IT# 34

This is could be the primary featured skill

Epps has a lot of the receiving end of

position for Texas if they have a stud, or it

things down after spending the last two

can be diminished in role if Herman wants

seasons moving around for Dekaney and

to emphasize a running QB or the H-back.

running some in-breaking and out-break-

Having that flexibility is nice, but ultimately

ing routes from an attached alignment

this offense is definitely at its best with a

or flexed out. He definitely has to be

feature back that can hammer opponents

accounted for as a receiver, he has good

downhill on inside zone.

hands and is a fluid runner even if he isn’t lightning quick in the open field. He’ll need

Keaontay Ingram: 6-1, 190. 4**** Carthage, TX (Carthage) IT #14

to learn how to block and his height could

The Carthage run game is very similar

get low working from an H-back alignment

to the Texas system, emphasizing inside

but he should have time to work that out

zone as the starting point and often run-

before he sees the field.

ning it as a belly play that cuts back hard

and fast. Ingram was devastating in it, easily reading the blocks and cutting through

work against him somewhat in trying to

Grade: C+

Having a TE that can create matchup dif-

the creases. He has some speed to burn

ficulties is a major plus in the college game

teams in the open field but is also just

and the Big 12 in particular. Teams are

a guy that easily navigates the creases

figuring out how to adjust to spread tactics

with speed and power, he reminds me of

with their schemes and personnel deci-

DeMarco Murray. He’ll need to add some

sions and fielding a good TE is a major

weight of course but that won’t be any

solution for dealing with those evolutions.

issue and his familiarity with the scheme

February/March - 2018

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WIDE RECEIVERS There are really three main positions here in the Herman offense with potential overlap in who fills what role. The first is the Iso guy who needs to be a deep threat that commands safety attention, ideally on the boundary where being able to win back shoulder fades is a key attribute. Then there are the guys who are working against zone brackets or man coverage elsewhere on the field that need to be

safeties with the threat of speed over the

numbers in the box or out wide against the

top. He should grow into a guy that can

athletes on the other side of the field.

beat good man coverage.

Joshua Moore: 6-1, 170. 4**** Yoakum, TX (Yoakum) IT #33

Grade: B-

This is a really strong WR haul that should allow Texas to somewhat stand out in a

Moore is similar to Woodard in his high

league where everyone always has strong

capacity for running routes from a few

WR hauls.

different alignments and burning past defenders trying to keep up with him. He’s smaller though and less refined and also due to start “in the slot” potentially picking up some of the trades of the H-back as

OFFENSIVE LINE Texas’ base inside zone play is about controlling DL quickly and preventing penetration before generating some “knock-back” with any double teams shoving DL three yards or so off the ball before climbing up to LBs. Shorter, feisty OL can work here if they have the power and feet for it but size is valuable. The nature of the inside zone scheme is such that guys can be pretty interchangeable, which is why coaches like Joe Wickline and Herb Hand will regularly cross-train and move guys to all five spots to get the best combos on the field. They need a true left tackle as well to make the spread protection schemes work more easily.

Brennan Eagles and Al’Vonte Woodard | good route runners and speedy enough to do some damage when they catch the ball on the run. Finally there’s the H-back, who’s a RB/WR hybrid that is primarily a flex RB that gets the ball in space and then looks to pick up yards with speed and agility but also may run some vertical routes as well when the matchups are there.

Al’vonte Woodard: 6-1, 193. 4**** Houston, TX (Lamar) IT #19 Woodard is functional speed on the field, a burner with some real developed skill running routes and nice hands to boot. He fits into the second mold as a guy that could play outside at Z or inside in the slot, running a variety of routes to attack coverages as a featured target or to hold

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Christian Jones: 6-6, 285. 3*** Cypress, TX (Cy Woods) IT #95

photo Justin Wells/IT

Jones was a late steal that sorta flew unwell. He’s explosive enough to be a real

der the radar as a recruit despite the fact

threat moving into the backfield…and he’s

that he already has tackle size and athleti-

also explosive enough to move over to CB

cism as a high schooler. The key detail is

if the need arises.

that Cy Woods runs a Wing-T type offense that doesn’t look anything like a college

Brennan Eagles: 6-4, 215. 4**** Houston, TX (Alief Taylor) IT #17

spread offense and didn’t ask him to do

Eagles is impossibly large and fast. At the

use the techniques he’ll need to master at

Sparq test he dropped a 4.51 40, 3.99

Texas. If he proves adept as a learner he

shuttle, 37″ vertical, and 39′ power toss.

could prove to be the best player in this

Here’s the list of guys Texas has had this

group, if he’s only solid as a learner he’s

century with that kind of size and explo-

good enough at getting low to translate

siveness: Roy Williams, Limas Sweed,

inside to guard.

much in the way of pass protection or to

end of list. He only played four games as a he’s capable of as a featured receiver

Rafiti Ghirmai: 6-4, 290. 4**** Frisco, TX (Wakeland) IT #36

in a high level passing game. Texas will

Ghirmai is pretty much the prototype inside

undoubtedly put him in that Iso X spot on

zone OL. He’s athletic enough to play any

the boundary and let him command double

of the five positions although he’s not a

teams that prevent defenses from getting

brilliant LT prospect and should be a guy

senior so the world hasn’t fully seen what

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that Herb Hand can move around to either get on the field quickly or to shore up weak spots until he becomes one of the stronger components of the unit.

Reese Moore: 6-6, 280. 4**** Seminole, TX (Seminole) IT #26 Moore played as an attached TE in high school so he was basically a de-facto tackle in a run-heavy system and even ran down the seam for easy scores at times. They used him alternatively to control DEs at the end of the line or to climb up and hit quick LBs and DBs in space, both of which he did without apparently difficulty. He’s already up to 280 or so and has the quickness and length to potentially be the LT of this group.

DEFENSE DEFENSIVE LINE

heavy and appeared a bit flaky at times in recruiting, guys who you plan to count on eating double teams and setting the stage for the rest of your defense are probably not going to be the same guys who love attention. If he wants it, or the surrounding

We’ve devoted a lot of ink now to explain-

culture is strong enough to demand it from

ing the Texas DL system, this bit I did on

him, he could be special.

the 4-0-4 front preferred by Todd Orlando works and what Texas is asking of their DL

Moro Ojomo: 6-3, 280. 3*** Katy, TX (Katy) IT #11

in this defense.

Ojomo is a phenomenal nose tackle pros-

is a useful aid to understanding how it

pect for this front, particularly since that’s Basically you want a war daddy at the

exactly what he did at a high level with

nose who’s stronger and faster than the

the Katy Tigers. His length and athleticism

center across from him and then a pair of

means he could also fit as a 4i DE or a

scrappy, length tweeners at either DE spot

3-technique but I’m guessing he’ll end up

Junior Angilau: 6-6, 297. 4**** Salt Lake City, UT (East) Personally I think Angilau is a guard all the way despite his size and length. He played LG as a senior and would regularly knock back DL with or without the aid of a double team and could also pull and execute the kick out block on counter runs. He’s basically an even bigger Patrick Vahe and he looks like the guys that made the 2005 USC Trojans one of the all-time great college offenses. Taitusi “Deuce” Lutui anyone?

Mikey Grandy: 6-5, 305. 3*** San Mateo, CA (College of San Mateo)

Joseph Ossai |

photo Will Gallagher/IT

Grandy will be an interesting one to watch, it seems like the staff took him early to guarantee some immediate depth help and a safe floor for the class even after landing Angilau and before landing Jones later on to guarantee quality depth and upside in the class. He played LT at San Mateo but he’ll play inside at Texas. He has solid feet but its his size and power which make him a nice fit for Texas.

who can slant and stunt or maintain the B-gap against a down-blocking tackle or a

winning the nose tackle job.

actually makes their lives easy in terms

Daniel Carson: 6-5, 260. 3*** Independence, MO (Wm Chrisman)

of squatting in the B-gaps but they need

Carson is precisely the sort of tweener

length and athleticism for the other assign-

DL that the 4i-technique can unlock by

ments they tend to draw.

simplifying their assignment. He’s probably

reach block by the guard. The 4i alignment

a two-down player at that position unless he builds up some stamina and tricks for

Grade: A-

Keondre Coburn: 6-1, 330. 4**** Houston, TX (Westfield) IT #24

Taking five OL is pretty ideal for every

Coburn is a great prospect at the nose

and quick enough to be a problem shaded

class and Texas not only landed some

because he fits the bill of being athletic

inside of a tackle. He could also grow into

great raw talent and good fits but also mul-

enough to win a gap and strong enough to

a strong 3-technique, he more or less fits

tiple guys that could end up being feature,

overpower a center and to hold up against

the profile of guys that schools like K-State

All-conference players including

a double team from the guard. He’s also

will chase after when they’re trying to find

at the invaluable LT position.

an iffy prospect because he’s extremely

guys that can play that position.

pushing the pocket but he’s really sturdy

February/March - 2018

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Michael Williams: 6-2, 240. 3*** Baton Rouge, LA (Dunham School)

have offered him a role as a full-time DE

against a RB, TE, or perhaps even a slot

on the edge but I doubt that Orlando will

WR. Orlando is a good teacher but there’s

It’s not obvious to me that Ed Orgeron

fail to utilize his pass-rushing gifts and

a lot to learn.

knows Louisiana that well, even though

Ossai was obviously convinced. The staff

it’s where he’s from and has recruited for

moved Roach and Hager outside to some

decades, because I’ve seen them allow a

traditional DE alignments at times and

Byron Hobbs: 6-4, 216. 3*** Fort Worth, TX (Eastern Hills) IT #39

lot of no-brainer upside kids to get away in

could do the same for Ossai, or just leave

It’s not impossible that Hobbs and Epps

the last two years.

him at B-backer and teach him to drop into

could switch places, with the sturdy and

coverage.

powerful Epps moving to B-backer while

Williams is one of Herman’s favorites in this class because he’s absurdly bouncy

the faster and equally skilled Hobbs

Grade: A-

played as a TE. Hobbs could also fit inside

and quick for his size and basically looks

Texas got a lot of good fits here and it’s

at Rover as he has the lateral quickness

like Swamp Thing 2.0. He’ll probably need

hard to see this group producing less than

to run laterally and pursue the ball. His

time to learn how to play the position but

three All-B12 caliber players given the

most obvious destination is as a B-backer

he should become a nightmare for of-

latent potential in Williams, Ossai, Ojomo,

who already has some skill at executing

fenses that is simultaneously hard to root

and Coburn.

coverage drops and plenty of length and explosiveness turning the corner in the pass-rush. Pretty impressive athlete that the staff may want to redshirt in order to make sure he becomes an impressive football player somewhere.

Ayodele Adeoye: 6-0, 230. 4**** Bradenton, FL (IMG, originally MO) Dele pretty much has to pan out for Texas given the lack of players ahead of him on campus at Mac LB and the lack of players at Mac or Rover in this class. Fortunately he’s a good prospect with underrated quickness and real power playing downhill. He’ll probably play early so they can groom him into a quick answer at Mac LB opposite all of the athletes they’re stockpiling elsewhere. D’Shawn Jamison |

Grade: C+

photo courtesy Tim Warner

Texas really needs to load up in future

LINEBACKER

out on downhill runs and then impossible to predict or stay in front of when slanting

classes or else find a LB from another position room. Adeoye is a great addition that should be able to shore up the

All three linebacker positions in this

need at inside-backer and Hobbs (or

defense have to master three major as-

Epps) could prove to be really special

Joseph Ossai: 6-4, 220. 4**** Conroe, TX (Oak Ridge) IT #9

signments. The first is playing as a LB in

and unique players with time but there’s

the quarters coverages that provide the

not enough help here at the inside backer

Ossai projects as an OLB but he’s a big,

foundation of the Orlando’s defensive

positions and not much proven ability on

powerful kid that I think may spend some

backfield.

the current depth chart.

in the blitz package.

time as a 4i much like Hager does now so I’m listing him in this group. Anyways, he’s

The second is executing a base rush,

big, powerful, likely to end up 250 or so,

which means winning the edge for a

and can bend around the corner. It was

B-backer or timing an insert blitz for the

a major coup to get him over competing

Mac and Rover. Finally there’s playing

Texas asks a lot of the secondary, or at

offers from four-down teams that could

matchup zone/man coverage on a blitz

least they did before going dime last year

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DEFENSIVE BACK


and shifting the burden up front to the DL.

staff was building for Jason Hall that in-

to break down in the open field or a lack

The initial plan for the season required that

cluded work as a robber safety, deep zone

of willingness to violently mix it up. When

the boundary CB frequently play on an

defender, 9-technique player on the line,

he’s a 6-1, 210 pounder blowing people up

island and sometimes as a safety while the

and TE matchup eraser.

he’ll be pretty famous around the league

nickel and safeties rotated into a variety of different positions including B-backer, ILB, and the other safety positions.

in short order. I think he’ll end up on the

Jalen Green: 6-0, 171. 4**** Houston, TX (Heights) IT #1

boundary.

Green has insane, effortless speed that This scheme is at its best with versatile,

has been consistently timed in the 4.6

Caden Sterns: 6-1, 192. 5***** Cibolo, TX (Steele) IT #3

coverage-savvy safeties who can each

range but appears much faster on film.

Sterns is nearly an identical prospect to

perform each other’s duties to allow

That’s good for a CB who needs to be able

Foster in terms of their basic athleticism

shifting and rotations. The corners have

to track a lot of things at once while mov-

and skill set, he’s excellent at playing with

to learn to play pattern-match coverages

ing at high speed in order to keep WRs on

depth, covering ground, and fearlessly

and the 2-robber dime package asks them

lockdown. I think he’s the boundary CB of

delivering big hits in the hole or over the

to play as run support defenders on the

this group who will draw simpler “don’t let

middle, wherever violence is needed.

edge. You can’t really have enough skill

this guy catch it!” assignments.

or athleticism at DB in this league and

You really need safeties that can hit and tackle to play dominant defense and

wide array of skills last year. Guess what

Anthony Cook: 6-0, 170. 4**** Houston, TX (Lamar) IT #10

though? I have some good news about the

Obviously Lamar was loaded with ath-

leticism to hold up in the spread and the

incoming DBs…

leticism and skill this past season. Cook

intelligence to handle everything offenses

was perhaps the most sought after and

will throw at them is pretty difficult. Texas

D’Shawn Jamison: 5-10, 174. 4**** Houston, TX (Lamar) IT #8

contested prize of this group even though

found two guys in Sterns and Foster that

our own Eric and other knowledgeable

are more or less your gold standard for

An IT staff favorite, Jamison looks like

recruitniks prefer Green or the safeties.

prospects that can thrive in these condi-

another ultra-quick, and undersized but

What’s impressive about Cook is that he

tions.

scrappy athlete turned monster by the

plays team coverage concepts at a high

spread offense in the mold of a Tyrann

level already so he’s less likely to have to

Mathieu, Quandre Diggs, or Lamarcus

deal with the normal growing pains that

Joyner. He could end up at nickel, combin-

come for DBs trying to read 2-to-1 or what

hold up against the Big 12’s abundance

ing the ability to cover receivers with clos-

have you for the first time in their lives. I

of skill talent, to match it with their own,

ing speed and physicality on the perimeter

have him pegged as a field corner play-

and also to set themselves apart in the

against runs and screens. He could also

ing in tandem with the strong safety and

trenches with big, athletic brutes that

end up at safety or even cornerback. Even

nickel if and when he’s strong and physical

can allow Texas to bully opponents into

as talented as this class is, I think things

enough to beat WR blocks on the edge.

submission.

of his style of play.

B.J. Foster: 6-1, 188. 5***** Angleton, TX (Angleton) IT #4

Maybe most importantly they added depth

DeMarvion Overshown: 6-4, 200. 4**** Arp, TX (Arp) IT #6

Foster is yet another great athlete who’s

field generals that make sure this isn’t all

wisely determined that DB presents the

wasted as it has been in the past.

Overshown could stay at safety, playing

best opportunities for developing a profes-

the rangy strong safety position or sliding

sional career. He played some safety and

There are still some holes here and there

over the boundary where he could more

some tailback at Angleton and in both

on the roster but there’s also a lot of infra-

easily get involved supporting the run over

regards where he stands apart as a player

structure pieces and potential superstars.

the top. He might also end up sliding down

is his ability to break down and line things

Texas did well to land several blue-chip-

to play as a Rover or B-backer depending

up so that his 4.65 speed looks like 4.4

pers but they also found good fits and built

on how his frame fills out and how well he

speed.

out a class that should win some titles

Orlando and the staff made the most of a

finding guys like that who still have the ath-

Grade: A+

Texas is well poised in the future to both

may shake out in a way to make the most at QB that can allow Texas to play some

holds up playing close to the action. As a safety he’s fantastic coming downhill My favorite dystopian adventure story

to deliver tackles or crushing blows and

features Overshown playing as a safety/B-

that’s not always something that top

backer hybrid filling out the role that the

athletes can do, either due to an inability

February/March - 2018

11


BIG PICTURE RECRUITING THOUGHTS The class is signed, sealed and delivered. Some big picture thoughts on the 2018 men in the fold...

By Paul Waddlington

uncontrollably, ten) recruits in every recruiting class that

A

If you can find a true head scratcher, point him out to me. I’m open

made you scratch your head a little bit. Even the famous

to the discussion. Maybe I’m just being a rosy optimist.

scratchers but mainly a tendency to recruit guys who had as much

With the additions of Casey Thompson and Cameron Rising - both

chance of making it to or staying on campus as a Baptist preacher

out-of-state early enrollees - the University of Texas will open Spring

does of getting into a Silicon Valley Eyes Wide Shut Party.

practice with four scholarship quarterbacks. That seems like an

hallmark of the Mack Brown Era was three to five (coughs

2002 and 2005 classes had some. Charlie Strong had a few head

unremarkable observation until you consider that it constitutes an Recruiting is not about being a star whore. THOUGH MANY OF

actual depth chart and we haven’t had that in a while. They may

YOU TROLLOPS ARE. We signed some three stars that I believe

have to buy folding chairs for the QBs meeting room and stock it

are better players than the fours. It’s about being able to project

with extra orange slices. I’m sure they’ll all transfer out if they’re not

the player under a best reasonable case scenario (minimal injuries,

starting by the USC game next year, but let’s enjoy it while we can.

mental checks out, buy-in, S&C) and seeing a high ceiling or at least a respectable floor. It’s also understanding that some players are

1/3rd of the 2018 class are early enrollees, including both kicking

recruited precisely for their reliable floor with no great ceiling while

prospects, both quarterbacks, the highest regarded DBs and the

others are moon shots with a high bust factor but might end up as

JUCO OL. That’s pretty much how you’d draw it up and wanted to

10 year NFL players if you can shore up one glaring deficiency. I can

give the right guys an early start and acclimation.

see the acceptable floor and ceiling with every guy we signed. Or at least the necessary temporary band aid for desperate need (ahem,

I’m really pleased with our finish on both the OL and DL. I’ve writ-

JUCO OL).

ten as to why “oversigning” DL isn’t really possible as they have a

12

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remarkable ability to attrit themselves and the OL we landed were

sarily. Overshown has a high ceiling. He’s nowhere near it right

a good mix in a tough year in-state. Overall, a great mix of reliable

now. He won’t be near it for a while. Even someone as talented as

floors and moon shots who could end up being absolute freaks. A

BJ Foster has a lot to learn about his future position. Neither may

couple of guys are both. I firmly believe if you can’t sign a handful of

blossom until their 3rd year here. That’s fine. Vince Young and Colt

the national elite at the positions - and in some years, that number is

McCoy redshirted. By contrast, Ricky Williams accessed his upside

counted on one hand - your best bet is to make long bets on good

the moment he stepped on campus and still got better every year.

athletes. Grow your linemen. That’s what we did. Our staff agrees

But he also played a position where freshman plug and play is vi-

with me and this makes them geniuses in my eyes.

able. And he was...Ricky Williams. Some guys peak at age 16 Taylor Bible style. Some guys peak at age 25, three years after hopping

Full disclosure: there were some players that I was less than

around NFL free agent camps. Alabama wasn’t so impressed with

impressed with when we got their verbal commitment. Senior tape

Alvin Kamara. At Tennessee he played behind their Chris Warren, an

completely turned me around on at least one of them. I won’t say

athlete with 1/10 of his talent. Then the New Orleans Saints decided

who, but it rhymes with Fortney Pepps. That’s good. Not only

he was pretty good and that seems to have worked out.

because it means we’re getting a good player, but it also means our coaches can evaluate things that weren’t just evident on the tape or

Developmental timelines vary. Some because of the simple nature

a combine. Or maybe they’re lucky. I favor both attributes in leader-

of the position. Some because of the individual. Some because of

ship.

external factors out of their control like family life, academics, opportunity, injuries or immaturity. Herman’s job is to fill the mill with raw

The impulse to shoehorn certain players into certain positions now

product and let the refining process work itself out. Our job is to let

should be resisted. I know it’s vital you fill out that 2020 Texas Na-

that process take place and stop calling people busts if they’re not

tional Champion depth chart now, but let’s let the skinny guys fill out,

All-Americans by their sophomore year.

the fat guys shape up and let the multipurpose guys go where the winds and the dining room table take them.

This class won’t have a lot to do with our 2018 record. 2018’s answers (or questions) are on the current roster. This class will have a

Texas finished ranked 3rd nationally by every major service. If you

lot to do with our record between 2019-2022.

rank by class average quality (grade per recruit), we’re still well into the Top 10. While we’ve seen high ranked Texas classes not pan, I (dis) credit a horrific development environment as much as shoddy evaluation and star inflation from recruits getting a Texas offer. We have an improved developmental environment here. And if anything, we’ve been bad enough on the field for long enough such that a Texas scholarship offer won’t inflate a recruit’s ranking as much as it did back in the heyday. Our development is not as good as it’s going to get as the staff shakes out over time and Herman refines his processes, but we have a real S&C coach now (in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king, but at least we have a monarch) and while we’re not long on nurture, tough love and, well, just tough, will keen the blades it doesn’t break. There’s an implicit assumption that high stars mean instant impact. Not neces-

Jalen Green and Daniel Carson| Will Gallagher/IT

February/March - 2018

13


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IT 100 Eric Nahlin’s

TOP

1

Jalen Green

CB | 6-0, 175 | Houston Heights HS

A sensationally fluid athlete with great quickness and turn and run ability. He can play off with no issue, but really excels playing press because of his physicality. Because he’s spent so much of his time on offense he may lack some reps, but he’ll get up to speed in no time. Considering how much time he’s played quarterback and wide receiver, it’s amazing Green is as nuanced as he is on defense. I believe Green is the best bet in the class to marry his considerable talent to production and that’s why I have him #1.

Jalen Green | Justin Wells/IT

2

Jaylen Waddle WR | 5-10, 175 | Bellaire Episcopal HS

As explosive a receiver as you’ll find but he’s also very skilled. His agility is off the charts. 7 on 7 isn’t real football, but it’s telling when high level athletes can’t lay a finger on him in that setting. Thanks to his vertical speed and leaping ability he can play outside as well as inside. All of these athletic traits combine with possession receiver hands.

I

’m not a big fan of ranking players across positions. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to rank a running back next to a tight end next to a guard and so on. It does make for fun conversation, however. When I make these lists I do take the time to offer my thoughts on each player so you can at least have a clear understanding of what I think of each, rather than just dropping a list of names. On a macro level recruiting rankings have great value. Over time the players at the top of the lists will be better than the players at the bot-

3

Caden Sterns

5

Jalen Preston

DB | 6-0, 190 | Cibolo Steele HS

One of the more mentally prepared players in the class and also one of the more versatile. Sterns plays with the instincts and run support ability his brother Jordan did, but he has better length that he makes the most of defending the passing game. Good range, good hips, and good eyes. He’s incredibly well rounded. He can play either safety plus nickel/dime. I expect he’ll hit the field in some capacity this season.

tom, again, on a macro level. While rankings do have value, athletes should not care about them because individually they pose the potential to be the outlier, or the micro level player who throws a wrench in the macro level recruiting actuaries. Rankings are just opinions, and I base mine off who I think has the highest ceiling coupled with who I think will reach that ceiling. It requires much more than just dominant physical traits. The NFL is littered with less gifted athletes than those out working in the real world.

4

BJ Foster DB | 6-1, 195 | Houston Heights HS

What I stated above regarding Jordan Moore playing running back definitely applies to Foster. As a runner he’s explosive, fluid, and physical. He’s lacking reps in the secondary but he has great football instincts. Everyone knows he can run and hit. Foster is a quiet leader. In a day and age where everyone chronicles their workouts via social media, he just goes out and puts in the work. Excellent range, great closing ability, and violent coming downhill versus the run.

WR | 6-1, 210 | Manvel HS

I’m not really sure how you defend Preston. You can do pretty much everything right and he’ll still make a play. All 11 better pursue when he has the ball. When I saw him in Oregon I was impressed to see him rocketing low off the line. He had noticeably leaned up and along with his leaping ability and ball skills it was immediately apparent he was one of the most abrupt players in a star-studded setting. This explosiveness comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen him play basketball. He’s raw as a route runner but has more than enough athleticism and body mechanics become good in that regard. Even if he just went out and played like an athlete he’d make a name for himself on the next level. He’s an easy guy to get the ball to.

BJ Foster | Will Gallagher/IT

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6

DeMarvion Overshown DB | 6-4, 200 | Arp HS

He’s very raw when it comes to defensive back destructive that it won’t be hard to find him a role. He’s an explosive athlete but he’s much more, he’s

a real football player, just in search of the right fit.

Todd Orlando is the guy to find that for him. With Overshown, and the rest of the safety haul, Texas

will probably be allowed to play in dime because the staff won’t have to trade much physicality ver-

sus the run by pulling a linebacker. Overshown

could find himself in a role similar to Jason Hall this past season.

7

TE | 6-4, 235 | Fort Bend Ridge Point HS

The exceedingly rare dual-threat tight end who can

block and receive with equal ability. He impressed

me long ago by detailing how important blocking was to him. He stated he knew that would play a

big part in making it to the NFL. Michigan is a great fit for him both athletically and academically.

8

DeMarvion Overshown | Will Galllagher/IT

10

Anthony Cook CB | 6-0, 170 | Houston Lamar HS

As technically gifted a high school corner as you’ll

find. Great feet and swivel hips help him transition

D’shawn Jamison DB | 5-10, 175 | Houston Lamar HS

ner to take advantage of his maniacal play style.

He can be seen making plays all over the field he wouldn’t be able to make if he was marooned on

He’s a complete and natural feature back. He can run inside behind his pads and outside with tremendous one-cut ability. One play he’ll be patient to let the play develop, the next he’ll bear down and get what he can. He’ll fill out to 215+. Comparisons in style to Arian Foster are apt. He’s not a burner but he can break off long runs. Ingram rarely takes a loss in the back field and his agility in close quarters is uncommon for a back his size. He has great vision and the feet and balance to take advantage of it.

out of his back pedal to turn and run with receiv-

physicality that belies his baby face. Elite speed is

the one thing he lacks but he can more than make up for that with his play style and intelligence.

11

Moro Ojomo DL | 6-2, 265 | Katy HS

an island. He’s an electric athlete; the kind that

By now everyone knows his story. Ojomo is only

open as a returner. He’ll need to get bigger to be

season. The first ever early bloomer/late bloomer.

can play on either side of the ball and break games able to grapple in the run game but that will come.

16 years of age and only came into his own this past

He’s exceptionally quick off the line, plays with

great power, and a non-stop motor. He’ll fill out and wreak havoc in Austin for the next 3-4 years. He’s

Joseph Ossai LB | 6-4, 220 | Conroe Oak Ridge HS

He profiles as the best edge rusher in the class.

He has all the necessary pass rusher traits: can get low and turn the corner; needs minimal amount of

steps from the line of scrimmage to the quarter-

back; plays with great leverage and strength to get a push; plays with burst off the line. Ossai also has

the directional ability to make shallow drops and cover the flat. Perhaps most importantly as it per-

tains to hitting his ceiling, he also comes equipped

with one of the best mental evaluations I can recall. I account for that a ton, even if I don’t always mention it in these blurbs. Sometimes it’s not good at all but Ossai is a five-star in his regard who challenges his teammates.

16

RB | 6-1, 190 | Carthage HS

ers. A little known fact about him is he plays with a

Lamar wisely put Jamison at nickel rather than cor-

9

14

Keaontay Ingram

WR | 6-2, 185 | Texas HS

He’s a touchdown threat from anywhere on the field. He has flair for the dramatic one-handed play. Can take a slant or screen to the house. Can hit an extra gear you didn’t know he had when he needs it. First time I saw his highlights I thought I was watching Sammy Watkins. Just what TCU needs, another game breaker outside.

technique but he’s so long, athletic, and downright

Mustapha Muhammad

13

Te’Vailance Hunt

an excellent scheme fit as Orlando likes to employ

a very active front. Ojomo isn’t designed to catch blocks and that won’t be asked of him.

12

Keontay Ingram

Vernon Jackson DL | 6-3, 240 | Boling HS

I was astounded to watch him run the ball. I knew

he was a running back but I just expected him to

crash into the line and take defenders with him like a

strongman pulling an 18-wheeler. Instead I was able to see how incredibly nimble he is at his size and actually break into the open field a number of occa-

sions against an unfairly fast Newton defense. It’s really hard for me to see those traits and not think he translates to defensive line in a major way.

inside texas

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15

Photo: Charlton Gladden/TexasHSFootball

Spencer Sanders QB | 6-2, 190 | Denton Ryan HS

Without the injury history he’d be a top-10 player to me. He can punish you with his legs or arm. He does well to improvise behind the line of scrimmage. When it’s time to run he’s assertive and ‘fast enough’ to pick up chunk yardage. He has great leadership qualities and plays with tremendous poise. Mike Gundy has won a lot of games with lesser talents. With Sanders’ legs we’ll see an added dimension to the Cowboys’ offense. Scary.


2018 IT Top 100

16

Caleb Chapman WR | 6-4, 210 | Clear Brook HS

For such a tall guy he can really sink his hips when

19

Al’Vonte Woodard WR | 6-2, 190 | Houston Lamar HS

I told readers of IT he’d have a down year produc-

he’s not just running deep routes past defenders.

tion-wise because of Lamar’s issues at quarterback

and has great timing when it’s time to go get it.

traits are there and he actually grew an inch and a

up to your elbow. He’s a bit lean right now but has

a one-trick deep threat. Over time he’s put in the

too high for him but I think he has a good chance

It’s to the point now where he projects to play both

He does a great job of tracking the ball in the air

and unfortunately that was accurate. No matter, the

Shaking his hand is emasculating. That thing goes

half. When he first hit the radar as a sophomore he

a lot of room to fill out. Some might think this is

work to become a much more well-rounded player.

to play on Sundays.

inside and outside. Along with his improved length he has an excellent build that will only get stronger.

Woodard plays faster than he tests and he doesn’t test poorly. He’s also a very capable blocker.

20

Craig Williams RB | 5-9, 170 | Crosby HS

If you watched Williams’ film and also saw how

Baylor used freshman Tristan Ebner out of the backfield this year you probably understand why

I have Williams ranked this high. He’s an absolute blur out of the backfield, but he’s also a home run

hitter as a ball carrier. Williams can play for any school in the country. His ability to get to top speed in very few steps is uncanny. It’s either Williams or Brennan Eagles | photo Will Galalgher/IT

17

Brennan Eagles WR | 6-3, 215 | Alief Taylor HS

Eagles was hampered by injury for much of this year. His profile is pretty straight forward, he’s a

very big, physical receiver with exceptional ball skills and incredibly strong hands. He tests extremely well in the speed categories. I’d like to see

that translate more after the catch. He should be

trouble running the high numbers on the route tree.

He has a very safe floor but his ceiling as a player

Waddle for best play speed in the state. Rhule did a great job here.

21

Atanza Vongor DB | 6-1, 200 | South Grand Prarie HS

Fantastic build and amazing change-of-direction ability. With TCU’s three safety system he’ll be

on the field as soon as he’s mentally ready. I can’t recall them getting a safety with his upside. He has great range and you’d be hard pressed to find

a safety with better man coverage skills, save perhaps Caden Sterns.

will be determined by winning deep and yards after the catch.

18

Max Wright DL | 6-3, 270 | Katy Taylor HS

He’s had bad luck with injuries but when he’s

healthy he’s a devastating defensive linemen. To my eyes he’s not a 4-3 defensive end that runs the arc, though you’d have trouble running on him in

that look. He looks like a 3-4 defensive end capable of using his size to hold up versus the run

and quickness to get in the backfield. In a four-man front I expect Wright to move inside, at least over

time. With an infectious personality I expect him to become a team leader.

Keondre Coburn | photo Will Gallagher/IT

Al’Vonte Woodard | Tim Warner/For The Chronicle

22

DaShaun White

23

Colten Blanton

24

Keondre Coburn

LB | 6-0, 215 | Richland HS

Rare is the linebacker who can play sideline to sideline and make credible drops in pass coverage but White is that guy. He first jumped out to me with his physical nature as a junior but it’s his speed and movement skills that really won me over this year. These guys don’t grow on trees. OU has a great piece to pair with Kenneth Murray from 2017.

OT | 6-7, 280 | Cy Ranch HS

My main concern with Blanton is he’s a bit narrow from top to bottom. It may be tough for him to anchor against some of the grown men he’ll face. However, he may combat that just find because he shows the ability to play with good leverage at his height. For such a tall guy he doesn’t look out of place when pulling. There were very few true quality tackle options in-state but A&M got one here.

DT | 6-1, 330 | Westfield HS

Coburn’s a brute at the point of attack, able to get a push even against double teams from Houston 6A schools offensive lines. Laterally he shows surprising quickness. He has a lot of pop in his hips that helps him generate force. He’s not tall, but that’s not a hindrance at nose tackle and it’s often a plus. It’s going to be really hard to move the line of scrimmage with him in the game. His ability to stack and shed offensive linemen in the run game give him a high floor. There’s also some initial quickness you don’t expect. Coburn will need to be in great condition upon arrival to Texas as he’ll likely be needed early in his career.

February/March - 2018

17


2018 IT Top 100

25

Tanner Mordecai QB | 6-2, 215 | Waco Midway HS

Mordecai has one of the biggest arms in the country but he also throws a very catchable deep ball. Like Tune above, he’s a good runner with surprising top end speed. He shows great leadership ability, not just vocally but with action. Few and far between are as good at improvising as Baker Mayfield, but Mordecai is good at breaking the pocket and putting defenses in conflict with the run and pass. He throws well on the move. He has the talent to fully weaponize Lincoln Riley’s playbook and he’ll also have the surrounding talent.

26

28

Jordan Moore DB | 5-11, 190 | Yoakum HS

I like guys who play running back in high school

but project to defense because you get a clear picture of their hips, foot quickness, and tenaciousness. My verdict on Jordan is he has great attri-

butes to be a nickel. It’s a demanding position but he should have the physical requirements to perform at a high level.

Reese Moore OT | 6-5, 280 | Seminole HS

31

Christian Morgan

32

Leon O’Neal

33

Josh Moore

DB | 6-0, 190 | Porter HS

Morgan is one of the best athletes in the country, period, and it shows up on film. 4.56 40, 4.03 shuttle, and 42.8 vertical! When I first saw him as a sophomore he was more athlete than football player. He’s come a long way. He uses his eyes well to make plays on the ball and that athleticism really translates when he sticks his foot in the ground and drives downhill. Matt Rhule must be pinching himself.

DB | 6-1, 195 | Cy Springs HS

O’Neal has great size and is one of the harder hitters in the state. I’ve heard some question his speed but that’s not a big concern of mine. Some questioned Armani Watts’ speed which I thought was way off (Watts was incredibly fluid, though). My concern for O’Neal is in coverage. He seems to best fit playing downhill in the box rather than a jack-of-all-trades safety.

Moore is an athlete trapped in a big man’s body. That’s okay, it’ll get him a “free” education and might get him paid one day. He played tight end most of his career but as an attached blocker. He has a lot to learn regarding his new position, and the curve gets longer because of the giant leap in competition, but I think Moore has the right mindset to put in the work to realize his potential. You’d be hard pressed to find a better ball of clay to work with. He’s a good enough athlete to get by with so-so technique after a red-shirt. Once he’s fully developed he could be special.

Jordan Moore | photo courtesyBonnie Arbittier

29

Jaylon Robinson

WR | 6-1, 170 | Yoakum HS

Moore’s an interesting guy. He looks like a corner, plays like an outside receiver, and might be destined for slot at Texas. He tests extremely well but that explosiveness doesn’t always show up on the field. He is certainly athletic, though. It’s going to be really interesting to see how his ability best translates. I think he could be an explosive slot because of his stop-start as well as his ability to run the seam.

WR | 5-10, 170 | All Saints HS

With the name, the school’s color and being a pri-

vate school, and the position he plays, he might remind you of a certain someone. Robinson isn’t

quite as spectacular as Jaylen Waddle but he’s a hell of an athlete and a good route runner. I preReese Moore | photo courtesy Allison Terry / A-J Media

27

Tyree Wilson DE | 6-5, 230 | West Rusk HS

What a great senior year he had. His length coupled with burst off the edge give him an immense ceiling. Now factor in that his frame has plenty of room to fill out and I predict big things for Wilson after some time to develop. The Aggies had to hold off a late push from Arkansas and they did. That’s quietly a big development. Huge upside and I think he has a very safe floor. I was a big Daeshon Hall guy but Wilson’s senior year is as good as anything I saw from Hall.

18

dict he’s a nuisance for the Longhorns for years to come. OU never lacks for receivers.

30

Luke Matthews OL | 6-3, 300 | Fort Bend Elkins HS

I think it’s a pretty safe bet he finds his way to the field and has a solid career at a minimum. Mike

was a center, Jake was a tackle, and Luke seems

tailor made for guard. He comes off the ball well, keeps a good base, and sticks on his block. I imag-

ine he’s a much better run blocker at this point and that’s pretty typical.

inside texas

Josh Moore | photo Tommy Linn Jr./Yoakum Herald-Times

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2018 IT Top 100

34

41

Jaquayln Crawford

Malcolm Epps

ATH | 5-9, 160 | Rockdale HS

TE | 6-5, 220 | Dekaney HS

He best projects to slot receiver where he can use his short area quickness, but you can’t rule out corner if he has the temperament for it. He can make some incredibly difficult plays look easy. I bet he returns some punts for points too. OU will have a lot of competition in the slot.

He plays almost entirely flexed out as a wide receiver so he’s an unknown as a blocker. However he has a great frame to add strength and has the body mechanics to allow him to win the leverage game while playing attached. Whether he becomes a good blocker will be entirely up to him. He has some very impressive defensive film and you’d mistake him for an outside/rush linebacker if you didn’t know he also played offense. That defensive film serves as a positive indicator for his blocking want to.

35

WR | 6-5, 190 | Schertz Clemens HS

36

Rafiti Ghirmai

Jaquayln Crawford | photo Will Gallagher/IT

38

Bobby Brown DL | 6-5, 280 | Arlington Lamar

Great build, great length, and plenty of athleticism. Brown needs to be more consistently dominant. He has as much potential as anyone in the class.

OL | 6-4, 290 | Frisco Wakeland

In a down in-state cycle the staff did well to identify Ghirmai early and hold quality suitors off late. Ghirmai shows tackle athleticism and flexibility but he may end up at guard depending on what the depth chart looks like in a year or two.

43

Clayton Tune

DB | 6-0, 200 | Mansfield HS

Excellent speed and range. One of the fastest football players in the country on the track. Reminds of some of the plus athletes Nebraska had in the secondary in the 90’s-early 00’s. Athletic and he’ll hit you.

Tommy Bush

Bush is another upside player who to this point is still raw. His high school offense did him no favors so we still don’t know exactly what he’ll become. His size/speed combination makes him an uncommon prospect, but I also like how he gets off the line of scrimmage and into his route. He still has a ways to go but with his work ethic I think he’s a safe bet to make major strides. Even if he lacks nuance as a route runner a vertical threat with his length and speed has a ton of value.

42

Cam’ron Jones

39

QB | 6-2, 205 | Hebron HS

Does this guy have good timing or what? He looks like a dream fit for the soon-to-be installed Briles offense. He has a plus arm and is a deceptive athlete. He could have been a QB2 for any school in the country and a QB1 for almost all of them. He is very competitive to boot. I think he ends up starting a bunch of games in Houston.

Byron Hobbs LB | 6-4, 220 | Eastern Hills HS

Upside, upside, upside. Hobbs is young for his grade and still nowhere near filling out. His athleti-

cism is evident whether on the hard-court or lined up on offense or defense. He had me sold on a 90

yard touchdown reception his junior year. He’ll need to get more physical and learn to play with shock power at the point of attack. That should

come as his frame fills out. He has all the athletic traits to excel as b-backer in Todd Orlando’s defense.

Rafiti Ghirmai | photo Will Gallagher/IT

37

Chasen Hines DL/OL | 6-2, 330 | Marshall HS

I think his ceiling is at guard but he’s intent on playing defensive tackle. He has the foot quickness and lateral agility to do it, I just think he has the potential to be an absolute road grader for whatever stud back LSU has at the time. He’ll need to keep his body in check, he’s just a naturally powerfully built guy.

20

40

Kaitori Leveston OL | 6-5, 290 | Waco Midway HS

He could play any position on the offensive line. That versatility has some staffs wishing they would

have pursued him sooner. Very intelligent player who is also good technically. Could be a phenom-

enal center. K-State can evaluate and they recruited him like he was a five-star after Texas came call-

ing. Their effort will be rewarded sooner rather than later. He won’t need as much time to develop as some others.

inside texas

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Cam’ron Jones | photo James Ellis/TexasHSFootball

44

Brayden Willis TE | 6-4, 220 | Arlington Martin HS

Where’d this guy come from? Sheesh. He appears to be very well-rounded with solid athleticism. His tenacity really sets him a part. He’s a bully who plays like he hasn’t been recruited for most of his career. I love the fit. OU knows how to get guys like this involved. He’s a steal.


45

Trent Gordon DB | 5-11, 180 | Manvel HS

Some guys have nickel/safety upside, Gordon is on the other end where he has corner/nickel potential. He spent a lot of time patrolling the middle of the field for Manvel but he’s loose-hipped and built more like a corner.

2018 IT Top 100

49

Erik Ezukanma

50

Jalen Mayden

WR | 6-2, 180 | Timber Creek HS

Ezukanma is ultra smooth which means he’s going to be a terrifying route runner. He also catches the ball with ease. There’s solid after-the-catch ability and he does a good job of climbing the ladder. He’ll move a lot of chains.

QB | 6-2, 215 | Sachse HS

Mayden was going to be an excellent fit for Dan Mullen’s offense as a solid passer and selective, yet productive runner. With Joe Moorhead leaving Penn State for Mississippi State I think Mayden still has a bright future.

51

Treveon Johnson WR | 6-1, 180 | Brenham HS

Johnson’s a tough evaluation because I could see him flourishing on either side of the ball. He’s an explosive and fluid athlete with good length. The pay day could be at corner but if that doesn’t work he could easily play receiver, either inside or out.

Jalen Mayden | photo Joe Diehl, jbdphotos.com

46

Frank Filip OT | 6-7, 280 | Clear Lake HS

I must be missing something on Filip, either that or a lot of schools are. I did some homework on him and heard positive reviews. He looks to have all the necessary traits of a left tackle, especially length and flexibility. Notre Dame pursued late.

47

52

Trevon Moehrig-Woodard DB | 6-1, 190 | Smithson Valley HS

Where’s the senior film? TMW is a playmaker on defense who can flip the field instantly. He has good coverage skills as well as return ability. I think his upside is at safety, though corner is a possibility.

LB | 6-2, 230 | Rockwall HS

55

Victor Curne

56

Jalen Knox

57

Calvin Avery

53

Bumper Pool

ATH | 5-9, 185 | Cy Springs HS

Barber plays like he tests, extremely well. On top of it he’s a pure football player, whether he’s making a huge play, a physical tackle, or springing the key block. TCU has a great track record with ‘small’ players. Barber will likely have both coordinators fighting for his services.

OL | 6-5, 320 | Second Baptist HS

I think he’s a good enough athlete that if he leaned up he could play tackle. He reminds of Caleb Benenoch in that regard. That written, guard is his ceiling. Curne is going to a great program that will maximize him. It says a lot about Curne that Chris Petersen is recruiting at such a high level and still came to Houston for him.

WR|5-11,185|MansfieldTimberviewHS

DT | 6-2, 310 | Bishop Dunne HS

He was a wrecking ball in the middle for Dunne, though you have to account for level of competition. Still, he’s obviously powerful at the point of attack and athletic on the move.

Jacobi Lott OL | 6-5, 310 | Amarillo Tascosa HS

At times on film he looks like Darius James. I recall writing, “James gets up and moving like he has fire ants in his sleeping bag.” That applies here. Lott has a quickness about him from top to bottom that’s rare. He also seems to have a nasty streak. He appears to be a really good athlete. Kansas must be ecstatic.

54

Taye Barber

With all the variants of ‘Jalen’ in the state this year three of them could easily play slot at Texas. Knox is very explosive and elusive in close quarters. He has big play ability.

Alston Orji

Loved his traits as a sophomore. Didn’t like his junior film much. Really liked what I saw on tape this year. Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason is getting an athletic and explosive piece. Orji wouldn’t look out of place on some of Mason’s good Stanford defenses.

48

Stephan Zabie | Will Gallagher/IT

Treveon Johnson | photo courtesy Derek Hall/Banner-Press

LB | 6-2, 215 | Lucas Lovejoy HS

I want to rank him higher because he’s a natural, instinctive linebacker which is rare these days. He seems decently fluid too. He does lack burst.

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2018 IT Top 100

58

Gemon Green

59

Kameron Scott

WR | 6-2, 170 | Desoto HS

WR | 6-2, 170 | Manvel HS

60

Trey Stratford OL | 6-4, 290 | Allen HS

He battled injuries at times this year but when healthy I like what I saw. When Stanford goes for the flip you’re having a good year. I like him at center long-term.

69

Julon Williams

70

Montel Parker

DL | 6-3, 250 | Houston Lamar HS

Strong hands, a great motor, and some versatility to play up and down the line depending on the situation. Landry’s done a great job of improving his body and is on a solid trend.

When you see a tall corner you expect him to struggle playing ‘off’ but Green is fluid for that length. I’m not saying he’s Holton Hill, but there are some similarities here.

Slippery and skilled, at times Jalen Preston complemented Scott. Despite the sinewy build, Scott plays strong. With some development he’ll become another downfield threat for Missouri. I was high on J’Mon Moore when he came out too.

68

Josh Landry

Joshua Fleeks | photo courtesy Rick Castillo, TexasHSFootball

63

Ochaun Mathis

64

Jacoby Simpson

65

Tanner McCalister

DE | 6-4, 235 | Manor HS

I don’t know if he’s that tall, but he’s a quality edge rusher who can get in the backfield by running the arc or stunting inside. He also seems to read his keys quite well. I just watched him again and this ranking might be unjust.

ATH | 5-9, 180 | Converse Judson HS

He’s an electric player with the ball in his hands but I see him more ideally suited for slot in the Air Raid than the new Houston offense. Those are mild concerns, Williams is a pure football player and will find a role.

WR | 6-2, 180 | Dickinson HS

Parker’s an above average athlete who has played both quarterback and receiver in his career. He reminds a bit of Damion Miller from 2017, though Miller had a bit more burst.

LB | 6-0, 225 | Aldine MacArthur HS

He’s an ILB all the way, but within that designation he’s a plus athlete. When he has a good read on the play he arrives quickly with bad intentions. Gary Patterson has the coaching chops to make a mockery of this ranking.

Gemon Green

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Michael Woods WR | 6-1, 190 | Magnolia HS

He was committed to SMU under Chad Morris and the new Arkansas coach quickly made sure Woods followed him. Woods plays small and quick, but also plays much bigger than 6-1. With his long arms he can go get it. I’m expecting big things in this offense.

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Miles Battle WR | 6-4, 190 | Cy Creek HS

Initially I questioned how fluid Battle was but senior tape alleviates those concerns. He’s a vertical threat with size and ball skills and he’s probably going to be better in the open field than I initially thought.

22

DB | 5-11, 190 | Rockwall-Heath HS

He’s played a lot of corner and running back but I think he’s headed for safety and that’s a good thing. He runs well and is fluid but I don’t know if he’s twitchy enough for corner. At corner he’s about as good as you’ll find in run support. That obviously translates well to safety.

66

Joshua Fleeks

67

Connor Galvin

WR | 5-11, 170 | Cedar Hill HS

The amount of speed in Baylor’s class is well known and Fleeks is yet another burner. He profiles to the slot.

OT | 6-6, 260 | Katy HS

Another upside player for Baylor, the main question here is how long will it take Galvin to put on the requisite weight. If there were no weight concerns he’d be a Top 25 player in the state.

inside texas

insidetexas.com

Julon Williams | photo courtesy Greg Bell, SA Express-News

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Chad Bailey

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Starrland Baldwin

LB | 6-0, 240 | Ft.Bend Ridge Point HS

Bailey is a box enforcer; a true knock-back tackler. It’ll be tough sledding in Columbia with he and Bolton. If Bailey was taller he’d probably be headed to the defensive line.

CB | 5-10, 170 | Cy Falls HS

One of the 2-3 quickest players in the state. He’s not just quick, however, he can open it up and run with a long gait. Great hips. There’s some return ability here as well. Reminds a bit of Kobe Boyce from 2017.


2018 IT Top 100

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Barton Clement OL | 6-2, 310 | Ft.Bend Marshall HS

He’ll need to reshape his body and I don’t think he’s the 6-3 he’s often listed at, but he comes off the ball and finishes blocks well. With proper development he’ll be a solid interior player. I also wonder if there’s center upside to explore.

74

Darrell Simpson OL | 6-7, 340 | Justin Northwest HS

He has a long way to go but OU has a great track record of turning project offensive linemen into players. There are some nice baseline attributes to work with; he’s pretty quick at that size.

77

Dayven Coleman S/LB | 6-2, 205 | West Mes-

He plays a Jason Hall role as a +1 defender in the box. Often when he went unaccounted for he would light someone up. He has good size, moves very well, and hits like a ton of bricks, but what’s his role in college? Can he be an every down linebacker? That would be interesting to see.

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Stanley Hackett ATH | 6-3, 205 | Sam Ray-

Really good athlete but a bit of a tough projection at this point. Athletically more comfortable at running back. By now I figured he might out-grow the position but the fluidity is still there. He’s going to a good coach to find his best utility. I’d bet he ends up on defense in a edge role.

79

Isaiah Humphries DB | 5-11, 190 | Sachse HS

His dad played at PSU as well as in the NFL. Not surprisingly Humphries seems to be a very intelligent center fielder at safety. He does a great job of reading the quarterback.

80 John Holcombe | photo courtesy Yi-Chin Lee, chron.com

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Christian Young

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John Holcombe

Jarrell Cherry LB | 6-3, 225 | Dallas Carter HS

This ranking will catch some people by surprise but his senior year just wasn’t what I was hoping to see. In fact, I think I saw more explosiveness in his sophomore year. He seems a bit more rigid too. Rather than being an edge player in Baton Rouge, I figure he’ll play ILB.

DB | 6-1, 200 | Richmond Foster HS

Fluid for that body type and strong, Ogbonnia looks like a classic two-gapping nose tackle. If I

were on a coaching staff I’d be very curious what he’d look like at offensive guard.

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Myller Royals

84

Christoph Henle

85

Erick Hallettt

86

Jaxon Player

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Braden Cassity

WR | 6-4, 180 | Abilene Cooper HS

I was sold after I watched the first play of his junior film. Everything about that is telling. Great length, light on his feet when feints inside, fluidity in tight quarters, vision in the open field, and the ability to open up his gait and house it. Traits on traits. Could they have another promising receiver in the mold of TJ Vasher?

TE | 6-5, 245 | Oakridge HS

Too many care about speed when it comes to tight end but I look for fluidity and ability to find open spaces in defenses. Henle seems to have that as well as that endearing lumbering quality even the best tight ends have when running down the seam. He blocks with good leverage when attached.

CB | 5-10, 170 | Oakridge HS

Hallett’s an exceptional athlete as measured by combine tests, but it also shows up on tape. He’s sticky in coverage and turns into a receiver when the ball is in the air. He could play receiver in college, in fact, but corners are harder to find. He could be a punt returner as well.

DT | 6-0, 285 | Waco Midway HS

Speaking of short area quickness, that’s the primary reason I have Player ranked. His ability off the ball is very rare, and from an evaluation aspect, partially compensates for his length. If he becomes a refined technical player to help keep offensive linemen off of him, Tulsa may have found its Poona Ford. Lateral quickness will help pursuit down the line. If he was 6-2, he’s be a household name. Funny sport.

This guy looks like he might grow into linebacker but then you see him in coverage and he shows great safety range. He should be an intimidating guy because he puts that range to work; if he’s not creating a turnover, he’s lighting someone up.

QB | 6-4, 225 | Summer Creek HS

I account for fits when I rank players and there might not be a better fit for a player than KSU for Holcombe. But what about after Bill Snyder retires? Not worried about that as Holcombe is a good dual option the next coach will take advantage of. Holcombe’s improvement in a relatively short period of time is impressive. Also, worst case scenario he’s a giant athletic guy. He’ll find a home even if quarterback doesn’t work out (I think it will).

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Otito Ogbonnia DL | 6-3, 300 | Katy Taylor HS

Jarrell Cherry

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Maurice Washington ATH | 6-1, 190 |Trinity Christian HS

Has played running back but he’s a bit of a wild runner. I’ve seen that style before with Brandon Williams and Corey Dauphine. My read is safety. He’s a good athlete.

DE | 6-2, 240 | Austin Westlake HS

This guy is a pretty impressive athlete. I checked to make sure I wasn’t seeing things and he was tested at a 4.38 shuttle and 35-inch vertical. That short area explosiveness will serve him well coming off the edge or especially if he grows into an interior player, which I wouldn’t rule out.

February/March - 2018

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2018 IT Top 100

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Ta’Zhawn Henry APB | 5-8, 175 | Houston Lamar HS

Henry’s a rock you can give the ball to horizontally from the slot or stretch the field vertically down the seam. A true APB who is very tough to tackle in space. I imagine they’ll get him involved in both the run and passing game.

92

Ian Burnette

93

Braeden Daniels

94

Ke’von Ahmad

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Christian Jones

OG | 6-3, 305 | Wimberley HS

The Horned Frog offense wants interior guys who create space for quick-hitting run plays. That’s where Burnette comes in. He’s a powerful kid with some solid movement skills. He also played defensive tackle at times.

OL | 6-4, 260 | Hebron HS

I wasn’t familiar with him but being committed to Utah will always catch my eye because of their developmental track record. Athletic kid who bends well. Give him some time and the Utes may have another steal from Texas.

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Nakia Watson

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JayVeon Cardwell

RB | 5-11, 215 | Kempner HS

Good feet and balance; strong lower body to give defenders fits. Seems to gather speed the more room he gets. He won’t be fun to tackle in the secondary.

CB | 6-0, 170 | Cibolo Steele HS

Slick athlete for man; good eyes and awareness in zone. They’re well-schooled out of Steele.

WR | 6-1, 183 | Colleyville Her-

At worst he’ll be a reliable chain mover but I think he can be more thanks to his ability to get open and also go up and attack the ball.

Ta’Zhawn Henry | photo courtesy The Buzz Magazines

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Matthew Baldwin QB | 6-3, 195 | Lake Travis HS

Has an ‘all points’ arm that forces coordinators to account for the whole field. Shows good feel and anticipation in the pocket, plus the zip and accuracy to fit tight windows. Will he be recruited over at Ohio State? Possibly, but as a Lake Travis quarterback we know he’s patient enough to wait his turn.

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OL | 6-6, 285 | Cy Woods HS

Incredibly raw but incredibly rare size and athleticism. Justin Wilcox and Derek Mason wanted him which speaks to his defensive upside. He’ll start out on the offensive line which lengthens his developmental curve but he does have left tackle traits worth exploring. Brock Sturges | photo courtesyRick Castillo, TexasHSFootball.com

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WR | 6-0, 170 | Keller Fossil Ridge HS

100

Similar to Ahmad. I don’t know if he’ll be a gamebreaker on the ground but he’s fluid with great body control to make plays in the air. Seems to have terrific hands. If he was a burner we’d be talking about a Top 30 player.

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Christian Jones | photo courtesy the Jones family

LB | 5-11, 230 | Frisco Lone Star HS

Loose hipped and safety’s feel in pass coverage. Bolton also assertively downhill. Gary Pinkel had a great track record in Texas and I like what Barry Odom has done in-state this cycle. It won’t help them secure the bag in UT territory or anything, whatever that is.

24

RB | 5-10, 200 | Allen HS

A bit similar to Eno Benjamin who picked ASU last year. Quicker than fast with good ability between the tackles. Solid vision, feet, and power that belies his size.

Stefan Cobbs

Nicholas Bolton

Brock Sturges

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WR | 6-2, 190 | Clear Lake HS

I thought he was going to become a much bigger name but I’m sticking with him. I really like what I saw of his senior year. He’s in the template of Al’vonte Woodard, just not as explosive.

Jacob Mangum-Farrar LB | 6-3, 215 | Kempner HS

Really fluid player for this body type. Still sort of new to the position. I wanted to see him take the next step with physicality this season and he did. He showed good range, sideline to sideline. He’ll fill out well.

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Ja’Kori Morgan

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2018 IT Top 100

OUT OF STATE SIGNEES STACK UP WELL

Cameron Rising

13

Cameron Rising QB | 6-2, 210 | Newbury Park, CA

I would put him at #13 after Vernon Jackson and before Te’Vailance Hunt. Big arm, big kid, better athlete than most realize. You don’t build an offense around his legs but you keep defenses honest with them. It counts for

16

Junior Angilau OL | 6-6, 300 | Salt Lake City, UT

I would put him at #16 after Spencer Sanders and before Caleb Chapman. Incredible drive blocker. Physical and powerful. Plays with leverage which increases that power. Good athlete, could play tackle. A total unknown in pass pro but his flexibility and quickness lead me

18

Mike Williams DL: | 6-2, 240 | Baton Rouge, LA

I would put him at #18 after Brennan Eagles and before Max Wright. I want to put him higher but it’s too much of a projection. All he lacks is tape corroborating what I’m confident he can do -- wreck shop on the defensive line. Freak athlete for his size and seems to have

23

Ayodele Adeoye LB | 6-0, 230 | Bradenton, FL

I would put him at #23 after Da’Shaun White and before Colten Blanton. Takes direct path to the ball carrier. Doesn’t hesitate too much. Seems to see the play clearly. Will be limited in coverage. Might have looked better as a junior. Solid downhill quickness for his size.

28

Casey Thompson QB | 6-1, 185 | Newcastle, OK

I would put him at #28 after Tyree Wilson and before Jordan Moore.

Great fit for the offense. Mentally mature. Above average athlete with good quickness. Solid improv.

29

Daniel Carson DL: | 6-5, 260 | Independence, MO

I would put him at #29 after bumping Jordan Moore down again. Great fit at 4i. High floor, low ceiling, because he isn’t an explosive edge rusher. He does bend well and with that size he’ll play stout versus the run.

February/March - 2018

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BIG XII RANKINGS by

Joe Cook

2

WE LOOK AT HOW THE REST OF THE CONFERENCE DID AND HOW WELL THEY RECRUITED THE LONE STAR STATE

Riley puts together a great class as Sooners load up on defense and get Mordecai at QB.

NOTABLE NAMES

IMG Academy CB Brendan Radley-Hiles

Richland North Richland Hills LB DaShaun White

3

Waco Midway QB Tanner Mordecai

Rogers and Vonger head a strong, deep class that should keep Frogs near top of Big XII.

Texans in class: 8/23

NOTABLE NAMES

Bossier City (LA) Parkway QB Justin Rogers South Grand Prairie DB Atanza Vongor

Texarkana Texas WR Tevailance Hunt

Texans in class: 13/22

4

Despite miserable 2017 season Matt Rhule was able to put together a solid class.

NOTABLE NAMES

Earle (AR) QB Gerry Bohanon Crosby ATH Craig Williams Silsbee WR Kalon Barnes

5

Texans in class: 17/22

Mike Gundy signed big, tall receivers, a great athlete in Sanders and some nice defensive pieces.

6

Kilgore WR Jonathan Shepherd

Cibolo Steele CB JayVeon Cardwell

Stills is a difference maker on defense and the Mountaineers signed some talented JUCO talent as well.

NOTABLE NAMES

Fairmont (WV) DE Dante Stills

Aliquippa (PA) S Kwantel Raines

Bolivar (TN) Central QB Woodrow Lowe

Texans in class: 0/23

7

Matt Campbell signed a nice class of wideouts and a couple of quarterbacks to get them the ball.

kled in some quality high school players.

NOTABLE NAMES

New Orleans (LA) Landry-Walker CB Corione Harris

Amarillo Tascosa OG Jacobi Lott

Hahnville (LA) Boutte RB Anthony Williams

Texans in class: 2/20

light on defense. More shootouts in Lubbock.

NOTABLE NAMES

- IMG Academy CB Brendan Radley-Hiles

Dayton (OH) Dunbar WR Joseph Scates

Allen WR Carson Schleker

Jones (OK) WR Sean Shaw Jr

9

The Purple Wizard will take this low-ranked group and develop them into a winning, competitive squad.

Tech’s class was, as expected, heavy on offense and

NOTABLE NAMES

Texans in class: 2/21

David Beaty went heavy on JUCO signees and sprin-

10

Denton Ryan QB Spencer Sanders

Texans in class: 13/24

8

NOTABLE NAMES

NOTABLE NAMES

- IMG Academy CB Brendan Radley-Hiles

- Richland North Richland Hills LB DaShaun White - Waco Midway QB Tanner Mordecai

Texans in class: 8/23

Join the Conversation

- Richland North Richland Hills LB DaShaun White - Waco Midway QB Tanner Mordecai

Texans in class: 8/23

www.insidetexas.com February/March - 2018

27


2018 JUNIOR DAY CONTINUE Everything is bigger in Texas. Including the Junior Days. Instead of trying to cram a ton of prospects into one day, the UT staff breaks these events in half. More 1-on-1 with parents and players. Less chance of a kid not getting his attention. More opportunities for parents to ask questions to parents of guys currently on the Texas roster. It’s a strategy that helped Herman corral the Class of 2018. It’ll serve him even better with the 2019 class. 2020 too. ROSCHON JOHNSON | QB

So who are a few of the guys he’s focusing on? Garrett

Being the founding member of UT’s Class of 2019 is more

Wilson, DeMarvin Leal, and aforementioned Floyd, for start-

ship. Being the QB for the #fUTure19 group is more than just

see him much on social media. He’s the consummate leader

Longhorns into the next decade. Johnson not only knows

special.

than just a commitment. It’s an opportunity to show leader-

ers. Johnson has a quiet confidence about him. You won’t

a pledge. It’s embracing a role of gathering talent to lead the

who walks into a room, and you instantly know he’s someone

this, he embraces it.

His early pledge didn’t mean much last July. But look how

“I really want to draw everybody around me in my class, and

important it was. Herman had the foresight to put all the cards

2018 class we got, I feel like the 2019 class is going to be a

before the dual-threat signal-caller even played a junior snap.

I’m in the best position to do that,” Johnson said. “With the

on the table and set the 2019 class on a course for success

special class as well and vital for this program.”

Alignment, IMO.

While a few schools continue to recruit him like LSU and

DEGABRIEL FLOYD | LB “I actually didn’t have many questions because they answered everything.” That’s the ideal quote when hosting a Junior Day. For the Westlake Village (CA) 4-star linebacker it was more than he could’ve imagined. “It felt like every coach was my best friend,” said Floyd. “When we went in to talk to the people who handle academics for the athletes, they were so informal and made sure I knew everything I needed to know.” Kid walks out and instantly talks academ-

Roschon Johnson - Will Gallagher | IT

Stanford, Johnson has his eyes on Texas like Texas has eyes

ics. That’s the Herman Junior Day effect. Building a relationship with his potential defensive coordinator

on him.

is the next step.

“As of right now, I’m in the process of fully shutting everything

“Coach Orlando and I have a great relationship,” Floyd

down,” said Johnson. “Being straight Texas.”

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inside texas

explained. “He wants me to play some outside LB and Rover. insidetexas.com


ES RECRUITNG MOMENTUM

By IT Staff

When we went over the schemes and told me the job of

It was the first time my parents have ever been (on campus) so I

Rover, I was really interested in that. Everything with Orlando

feel like they came out knowing a lot more than they did before, a lot

went really well.”

more fond of this whole program. It was a great time.”

We’ve written about Herman’s California Love. The guy grew

Wilson can do it all on the football field as he shut down opposing re-

up on the west coast. While Texans will always make up the bulk of the Horns roster, it’s only natural to comb a region where you’re not only familiar, but have enough sway to steal a 4-star quarterback from the Pac-12 (Cam Rising). So where does Texas stand? “They’re real high,” Floyd said with a smile as big as DKR Stadium stood behind him. “I can’t even describe. Just the atmosphere, and me having family already down here...it’s just really comfortable.” Floyd doesn’t have a Top 10 list or decision timeline. He said he’ll commit when the time is right. He’ll just know it. But don’t be surprised when you see Floyd back on the 40 Acres this summer or during the fall season. If you’re hunting out-of-state talent, this is exactly how it should start.

GARRETT WILSON | WR Lake Travis’ Garrett Wilson is a household name for anyone who closely follows Texas recruiting. His athletic ability on the football field as well as on the basketball court makes him one of the most sought after players in the 2019 class. Garrett Watkins - Justin Wellsr | IT

Wilson and his parents made the trip from Lake Travis to the 40 Acres a day after taking in everything Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma

ceivers in the most recent 6A state finals. His next-level athletic ability

had to offer in Norman. While the coaches gave him a little ribbing for

translates to wide receiver in college, but not necessarily at a specific

pictures of him throwing the horns down, it was all in good fun.

spot because of his versatility.

The last visitors to make their way out of the Moncrief complex

“They said that too, that I’m versatile,” Wilson said when asked about

Sunday were Wilson and his family. The 4-star athlete has been to

specific receiver roles. “They don’t have a position. They know I

campus several times and has even played on the field at DKR for

want to play receiver and play on the offensive side of the ball. That

the Cavaliers. This was an important visit for UT because it marked

sounds good to me. They said with my ability they just want to have

an important occasion for Wilson’s family, who spent a lot time with

me on the field. That made me feel really good about it.”

Tom Herman. One of the main things the staff told Wilson was how they are trying “It was a great visit,” Wilson said. “I got to connect with the coaches.

to keep the top talent from Texas in Texas. Wilson said the staff feels

February/March - 2018

29


if they can do that, they will bring the Longhorns back to the level

relatively shy and the spotlight seems a little bright, Leal is

they were at in the 2000s.

beginning to embrace the fact the next 11 months will be a

Since he was assigned a role in coaching receivers, Corby Meekins now has taken a role in recruiting Wilson. Today marked an important step in building a relationship between Wilson and the Longhorns’ inside WRs coach. “I saw him a lot more today,” Wilson said. “It was the first time I had really seen him like that. He’s a real good dude, a funny dude. I liked him a lot.” The coaching staff isn’t the only part of the program working on Wilson. Sophomore QB Sam Ehlinger has also made it a priority to land one of Texas’ elite pass catchers, and Wilson told Inside Texas that important leadership qualities are evident in Ehlinger.

DeMarvin Leal - Will Gallagher | IT

Not only is a current Texas QB working on Wilson, but one of Texas’

marathon of phone calls, text messages, FaceTime, and Twit-

future QBs as well. PNG signal-caller and UT commit, Roschon

ter DMs.

Johnson, is recruiting Wilson to #fUTure19, even throwing passes to Wilson and 2019 Austin Bowie WR Elijah Higgins last week.

So after seeing the Texas campus again - he’s already visited UT a few times - I was curious what stood out and if the

Being based in Austin means there’s a lot of familiarity with Texas for

Longhorns are making a good impression.

Wilson. However, making sure his parents got to see campus was an important step, including meeting Herman for the first time and

“Just the love from the coaches,” Leal said, about what really

continuing to build a relationship with Drew Mehringer.

resonated with him on this particular trip. “They really love the student-athletes. I got to speak with BJ Foster and Caden

“I spend enough time down here to where I know what Texas is

Sterns. They talked about the positives and negatives of the

about,” Wilson said. “Now it’s just about my parents. It’s my decision,

school. There really wasn’t anything negative. They love it

but also I feel like I want my parents to be 100 percent with me on

and I can see why.”

that. I feel like they are now.”

Leal discussed what it’s like to be heavily recruited to play Wilson plans to visit Ohio State on March 23 and return to Columbus,

big-time Division 1 football. I showed Leal a picture I took

where he previously lived before moving to Lake Travis, for an official

of him almost two years ago. “Man, I remember that. I was

visit in June. He also has plans to make it to Oklahoma for its spring

wondering why anybody would want to take my picture. You

game. Rounding out his top three, he will also take an official visit to

told me why,” said Leal. At that moment, I introduced myself

Texas. Wilson plans to decide before his senior season.

to this huge, slightly awkward giant of a kid, and told him to get ready. His recruiting process was about to begin.

DEMARVIN LEAL | DL

“It’s a blessing and a curse,” said Leal. “One moment you’re a kid that’s unknown. Then all of sudden, everybody knows

When the state’s top prospect comes for a visit, people take

you.”

notice. When the 6-foot-5, 280-pound monster of the interior defense talks Texas, people listen. Even if the prospect is

30

inside texas

The 5-star defensive lineman doesn’t have any visits currently

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Kraken_Texas_mechanical.indd 1

5/19/11 2:17:09 PM


setup, but did mention the possibility of an August commit-

220. He said that stood out to the coaches, and he expects to

ment. Some kids earmark right before their senior season

see burnt orange in Florida at some point this spring.

begins. They can focus on enjoying their final year of high school and are usually protected by the college in case of an injury.

DEONDRICK GLASS | RB

He’s a priority for the Texas Longhorns. And he knows it.

Katy High School consistently produces Power 5 running backs like Rodney Anderson, Adam Taylor, Donovann Young and Texas’ own Kyle Porter. Deondrick Glass is the next in

STACEY WILKINS | OL

line to follow in that lineage.

Wilkins and his family made the long trip from Southern

Glass has offers from 20 schools, including Texas, Alabama,

Arkansas to check out the Forty Acres and came away im-

Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Texas A&M, Ohio

pressed, and with a scholarship offer from Herb Hand.

State and Oklahoma. He said after his visit he is weighing all of his options and trying to keep his eyes and heart open, but

Hand was not someone that Wilkins was unfamiliar with ei-

his conversations with running backs coach Stan Drayton and

ther, as Wilkins described the Texas OL coach multiple times

head coach Tom Herman were positives from the visit.

as “the best offensive line coach in the country.” “I got quality time with Coach Drayton and Coach Herman,” After receiving an offer at junior day, Wilkins put Texas in his

Glass said. “They’re both really good guys, and I could tell

top group along with Oklahoma, Arkansas, and TCU. He’ll

with Coach Drayton he’s not fake. He’s real.”

visit Arkansas, or as he called it “The Hill,” next weekend, but plans to make a return trip to Texas at some point.

In addition, he continued at length about how Drayton is the type of coach that wants his players to succeed and will do whatever he can to help his backs get to the next level. How-

LOGAN COMPTON | TE

ever, Glass knows it’s not a one-sided deal.

Texas dipped into IMG Academy in the 2018 cycle when

“He can give me all the resources, but I have to be the one to

they pulled Ayodele Adeoye out of the Florida talent-factory.

take it and do it,” Glass said. “He could tell me what to do, but

They’re looking at several prospects in the 2019 cycle, includ-

he can’t make me.”

ing one who previously played Texas high school football in Logan Compton. Compton previously played at Cy-Ranch outside Houston before heading out to Bradenton. He currently holds offers from Houston, Texas State, Tulane and Central Michigan, but has made visits to A&M and LSU in the past. He mentioned he had a “great” relationship with Corby Meekins, and Meekins actually called him the day he found out his coaching role had changed. Despite the change in position coach, the message he’s heard has not changed. Since getting to IMG, Compton said he has gained 15 pounds putting him at 6-foot-5,

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Logan Compton - Will Gallagher | IT

insidetexas.com


MARCEL BROOKS | LB One of the more electric linebackers in the 2019 class made his way to Texas after previously saying he wasn’t even considering them. He came with other members of his 7-on-7 team for the junior day festivities. Brooks said he spoke mostly with Todd Orlando, who he said he has a great relationship with. The recruitment of the Flower Mound Marcus LB hasn’t been the easiest to follow at times, but he made sure to note him making it to Austin was a sign of his interest. Texas maintains contact with Brooks, but that’s about it. Marcel Brooks - Will Gallagher | IT

Brooks will head to Alabama next week.

Glass has lofty goals for his career, and spoke about how Drayton seeks out players who are actively trying to achieve what they’ve set out to do.

JAYDEN JERNIGAN, ALLEN DL

“He wants people that are going to set their goals and work to

Allen DL Jayden Jernigan is another member of the state-

try and achieve them,” Glass said. “My main goal is to make it

champion Eagle program who is getting a lot of attention from

to the NFL and play there for a while, and maybe if I’m lucky,

colleges, including Texas Tech, Washington and Oklahoma

go to the Hall of Fame. He said he’s going to work to get me

State.

to that level of play.” Jernigan mentioned the numbers Texas is looking for at the Texas will have help in recruiting Glass from two former

position when speaking about an offer, and said he would

Tigers in Porter and 2018 signee Moro Ojomo. For Glass, he

remain in touch with Texas. One thing that stood out to Jerni-

likes the familiarity of having those two in Austin.

gan was Tom Herman’s coaching style, and how coaches are honest with what prospects need to work on.

“Texas is up there,” Glass said. “It’s close to home and I also have people like Kyle Porter and Ojomo that’s going here and

He also mentioned being recruited as a nose tackle and a

will be going here that I know I can also talk to if I need help

3-technique in the Texas defense.

or anything. They can tell me about stuff that they’ve been through and help me get through college.” Like Porter, Glass seems to be more reserved than other 2019 recruits. He admitted that playing on the same team as Porter and Ojomo will factor into his recruitment. “I definitely would like to see that again,” Glass said about playing with other Longhorn Tigers. “Also, I’d like to play on the same team as Kyle Porter. 2015 was a special year winning a championship. We were also the No. 1 team in the country that year. There was a special bond between us. It was a one-two punch, maybe we could do that again.” Glass said he is in no rush to make a decision, and plans to see Alabama, Ohio State, and Georgia this spring.

Jayden Jernigan - Will Gallagher | IT

February/March - 2018

33


BECK, HERMAN DESERVE CRED When head coach Tom Herman and offensive coordinator Tim Beck arrived at Texas, the quarterback room was nothing like the one both had a hand in coaching at Ohio State, or even the one Herman and Major Applewhite had at Houston.

T

he room had a lot of vacant seats at the start. Beck was

Eight days later, Beck and Herman made what was Texas’ first

joined by a sophomore in Shane Buechele and an early-

big wave in the 2018 recruiting cycle, flipping Newbury Park (CA)

enrollee in Sam Ehlinger, along with several walk-ons.

gunslinger Cameron Rising from Oklahoma, shocking the recruit-

After seeing what the Longhorns were working with, Beck and

ing landscape.

Herman worked tirelessly throughout their first spring in Austin to give themselves a healthy quarterback room to work with going

The ripple effects were notable as well. Thompson made it known

forward.

on Twitter he knew there was a good chance Rising would join him, the coaches had informed him about it, and he had no issue

While making final preparations for Herman’s first spring game,

with the move.

Beck was locking down then-Southmoore quarterback and Oklahoma legacy Casey Thompson from north of the Red River. Two

In addition, Seminole OL Reese Moore committed to Texas a

days before Ehlinger and Buechele split snaps for Team Orange

day after Rising. Moore and Rising became friends after visiting

and Team White, Thompson committed, joining Byron Hobbs and

Oklahoma, but Moore jumped at the opportunity to protect Rising

Justin Watkins as the first members of the #revolUTion18.

after he jumped in the class at Texas.

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insidetexas.com


DIT FOR QB ROOM OVERHAUL By Joe Cook

As the cycle went on, Thompson and Rising gave Texas fans

table, doesn’t excuse some of the mismanagement (throw-

little reason to worry despite overtures from Michigan, LSU,

ing on 3rd and two with a lead) Beck and Herman had with

Oregon, Arkansas, and others. The duo made sure to put all

the quarterback position throughout 2017. There is plenty to

consternation to rest by starting their careers the best pos-

improve on the field, and all these quality options won’t matter

sible way a college quarterback can; enrolling early.

if they aren’t properly utilized.

With their seniors committed, the head coach and OC looked

That said, going from two scholarship options in 2017, to

to the 2019 class for its next quarterback of choice. At Texas’

four in 2018, to possibly five with spacing between classes

signature summer camp, Stars at Night, the choice became

in 2019 is quite a turnaround in just over a year considering

pretty easy.

what the coaches started with in January of 2017.

After winning a 40-yard dash competition, Port Neches-

Beck and Herman will have to utilize the talent they had such

Groves’ Roschon Johnson grabbed the mic and told all those

a pivotal role in bringing to Austin in order for the recruiting

in attendance, including Texas coaches, that he had com-

victories to turn into actual victories.

mitted to the Longhorns. He meant it as he has completely locked himself into Texas and is taking measures to make

However, the pieces they’ve brought in should make that task

sure he only hears from Longhorn coaches.

much more attainable. It was no easy job to get them to Austin, but the efforts to get the QB room into a healthy state was

The effort to reshape the room with four high quality options

a difficult test Beck and Herman passed with flying colors.

for 2018, who each bring something a little different to the

YOU HYDR AT E

WE DON ATE

February/March - 2018

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inside texas

insidetexas.com

Inside Texas 2018 Recruiting Review  

We take an in-depth look at the Top-3 ranked recruiting class, unveil Eric Nahlin's annual Top 100 list, and take a look at UT's 2018 Junior...

Inside Texas 2018 Recruiting Review  

We take an in-depth look at the Top-3 ranked recruiting class, unveil Eric Nahlin's annual Top 100 list, and take a look at UT's 2018 Junior...