With National Signing Day less than 24 hours away, the Texas Longhorns currently have 16 commitments (including three early enrolees) and stand to add a few more to that list if things fall there way tomorrow morning in a few situations.
Galena Park North Shore edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson, Austin Westlake offensive tackle Stephan Zabie, and Winter Park (FL) wide receiver Jordan Pouncey all have Texas in their final groupings are set to make their college decisions on Wednesday.
While this cycle has been disappointing for Texas fans considering they were in a strong position early on to land several blue chip in-state recruits, Tom Herman and his staff have circled the wagons a bit and have a chance to put the finishing touches on a Top 20 class. This is in spite of numbers being tight this cycle after the Longhorns took a big class last year that included several defectors from the Baylor class. Despite not being able to reel in headliners like Baron Browning, Marvin Wilson, or Walker Little, there are still some solid players in the class that have a chance to make an early impact.
- Sam Ehlinger (Austin Westlake) *
- Toneil Carter (Langham Creek) *
- Josh Rowland (Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College)*
- Damion Miller (John Tyler)
- Gary Johnson (Dodge City Community College)
- Taquon Graham (Temple)
- Montrell Estell (Hooks)
- Josh Thompson (Nacogdoches)
- Reese Leitao (Jenks, Oklahoma)
- Marqez Bimage (Brenham)
- Kobe Boyce (Lake Dallas)
- Derek Kerstetter (SA Reagan)
- Daniel Young (Westfield)
- Cade Brewer (Lake Travis)
- Samuel Cosmi (Atascocita)
- Max Cummins (FW All Saints Episcopal)
Of the guys already in the boat, I am betting on Carter, Ehlinger, Johnson, Leitao, and Rowland to carve out a niche early on. Even with Shane Buechele having a very promising freshman season, the thinking is that Ehlinger will find his way onto the field similar to the way Tim Tebow did at Florida, but after his senior season shortened due to injuries I wonder if that will still be the case.
With D’Onta Foreman declaring for the NFL Draft, I think Carter is talented enough to push for carries in a backfield that has two backs coming off of season ending injuries. Carter getting on campus this spring also gives him an opportunity to make an impression on the coaching staff and get acclimated both physically and mentally. The linebacker position has been a position of need for Texas in this cycle, particularly on the inside. Landing the commitment of the top JUCO linebacker in Gary Johnson was well timed, as he is expected to push for immediate playing time.
Tight end was also an issue that was addressed by landing the commitments of Cade Brewer and Reese Leitao. I think Brewer is going to need a redshirt year to bulk up some, while I think Leitao already possesses nice size and the ability to block and flex out as a receiver. That skill set has been lacking in Austin for a while, so I think he will be able to log snaps immediately.
Lastly, Texas was inconsistent in the kicking game this past season and graduated their starter in Trent Domingue, so one of the first commitments for Tom Herman was Josh Rowland and he is expected to take over place-kicking duties from the moment he gets to campus. Rowland was named a second team JUCO All-American this past season and Texas is hoping that he can continue that success in Austin.
As previously mentioned, Texas heads into tomorrow looking to add three more commitments in this class, and if they manage to land all three that will bring them to 19 for the cycle. Of the remaining targets on the board for Texas, I think Chaisson has the best chance to be an instant contributor, as he fills a big need for the Longhorns as they transition to Todd Orlando’s 3-4 this spring.
If I was a betting man I would put my money on the Longhorns to not only land Chaisson, but to land Pouncey and Zabie as well, which would make for a rock solid haul on National Signing Day for Tom Herman and his staff. LSU is the main competition for Texas with Chaisson, while Miami and UCLA seem to be the biggest threats for Pouncey and Zabie. Based on how things are trending, I think Texas is in a good position to receive good news tomorrow morning in more than one way.
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