National Signing Day Notebook: Ranking Top 12 FBS Teams in Texas after Recruiting Hauls

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Photo: Flo Landsteiner/TexasHSFootball

The day that coaches spend all year preparing for – National Signing Day – came and went on Wednesday, as players all over the country signed their letters of intent to play for their next destination of schools. Some of those reside in the

Below are the twelve Texas FBS teams and how they stack up to each other on signing day:

1. Texas

Katy’s Moro Ojomo. Mark Goodman/TexasHSFootball

I really can’t say enough on how good of a job Head Coach Tom Herman and staff did for the Longhorns this off-season, and it showed on National Signing Day.

Texas inked 27 recruits with two five-star athletes, 20 four-star commits and eight three-star players. Massive defensive tackles Moro Ojomo and Keondre Coburn, from respective Katy and Spring Westfield High Schools, are among them.

Of the bunch, 19 of his signees are from Texas, which attests to the immediate impact Herman has in the Lone Star State. During his press conference, Herman was asked who has a chance to make an impact immediately.

“The list is too long,” he said. “When you sign a class like this, you expect most of them to come in and play.”

Some standouts on his list include Caden Sterns, a five-star safety from Steele High School, Brennan Eagles, the 6-foot-3, four-star receiver out of Alief Taylor High School. Others are Junior Angilau, a four-star lineman from Salt Lake City (Utah) and Casey Thompson, a dual-threat quarterback who is ranked No. 6 in the state out of Newcastle (Oklahoma).

The Longhorns even got Ryan Bujcevski, the No. 1 ranked punter out of Australia.

One big loss, however, was that Herman confirmed that wideout Reggie Hemphill-Mapps will transfer. Hemphill-Mapps’ 37 receptions from the fall tied the team’s second best in receiving and they will need to fill the void this spring.

2. Texas A&M

Manvel wide receiver Jalen Preston is headed to College Station. Prentice James/TexasHSFootball

It’s Jimbo Fisher’s first year recruiting in the state and considering he got after the recruitment process so late into the season, his job was well served on signing day.

Fisher and the Aggies introduced 21 names into their 2018 class, which included 12 four-star recruits and nine three-star recruits — 14 of them being from Texas.

Among the Aggies’ talented signees includes Leon O’Neal Jr., a safety out of Cy Springs, and three Manvel High School players in receiver Jalen Preston, a four-star recruit; safety Brian Johnson, a three-star recruit; and running back Deneric Prince, also a three-star recruit. It seems like Fisher is finding a lot of luck in smaller Texas towns like Katy, Cypress and Missouri City, notching six players total from those respective cities.

Biggest loss from A&M today came when Iowa State stole Aggie highly-sought quarterback Brock Purdy. Also, Alabama took four-star wideout Jaylen Waddle, who chose the Tuscaloosa over College Station.

3. TCU

Head coach Gary Patterson cancelled Tuesday’s National Signing Day press conference. Joseph Nguyen/TexasHSFootball

It seemed Head Coach Gary Patterson and his staff were weary of National Signing Day this year, as Tuesday night he cancelled his annual press conference due to recruits not announcing their choice on time.

But as Wednesday unfolded, what could have turned chaotic for the Horned Frogs turned near gold, as they finished the day with 22 recruits.

Among the commits, five are four-star athletes and 17 have three-stars, but just nine of the 22 players are from Texas. Their class isn’t as sexy when comparing them to the likes of Texas or Oklahoma, but they still had a good turnout.

The player that stands out on film is four-star dual-threat quarterback Justin Rogers, who is a big guy at 6-foot-4, 210 pounds and is out of Louisiana. Safety Atanza Vongor from South Grand Prairie High School will be a key addition down the line for this defense as well.

Some have called this the best recruiting class TCU has seen in banking in early production from Rogers. Only time will tell how much the dual-threat quarterback can do and where he will stand with DeSoto sophomore Shawn Robinson in the driver’s seat at the position.

4. Baylor

New Baylor signee Byron Hanspard, Jr. Gordon Deloach/TexasHSFootball

Following TCU very closely is Baylor, who had an outstanding recruiting class. In fact, 247Sports ranks them as the No. 29 recruiting class in 2018.

Matt Rhule snagged six four-star recruits and 17 three-star recruits, totaling the Bears at 23 for 2018. He also dominated Texas, inking 18 of his 23 recruits from the state.

Some of the top-tier Texas talent that will play for the Bears include BJ Hanspard, a four-star receiver out of DeSoto High School; Joshua Fleeks, a four-star wideout from Cedar Hill; Craig Williams, a four-star running back from Crosby; and Connor Galvin, a 6-foot-6, four-star lineman from Katy.

Silsbee’s Kalon Barnes, a three-star receiver, will also join the group.

Their best land may have come from Earle, Arizona and in four-star dual-threat quarterback Gerry Bohanon. He is ranked the best dual-threat quarterback in Arizona, already enrolled in the school and could see the field as early as this fall.

5. Houston

Houston’s newest quarterback prospect, Clayton Tune. Lauren Landes/TexasHSFootball

Major Applewhite and staff did a nice job this off-season to land some big names and some good talent in the local area for the Houston Cougars. Among the 22 signees, Houston snagged 19 three-star recruits, and have 18 from Texas.

Clayton Tune, the Hebron High School pro-style quarterback stands out the most when looking at the Cougars’ signing class. Tune is a three-star recruit who has good size and can really throw the ball well. The Cougars also snagged DeSoto High School running back Kelan Walker, the three-star recruit who has some major talent.

6. Texas Tech

As Kliff Kingsbury’s hot seat grows warmer, all eyes turn to the start of this year, which evidently is signing day. With a sub-par recruitment season, Kingsbury will have to hope that these players are diamonds in the rough for an ailing Texas Tech team.

Houston Lamar’s Ta’Zhawn Henry should bring of measure of lightning-fast weaponry to the Red Raiders’ attack. Of the 17 signees, the Red Raiders saw a lone four-star recruit and 16 three-star recruits sign National Letters of Intent.

A plus for Kingsbury, though, is he and his staff inked 16 recruits from Texas.

Their only four-star recruit comes from Erik Ezukanma, the wideout from Keller Timber Creek High School. The good thing about the  6-foot-2 and 183-pound pass catcher is he’s fast, elusive, and catches the ball with ease.

Grapevine quarterback Alan Bowman, 247Sports’ No. 37 pro-style quarterback in the nation, could be another steal, too. He could also be legitimate contender for the starting quarterback position.


Fourteen recruits from Texas signed with the Roadrunners. Ozzy Jaimer/TexasHSFootball

Conference USA’s University of Texas at San Antonio is starting to make waves in Texas recruiting as Head Coach Frank Wilson enters his third season with the Roadrunners. He finished the recruiting season with 22 signees, 16 being three-star athletes and 14 being from Texas.

Biggest grab for the Roadrunners was Deven Boston, a 6-foot-0 running back out of Santa Anna College. He was the third-ranked running back available according to 24/7 Sports. The three-star athlete could see the field as early as next year and also brings some good pass blocking to the backfield.

8. SMU

Highland Park’s Conner Allen, a preferred walk-on slot receiver, could turned the tides for SMU. Joseph Nguyen/TexasHSFootball

Coming into the recruiting season late after being hired in mid-December, SMU head coach Sonny Dykes was tasked to whip up a batch of names for the Mustangs’ next recruitment class.

Preferred walk-on Conner Allen, a state champion running back from Highland Park, could also improve Dykes’ chances for a successful 2018 college football season.

He and his staff finished with 18 signees, 15 being three-star recruits and all but one come from Texas. Dykes banked on three former teammates who are already enrolled in the school and could make an impact on the field early on. Those include offensive lineman Levon Livingston, linebacker Trevor Denbow and guard Nick Dennis — all three-star athletes from Navarro College.

9. North Texas

Maverick quarterback Kason Martin threw for nearly 500 Yards in the state championship loss to Highland Park at AT&T Stadium. Joseph Nguyen/TexasHSFootball

Coming into the spotlight of Conference-USA with their air-raid offense, North Texas football has entirely changed its culture from once a losing program to now a winning one. Under head coach Seth Littrell, the staff got 22 commits to the team, with 11 three-star recruits and 15 from Texas.

The man to watch for this North Texas team is Manvel pro-style quarterback Kason Martin. The three-star recruit — that should probably be higher — led Manvel to the Texas High School 5A State Championship game and lost in heartbreaking fashion to Highland Park, 53-49.

He’s a winner and a steal that could help the Mean Green moving forward.

10. UTEP

New UTEP head coach Dana Dimel sits in the background during his introductory press conference. Adrian Broaddus/TexasHSFootball

After a program worst 0-12 record, no coach until mid-December, and not a single commit come January, University of Texas at El Paso’s football program looked in shambles and possibly a lost cause.

When new Athletic Director Jim Senter hired Dana Dimel, Kansas State’s former offensive coordinator, a new energy was brought into the program and recruits started pouring in. Although they only have three three-star recruits — 14 being from Texas — UTEP’s 27 recruits show promise and could help the program a lot moving forward.

Their top recruit, dual-threat quarterback Kai Locksley, could snag a starting job this off-season with the talent he possesses. He is an Iowa Western Community College transfer, who was ranked the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback, according to 247Sports. Locksley alone could help turn the Miners from an 0-12 team to a six or seven-win program.

11. Texas State

Tyler Vitt could help UTEP and new Head Coach Dana Dimel rebound from a down 2017 season. Photo courtesy Rivals

Compiling just a 4-20 record over two seasons, head coach Everett Withers is in do-or-die mode entering his third year as head coach for Texas State. With eight three-star commits – and 20 of 23 being from Texas – Withers could see some fast-action success by this 2018 signing class.

Among the class is San Antonio MacArthur’s quarterback Tyler Vitt. He, a pro-style three-star recruit, could compete for a starting job this season with his size and throwing capability. Although his high school team was below average, Vitt completely carried his team last year and garnered some attention from the likes of Baylor, Houston, and Texas.

12. Rice

Rice signee Juma Otoviano. Photo courtesy Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Under new head coach Mike Bloomgren, the former Stanford offensive coordinator, Rice is looking to make waves early on. That is especially so during the recruitment season.

The Owls were well-below par last year, ranking among the worst in C-USA. However, with seven three-star recruits and 17 who inked a letter of intent to play, Rice could see their rebuilding process coming early this fall with these new players.

Bloomgren wasted no time after stocking his backfield with running back Juma Otoviano, a three-star back out of James Martin High School in Arlington, and fullback Jacob Doddridge, a three-star recruit out of Southlake Carroll.

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