This is the American-Statesman’s fifth annual 20 for 20 project, a Longhorns recruiting primer almost 20 days out of national signing day, which this year falls on Feb. 5.
What you need to know. Part 2 will publish on Wednesday:
1. Will Texas sign a top 10 class?
The Longhorns’ class ranks 10th right now, but Texas expects to sign a few four-star prospects. Texas signed consecutive top-three classes in 2018 and 2019. The lack of attrition since this time last year means the Longhorns simply don’t need a giant class, which will impact the rankings.
On average, Texas’ 2020 recruits rank higher than the players signed in 2019, but there also were five more prospects signed in the early period for the 2019 class. Texas’ 2020 class has been focused more no quality, not quantity.
2. Who are Texas’ commitments/signed players?
Texas’ 2020 recruiting class
A list of Texas commitments in the 2020 recruiting class.
|Hudson Card||QB||Lake Travis||4||May 25 (2018)|
|Logan Parr||OG||San Antonio O’Connor||4||Oct. 28 (2018)|
|Jake Majors||OG||Prosper||4||Jan. 24|
|Jaylen Garth||OT||Port Neches-Groves||4||Feb. 17|
|Jaden Hullaby||ATH||Bishop Dunne||3||March 30|
|Ja’Quinden Jackson||QB/ATH||Duncanville||4||June 3|
|Kitan Crawford||CB||John Tyler||4||June 21|
|Prince Dorbah||OLB||Highland Park||4||July 9|
|Vernon Broughton||DT||Cy Ridge||4||July 17|
|Andrej Karic||OT||Southlake Carroll||3||July 24|
|Bijan Robinson||RB||Salpointe Catholic (Ariz.)||5||Aug. 2|
|Jerrin Thompson||S||Lufkin||4||Aug. 11|
|Xavion Alford||S||Alvin Shadow Creek||4||Aug. 16|
|Troy Omeire||WR||Fort Bend Austin||4||Sept. 20|
|Dajon Harrison||ATH||Hutto||3||Nov. 5|
|Sawyer Goram-Welch||DT||Longview||3||Dec. 15|
|Jaylan Ford||OLB||Frisco Lone Star||3||Dec. 19|
3. Who has the nation’s top class?
A close look at the national class rankings proves that recruiting matters in college football. Clemson’s class tops the list, followed by Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State and LSU. Oklahoma checks in at ninth.
Clemson’s 23-man class includes six five-star prospects. SIX. For reference, the Big 12 as a whole signed only one five-star player in December, and there are only three five-star prospects in the state. Clemson has pieced together an epic recruiting cycle, with Alabama on its tail.
4. Who’s winning the Big 12?
The Sooners’ class is ranked one spot ahead of Texas’ with three weeks to go. The Longhorns could flip that if Tom Herman can close at defensive line and wide receiver. The Sooners rank higher because they hold 23 commitments compared to 17 for Texas. No other class in the Big 12 is ranked inside the top 30. That talent gap is why the Big 12 is perceived to be lesser than conferences like the SEC and Big Ten.
5. How have Texas’ recent classes ranked nationally?
2011: 4th (included RB Malcolm Brown, DB Quandre Diggs, QB David Ash, WR Jaxon Shipley)
2012: 2nd (DT Malcom Brown, RB Jonathan Gray, DB Duke Thomas)
2013: 17th (OG Darius James, OT Kent Perkins, QB Tyrone Swoopes)
2014: 17th (RB D’Onta Foreman, WR Armanti Foreman, DT Poona Ford)
2015: 10th (OT Connor Williams, LB Malik Jefferson, OG Patrick Vahe, S DeShon Elliott)
2016: 7th (QB Shane Buechele, S Brandon Jones, WR Collin Johnson)
2017: 25th (QB Sam Ehlinger, RB Daniel Young, MLB Gary Johnson)
2018: 3rd (S Caden Sterns, S BJ Foster, CB Anthony Cook)
2019: 3rd (ATH Jordan Whittington, WR Jake Smith, OT Tyler Johnson)
6. Who are Texas’ top recruits?
Bijan Robinson, Tucson (Ariz.) Salpointe Catholic running back: Texas signed Arizona’s best offensive player for the second straight cycle. It was wide receiver Jake Smith in 2019. Robinson is the lone five-star recruit to sign with a Big 12 program in this class. He’s a program changer, ranking as the second-best prospect at his position in the country. He rushed for more than 2,000 yards in each of his final three years at the prep level and broke the all-time Arizona rushing record with 7,036 yards. He’ll play as a freshman.
Hudson Card, Lake Travis quarterback: The local prospect hopes to follow the path of current UT starter Sam Ehlinger, who’s from Westlake. Card should redshirt in 2020 with Ehlinger leading the offense as a senior. That gives Card time to get bigger in the weight room. His wiry frame is the only real knock on him. He was an all-district wide receiver as a sophomore before leading Lake Travis to consecutive Region IV championships at quarterback in his final two years. Card was a member of the Elite 11 Camp and threw a touchdown pass at the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando. He’s enrolling early.
Ja’Quinden Jackson, Duncanville quarterback: Jackson is a winner. He lost only two games in his three years starting for Duncanville, and both came in the playoffs. He improved tremendously as a passer in his final two seasons and is expected to remain at quarterback once he reaches campus.
Jackson tore his ACL in the state semifinals and is unlikely to make an impact as a freshman due to his injury and the presence of Ehlinger. But the impending battle between Card and Jackson to take the reigns once Ehlinger graduates should be fun.
7. Are there gems or sleepers in Texas’ class?
Thirteen of Texas’ 17 signees are four-star prospects, so it’s hard to define a true sleeper in the group. Defensive tackle Sawyer Goram-Welch committed late and enrolled early, meaning he didn’t receive many headlines or interviews before arriving on campus. He’s a player who could excel in Chris Ash’s new four-man front as a freshman. Frisco Lone Star outside linebacker Jaylan Ford also signed in December. Hutto wide receiver Dajon Harrison is listed as a three-star despite his big-play potential at slot receiver.
8. What are Texas’ biggest remaining to-do’s?
Texas was able to be picky this cycle because Herman stacked the roster with his recruits the previous two years. The Longhorns still need to close on a pair of defensive linemen and at least one more receiver to feel like a balanced class. The early signing period has erased much of the hectic atmosphere that used to surround the final weeks before national signing day.
9. What are Texas’ biggest needs this cycle?
Texas needed to add talent across the board on offense and has done that with an offense-heavy class. The Longhorns wanted to sign a pair of potential all-conference quarterbacks to learn the ropes before Ehlinger left and that was accomplished with Card and Jackson. Robinson provided Texas with an elite running back. Assistant coach Herb Hand reeled in four four-star prospects along the offensive line. Texas can use another receiver, but the duo of Troy Omeire and Harrison gives UT two new faces to add to a young and exciting receivers room. Jaden Hullaby was recruited to play a variety of positions on offense, including H-back.
10. Who does Texas still want?
Texas’ top targets are Bastrop Cedar Creek defensive tackle Alfred Collins and Carthage wide receiver Kelvontay Dixon.
Collins was a two-time all-district performer who earned All-American accolades as a senior when he played in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio. His mother, Benita Pollard, played basketball at UT. And Dixon is the younger brother of Longhorns running back Keaontay Ingram.