Herman sets sights on top recruits as Signing Day approaches


Rising junior linebacker Malik Jefferson attempts to bring down a West Virginia ball carrier on Nov. 12. Texas lost the home matchup against the Mountaineers, 24-20. Jefferson totaled 11 tackles in the game, a 2016 season high.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns are casting their rods for sought-after recruits as National Signing Day sits just eight days away. 

Gary Johnson, the eighth-ranked junior college prospect, committed to Texas via Twitter on Jan. 20. Johnson played his last two seasons at Dodge City Community College in Kansas, recording 82 tackles and etching his name as the top junior college linebacker prospect.

Johnson will only be able to play two seasons with the Longhorns after using eligibility at Dodge City. The inside linebacker will add depth to a veteran linebacking corps that includes current sophomores Malik Jefferson, Edwin Freeman, Anthony Wheeler and Breckyn Hager. Johnson selected to play for Texas over Oregon, Arizona State and Louisville.

Johnson marks head coach Tom Herman’s top defensive recruit thus far in a class that wavers between the 30s and 40s in various rankings. But Texas continues to target Houston native K’Lavon Chaisson. 

Chaisson sits at No. 34 in ESPN’s recruiting rankings. He’s the fourth-highest-rated defensive end in the class of 2017. The addition of Chaisson could add increased star power to Texas’ defense, a unit that struggled at the beginning of the 2016 season.

Offensive tackle Stephan Zabie remains on Herman’s radar, too. Zabie is a local Westlake prospect built 6 feet 6 inches tall and 290 pounds. With the departure of senior Kent Perkins from the offensive line, Zabie could step into a starting role from the jump. 

The ESPN 300 prospect visited Texas, one of 23 programs to send him an offer, on Jan. 20. Zabie is the 24th-ranked offensive tackle prospect by ESPN and a four-star recruit.

Texas has its sight on another four-star recruit too: cornerback Chevin Calloway. Calloway hails from Dallas and is listed as the 11th-best cornerback by ESPN. He previously visited Nebraska, Ole Miss and Arkansas but has a scheduled visit to Austin for this Friday. 

The cornerback recorded three interceptions and 61 total tackles at Bishop Dunne High School this season. The Texas defense did not record an interception until October last season, so adding playmakers from the secondary should be one of Herman’s top priorities.

The other four-star cornerback on Texas’ wish list is California native Javelin Guidry. The quick corner, who runs a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, is a popular target among Pac-12 and Mountain West schools. Guidry initially committed to Houston to play for Herman but de-committed on Nov. 28 following Herman’s departure. If playing for Herman is Guidry’s priority, he may once again leave the west coast for the Lone Star State.

Great recruiting made Herman a household name at Houston, and he may land another great class at Texas if several targeted players commit. National Signing Day commences next Wednesday, Feb. 1.