Herman makes moves on the recruiting trail

Justin Kong

Follow a lackluster transition period in 2017 in which the Longhorns ended up with the nation’s No. 26 recruiting class, head coach Tom Herman has been hot on the recruiting trail for 2018. Texas’ 2018 class currently ranks No. 6 in the country per 247sports, and No. 1 in the Big 12.

The 2018 commits will be Herman’s first full class with the burnt orange, and as presently constructed, it is filled with elite talent. Texas currently has 12 commits, 10 of which are four-star players. The highest profile players in this group are No. 1 ranked safety B.J. Foster, No. 3 inside linebacker Ayodele Adeoye, and four-star wide receiver Al’vonte Woodard.

Woodard’s commitment to Texas is especially notable. He is teammates at Houston’s Lamar High School with a pair of four-star safety recruits, D’Shawn Jamison and Anthony Cook. Ohio State is the current favorite to land Cook, but with Woodard’s endorsement and a visit to Austin scheduled for July 28, Cook could be swayed to spending his Saturdays at Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium in the fall.

Texas will have another chance to woo recruits during Friday's on-campus recruiting event, the “Stars at Night Showcase.” A slew of promising 2018 recruits will be in attendance, including the aforementioned Woodard and Jamison. Members of the 2019 and 2020 classes will participate as well, giving Tom Herman’s staff a head start in evaluating and recruiting future classes. 

From what Herman has shown us thus far, his recruiting tactics differ from those of previous head coaches Mack Brown and Charlie Strong. Brown was an early go-getter known for locking down recruits very early in the process and relying strongly on the statistics and rankings of prospects. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Strong placed much an emphasis on personal evaluation of each player and their senior-season performances. As a result, Strong famously played catch-up in February and got most of his high-profile recruits on National Signing Day.

Herman seems to strike a nice balance between Brown and Strong. He’s shown a tendency to aggressively target top players in the early stages, while at the same time evaluating talent carefully all the way up to National Signing Day. His style worked wonders at Ohio State, where he consistently swayed top recruits to Columbus as the offensive coordinator for head coach Urban Meyer.

The real recruiting games will begin once the football season swings into action, but Herman will continue to stay tethered to the recruiting trail up through opening day on Sept. 2. The 2018 class has gotten off to a promising start, and now, it will be up to Herman and Co. to keep the program’s momentum going through the summer.