Texas hopes to finish recruiting cycle with splash

Donnavan Smoot

With spring ball and the start of the 2020 season on the horizon, Texas’ hectic offseason will come to a close with National Signing Day. The Longhorns, like most of the nation, secured the core of their recruiting class in December during the early signing period. Even after signing highly touted recruits like Hudson Card, a Lake Travis dual-threat quarterback, and Bijan Robinson, a running back from Salpointe Catholic in Tucson, Arizona, Texas still has top prospects in its sights. 

According to 247Sports, Texas has just one five-star recruit in Robinson. The Arizona native is ranked as the top running back in the nation and is set to be a key piece for Texas’ offensive future.

“To give you an example of what kind of kid he is, he’s a very spiritual, very godly person from a very strong Christian family,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said in December. “This guy would drive the bus and take out the trash if you ask him to. And that is (not) coming from coaches trying to sell him, (but) assistant principals to security guards at the front gate.”

Currently, Texas has the No. 10 ranked recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports. While that’s a small dip from the back-to-back top-five classes Texas has put out each of the last two years, only Oklahoma, ranked No. 9, has a better class within the Big 12. If Texas has a big day, it can catapult itself back amongst the nation’s elite. 

Of the recruits still weighing their options, Duncanville cornerback Ennis Rakestraw is set to be the first to make his decision. Rakestraw, a three-star player, would immediately be in a position to help Texas’ secondary under new leadership. Texas might also have already secured an inside track after securing his teammate, dual-threat quarterback Ja’Quinden Jackson.

Along with help in the secondary, Texas needs to replenish its receiving core. Both Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson declared for the NFL Draft, leaving rising junior Brennan Eagles and rising sophomore Jake Smith as the top returning targets for the Longhorns. Two receivers signed with Texas during the early signing period, but Texas still has its sights on more pass catchers.

“That’s a position that we’ll probably go into February looking for one more,” Herman said about recruiting receivers in December. “We got our sights set on a couple that did not sign today.”

Texas could make the biggest splash by landing defensive ends Alfred Collins and Princely Umanmielen. Both rank as Top 25 defensive ends in the ESPN 300, so Texas could replenish its line and surround budding star Keondre Coburn with significant talent. According to 247Sports, Collins’ decision will be between Oklahoma and Texas. His decision could be the deciding factor to push the Longhorns over the Sooners in the rankings.

National Signing Day won’t be a day for the Longhorns to pull together a cream of the crop class, but it will be a chance for them to retool. The 2019 graduating class wasn’t a big class in terms of size, but Texas lost pillars of the program. Down the stretch of the 2019 season, depth — and the development of it — was a major point of emphasis for Herman. With all the changes that have occurred within the last two months, that process of developing depth begins today.