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Intel from The Opening
With Chris Adimora’s commitment Sunday afternoon, Texas now has multiple pledges from California in the 2019 class. Adimora joined LB De’Gabriel Floyd, who committed to the Longhorns in March. While meeting with the media on Sunday, Floyd made it clear that he will continue to be in the ear of several Texas targets who reside in California, including Mater Dei 5-star ATH Bru McCoy.
“I know a lot about his situation and what’s going on, what he’s thinking,” Floyd said about McCoy. “I’m telling him the same thing I’m telling everyone else. (Bru) can go do his thing on offense, but at the same time he can play defense and we can be together, and that’s a bad situation for an offense.”
Pulling kids from California is not new for Texas. The Longhorns have inked Cameron Rising, Kirk Johnson and Collin Johnson is recent cycles, but Texas has not signed multiple players from California in the same class since 2013, when junior college players Desmond Harrison and Geoff Swaim inked with the Longhorns.
“I think some kids are really interested in moving to a new state, being on their own and being in an environment where they have to adapt to be more comfortable,” Floyd said when asked why Texas is having renewed success in California. “Texas is kind of the closest thing to California, in my opinion. Texas also has a lot of talent in state, so we feel like if Texas is coming way out here to show interest in us, it really shows they are actually trying to get us to their school.”
In addition to talking recruiting, Floyd also spoke about his performance at The Opening on Sunday. The 4-star LB tested very well, running a 4.7 in the 40-yard dash, a 4.38 in the shuttle drill and recording a vertical of 33 inches. Floyd profiles perfectly as a rover in the Todd Orlando defense, which is exactly where Floyd said the coaching staff is expecting him to play.
Last cycle Texas secured its bell cow running back very early in the cycle in Keaontay Ingram, but so far this cycle they are still working hard to get their man. IMG Academy running back Noah Cain has long been at the top of Texas’ want list at the position and that isn’t changing any time soon, but from the sounds of it Cain is a major priority for several top programs. Schools like Auburn, Georgia, and Penn State have been turning up the heat, but that isn’t all according to the blue chip running back.
“Clemson, Miami, and Ohio State are still in the picture. A lot of different schools have the opportunity for me to come in and play early”, said Cain.
So where does Texas currently sit with Texas? Things don’t seem to have changed much there.
“They still stand where they were before and they’re one my top schools. Coach Drayton and Coach Herman text me every other day or Bryan (Carrington). Texas is still one of my top schools”, said the four star running back.
As if there was any question about Cain’s importance to the Texas staff, Herman is personally involved in the recruitment and reaffirmed to Cain that he was a top priority to them and will continue to be so until the end.
Speaking of IMG running backs, Cain isn’t the only one that holds a Texas offer, as the Longhorns are hard after Cain’s five star teammate Trey Sanders. The idea of playing together at the next level is something the two backs have discussed.
“Texas is one of the schools we have actually playing together at because of the need at running back. Me and Trey (Sanders) are both unselfish and want to see each other succeed and feed off each other. We always talk about playing with each other at the next level, but we will have to see if that’s the right fit”.
While Javonne Shepherd has been the most frequently discussed offensive tackle on Texas’ board, the Longhorn staff is still hard after Camden (AR) tackle Stacey Wilkins. Wilkins made his way to Austin during the spring and came away impressed with what he saw with the Longhorn program. Since then he has been developing his relationship with offensive line coach Herb Hand and it seems that Hand is leaving a good impression on the four star big man.
“Me and Coach Hand have a real good relationship and it is fun talking to him because he doesn’t make it too much about football. He is one of the top coaches at his position and knows what he is taking about”, said Wilkins.
Attending camps like The Opening can be a bit overwhelming for guys sometimes given the competition and being under the microscope with all the attention, but Wilkins seemed to really be enjoying the process and just having fun with it while competing against the top players in the country.
“It’s been real fun because I don’t think guys from my town have been able to get this opportunity. I was able to compete against the best defensive linemen in the country, learn new things, and be able to take it back in put it into my arsenal. So that was one good thing and to be able to help my teammates at the same time”, said the four star tackle.
As far a Texas goes, Wilkins has an official set for the fall for the weekend of the USC game and he plans on watching both teams closely, as the Trojans are another team high on his list of consideration.
Wilkins went on to say that he measured in at 6’7, 280 pounds this week and ran in the 5.0-5.1 range in the 40 yard dash during the testing. He has the offensive tackle starter kit you want and will no doubt remain a high priority for Texas as they continue to hunt tackle bodies.
For Austin Bowie wide receiver Elijah Higgins, the recruiting process has been gruesome and long, and he’s ready to make a decision and move forward. Before he came to that conclusion, he spent his offseason competing in a variety of camps, including The Opening in Frisco this past weekend. “It’s been great,” Higgins said in regards to The Opening. “There’s some great coaches around here. I’ve been around some of the top quarterbacks in the nation. The ball is a little faster, so you have to adjust. It’s really been about developing and battling through adversity when your legs are tired.”
While Higgins has attended various camps this summer, other athletes are hard-pressed to get him to commit to their school. But Higgins takes a different approach to the process than an every day recruit. “I recruit myself,” Higgins said. “I ask the recruits about other schools, what they think, and stuff like that. I try to get a vibe perspective. It’s really me going around asking them questions and them pulling me that way.”
In terms of a decision timeline, Higgins is ready to wrap up his recruitment before his senior season at Austin Bowie begins. “After this, I’m done,” Higgins stated. “It’s time to sit down and talk schools.” In terms of when a decision could come, Higgins relayed it would come “hopefully when I get home. Probably that week. I haven’t really had much time. I’ve been traveling, visits, camps, so that’s the main reason I haven’t done it yet.” However, Higgins is not going to rush into a decision. “If I’m not ready, I’m not going to do it.”
So, where does Texas stand with Higgins? Although he kept his ranking of schools close to the vest, he did make one thing certain — Texas will not receive an official visit for the coveted wide receiver. That is not necessarily a bad sign, however. “I decided not to [take an official to Texas] because it’s so close and they have 2 more spots left [for other recruits] and I respect that,” Higgins said. “They asked me if that was okay with me, and I said yes, of course. Other than flights and free food, you can do everything on an unofficial that you can on an official. I don’t want to take anyone else’s opportunity. That’s really it.”
To be frank, Texas is on the outside looking in for the Austin native. After offering Higgins in January, the Longhorns stepped off the gas pedal for a good amount of time, allowing other schools like Florida and Stanford to enter the picture. The best the Texas staff can hope for is that Higgins indeed decides he is not ready to decide before his senior season starts, so that they can have more time to try and sell the future in Austin. Otherwise, one of the best recruits to ever come out of Austin Bowie will be heading out of state to begin his collegiate career next fall.
Q: Any status on the kids coming back from major injuries like Pat Hudson, Gary Johnson, Kirk Johnson, Cade Brewer, etc
A: Gary Johnson is participating in summer workouts and barring any setbacks, will be ready to go for fall camp. With the departure of Edwin Freeman, Johnson needs to remain healthy this season. Patrick Hudson and Cade Brewer are both still recovering from ACL injuries, but Brewer appears to be participating at 100% in offseason workouts. The expectation is both will be ready to go in August. Kirk Johnson is a wild card. No one truly knows if he will be able to contribute this upcoming season, both from an injury standpoint and the fact the running back room added two talented players in Keaontay Ingram and Tre Watson.
Q: How many do we plan to take at OL, DL, and LB this cycle?
A: Numbers are a very fluid thing so it’s tough to call on an exact number. I’d expect 3-5 OL and DL apiece because you want to maintain depth there, and I would expect at least 3 at LB if they can manage it.
Q: Behind the scenes, who seems to be developing (on the team) more than most this summer? Any word on the rumor wire? When will the team report to camp this year?
A: Of the young guys, the name mentioned most seems to be Anthony Cook. Seems like there is a legit chance he logs some snaps this fall. Other names that have been mentioned are Caden Sterns, BJ Foster, and Ayodele Adeoye. With the linebacker position being thin, Adeoye may log some snaps this fall. From a physical standpoint, he arrived on campus ready to compete. With Todd Orlando as his LB coach, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the field at least as a run stopper.
Not sure as far as an exact date for reporting, but it will likely be early August.
Q: How do the coaches use their limited time on visits to show off what makes Austin special?
A: The main focus for the coaching staff is sell what is on campus. When recruits visit, they are shown the locker room, weight room, dining hall, academic support center, dorms and given a tour of campus. In addition, they will break down film with their position coach and get to ask questions about potential scheme fit. The staff does an excellent job of making sure that recruits see the entire scope of what Texas has to offer, including the academic side. At night, recruits will get to interact with current players, and that is when they get to experience Austin as a whole. Recruit visits almost always end with a meeting with Tom Herman. A lot of times, the staff tries to sell the city of Austin as a whole as well. This includes going to places like Top Golf and getting to partake in activities at the lake by visiting Tom Herman’s house — which is a good sales pitch. If you haven’t seen it, you should do a quick Google search.
Q: What are the chances we can start a Hawaii to Austin pipeline?
A: Texas will need to produce on the field if they have hopes of developing a consistent pipeline to a place like Hawaii. Recruiting assistants like Jake Langi have done an excellent job helping get Texas’ foot in the door, but the results on the field will have the final say. Guys like Faatui Tuitele and Maninoa Tufono have interest in Texas, but the Longhorns are not the top choice for either. The lure of going to the west coast or a powerhouse like Alabama is hard to overcome with kids from that region.
Commitment Spotlight: Derrian Brown
Texas picked up its first running back commitment of the 2019 class
Texas has secured a huge commitment on one of its biggest recruiting weekends in decades. After securing a big win against USC, the Longhorns weekend got even better with the commitment of 4-star running back Derrian Brown.
Although Texas was high on top backs such as Noah Cain and Trey Sanders early on, Brown entered the picture and it was impossible for Texas to pass. Brown is a high-level back that has the potential to leave his mark in Austin. A duo of Keaontay Ingram and Derrian Brown in the backfield is not something Texas fans will be displeased to see.
Name: Derrian Brown
High School: Burford HS
City & State: Buford, Georgia
40-yard time: 4.62
No stats available.
- The first thing you notice about Brown is that he has a sneaky type of quickness about him. For his size he might not be the quickest or fastest back out there, but he certainly has some breakaway speed. His 40-yard dash time supports that.
- With his quickness comes Brown’s fearless nature when hitting the holes. This may attribute to the fact that his offensive line creates decent lanes for him to run through, but there is no denying that Brown hits the gaps hard and without hesitation. This is something you like to see from a back, but also causes mild concerns about their patience and vision.
- Has great ability in the second level. Once Brown gets to that second level on film, there’s no stopping him. He shows great power and lateral quickness to make defenders miss.
- Demonstrates great awareness. Whether it is on the sideline or gaining a couple extra yards for the first down, Brown always knows what he needs to do on every play.
- Football savvy. Shows good instincts and high football IQ.
- The major area Brown needs to improve in is lowering his pad level. He’s able to get away with it in high school, but in college he won’t be able to gain extra yardage after the point of attack.
- Catches the ball out of the backfield with his body rather than his hands. Granted, there is not much film regarding his catching ability, but using his body will result in some drops in college.
- No film on his blocking ability. Brown is a little undersized, so he might have to adjust to the size of college-level linemen.
- Needs to learn to have more patience. It’s not a bad thing that Brown hits the holes at full speed, but it can be a problem when your offensive line doesn’t create holes and you run right into a plugged up gap. Brown needs to learn to be a bit more patient, and will have a great mentor to learn from in Keaontay Ingram in that department.
Brown may not stand out physically on tape, but his play speaks for itself. He demonstrates quickness and a keen ability to get to the second level and beyond. Brown is a very talented 4-star back, and his abilities demonstrate that he will fit in nicely with Tom Herman’s offense. Although Brown clearly has the skillset to succeed in the Big 12, there are some concerns — mainly that the competition he faces in Georgia is not stellar. Other concerns stem from Brown’s lack of patience and limited tape on his pass catching and blocking abilities. All in all, Brown is a fantastic get for the Longhorns, and will be the feature back of Texas’ 2019 class.
After trending negatively for top RB targets Noah Cain and Trey Sanders, Texas needed to come up with an alternative. Bryan Carrington and Derek Chang then identified Brown and Texas offered. After the offer, Texas continued to trend in the right direction. I see a lot of former Texas running back D’onta Foreman in Derrian Brown. His quickness and burst through the gaps has similar characteristics to Foreman’s running style — even though Foreman had much more bulk on his frame. Brown is another great add to the Texas running corps, and gives Stan Drayton the potential to find his next Ezekiel Elliot.
Commitment Spotlight: Javonne Shepherd
Pure tackle prospects are hard to find and are always in high demand. Texas learned this the hard way in 2017 once Connor Williams went down and they were forced to play some guys out of position on both edges of their offensive line.
Needless to say, the Texas staff has been hard at work this cycle trying to land the top tackle prospects that reside in the Lone Star State this cycle and their hard work already resulted in landing Conroe Oak Ridge offensive tackle Tyler Johnson. With Atascocita’s Kenyon Green off the board to Texas A&M (some think Green is a tackle, but I don’t necessarily subscribe to that line of thinking) that leaves Houston North Forest’s Javonne Shepherd.
Shepherd quickly turned into one of the biggest in-state dogfights between Texas and Texas A&M this cycle, and with him potentially holding the greatest amount of upside at the position it makes sense. Early on it looked like A&M was poised to land both Green and Shepherd, as there was plenty of scuttle that the duo wanted to play together at the next level. As we all know by now there are no givens in world of recruiting and things can and always will change.
In the case of Shepherd, things begin to change in favor of the Longhorns earlier this spring when he was able to make it to Austin early in the spring and begin to form a bond with new Texas offensive line coach Herb Hand. That trip would be the first of several trips Shepherd made to Austin before the dead period hit and each time he left with Texas heavily on his mind.
This was a battle that Texas not only needed to win from a perception standpoint, but most importantly they needed it from a roster management standpoint. The Texas offensive line room needs more bodies like Shepherd in the pipeline and with his commitment to Texas; the Longhorns have solidified a big position of need this cycle.
Name: Javonne Shepherd
High School: North Forest
City & State: Houston, Texas
Height: 6’6 (Unverified)
Weight: 319 (Unverified)
40-yard: 4.76 (Unverified)
Shuttle: 4.58 (Unverified)
Vertical: 34 (Unverified)
No Stats Available
- Possesses very good measurables for the offensive tackle position. At 6’6, 320 pounds his size won’t be issue for whether he can stick at the position.
- Possesses good length, which will cause edge defenders issues when you combine it with his size.
- Possesses the athletic traits you in a future left tackle. Moves very well laterally for his size and his vertical shows he possesses some explosiveness.
- Has a very high ceiling and isn’t close to hitting it, which makes him a very enticing and intriguing prospect.
- Flashes a bit of a mean streak and shows that he can be a capable block finisher.
- Very nimble for his size and shows that he can be capable puller from the tackle spot.
- Possesses good functional strength at this stage in his development.
- Lacks the quality of film you would expect from a recruit of his caliber.
- With his size and athletic ability, I expected to turn on the film and see him dominant from snap to snap given his competition, but I didn’t see that.
- His highlight tape probably could have done without the very meh cut block attempts on the backside of plays.
- Very raw at this point in his development and will really benefit from collegiate coaching once he arrives on campus.
- Possesses great physical tools, but will likely have to redshirt and shape up his technique before he can be thrown into the fire.
- Need to see more reps of him as a pass blocker on tape. Majority of his highlight films consisted of run plays.
Javonne Shepherd is entering his 3rd year as a varsity starter at offensive tackle for Houston North Forest and has logged snaps at both left and right tackle at this point in his high school career. At 6’6, 319 pounds, Shepherd possesses very good size and should have no issues sticking at tackle from a measurable standpoint or athletic standpoint. Shepherd has been blessed with athletic traits that makes him a very enticing prospect that offensive line coaches would love to get their hands on to develop. On top of having very good size, Shepherd possesses long arms, good feet, he’s nimble and coordinated, has good flexibility, and on top of that he shows that he can be a finisher. From a physical standpoint, he checks off all the boxes that you look for when you draw up a collegiate offensive tackle. On the other side of the coin, Shepherd is extremely raw at this point from a technique standpoint and he lacks the dominant film you would expect to see from a prospect of his caliber. While he does show flashes of being up to line up and flat out dominate defenders at the POA, I was expecting to see a lot more of it from snap to snap as I sifted through his sophomore and junior film. Another red flag for me is that I didn’t get to see much from him as a pass blocker due to his tape being very heavy on run blocking, so I have questions about how far along he is in that department and it will be something I will be keeping my eye on during his senior year. This could be a result of the offense he is in being run oriented, but I would have much rather seen some clips of him in pass pro over him cutting defenders on the backside of run plays. Shepherd is a gifted prospect, but the more I watch him the more I feel like he has some boom/bust to him a player, but he’s the type of player you gamble on and trust your offensive line coach to get the most out of him. He’s a project player, but he’s a project player that has NFL upside who could potentially anchor your offensive line for several years.
This recruitment reached silly levels as both coaches and media members wore out Shepherd’s cell phone trying to continuously get updates on his visit intentions over the past month. It gave everyone a sneak peek of why some prospects choose to get through the recruiting process as quickly as possible so that they don’t have to be hounded night and day and honestly I don’t really blame them.
From a recruiting perception standpoint, this is big head to head victory for Tom Herman and his staff over Jimbo Fisher and in-state rival Texas A&M, who was viewed as the favorite to land Shepherd for some time. Much was made of Shepherd and Kenyon Green’s friendship and them wanting to play together at the next level, but package deals often don’t work out in recruiting and this is another data point to support that. At the end of the day recruits are going to do what is best for them and that is how it should be.
Texas offensive line coach Herb Hand deserves tremendous credit in landing Shepherd, as his impact was felt in this one from the moment Shepherd made it to campus this spring and begin building the relationship. Slowly but surely the tide began to turn in this recruitment and it led to Shepherd giving his pledge to Longhorns and giving them a talent tackle duo in Shepherd and Tyler Johnson.
Texas has landed two talented tackles this cycle, and now it has until February to find some interior bodies to go in between them to solidify the rest of their offensive line class.
Commitment Spotlight: Marcus Tillman Jr.
Everyone loves surprises, right? Well here is one for you on Saturday afternoon in the form of Orlando (FL) Jones linebacker Marcus Tillman Jr. who visited Texas yesterday for the Stars at Night camp. Tillman wasn’t a name that was really on the radar until last night when he showed up and earned himself an offer, but he has a pretty stout offer list that includes the likes of Clemson, Florida, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech.
Linebacker has been an interesting plot line to follow this cycle, with the state of Texas being thin at the position. The Texas staff has been turning over rocks all over the country rather than settling on a player they think would be considered a reach and landing Tillman is another data point for that theory.
Adding Tillman to the calculator gives Texas its second linebacker commitment of the class along with De’Gabriel Floyd and likely narrows the scope a bit on who the staff will be focusing on going forward.
Name: Marcus Tillman Jr.
High School: Jones
City & State: Orlando, FL
Height: 6’1 (Unverified)
Weight: 220 (Unverified)
Shuttle: 4.3 (Unverified)
Vertical: 35 (Unverified)
2016: 58 tackles, 5 TFLs, 1 Sack, 2 FF, 2 FR, 1 INT
Marcus Tillman Jr. is a linebacker that hails all the way from Orlando in the Sunshine State of Florida. Listed at 6’1, 220 pounds Tillman possesses solid size for the position and has been utilized both on and off the ball the past two years. On the positive size of the ledger, Tillman shows on tape that he possesses good physicality, athleticism, COD ability, and solid field speed in pursuit of the ball carrier. Tillman shows that he is pretty comfortable at this stage in development when it comes to going forward and attacking up the field and shows that he has pretty good pop in his hands by showing he can provide a legitimate jolt to blockers. Tillman shows on tape that he is a pretty reliable tackler and shows the willingness to wrap up the ball carrier rather than always going for the big hit and coming in out of control. As far as coverage goes, Tillman’s comfort level seems to be on shallow routes at this time and he shows he can get to that depth and make play on the ball, as he was able to log both PBUs and some INTs on tape. On the negative side of things, Tillman’s comfort level appears to decrease once he is asked to drop deeper down the field and he showed he can get a little lost in that regard. This is something he will have to greatly improve if he is going to be asked to play off the ball at the next level, as he will be asked to do this frequently and he will be victimized accordingly if he is unable to do so. Tillman is utilized more on the LOS coming off the edge, which makes me wonder what exactly his projection will be at the next level. He’s a bit of a project either way you slice it and doesn’t have the cleanest projection you will come across in that regard. I’d also like to see more read and reacting from him from the ILB spot just to see more of what he is in that regard, but we will probably have to wait for more tape to come out for that part of the evaluation to be completed. To say things materialized quickly with Tillman Jr. would be severely understating it. It’s clear that the staff loved him enough to make sure he didn’t leave campus without an offer and he was blown away enough to pop on the spot and get in the boat. With Texas’ need for linebackers it is hard to be disappointed with the staff once again finding a prospect that met their standards outside the state lines even though the out of state flavor for this class will probably raise a few eyebrows. As I said above, Tillman’s projection isn’t the cleanest as things sit right now, but it is very hard to question a Todd Orlando evaluation, and that goes double when you take into account that he offered Tillman on the spot after getting to see him up close this weekend. I am going to defer to the man who has made a living making these kinds of evals and has made a lot of money developing them into quality ball players. With Tillman and Floyd now occupying two of the linebacker spots in this class, the staff will likely narrow its focus on whom they are targeting with limited spots now available.
Marcus Tillman Jr. is a linebacker that hails all the way from Orlando in the Sunshine State of Florida. Listed at 6’1, 220 pounds Tillman possesses solid size for the position and has been utilized both on and off the ball the past two years. On the positive size of the ledger, Tillman shows on tape that he possesses good physicality, athleticism, COD ability, and solid field speed in pursuit of the ball carrier. Tillman shows that he is pretty comfortable at this stage in development when it comes to going forward and attacking up the field and shows that he has pretty good pop in his hands by showing he can provide a legitimate jolt to blockers. Tillman shows on tape that he is a pretty reliable tackler and shows the willingness to wrap up the ball carrier rather than always going for the big hit and coming in out of control. As far as coverage goes, Tillman’s comfort level seems to be on shallow routes at this time and he shows he can get to that depth and make play on the ball, as he was able to log both PBUs and some INTs on tape. On the negative side of things, Tillman’s comfort level appears to decrease once he is asked to drop deeper down the field and he showed he can get a little lost in that regard. This is something he will have to greatly improve if he is going to be asked to play off the ball at the next level, as he will be asked to do this frequently and he will be victimized accordingly if he is unable to do so. Tillman is utilized more on the LOS coming off the edge, which makes me wonder what exactly his projection will be at the next level. He’s a bit of a project either way you slice it and doesn’t have the cleanest projection you will come across in that regard. I’d also like to see more read and reacting from him from the ILB spot just to see more of what he is in that regard, but we will probably have to wait for more tape to come out for that part of the evaluation to be completed.
To say things materialized quickly with Tillman Jr. would be severely understating it. It’s clear that the staff loved him enough to make sure he didn’t leave campus without an offer and he was blown away enough to pop on the spot and get in the boat. With Texas’ need for linebackers it is hard to be disappointed with the staff once again finding a prospect that met their standards outside the state lines even though the out of state flavor for this class will probably raise a few eyebrows.
As I said above, Tillman’s projection isn’t the cleanest as things sit right now, but it is very hard to question a Todd Orlando evaluation, and that goes double when you take into account that he offered Tillman on the spot after getting to see him up close this weekend. I am going to defer to the man who has made a living making these kinds of evals and has made a lot of money developing them into quality ball players.
With Tillman and Floyd now occupying two of the linebacker spots in this class, the staff will likely narrow its focus on whom they are targeting with limited spots now available.
Commitment Spotlight: Demariyon Houston
With the addition of Oklahoma City native Demariyon Houston, Texas now has its third wide receiver of the 2019 class. Houston is an intriguing prospect that Texas was not very interested in until recently. Over the past week or so, the Texas staff really started pressing Houston on the advantages of moving from Oklahoma to Austin. Before that, Houston was set to stay close to home and play for Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State.
As a prospect, Houston is certainly intriguing. At 6’0, 165 pounds, he will need to work rigorously with Yancy McKnight in order to be physically ready to hit the field. On the field, Houston is a good take as an inside receiver. He has lateral quickness and a good ability to get inside the numbers when the defense is in man coverage. With that being said, it will take some time for him to be ready to contribute on this roster. Once he is ready, he can make a solid impact at a position that will need depth after this year and 2019.
Name: Demariyon Houston
High School: Milwood
City & State: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Height: 6’0 (247Sports)
Weight: 165 (247Sports)
2017 – 20 catches, 534 yards, 7 TD
- Has good lateral quickness. Displays it will on inside slant routes and comebacks.
- Possesses soft hands and solid catching ability. Extends his hands to the ball rather than letting the ball come to him and using his body to perform all the work.
- Displays good separation that allows the potential for yards after catch. Uses his feet and hands well in order to separate from the defender.
- Potential contributor on special teams. Showed good vision and ability to make cuts down the field on punt returns.
- Has good ability to high point the ball when needed. Will probably not be able to do this much at the next level due to his height.
- Consistently open in games and constantly matched up in man coverage. Did not have to catch many passes in traffic. He might need to work on that at the next level.
- Not much tape as a blocker. At his size, he likely did not have to in high school. Will need to learn how to block if he wants to see the field.
- Will likely not be ready to be a day 1 contributor. Will need to pack on some serious size to his frame, which he should be able to do during a redshirt year.
- As with a lot of WR’s coming out of high school, Houston does not mix up his routes much. In college, he will need to be taught how to not show his first move before the snap. If he can become more deceptive, it will go a long way.
- Might be injury prone. Only played half of his junior season due to injury.
Houston is a project that the Texas staff will need to polish before he is ready to see the field. His film is intriguing, but it’s also a small sample size. Houston only played half of his junior season due to injury, so Texas will not know entirely what it is getting in Houston until he is able to play an entire season.
At 165 pounds, Houston is certainly shifty, but his film does not seem to show the type of burst generally desired in a slot take. With that being said, Houston will have to add weight to his frame so that he retains an ability to gain yards after catch. If he remained at his current weight, he almost certainly would not contribute much to the roster and be prone to injury.
Although a take at the position, Houston is more so of a project than a sure fire contributor. He has immense potential with his lateral quickness and his soft hands, but he must gain weight and add elements to his game before he will be ready to become a role player on the Texas offense.
With three wide receivers in the boat for the 2019 class now, Texas can focus its attention on one or two more bi-time receivers in this class. Regardless of how it happened, Tom Herman once again proved that Texas is never fully out of any recruitment while the recruit is still willing to listen.
Until this week, Texas was not very interested in Houston. Most recruits would view this as an insult and not be willing to hear what the staff had to say, but Houston did not feel this way. Overall, Tom Herman and his staff have reeled in a solid prospect and can now focus landing one or two of the remaining wide receiver targets on their board, such as Elijah Higgins or Bru McCoy.
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