– Recently, 2019 DT, Taurean Carter (Mansfield Legacy) dropped his top five which included: Texas, TCU, Texas Tech, Arkansas, and Michigan State.
— Taurean Carter II (@KingCvrterII) July 4, 2018
Carter tells me he is set to announce his decision on October 24th. – (Super K)
– As you all know, 2019 WR, Demariyon Houston (OKC) is set to announce his decision on July 7th. We previously noted that our sources around Demariyon Houston have indicated that Texas is the team to beat.
Things look good on that front. But…
The question has been, with Texas having recently taken Jake Smith, should Houston want to commit, is Texas in a position to take him?
The latest we have heard is, yes. If Demariyon does indeed select Texas, Texas will take the 4-star wide receiver. – (Super K)
On the fourth, Bryan Carrington tweeted…
— Bryan Carrington (@BCarringtonUT) July 4, 2018
Am told this one is a 2019 and will go down this Saturday… – (Super K)
– Jalen Catalon is probably one of the top, if not the top, safety prospect on the Longhorns’ big board. This is due to the crazy versatility he gives to any team that gets his commitment. Want him at deep safety? He has the ability to patrol the field like a center fielder (which he is where he plays in baseball). Want him as a nickel? He has the strength and tenacity to play inside the box and take on guys a few heads taller than him. Want him at corner? He has the speed to keep up with most any wide receiver out here at the Opening. The only thing holding him back is he’s a 5’9″ guy, otherwise, he’d be a five-star prospect.
There are plenty of coaches who are looking past his size and seeing the talent he possesses in his film. He has created pretty solid relationships with Texas, Arkansas, TCU, Clemson, and Oklahoma with Alabama starting to creep in. Despite this, as we’ve reported before, he will not be making any decisions until January 31st and doesn’t even have a timeline for dropping a top five. In fact, he’s only lined up one official visit with Arkansas when they play Alabama. Compared to his colleagues, his recruitment is still very much in the air.
Why has Jalen Catalon gone down the road less traveled this year, and not hurrying to commit? He told me he is trying to stay away from the hype, “Some people kind of go through the decision, and they like the school. But I don’t really think they do their research. I want to be the one that does his research on every school, makes sure that I know everything about the schools I’m interested in… So I think that’s why I want to take my time and make sure me and my family breakdown every aspect of the university football-wise and educational-wise… it’s just like a project, bro. Some people want to turn it in early, but if it’s not due… take your time on it and make sure it’s correct and it’s neat.”
So despite the fact that the decision is months away, let’s go down these six schools with Jalen Catalon to see what he likes about each:
“It’s just how they recruit, and I think I see great things happening there. I’ve heard it’s a great atmosphere. I can see it with the baseball team as well. Just the opportunity to do both as well gives me that kind of excitement to say I can do both at Arkansas.”
“TCU is close to home. I love the coaches there. Coach Fish, Coach Gonzales, and Coach Patterson keep it real with me. They let me know how things are going to be and what they have planned for me. They keep a close relationship with my family, make sure my family is doing well, and everything is good with them. The fact that they worry about my family more than me sometimes shows that they really care about family.”
“The opportunity to [play football and baseball] for a prestigious school like Texas, it makes me excited to know I have the opportunity to do both. Also the coaches. Coach Herman texts me a lot to see how everything is going, how my family is doing and keeps up with me. It lets me know there’s interest when a head coach keeps up with you the way he does. Of course Coach Naivar… he’s on me, making sure everything is going well. Asks me questions about how my life is going. He keeps in touch with me on a daily basis. It’s something I really appreciate about him and I like the way he recruits me. I mean at Texas, the atmosphere and city are really nice…”
“That’s big time. That’s one of the biggest programs around. They’re a powerhouse. I feel like if I go there, there is competition. That is something every athlete needs to go through is competition…”
“One of the first schools to offer me and they’ve kept that connection since. Lincoln Riley is a great dude and a great head coach, and you can see why. He really cares about his family. And when the football comes, he just dominates. Offense it shows and the defense I think is going to improve as well. I like coach Cooks too. They had a big time 2018 class and the 19 class is nice.”
Let’s dive a bit more into Texas and what they bring to the table for Jalen Catalon.
As we can see from the above list, there are a lot of things that Texas will have to compete with, so I asked Catalon what Texas will have to do to really stand out, “Honestly, I think they’ve done a lot. I would say they’re standing out to me. Now I just have to go an reassure myself on visits. I’ve been there quite a bit. I’ve seen the baseball. I’ve seen the football. I’ve seen how they treat you around there, and that is what stands out to me, and there are other schools that stand out to me as well… ”
But it appears like the city of Austin is selling itself to Catalon, “I mean the city itself just shows what you are going to be around. It’s a great atmosphere, and the network for Texas is great. If football or baseball doesn’t work out, I know I have options… Just the fact that the city has so much to offer helps me and my family know that if I do go to Texas there will be that network.”
Both Jalen Catalon and Coach Craig Naivar are huge baseball guys. It seems like Naivar has found that Catalon shares the same love for baseball as him and has developed a relationship based on the shared passion, “He’s done baseball and his son does it. He’s around it, so it’s easy to start a conversation with him about football that transitions to baseball… He’s a baseball junkie. He loves baseball. He shows me times where he’s gone to Yankee Stadium, Diamondback Stadium, and he’s always at Rangers’ ballpark… I think that helps me with the fact that if I want to do both I know that he’ll encourage me.” – (Will)
– When it comes to Texas, Trey Sanders sees a wide-open opportunity to compete for carries.
The Longhorns, who are in need of quality backs in the Class of 2019, are pushing for both Sanders and fellow blue-chipper Noah Cain, his teammate at IMG Academy (Fla.). Texas would like not one, but both of the top-five backs in the class, which has piqued the interests of both Sanders and Cain.
“They have no running backs right now, so we could pretty much go in and dominate,” Sanders said. “At first, we were thinking of going to different colleges. Then we talked about playing together, going to the same college, saving our legs and going to college together. It’s a smart decision, but we’re still going to succeed no matter what.”
For Sanders personally, the Longhorns are a school that’s quietly surging in the pecking order. That’s a credit to Stan Drayton, Texas’ running backs coach who’s leading the team’s pursuit of Sanders.
“Growing up, my parents told me not to be like anyone else,” Sanders began. “Even though I’m the No. 1 running back in the nation and I’ve been talked about to ‘Bama, Texas is still a special place. They didn’t do great last year, but they’re a special team and Stan Drayton has a helluva resume.”
Thirty-six colleges were in contact with Sanders — on Monday alone.
That includes the likes of Georgia, Alabama, Florida and, of course, Texas, who Sanders said is 60-percent likely to have a cap on the table when he announces his decision this fall.
The Longhorns, however, have some ground to gain on the teams sitting atop his board.
“I feel like they’re up there,” Sanders said. “Gaining ground.”
“I want to see how each team does this year,” he added, naming LSU, Texas, Georgia and Oklahoma as some of the schools he plans on monitoring. “I want to see how their running backs do and what they do with their running backs, if they’re having good or bad seasons, to see if it’s going to help their teams.”
Cain’s decision could play a role as well.
LSU and Texas are teams — in Sanders’ mind — are leading the way for his cohort, Cain. If the two IMG backs elect to remain teammates in 2019, Texas is a likely landing spot.
“It’s probably Texas right now and we talk about LSU, too,” Sanders said of Cain’s top schools. “He loves coach Stan Drayton and they’ve built that relationship with him since he was at Ohio State.” – (Sam Spiegelman)
– Florida linebacker Rian Davis is a crucial target for Texas, who are looking to restock their thin linebacking room. Texas has plans for him to play their Mac position, and from what I’ve seen from Davis today, he has the speed and awareness in space to play along with his size. This was honestly surprising to me as he has really played much better here than what I’ve seen in the past. That seems like it’s a good sign, especially for a player who could potentially play in the pass-happy Big 12.
The Florida linebacker recently took his official visit to Texas before the dead period which propelled Texas into a great position. When I asked him about the visit, Davis got animated and told me, “That [visit] was good! I had a great time at Texas.” It appears the coaching staff is doing everything they can to make sure that Davis and they have a solid relationship going forward, “I have a great relationship with Coach Orlando. We talk almost every day. I also have a good relationship with Coach Herman. We talk, I bet, like twice a week… They ask me how I’m doing, what I’m up to, and we talk a little bit about football. Just getting to know me.”
This effort by the staff seems well placed as he told us before that he is looking for, “Good relationship with the coaches, I want to meet the staff and the players, I want it to feel like home, and the education.”
The coaches are not the only ones recruiting Rian Davis. DeGabriel Floyd told me yesterday that he is focusing very hard on staying in Rian Davis’ ear. Davis confirmed that today, telling me that between the Georgia commits and Texas commits, the Texas commits are recruiting him the hardest because DeGabriel Floyd won’t stop letting him know that those two together “…will make a nasty combo at UT.”
The race has cleared up as of late and Georgia and Texas are the front-runners. While we know what Texas has been telling him, I asked what the message is from Athen, GA, and what’s made them stand out, “I think it’s just the relationship with Coach Schumer is strong and I’ve been on campus, like, three times already… I can come in and if I do what I need to I can start or get playing time.” – (Will)
– While 5-star ATH Bru McCoy is not participating in the Opening this week (sports-hernia), there is no question that he is a special player. Every single person I’ve talked to who has seen him play in person or knows him personally raves about him on and off the field. Bru McCoy is a great receiver and a fantastic linebacker. While Bru McCoy projects himself as a receiver, he’s not against coming on the field to play a little linebacker in certain situations, “I personally project myself as a receiver, but… coming in on third down, it’s not very hard on your body… It’s just one play at most on a five-play drive, and then they compensate on the other side of the ball by rotating. It’s not that unimaginable.”
The way McCoy wants to be used works perfectly for the Longhorns as they are the one team between his leaders, Texas and USC, to tell him that he could play both positions, “Texas specifically talked about having a third-down package for me because they said that’s what they run on third down anyway. They just blitz off the edge, so I said, ‘perfect.’ That would be a perfect fit.”
With DeGabriel Floyd whispering in his ear and getting him down to Texas, the Longhorns have been able to establish a relationship with the talented prospect that would have been difficult in the past. It’s apparent in how he reflected on his first visit to Texas, that Texas gave him more than he bargained for, “I’m very high on Texas. I went there to just get a feel for it. Meeting Coach Herman, his energy, and what he hopes to get out of his players, and especially Coach Mehringer and the way he’s involved and the relationship he has which each of his receivers. Just talking with them, I feel like it’s really important to have a really good relationship with your position coach because it’s who you spend the most time with, and I feel he and I can definitely have a good relationship. I want to play for him. I loved the campus and facility and all that stuff. And Austin is a cool city.”
However, USC has the hometown advantage as one might expect, “I grew up an SC fan, so it’s like when you’re facing going to play for the who I was a fan of growing up, it’s unreal. I love SC. And the comparison I set for myself is where I see myself playing, how I’m getting out, my degree, and the platform I can build for myself outside of football, networking wise. Who I can get to know and how that is going to help me down the road.”
However, the thing that USC really has in their favor is McCoy’s good friends QB JT Daniels and WR Amon Ra St. Brown. The way he and many different athletes going into college sort through the mess of the recruiting process is by turning to players already in the system. While DeGabriel Floyd may be constantly in his ear and the coaching staff is giving him the pitch he likes best, he has his best friends at USC to turn to, “If you have a relationship with someone on the team, they’re not going to lie to you about coaches. So you know if they recruited them a certain way and they got there and they switched up and they’re a completely different person, then I’m going to hear about it.”
Right now, Texas appears to be trending very well for the 5-star athlete, winning him over with relationship building and playing time/package pitch, but it will be hard to pull such a talented Mater Dei prospect away from USC. – (Will)
– Elias Ricks was one of a select few underclassmen competing at The Opening Finals the past week. He was named the MVP of his position group — as a Class of 2020 prospect — and received some unique news midway through the event.
Texas dished out an offer to the 5-star cornerback from California on Monday, which is an offer Ricks had quietly been anxious to pick up.
“They’ve been trying to get in contact with me for a while,” Ricks said. “(Texas commit) De’Gabriel (Floyd) has been pushing me a lot. I like Texas. It’s a good area. De’Gabriel talks about Texas. Bru McCoy likes Texas. Bryce Young likes Texas, so I might have to visit with them.”
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound defensive back from Los Angeles area powerhouse Mater Dei (Calif.) High School named LSU, Southern Cal, Alabama, Florida and Georgia as the schools pushing hardest for his services at the moment.
That could change now that he holds an offer from the Longhorns and aims to learn more about the program.
“I’m trying to find out more about the program, a little more about their defensive backs,” Ricks said. “I know they have good tradition. I remember watching the USC-Texas rivalry games.”
Ricks secured his offer during a conversation with Texas defensive backs coach Jason Washington, who praised the rising junior’s film while competing at The Opening Finals.
One topic breached was the fact that despite residing out on the West Coast, Ricks has family ties to the Lone Star State.
“I have family in Dallas, so it’s kind of close (to Austin),” Ricks said. “We talked about The Opening, how he loved how I played. I’m out here trying to work, focusing in on my technique and then after, we talked about The Opening, he offered me. We talked about how I got family out here, too, and that was good.”
Ricks is currently being pursued by a number of schools — both in- and out-of-state. He has no qualms about playing his college ball outside of California.
“I’m 100-percent open,” he stated. “Every school is the same despite area. If I got to go up to Florida, I’ll do it. Distance is not what I’m worried about.”
Ricks will trim his impressive offer sheet down to 10 come Christmas. He is tentatively planning to commit early, likely this time in 2019. After he wraps up his junior season, he’ll begin taking official visits in the spring and is targeting a July commitment date.
“I want to shut it down and focus on my senior season,” Ricks said. “I’ll get all my official visits out of the way after my junior season, then I want to commit.” – (Sam Spiegelman)
– Noah Cain is bracing to trim his top group of schools to five or six by the time he touches back down at IMG Academy (Fla.) for his senior season. Texas has assured itself a spot in that exclusive list.
The Longhorns, who are courting not only Cain but his high school teammate Trey Sanders, are coming hard after the two blue-chip running backs because of a glaring need in the backfield. That’s not only a selling point for Cain, but an obvious plus as he evaluates his fit at each potential landing spot.
“Trey and me have a great relationship together,” he said. “He wants to see me do good and I want to see him do good. We feed off each other. Texas is one of those schools where we can achieve our dream together. That’s why we look at Texas heavy. If not, it’s for the best, but Texas thinks we can handle our business and take over.”
Of the schools vying to make Cain’s top group next month, Texas, Clemson, LSU, Ohio State, and Miami are in the most frequent communication with the Baton Rouge native. Of course, Cain kickstarted his high school career at Denton Guyer (Texas) High School, so his ties to the Lone Star State can’t be overlooked.
Texas has yet to land a running back in its 2019 recruiting class and is selling a wide-open backfield for Cain and Sanders to earn spots in as true freshmen.
“They’ve made it real known,” Cain said in reference to the Longhorns’ need for backs. “Coach Stan Drayton has been real transparent with me that they’re going after me and my boy, and I’m fine with that. We love grinding off each and getting better every day.”
Expect Texas to make Cain’s top five or six because thus far, Drayton — who has been recruiting the 4-star tailback since he was at Ohio State — has forged a strong bond with the top target.
Cain, who won’t make a decision until the December signing period, noted that Auburn, Penn State, Georgia and Clemson have surged after recent unofficial visits. Meanwhile, LSU is selling the hometown angle and is all but assured a spot in his top group.
So, how can one school jump the forefront before Signing Day?
“It’s about the best fit for me and for where I can achieve my goals,” Cain explained. “I’m not really into the hype. It’s about who can develop me and help me be a first-round (draft) pick, be a complete running back and, of course, achieve my academic goals.” – (Sam Spiegelman)