By Texas’ standards, this was a historically bad class. Rivals.com ranks this Texas class as 31st in the country, and for the first time since recruiting rankings became a “thing”, the Longhorns will finished without a top-10 player from the state of Texas.
All of the sudden, Tom Herman sounded like a coach of a mid-level Power 5 program, saying, “The correlation between four and five star and 10-, 11- and 12-win seasons is there. There’s no doubt about that. But it does not measure heart and work ethic. Will we be there next year? Absolutely. It has to be our mission to keep the best players in Texas in Texas.”
Herman is already focused on the 2018 class, saying he had already spoken to 20 to 25 recruits that can sign this time next year. But, as Herman does his best to diverge attention away from the 2017 class, let’s take a closer look at some of the key names.
The star of the Texas Longhorns 2017 recruiting class: RB Toneil Carter (Houston, TX)
The easy answer here is QB Sam Ehlinger. But, since the Longhorns actually don’t have an immediate need at QB thanks to Shane Buechele, I went with Carter, who flipped his commitment from Georgia in December. Carter is considered the 11th ranked running back in the country and a top-25 player in Texas.
With D’Onta Foreman heading to the NFL and a history of injuries for Chris Warren III and Kirk Johnson, Carter is enrolled early and may very well get plenty of carries next fall.
Carter’s high school stats were not off the charts (3,700 yards in 3 varsity seasons), but he had far fewer carries than most of the state’s top backs, rushing 353 fewer times than stud Najee Harris, who is going to Alabama. If anything, Carter is as fresh as can be and could make an immediate impact in the Longhorns backfield.
The best position group of the Texas Longhorns 2017 recruiting class: linebacker
There may only be two recruits at this position, but both are great players. Plus, it’s a position of need in Texas’ new defense. Gary Johnson (Dodge City, KS) is a 4-star player and the No. 1 JUCO linebacker who will provide immediate help at the position. Johnson is considered a great tackler, has elite speed and with Texas switching to a 3-4 defense, the Longhorns will have more openings at the position.
The Longhorns also welcome in Marquez Bimage (Brenham, TX), who is a top-50 player in the state and had offers from LSU, Kansas State, and others. Bimage comes over with Herman from Houston, where he was originally committed. He’s a big player at 6’3”, 230, and his physical style is best suited in the box.
The TCU Horned Frogs 2017 recruiting class could use more depth at: defensive line
Texas loses two players from the two deep and brings in three players on the defensive line, all three are listed as defensive ends, but Chisholm played defensive tackle in junior college. Taquon Graham (Temple, TX) is the best of the bunch, joined by Max Cummins (Fort Worth, TX) and Jamari Chisholm (Miami, OK).
Graham is the most explosive, but at 6’4”, 240, he does need to fill out a bit to become a big-time pass rusher. With a 4.75 40-yard dash, it’ll be interesting to see if Graham is moved into an outside linebacker/edge rusher role, if he doesn’t bulk up like some expect. Chisholm decommited from UCF while Cummins was a UConn decommitment. At 6’5”, 280 pounds, and as a JUCO transfer, expect to see Chisholm on the field sooner than later, more likely at defensive tackle than end. I don’t expect to see Cummins on the field this fall.
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