National Signing Day Winners and Losers Across Texas
SAN ANGELO, TX—National Signing Day has almost come and gone. Kids from all across the country are signing or have signed their National Letters of Intent to play at the collegiate level.
That means teams from across the state are getting better. But how good did the 12 FBS programs in the state get? We’ll rank them here.
1. Texas Longhorns (7-6, 6th Big 12)
This is Tom Herman’s first full year recruiting and he hit the nail right on the dang head. Texas needed to go after defensive backs primarily, linebackers, a nose tackle to replace Poona Ford and wide receivers. Texas pulled in two 5-star safeties in Caden Sterns (Cibolo Steele HS) and BJ Foster (Angleton HS). Sterns and Foster are ranked first and second in the state overall according to 247 Sports. As for trying to replace a guy like Ford who clogged up the interior of the offensive line like he did. However, Houston Westfield’s Keondre Coburn, a 6-foot-1 329 pound mammoth, has the build to do just that if he develops like the Longhorns want. Overall, UT picked up two 5-star signees, 17 4-star signees and eight 3-star signees which puts them into third on 247 Sports composite recruiting ranking.
2. Texas Christian Horned Frogs (11-3, 2nd Big 12)
The Horned Frogs were hit hard with graduation losing eight starters on the offensive side of the ball. Three of those starters were on the offensive line. Head Coach Gary Patterson and his staff went out and picked up two offensive tackles and two offensive guards during this recruiting season. Anthony McKinney, a 4-star tackle from Iowa Western Community College headlines that group. The 6-foot-8 330 pounder is a sure fit to fill the hole left by Joseph Noteboom at left tackle. The Horned Frogs needed to pick up some receivers with all three starters from 2017 graduating. TCU went and got three receivers in the 2018 class. Four-star signee Tevailance Hunt (Texas HS, Texarkana) heads up that group of three receivers. The 6-foot-2, 185 pounder hauled in 69 passes for 1,243 yards and 18 touchdowns this season for Texas High School.
3. Baylor Bears (1-11, 9th Big 12)
Baylor could have been second on this list going and picking up offensive tackles Casey Phillips (Franklin HS, Franklin, TX) and Jackson Kimble (Southlake Carrol HS) to fill the void left on their offensive line. However, they seemingly ignored their needs for a tight end, safety and defensive end.
4. Texas A&M Aggies (7-6, T-4th SEC West)
Texas A&M and new Head Coach Jimbo Fisher could be making a huge blunder by not getting a true quarterback in the 2018 class. James Foster, a 4-star signee from Montgomery, Ala., is listed as a quarterback but word from College Station is that he is likely to switch positions once he arrives in Aggieland. That leave the Aggies right where they were during their less-than-average season in 2017, no true quarterback. However, A&M did do right by attacking the defensive side of recruiting during this period. Leon O’Neal Jr., a safety from Cypress Springs, headlines their class of defensive backs after flipping his commitment from Oklahoma in January.
5. UT-San Antonio Roadrunners (6-5, 5th C-USA West)
The biggest spot UTSA needed help in this signing period was on their offensive line. The Roadrunners went out and got that with four offensive linemen, including two junior college players who are likely to start right away for UTSA. With quarterback Dalton Sturm graduating, UTSA also needed to get a couple of signal callers for the 2018 season. Cardale Grundy, a dual-threat quarterback from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, heads up the group of two quarterbacks picked up by UTSA.
6. Houston Cougars (7-5, 2nd AAC West)
The Cougars and Head Coach Major Applewhite are losing at least 10 players from their 2017 depth chart. Their biggest need was in their linebacking corps. They bolstered that group with state champion Zamar Kirven (Mart HS) and Donavan Mutin (Klein Collins HS) who both enrolled in classes this semester. With quarterback Kyle Allen departing for the NFL, Houston needed to find a pro-style quarterback to replace Allen. Hebron grad and early enrollee Clayton Tune fits that bill.
7. Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-7, 8th Big 12)
It’s no secret that Texas Tech, much like the Big 12 Conference, is extremely offensive minded. But defense wins championships. Tech did very little to bolster a defense that looked to be improving. They went and got four defensive players while their other 13 signees were offensive players. To Kliff Kingsbury’s credit, the Red Raiders needed to find receivers and another quarterback with the departure of Nic Shimonek. Erik Ezukanma (Keller Timber Creek) is the lone four-star receiver signed by the Red Raiders and is widely regarded as a guy who will start as a true-freshman. The biggest shock of the signing period came when Houston Lamar’s Ta’Zhawn Henry (RB), who originally committed to TCU, committed to Texas Tech before signing today.
8. North Texas Mean Green (9-5, 1st C-USA West)
The Mean Green had their first winning season since 2013. That’s why this recruiting class is a tough sell. They needed defensive backs and got five of them with four being 3-star prospects. However, the need for offensive guards and running backs did not look good. Three offensive guards were picked up by the school in Denton, but none of them graded above a two-star prospect. One running back was picked up from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Deandre Torrey, a 3-star prospect. You’d think a program with the glitz and glam of Denton would be able to snare a few more promising prospects.
9. SMU Mustangs (7-6, T-3rd AAC West)
The Mustangs pulled three quality defensive tackles to fill a void left by Mason Gentry and JT Williams. However, SMU ignored their needs for defensive ends, middle linebackers and a center, thus dropping them to ninth.
10. Texas State Bobcats (2-10, 12th Sun Belt)
The Bobcats desperately needed help in the defensive secondary after getting torched in the Sun Belt this season. So they went and picked up four safeties. However, they did not focus on their need for an outside and an inside linebacker.
11. Rice Owls (1-11, 6th C-USA West)
Rice did well attacking their areas in need. However, none of the recruits jump off the page at you. You’d expect an institution like Rice, who’s in a major market like Houston, to draw interest from some top talent.
12. UTEP Miners (0-12, 7th C-USA West)
UTEP didn’t really attack areas in need, but mainly because there’s not much they need on their team that will return 17 starters to the field next season.