Tom Herman and the Texas Longhorns are searching for some good news after a lackluster end to his first season as head coach on the 40 Acres.
They could be in luck this week with the first-ever early signing period set to commence on Dec. 20.
Texas is expected to ink 13 of its 19 2018 commitments during the three-day signing period, which will allow recruits to sign their National Letters of Intent prior to National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
Question: Fans of Texas should be happy at the end of this week if what happens for the Horns during Early Signing Period?
Suchomel: “Texas is set to sign the overwhelming majority of its commitments during the early signing period, but for things to really be labeled a smashing success you’d have to see something unexpected happen. The most likely scenario would be for the Longhorns to sign one or more of the junior college offensive linemen they are recruiting. Another potentially pleasant surprise would be for some of the committed guys who have been considering taking other visits to shut down their recruitments and go ahead and sign this week.”
Q: Are there any recruits that aren't suppose to sign this week that fans should be concerned about moving forward?
A: “There are a couple players who have been on the fence in regards to possibly taking other visits, so those situations will be worth monitoring closely. Defensive tackle Keondre Coburn (Spring Westfield) has maintained all along that he wanted to see other campuses, but after taking his Texas official visit a couple weeks ago, Coburn is strongly considering signing in the early period, which would be a huge bonus for Texas. Running back Keaontay Ingram is another who has considered waiting until February to sign, but he has recently told us that he may go ahead and sign in December. The other one to watch closely is out-of-state wide receiver commitment Rondale Moore (from Kentucky). He visited Purdue over the weekend and is a candidate to flip his commitment. Him signing with Texas in the early period would be a bit of a surprise at this point.”
Q: How many kids are planning to sign with Texas this week?
A: “Of Texas’ 19 current commitments, only a couple have specifically said they will not sign in the early period so I’m expecting a large number to sign this week. Quarterbacks Cameron Rising (California) and Casey Thompson (Oklahoma) are both planning to sign on Wednesday and both will enroll in January. Wide receivers Brennan Eagles (Alief Taylor) and Al’Vonte Woodard (Houston Lamar) will sign early. Tight end Malcolm Epps (Houston DeKaney) and offensive lineman Reese Moore (Seminole) will sign this week. On defense, linebacker Byron Hobbs (FW Eastern Hills) will for sure sign, as well as defensive backs Caden Sterns (Cibolo Steele), DeMarvion Overshown (Arp), B.J. Foster (Angleton), Jalen Green (Houston Heights) and D’Shawn Jamison (Houston Lamar). I’m expecting kicker Cameron Dicker (Austin Lake Travis) to sign this week as well.”
Q: Who is the biggest signing this week for Texas and what about him makes him special?
A: “That’s a good question, because there are a large number of players who could contribute early. If forced to zero in on one area, I would have to say the biggest signings are at the quarterback position, especially since both Cameron Rising and Casey Thompson will be enrolling early. They’re both out-of-state prospects (Rising is in California, Thompson in Oklahoma) so I haven’t seen Rising other than on tape and Thompson in camps, but those who live in their regions and cover them for Rivals.com believe they both have a chance to be very successful at the collegiate level.”
Q: Do you see any surprises this week, someone commits and/or signs with Texas, someone de-commits?
A: “I’m not sure I’d call them big surprises, but Texas is waiting on decisions from a couple junior college offensive linemen and five-star defensive back Anthony Cook (Houston Lamar). Those players are all slated to announce their decisions and sign on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period.”
Q: What's the overall expectations during early period?
A: “I think early signing period is a good idea overall, but there may need to be some tweaks moving forward. I’m not sure a three-day window is necessary, and to have it during a time of the year when college coaches are trying to prepare for bowl games has made it extremely hectic. Moving it to an early month may be a better option.”
Q: What does Tom Herman and staff think of the early period?
A: “I think everyone is in favor of the idea, but I’m sure they will have some suggestions on changes that could be made moving forward. Herman mentioned this week how hectic the schedule has been the past couple weeks with having to travel to do in-home visits with recruits before the dead period hits and then jetting back to Austin to squeeze in a bowl practice.”
Q: Will Early Signing Period force Texas to change the way they recruit at all?
A: “It’s going to be interesting because this is a situation where college coaches and recruits are kind of learning on the fly. I wouldn’t expect any wholesale changes to the way Texas recruited this year, with the staff trying to secure as many early commitments as possible to lock up a good portion of the class during the early signing period. It could speed up the process with the Longhorns’ top targets for the 2019 class, many of which have already been identified and offered scholarships.”
Q: What do you believe will be Texas's main focus after this week is over with?
A: “The Longhorns will continue to recruit a handful of targets who will remain uncommitted, and the coaches will obviously have to stay on any of their current commitments who decide not to sign in the early period. Finding players along the offensive and defensive lines will remain a priority. Beyond that, I expect a big part of the staff’s attention to shift to the top juniors on the recruiting board so they can get a head start on next year’s group.”