As the Feb. 4 National Signing Day approaches, all five of the state’s Power 5 programs are in play for one or more highly touted recruits, the majority of them hailing from Texas.
Of the top 10 players in the Rivals Lone Star 100, five remain uncommitted and a sixth, Allen quarterback Kyler Murray, is pledged to Texas A&M but appears to be mulling his options.
Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, TCU and Texas Tech all have shots at various 4- and 5-star prospects over the next week.
Here’s where each program stands and who they’ll be zeroing in on from now until signing day:
The Horned Frogs are carrying 24 players into signing day, with speed at wide receiver and defensive back highlighting the class.
Three players have enrolled for the spring semester, including linebackers Alec Dunham of Coldspring and Mike Freeze of Graham, who will get early experience at a position of little depth for the Frogs.
TCU is among the leaders for Daylon Mack, an ESPN Recruiting Nation 5-star defensive tackle from Gladewater. He will announce his decision between TCU, Texas and Texas A&M on signing day.
The late flip of Stephenville quarterback Jarrett Stidham from Texas Tech is the crown jewel of Baylor’s 2015 class, which carries 17 committed or signed players into signing day.
Surprisingly, with all the great quarterbacks Baylor has started the past several seasons, Stidham is the highest ranked quarterback recruit in school history.
The Bears will look to possibly add two more players, focusing heavily on defensive backs.
Rivals 4-star cornerback Holton Hill of Houston Lamar is a dark horse for the Bears, but Baylor is also recruiting Shreveport Woodlawn cornerback Henry Black and Lawton, Okla., cornerback Darreyl Patterson.
Charlie Strong’s first full recruiting cycle has been a series of ups and downs, especially in the last month as the Longhorns try to wrap up their 2015 class. And there’s still plenty of drama to unfold.
Two big dominoes fell in their favor in December when Mesquite Poteet teammates Malik Jefferson and DeAndre McNeal committed. Jefferson, an early enrollee already on campus, is rated as the top outside linebacker in the country, according to 247 Sports.
But a week before landing those two, Texas lost a commitment in Houston Westfield offensive lineman Toby Weathersby.
Within the last three weeks, Tallahassee, Fla., receiver John Burt, Burton athlete Louis Brown and Albuquerque quarterback Zach Gentry switched, and Aledo receiver Ryan Newsome committed to UCLA. All four players are rated as 4-star recruits by at least one major service.
Burt recommitted to Texas on Monday via his Twitter account.
It’s clear who Texas’ major targets are over the next week: quarterback (and Texas A&M commitment) Kyler Murray, receiver (and one-time Texas A&M commitment) DaMarkus Lodge, defensive tackle (and another ex-Aggies pledge) Daylon Mack and Rockwall running back Chris Warren.
Texas has been in play for Warren all along. The other three have shown a particular interest in the Longhorns recently. Lodge and Murray sent Twitter into a frenzy last week when both posted photos of personalized Texas jerseys during a surprise unofficial visit to Austin.
Mack, meanwhile, surprised Texas by scheduling a last-minute official visit over the weekend.
The Aggies’ class has been anchored by Scottsdale, Ariz., receiver Christian Kirk and Flower Mound Marcus offensive tackle Keaton Sutherland, two early enrollees.
Defensive end James Lockhart of Ennis and safeties Justin Dunning of Whitehouse and Larry Pryor of Sulphur Springs have also been solid commitments.
But the priority for coach Kevin Sumlin over the next week will be similar to that of Charlie Strong: Find a way to sign Kyler Murray, the Allen quarterback who has been committed to the Aggies since May.
Getting Lodge and Mack back on board will also be key, along with landing Gilmer cornerback Kris Boyd. Texas is also competing for those three.
Mack and Murray, in particular, are marquee targets. Murray’s dual-threat capabilities draw comparisons to former A&M star Johnny Manziel, and Mack would reinforce an incoming class of defensive recruits that was expected to include Malik Jefferson.
Texas A&M’s uncertainty at defensive coordinator before the hiring of LSU’s John Chavis was cited by Jefferson as a reason for his late shift to the Longhorns.
Offensive tackles Conner Dyer of Mesquite Horn and Madison Akamnonu of Arlington Bowie and defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko of Honolulu lead a Texas Tech class that has 16 commitments.
Speedy running back Corey Dauphine of Port Arthur Memorial is another key commit.
But Tech’s 2015 class might be remembered for what it could have been, thanks to two major de-commitments since December: Stidham’s flip to Baylor came first, and then earlier this month, Dallas Skyline receiver Carlos Strickland reopened his recruitment. Tech still has an opportunity with Strickland.
The Red Raiders are also in play for two more additions up front: Defensive tackle Darrion Daniels of Dallas Bishop Dunne and offensive guard Semisi Uluave of Honolulu.
Top 10 snapshot
A look at the Rivals Lone Star Top 10:
1. Malik Jefferson, LB, Mesquite Poteet: Committed to Texas in December and has since arrived on campus to begin classes.
2. Deionte Thompson, DB, West Orange-Stark: The rangy 6-foot-1 defender remains firmly committed to Alabama, as he has been for nearly two years.
3. DaMarkus Lodge, WR, Cedar Hill: One-time Texas A&M commitment will announce his decision on National Signing Day. The Aggies appear to be in the mix along with Texas and LSU.
4. Maea Teuhema, OL, Keller: Teuhema will follow his older brother, Sione, to LSU. The brothers were once committed to Texas.
5. Daylon Mack, DT, Gladewater: Like Lodge, Mack also decommitted from Texas A&M. But the Aggies still remain among his leaders, along with Texas and TCU. He’ll take an official visit to TCU this weekend before announcing a decision on National Signing Day.
6. Kyler Murray, QB, Allen: Murray, the top quarterback in the state, is still committed to Texas A&M but took an unofficial visit to Texas last week. It appears he’s weighing his options between the two.
7. Holton Hill, DB, Houston Lamar: Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor are still in the picture for Hill, who like Thompson presents length (6-foot-2) as a defender.
8. Kris Boyd, DB, Gilmer: One of the cogs of Gilmer’s state championship season, Boyd’s recruitment has been a winding road, with as many as six different schools having a chance within the last month. Seems like this will come down to Texas or Texas A&M.
9. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Stephenville: Longtime Texas Tech commit before flipping to Baylor in December. He’s already taking classes in Waco.
10. Soso Jamabo, RB, Plano West: Tall (6-foot-2), yet shifty back considering Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA. He’ll announce on National Signing Day.