This time around Texas’ National Signing Day was a mixed bag for fans.
After a 2016 haul so prolific it had Longhorn fans ecstatic, some cried foul on 2017’s less stellar class, without a five-star player in sight and no last-second flip from a rival. One recruiting reporter dubbed it The Texodus, as high school stars fled the Texas border for Arkansas, LSU, and beyond. (According to ESPN, nine of the top 10 in-state recruits are leaving Texas.) Others realized that having local star quarterback Sam Ehlinger already enrolled, a top-ranked JUCO inside linebacker in Texas in Gary Johnson, and a whole slew of depth at offensive need positions like tight end and running back and—wowza—a kicker already on campus, might not be so bad, especially considering that those players from the vaunted 2016 class are now a year older and wiser.
One person who wasn’t feeling any pain about Texas’ class, ranked somewhere in the low 30s nationally, depending on the rankings, was first-year head coach Tom Herman.
“I’m proud of the calculated nature in which we put together this class,” he said. “We are really excited where they fit the needs we saw on this roster. We recruit and sign kids at the University of Texas that we think can play for and win us National Championships. We don’t sign backups at the University of Texas. We don’t sign role players.”
Herman mentioned the short time frame he had to recruit, and the fact that college freshman in Texas have grown to see four seven-loss Texas teams since their 10th birthdays, calling it “silly” to expect a top-10 finish. He promised a much better finish in 2017, however. “We are going to be there next year,” Herman said. “Absolutely.”
Herman continued, “There are a lot of three- and four-star guys that were undervalued as far as intangibles,” mentioning Houston RB Daniel Young as the steal of the class and gushing over Ehlinger. He mentioned that no one, not even returning players, are on the depth chart yet when asked if Ehlinger will compete with the incumbent QB, sophomore Shane Buechele.
The biggest miss for Herman was stud Houston-area defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson, a top priority for the Longhorns who committed to LSU on Wednesday morning. Chaisson said that Texas was leading the race before his official visit to Baton Rouge on January 13th, and that he felt “more comfortable” with the coaching staff at LSU.
Regardless of rankings, Herman affirmed that the players he and his staff signed for 2017 are going to compete to start for the Longhorns right away.
View the entire 2017 class here.
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