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SPRING — One after another, UT’s Class of 2018 is turning into a Who’s Who of statewide and national recruits.
Add one more to the mix when Spring Dekaney 4-star TE Malcolm Epps verbally committed to Texas today. The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder, who also excels on the hardwood, chose the Longhorns over offers from Alabama, Texas A&M, UCLA, and Florida among others.
“Why did you choose Texas?” – Inside Texas
“Why not Texas?” – Malcolm Epps
It’s no secret the RevolUTion is real for Texas targets in coach Tom Herman’s first class in Austin. Adding the 4-star athlete and No. 2 ranked tight end in Texas at a must-need position is bound to make TE coach Corby Meekins a happy camper. Epps joins Arizona Western TE Dominick Wood-Anderson in the 2018 class.
Excerpt from the Recruiting Notebook (April, 2017):
How he fits at Texas: Right now Epps is more of a receiver than a tight end. Dekaney moves him around quite a bit and often lines him up out wide and uses him as a big, easy target to hit down the seam or on corner routes. However, while he has good hands and is definitely nimble enough to break off routes, he’s not terrifying in terms of his speed or after the catch abilities. His blocking right now is a work of progress, he’s mostly just stalking DBs in space or shoving contain-focused edge players safely out of the way. When he’s 6-foot-6, 245 in the future though, his ability to line up blocking targets while operating with some grass around him could make him a really effective blocker which will have a multiplier effect on the danger presented by his size and hands when running down the field. He’ll probably be molded into a versatile blocker if he comes aboard but that gets his chances flexed out wide and running down the field. - Ian Boyd
Coach says: Not going to lie, I was a tad bit underwhelmed by his tape when I turned considering where he was committed to – Alabama – early on in the process. He’s raw and bit rough around the edges currently in his development, but I do see the upside in him as a receiver. He’s built like a small forward and does a good job of high pointing the football and has the catch radius that will allow him to make a lot plays on the ball. Has some experience as an inline tight end, but still has a long way to go as a blocker. I need to see some progression in this area over the course of his senior year to feel more comfortable about him as a player. He doesn’t have to be a killer, but I need to see more there. If I had to choose between him and Mustapha Muhammad right now, then I’m rolling with Muhammad. But Epps is still a high ceiling, take all the way.
How this affects Texas: The tight end position has been an island of misfit toys, wasted potential, and transfer ridden prospects since Blaine Irby blew out his knee years ago. Worst than that is they’ve had issues landing a top-end TE in the last few classes. Thankfully, this year’s crop of in-state pass catching/run blocking talent is plentiful. It’ll need to be because Texas likely takes two in 2018 and two more in 2019. Enter Epps. Of the state’s top two – him and Mustapha Muhammad – landing either would be a coup. Sources tell me Epps is the most likely and could happen as soon as this summer. I would temper expectations however because I’m in ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ mode with this position in Austin. Call it PTESD. If they do land Epps, expect names like Nic McTear and Luke Ford pop up as TE2s. – Justin Wells
Epps becomes the becomes the 17th member of Texas’ 2018 class joining Keondre Coburn (Spring Westfield), Dominick Wood-Anderson (Arizona Western), Brennan Eagles (Alief Taylor), Jalen Green (Heights), Al’Vonte Woodard (Lamar), Rondale Moore (Louisville, KY), BJ Foster (Angleton), Ayodele Adeoye (Overland, MO), DeMarvion Overshown (Arp), Keaontay Ingram (Carthage), Caden Sterns (Cibolo Steele), Cameron Dicker (Lake Travis), Reese Moore (Seminole), Cameron Rising (Newbury Park, CA), Casey Thompson (Newcastle, OK), Byron Hobbs (FW Eastern Hills).