FootballFootball Recruiting

Herman breaks down the early signees

Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)
Tom Herman (Will Gallagher/IT)

With 21 players signing Wednesday, Texas head coach Tom Herman has most of his 2019 class locked up. There remains a need for players on the offensive line and for an additional running back, but those details were quickly glossed over by the Longhorn head coach in order to sing the praises of those who did decide to join the program.

Though he didn’t show film of each one, he spoke individually (in alphabetical order) about all 21 signees who put pen to paper in the early signing period.

Chris Adimora

“Chris Adimora is obviously a very rangy safety, played both sides of the ball. Had a 300 yard receiving game. Kind of a funny story with him, he actually sent his paperwork in this morning from Mexico City, where he’s practicing to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I believe it’s called the World Bowl.”

Derrian Brown

“Great senior year. He’s a guy that if you know anything about Gwinnett County, he was named Player of the Year. That’s as good of football as there is outside the state of Texas. Great family. Another kind of interesting anecdote. My first time in 21 years of coaching, when he came on his official visit, committed to us, about five days later, me, Coach Washington and Coach Drayton had gift baskets that his family had sent because they were so appreciative of the opportunity to be at Texas.”

Marques Caldwell

“A guy that committed in July, has been rock solid since. I think when you talk about Kenyatta, as well, you’re going to see length at those corner positions, which is something that’s extremely important. Can play a lot of different positions, too.”

De’Gabriel Floyd

“What a remarkable confluence of events that have brought our lives together. He actually transferred into Westlake High School for his senior year, which happened to be a high school where one of my college teammates actually had just gotten the head coaching job, named Tim Kirksey. Then you take it a step further, and his support system, the Miller family, Tony and Jean. Tony retired from law enforcement about four or five years ago in L.A., helped raise De’Gabriel. They retired early, still had young kids, and they were looking for a place in the country to retire. They chose Austin, Texas. Credit to the Chamber of Commerce of Austin for getting that family here. Gabe, he’s everything you want in a linebacker. He’s readymade as a high school kid. He can run, hit. He was actually a punt returner for his team, as well. Remarkable, big athlete.”

David Gbenda

“Todd Orlando and our recruiting staff did a good job identifying David early. He’s a guy that, I mean, can really, really run. We feel like the best football is still left ahead of him. He plays for a great program in Cinco Ranch, Coach Clayton. He played running back early in his career. A guy that can really run.”

Caleb Johnson

“When you look at this class of linebackers, and linebackers was obviously a position of need for us, they can all really run. Caleb is very similar to Gary Johnson, a guy that is going to come in and compete in January for early playing time.”

Roschon Johnson

“Roschon Johnson will be here in January, as well. We have nine early enrollees, which is exciting in and of itself. Roschon had never made a B in high school until this semester. He’s a tremendous leader. I know his head coach, Brandon Faircloth, very well. We go way back, I mean way back. He told me a story of a game. I believe I’m getting the story right. They won the game, as they did throughout most of Roschon’s career, but I think he had missed two out routes or something like that. Coach Faircloth comes in Saturday morning very early to grade the film, I believe it was like 7 in the morning. He looks out on the field, and there was Roschon out there by himself throwing that exact same out route into a net. I think he did it a hundred times. Just kind of speaks to the perfectionist, the competitor that he is. We couldn’t ask for a better quarterback room. When he gets here in January, to have those five guys that we’ll have on scholarship, I mean, it’s a blessing. They’re going to make each other better, I know that.”

Tyler Johnson

“Great culture fit, great family. A super nice kid off the field, but tremendous amount of nastiness when you turn the film on. I think he’s a lot bigger than maybe some of the other offensive linemen that we’ve signed in the past in terms of coming out of high school. He’ll be here in January, so we’re hoping that he’s got an opportunity to play early. He’s very versatile, too. Could probably play all three positions: tackle, guard or center.”

Kennedy Lewis

“Really admire Kennedy’s great family. His willingness to compete. You know, a lot of guys in the summer after their junior year, especially with the new early signing period, official visits, all that, a lot of guys choose not to compete in camps in the summertime. Kennedy chose to come and shows us what he could do in camp. I clocked him personally at a 4.4. He’s run a 10.8 hundred meters at 6’3″.”

Jacoby Jones

“Really credit to Coach Giles for identifying him very early in the recruiting process. Got him to visit in the summer unofficially, which is usually pretty difficult for junior college kids. Oscar did a great job of staying on him even when he committed to another school, staying on him and making sure Jacoby signed with us. As you guys know, we lose all three of our starting D-linemen to graduation, so we’re going to need some immediate help there. We’re looking to Jacoby to do that.”

Brayden Liebrock

“Another phenomenal family. Back-to-back state champions, so he’s a winner. We love recruiting state champions or kids from winning programs. Got a lot of length. Great ball skills. You come across recruits that love the show of recruiting. This guy is the complete opposite. He was one of the most highly recruited, highly decorated tight ends in the country, and wanted no part of recruiting. He wanted to go very meticulous, take some visits, decide what was best for him, decide and it was over. We’re excited about his development.”

Peter Mpagi

“Burnt orange runs through his blood. His sister and father both attended the University of Texas. Again, another guy that we saw him on his junior film, weren’t quite sure if we were ready to offer him. ‘Come compete in our camps.’ He did. I think he came to three different camps, which is unheard of, because he wanted an offer from the University of Texas. He earned it. Again, he turned that into a great senior year.”

Tyler Owens

“6’2″, 205 pounds. Ran a 10.34 100 meter dash, broad jumped 11’2″. I think he ran a 4.37. His senior year, really caught up to those measurables. You could tell the light switch went on. Had a phenomenal senior year. He’s an athletic freak. We’re excited to see him develop. Coach Naivar and Coach Beck found him early. Talked to his high school coaches about his potential. We got him to camp and just absolutely fell in love with him.”

Jake Smith

“The numbers speak for themselves. He’s a Gatorade National Offensive Player of the Year. He can do everything: run it, catch it, return it, play DB, I’m sure he could drive the bus to the away games if you needed him to. Multi-sport athlete. Excels at lacrosse, as well. Just excited about his versatility.”

T’Vondre Sweat

“One of our longest tenured commits and recruits. I believe he was the first defensive guy to commit. We needed to get bigger on the defensive line. He certainly fills that criteria at 6’4″, 285. He can still move enough to play on the edge and play defensive end. We think the sky is the limit for him because he’s a very good basketball player, as well, very athletic.”

Marcus Tillman

“Very good program in the Orlando area. Started his high school career at safety, like a lot of great college linebackers do, grew his way into being a linebacker. He’ll be here in January again to address some of the needs at linebacker.”

Myron Warren

“Another great athlete, 6’2″, 6’3″, 240 pounds. Excels at basketball, very explosive. Had 14 sacks, I believe, his senior year. He’s a guy that, especially when you see him play basketball, you’re just amazed at how a guy that big can move that way. We consider Louisiana like in-state recruiting for us, Louisiana and Oklahoma. We’ve had a lot of success with players from that state. We expect Myron to be one of them, as well.”

Marcus Washington

“Again in the mold of big wide receiver. I think we do a pretty good job utilizing big wide receivers in our offense. Marcus is one that’s got great length, great body control for a guy his size, as well. State champion, as well, at Trinity Catholic.”

Kenyatta Watson II

“Great family. Dad’s a coach. Great technician for a guy with his length. I think he’s 6’1″, 6’2″, long-armed guy, that’s very fluid in his hips. You can tell he’s played a lot of football.”

Jordan Whittington

“Still playing for a state championship. Extremely versatile. Plays wide receiver, safety, kick returner, wildcat quarterback. The possibilities are endless when it comes to him and his usage on our football team.”

Jared Wiley

“Very intriguing prospect from right up the road in Temple. Played quarterback out of necessity, but he’s already 6’6″, 230 pounds. Runs. No-nonsense, tough kid. Reminds me of a couple of those tight ends we had early when I was at Ohio State. Just a big, tall guy. You can tell this kid is going to be massive but still be able to run. He’s got a nasty streak to him.”