Texas Recruiting Mid-Term Report: Group of Five Teams
Football prospects looking to make their college football commitments before the start of their senior season is nothing new in Texas. However, in the first full cycle of changes made to the NCAA football recruiting calendar, many players took advantage of the opportunity to knock out many - if not all - of their official visits from the end of spring through early summer. Many top programs in-state, as well as those out-of-state teams that frequently recruit Texas, have seen their classes fill at an advanced pace with a higher likelihood that products from the Lone Star State will remain committed with an eye on signing their letters of intent in December.
In 2016, 258 players from Texas ranked as 5.4 two-stars or higher signed with Power Five or Group of Five programs. In 2017, that number grew to 297 and again in 2018 to 334. Currently, 216 players in that demographic are committed to Power Five or Group of Five programs in the 2019 class. While the number of signees at the very top of the rankings has remained relatively consistent since 2016, the growth in total players signed during that time is an indicator that the overall quality of talent in the state has grown as well.
With that in mind, and the start of football season just around the corner, now is as good of a time as any to take stock of which teams have recruited Texas most successfully this year. Here is a look at the job Group of Five teams with five-or-more commits from Texas ranked as 5.4 two-stars or higher have done with the fall approaching.
The Cougars snagged their top commit in 2019 with the commitment of hometown Rivals250 defensive end Nelson Ceaser. Of the Group of Five teams that have commitments from Texas, Houston is the only one with a four-star pledge. With nine commits from Texas meeting the criteria discussed, Houston also has the highest average ranking amongst Group of Five teams with 5.52. Seven of the Cougars’ 12 commits overall have come from the Houston area. A couple of other local targets on the Cougars could be interesting watches for the next wave of commitments like Dulles offensive lineman Isaiah Hookfin, Oak Ridge linebacker Philip Ossai or Hightower defensive back Isaiah Essissima.
MID-TERM GRADE: B+
All of a sudden, the Mean Green are a force to be reckoned with on the recruiting front. After a nine-win season in 2017, Seth Littrell has a near top-50 class heading into the fall. The best UNT had finished in the previous four seasons was 89th - and in 2016, it didn’t even make the Top 100. Three 5.6 three-star prospects top North Texas’ commitment list - two of which are linebacker twins Gabriel and Grayson Murphy - the other being Houston-Lamar defensive end Kenneth Dotson. The next three-star commitment from in-state could be someone like Mesquite-Poteet athlete Cam Lampkin, who would likely thrive in the type of offense that the Mean Green run with.
MID-TERM GRADE: B+
In the wake of Chad Morris heading off to Arkansas, new Mustangs head coach Sonny Dykes has done a pretty good job giving SMU some optimism that its improvement over the past few seasons can continue. Of the three 5.6 three-star commits that the team has committed right now, two of them - Westfield’s Terrance Gipson and Richland’s Rashee Rice - could represent a pretty tricky passing combination in Dykes’ presumably high-paced offense. Ulysses Bentley could be one of the steals of this class and pairs with local athlete TJ McDaniel as a dangerous 1-2-punch of backfield talent. SMU has taken some swings at some higher-ranked players and hasn’t landed one yet, but the Dallas talent pool is deep and perhaps one might stick around if the team continues its upward trend.
MID-TERM GRADE: B
The Roadrunners have put together back-to-back six win seasons and are starting to establish themselves as a team that could push forward to a more notable place within the state’s programs. After signing some promising recruits in 2018, UTSA is primarily riding on the strength of two local commits as the anchors of this year’s class in Judson prospects Rashad Wisdom and Sincere McCormick. In a bit of an off year for running backs, McCormick is a quality commit, but Wisdom is a prospect that probably would have been expected to land with a Power Five program prior to his commitment. Other than those two, head coach Frank Wilson is probably hoping to land a few more quality recruits, but he’s proven capable of making due with lesser-known commodities to this point.
MID-TERM GRADE: C
The Owls have fewer commits overall than most of the other programs discussed, but the six that it has from Texas have the Owls off to a promising start relative to recent seasons. At the top of the class right now are 5.6 three-stars Jawan King and Izeya Floyd. King plays in a pretty remote area of Texas, but is an exciting all-around running back while Floyd plays for a Frisco-Reedy program that only recently seems to be gaining some buzz in recruiting circles but still hasn’t been a common destination for many programs to recruit from just yet. Dallas-area commits Jack Bradley and Justin Moore give the Owls some playmakers on both sides of the ball as well.
MID-TERM GRADE: B
The Bobcats put together a tricky class last year and have some talent committed in 2019 as well, but could be in a tough spot should bigger programs finally come around on running back Andrew Henry. The recent transfer to Allen High School has been one of the most curious cases in the state as a player that has been borderline dominant across all competitive opportunities but has gone without picking up the Power Five offers he deserves. Texas State has three 5.5 three-star commits from in-state with their most recent pickup being Bellaire defensive tackle Christian Njoku, but has their fingers crossed that this fall won’t result in more offers for many of their other commits.
MID-TERM GRADE: B
The Golden Hurricane may have found one of their biggest steals in recent memory with the commitment of Drew Rawls. The big-bodied corner could end up as a safety, but otherwise would likely have picked up more offers to this point had it not been for having to recover from a pretty significant leg injury last spring. Defensive end RaQuan Thompson also has the look of a player that could factor into Tulsa’s defensive plans sooner than later, but they’ll likely continue to fish for more talent in Texas this fall.
MID-TERM GRADE: C-
MID-TERM TEXAS RECRUITING POWER RANKINGS
1.) Texas A&M ● Story: Aggies TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report
2.) Oklahoma ● Story: Sooners TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report
3.) Texas ● Story: Longhorns TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report
4.) Texas Tech ● Story: Red Raiders TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report
5.) Baylor ● Story: Bears TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report
6.) TCU ● Story: Horned Frogs TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report
7.) Arkansas ● Story: Razorbacks TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report
8.) Houston Cougars
9.) Oklahoma State ● Story: Cowboys TX Recruiting Mid-Term Report
10.) North Texas Mean Green
11.) Southern Methodist Mustangs
12.) Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners
13.) Rice Owls
14.) Texas State Bobcats