The 2017 class will technically be the first to have Tom Herman’s name on it at Texas, but a head coach can’t be judged on recruiting until his first full term class is in the books. Herman and his staff are already at work on that class, but today they closed the book on the transition class between Strong and Herman. The new Texas head coach addressed the stats on transition classes on numerous occasions, and he talked with media about the need to fill holes with solid, versatile players. This class didn’t make a run for the top of the recruiting rankings, but the ‘Horns were able to fill most of their needs as they look to make a big splash in 2018. Let’s take a look to see how things played out for the class of 2017.

The Headliners
Call them the crown jewels of the class. These players were the headliners of the 2017 Texas class.

Sam Ehlinger – QB – Austin Westlake
A good rule of thumb is that the quarterback is usually one of the banner members of the class. When the quarterback is a local legend like Ehlinger it only makes him more important. The River City gunslinger committed to Texas before his junior year of high school, and he made it clear that he always wanted to be a Longhorn. Ehlinger led Westlake to the State finals in 2015 before ultimately losing to North Shore in a thriller. He threw for 5,721 yards, 69 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions while rushing for 1,749 yards and 5 touchdowns over his career according to His senior season was cut short by multiple injury problems, but Ehlinger is already on campus and preparing to take part in spring football.

Toneil Carter – RB – Langham Creek
Texas didn’t figure into Carter’s recruitment for most of the year, but when the Houston area runner de-committed from Georgia in December the Longhorns were there to offer him a landing spot. The Under Armour All-American ran for 2,300 yards and 34 touchdowns over the last two years of his high school career. Carter gives Texas a dynamic option with the ability to score from anywhere on the field, which is something they are sorely missing. Carter is already on campus for spring football, and he will have a chance to factor in for playing time from the jump.

Damion Miller – WR – John Tyler High School
The best deep threat in the state is also the longest tenured commit in the 2017 class. Miller had his moments where he flirted with other schools, but things never got too dangerous. Miller gives Texas another big, speedy option to stretch defenses vertically. His big play ability is singular at the position in this class, and he should have an opportunity to play early.

Gary Johnson – LB – Dodge City C.C.
Johnson was a huge win for Tom Herman in January, and he will be a marked man when he gets to campus. The dearth of talent at the inside linebacker position this season made Johnson a must get prospect, and the fact that he’s a junior college player places early impact expectations on the athletic linebacker.

The Top Position Group – Defensive Backs
Several of these prospects could be considered headliners, but we decided to group them collectively in what we’ve judged as the best group in the class. The Longhorns didn’t land a secondary group that will tip the recruiting rankings, but each player has high upside and tremendous versatility.

Kobe Boyce – CB – Lake Dallas
The athletic Boyce will man the field corner position for Texas with his pristine feet, fluid hips, and knack for man to man coverage. Boyce’s speed could even translate to the offensive side if the staff wanted to play him two ways. Boyce committed to Texas during the spring of 2016, and after flirting with a few different schools became a ringleader in this class. He might need to add some weight before he’s ready for prime time, but Boyce has NFL ability.

Josh Thompson – CB/Safety – Nacogdoches
No player grew more between his junior and senior season than Josh Thompson. The east Texas star entered the spring under the radar, but he put on a show in the camp and combine circuits while racking up big offers. Originally committed to TCU, Thompson flipped his commitment in the summer after Texas offered. Following a stand out senior season Thompson became one of the more vocal recruiters in this class. His athleticism and versatility suit him to play multiple positions in the secondary including boundary corner, nickel, and both safety spots. Thompson can run with most receivers, and he’s physical enough to force plays in the run game. Look for him to get into action early on special teams before fighting his way into the secondary.

Montrell Estell – Safety – Hooks
The lanky east Texan has been quiet over the course of his commitment, but he had to turn down many overtures from the likes of Texas A&M, Alabama, and Notre Dame. Estell could play both ways in college, but he feels his path to the NFL lies at the safety position. While he’s surely in for a big jump from 2A football, Estell has the athletic ability to be a star if he reaches his ceiling.

Nasty by Nature
These are the guys who play with a brand of aggression and violence a step above most.

Marqez Bimage – LB – Brenham
The Texas staff made Bimage one of their first priorities when they made the move to Austin. The Brenham defender has a highlight reel full of high impact collisions. Bimage can play inside linebacker, or rush from the edge, and he plays at a full throttle pace. Bimage has the size necessary to play early, and he could be a factor for the Texas defense next year.

Daniel Young – RB – Spring Westfield
Young is a throwback style runner with a knack for seeking out contact and lowering the boom. While he’s built to get the tough yards Young is a better athlete than he’s given credit for. Young should have a chance to join Toneil Carter in a battle for early playing time following the departure of D’Onta Foreman.

Taquon Graham – DE – Temple
Graham was on the Texas radar early, and his versatility and nasty disposition land him squarely on this list. Graham can star as a pass rusher, or against the run with his sturdy frame. He’s already used to doing the dirty work for his team, and he embraces that role.

Derek Kerstetter – OL – San Antonio Reagan
Kerstetter showed off his nasty disposition at the US Army All-American game. Kerstetter was named the starter at guard, and he routinely paved the way for the West team rushing attack. Kerstetter might need a redshirt year, but he can maul defenders in the run game once he gets his hands on them. Kerstetter appears to be a strong evaluation by new Texas offensive line coach Derek Warehime.

Jamari Chisolm - DL - Northeastern Oklahoma A&M
Chisolm joins the class as a versatile defensive lineman with with a nasty disposition. His college ready frame should challenge for playing time immediately, and he'll give Todd Orlando more options when it comes to aligning his fronts. Chisolm was offered last night, and he made the switch immediately.

Filling Needs With High Ceilings

Cade Brewer – TE – Lake Travis
When the Texas staff attended a playoff game to see Austin Westlake in action, they were wowed by the show that Cade Brewer put on for Lake Travis. The future tight end has some growth and physical development ahead of him, but his skillset is dynamic for the position. Once Brewer fills out physically he should be able to add a new dimension to the Texas offense.

Reese Leitao – TE – Tulsa (OK) Jenks
Leitao is the most complete tight end prospect the Longhorns signed, and he might even have a future at defensive end. Leitao is a willing and able blocker with the athleticism to stretch the field and make plays in the passing game. He has the size to see the field right away, and there’s a need for him to contribute once he reaches campus.

Max Cummins – DE – Fort Worth All Saints
Texas offered the fast rising defender latte in the process, and they landed him almost immediately. Cummins has the frame to fill out and play defensive end at over 280 lbs. He’s already been hard at work in the weight room, and he’s eager to make a name for himself in Austin.

Joshua Rowland – K – Mississippi Gulf Coast C.C.
Tom Herman’s first official commitment came at a position of great need for the Longhorns. Kicking issues have been well documented since Anthony Fera left campus, but the Longhorns were able to land the top ranked JUCO kicker in the nation. Rowland should be a factor immediately due to his skill and the immense need at the position.

Samuel Cosmi – OL – Humble Atascocita
Texas flipped the former Houston commit late in the cycle after searching for numbers at the offensive line position. Cosmi will need to physically develop, but his ability to move and large frame make the future very projectable for him.

Jordan Pouncey – WR – Winter Park (FL)
Pouncey was a surprise for Texas fans, but the Longhorns ran a nearly flawless recruitment over the last month of the cycle. Pouncey is a big receiver with small player movement skills, and his history at the running back position allows him to threaten defenders in the open field.
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