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San Antonio Reagan OL Derek Kertstetter wasn’t a huge name in recruiting circles when he flipped his commitment from Oklahoma State to Texas. The Army All-American was overshadowed throughout the week by five star names on both sides of the ball. It came as a shock to some that Kertstetter was listed as a starter for the West team. The Texas commit just lined up and destroyed the man across from him more times than not. “It was great,” Kertstetter told us afterwards. “It was just great to see what I was going to face at the next level, and it’s been a lot of fun to play against everyone here.”
Kertstetter started at guard, but he also played several series at the center position. That versatility will help him throughout his college career, but he said the Texas staff hasn’t nailed him down on a position yet. “They have not said. Anywhere I can play is fine with me.” Kertstetter is slated to visit Austin on January 13th, and he’s looking forward to the visit. “Just to be in the atmosphere at Texas and get to have meetings with them. I’m just looking to enjoy myself in Austin, so it will be fun.” The former Oklahoma State commitment flipped to Texas just a few weeks ago. The lifelong Texan said some state pride went into the decision. “I wanted to be able to represent the state of Texas and play in front of my friends and family. It’s an honor to be able to represent them.”
Kertstetter is still getting to know the other recruits in the class, but he has had some contact with the class leader. “I’ve talked to a couple of them. I’ve talked to Sam (Ehlinger) some and it’s exciting. You can tell they are all really good guys.” Kertstetter acknowledged that Ehlinger is the lead recruiter in this class, but he said he didn’t get pressure from his future quarterback. “Not a ton, he was just cool with me. He was just nice, and you can tell he’s a good guy.”
Lancaster (TX) WR Omar Manning didn’t get to show his skills at the Army All-American game. The elite wide receiver was dealing with a hamstring injury that’s nagged him since competing at the Opening in the summer. The competitor in him thought about putting on the pads at halftime and coming out for the second half, but Lancaster’s head coach Chris Gilbert was on the West staff, and he talked him down. For Manning, it was disappointing not to compete. The TCU commit visited Austin before the dead period began, and he told us all about it. “It was good. I got a chance to talk to the coaches and catch up with a few of the players.”
Manning is getting attention from all the Texas coaches, but he has a connection with Drew Mehringer reaching back to his sophomore year. “He’s been recruiting me since my sophomore year when he was at Houston. They were one of my first offers. He used to come to our school all the time, because we had Demarcus Ayers who played at U of H. He coached him, and he’s familiar with me so we have a good relationship.”
Manning also has a connection with new Texas offensive coordinator Tim Beck from his time being recruited to Ohio State. “He recruited me to Ohio State and showed me a lot of love. He kept communicating with me, and that’s the same thing he’s doing now that he’s at Texas.”
Manning is still committed to TCU, but he definitely has some decisions to make. He’s pondering taking a few more visits including Baylor and Ole Miss, but he hopes to have a decision finalized soon. “I plan to lock things down before signing day,” said Manning.
Quick notes on a couple of prospects in this class.
2017 Cedar Hill WR Charleston Rambo is still on the board, and if he visits Austin things could get interesting. We connected with a few sources this weekend who maintained that while Rambo likes Texas, he’s deeply entrenched with Oklahoma. As of now we still think it is too little too late for the Longhorns.
There’s been some talk that Temple DE Taquon Graham could be looking to make a move before signing day. We spoke with a high level source close to Graham this weekend who said that Texas is still in a really strong position, and Graham likes the relationship he’s building with Oscar Giles. The source said he feels confident that his official visit next week could lock it down for good.
We spoke to a number of underclassmen at the Army All-American underclassmen combine to get the latest on where Texas stood with them.
2018 Allen OL Trey Stratford already holds a Texas offer, and he showed up to the combine in a Longhorn hoodie. We spoke briefly with Stratford during a break in the camp, and he was not shy about professing his feelings for Texas. “It was a dream come true when I first got the offer. I’ve always been a Longhorn fan from the moment I was born. All my family are Longhorn fans, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”
Derek Warehime is the lead recruiter for Stratford, and he’s had a lot of contact with the talented lineman. “He’s told me that he thinks I’m going to grow a bit and be an offensive tackle, and he really needs guys like me that do well in the classroom. He needs guys that are natural born leaders.. Stratford told us he’s hearing from TCU, Oklahoma State, and LSU as well. Stratford doesn’t know an exact date for his decision, but he does have a goal in mind. “I plan to have a decision made by the start of the season, because I don’t want to distract my team. That might not happen because I’ve only got to take one official visit to SMU, and I haven’t been out to see that many places so it might not happen.”
Stratford is planning to visit Oklahoma State, Texas, and SMU for junior days but he’s open to hearing from more schools. It’s early, but you have to like where Texas sits for this one.
2019 Coppell DB Jonathan McGill is a name to know for the future. We saw the talented sophomore at the underclassmen combine, and he impressed for the most part. McGill is coming off of a big season, and he’s starting to see recruiting attention pick up. “I’m hearing from TCU, Oklahoma State, OU, and I’ve been in contact with SMU ever since they offered me.” McGill hasn’t heard from the Texas staff yet, but he did grow up a fan of the Longhorns. “Growing up in Texas you always like Texas, you always like TCU and the local area schools. TCU has been a favorite since I’ve been growing up, and so has Texas.” Expect McGill to be a big name by the time he’s a senior.
2020 Southlake Carroll DB RJ Mickens didn’t look like a freshman in 1 on 1’s at the combine. The son of former Aggie Ray Mickens had a big freshman season and earned 1st team all district honors. He’s already starting to see offers com his way, and he’s poised to be one of the best in his class. “Oklahoma State, Arizona, Oklahoma, and UCLA are recruiting me right now.” Mickens hasn’t heard from the Texas staff, but he said he would definitely be interested to. Growing up with a father who played at A&M doesn’t automatically have him locked in for College Station. “He played, and the games were always on. I like Texas. I like A&M too, but I also like Texas.” It’s very early on this one, but remember the name in a few years.
Dallas Carter DE Jarell Cherry held an offer from the previous Texas staff, and we got the chance to catch up with him in San Antonio after his combine performance. “Overall the combine went well, and now I’m just ready for 1 on 1’s.” Cherry hasn’t heard from the new Texas staff yet, but he’s not too worried about that. “They’ve been focusing on the 2017 class, but I’m sure they’ll be getting in touch with us soon.” Herman’s staff at Houston recruited cherry, but his primary recruiter was Major Applewhite. Cherry looks like a great fit as an outside linebacker in Todd Orlando’s defense, and we expect communication to pick up with him after signing day.
West Mesquite DB Dayven Coleman is hard to miss when you see him. The big DB with recognizable hair and a big smile showed up ready to ball. Coleman told us that he’s hearing from a lot of schools recently, including Texas. “I’ve been talking to Texas a lot. Syracuse is getting ready to offer me. I’ve been talking to Colorado, LSU, Alabama, Florida, TCU, and SMU.” Coleman told us he’s hearing most from Craig Naivar at Texas, and he plans to make a junior day visit to Austin.
Prestonwood Christian DB Jeremiah Lewis is a familiar face to HornSports. The 2018 playmaker crosses our path at many events, and we saw him once again this week. Lewis locked down the competition in 1 on 1’s, and we spoke to him shortly after his testing was complete. “I felt I did well. I had a decent vertical. I think I did alright.” Lewis was hearing from Texas and Houston before the coaching change, but he’s still hearing from Texas since he was previously recruited at Houston. Lewis says he hears most from cornerback coach Jason Washington, and he’s also hearing from TCU and Oklahoma State. Lewis plans to hit junior day for Texas and Oklahoma State, and he will compete in the Opening regional in Dallas.