While Texas has been struggling for over a decade, the most recent issues could very well be attributed to the 2019 recruiting class.
Success is not determined by one recruiting cycle. However, former head coach Tom Herman and his staff seemed like they couldn’t keep a cactus alive, let alone develop and maximize a class full of heralded recruits at the time, but having a class of 26 players turn into practically nothing is definitely a contributor to the program’s lack of success recently.
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger was only able to do so much during his time as a Longhorn, and it probably wasn’t until after he left that Texas fans realized how much his heroics were masking a team that was running thin at every position.
The 2019 class, which at the time was expected to be Herman’s best class as it was ranked No. 3 in the nation, quickly evaporated. It has now left Steve Sarkisian in a situation where he needs to really hit on his first few classes in order to make up for the mistakes of the prior regime.
Of the 26 enrollees, 15 of them have left or plan on transferring, three had medical issues that prevented them from ever seeing the field, and four of them do not contribute. This means that of the 26, 19 players from the class are not contributing in what should now be the peak of their collegiate career.
Here is the updated status of Texas’ 2019 recruiting class.
Juwan Mitchell – ILB – Transfer
Juwan Mitchell was a starter during his time at Texas, but flirted with the transfer portal often. He accumulated 101 total tackles and three sacks prior to transferring. He likely would have started this season, but instead chose to transfer to Tennessee.
Willie Tyler – OT – Transfer
Tyler did not play a game at Texas, and has transferred twice since his time in Austin. He’s now in the portal again.
Jared Wiley – TE – Transfer
Although he had one of the lowest rankings out of this class, Jared Wiley has found some success as a Longhorn. He has been stuck behind Cade Brewer who graduated and no longer has any eligibility left after using his COVID-19 season. Wiley has totaled 19 catches for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He has shown potential to be one of the better offensive weapons, but the new staff seemed to underutilize him and he since decided to transfer to TCU.
Kennedy Lewis – WR – Transfer
Lewis recorded one catch during his time as a Longhorn during garbage time against Rice. He has since transferred to UTSA.
Caleb Johnson – OLB – Transfer
Caleb Johnson was a non-contributor as a Longhorn recording just one tackle, and has since transferred to UCLA where he has totaled 89 total tackles and 5.5 sacks, and one interception in two seasons.
Peter Mpagi – WDE – Injury/Never Played/Not on roster
Peter Mpagi never saw the field as a Longhorn, as he has had heart issues. He is not listed on Texas’ 2021 roster and is no longer with the team.
T’Vondre Sweat – DT – Contributor
One of the few contributors in the class, Sweat has seen playing time every game this season. He has recorded 53 total tackles and three sacks as a Longhorn and has provided a strong veteran presence.
Marcus Tillman Jr. – OLB – Transfer
Tillman recently entered the transfer portal, and was very much a non-factor during his time as a Longhorn, as he recorded three total tackles in two seasons.
Jacoby Jones – SDE – Contributor/NFL Draft
Jones was a contributor when he was healthy, as he played in 23 career games and recorded 62 total tackles, one sack, and 4.5 tackles for a loss. He provided a veteran presence, but was never a star on defense. Jones took to Twitter on Friday to announce his intentions to declare for the 2022 NFL Draft.
Longhorn fans it’s been a journey Thank You ! Excited to take the next step in my career #2022NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/Ve7JstjlCj
— Jacoby Jones (@CobyOnTop) December 10, 2021
Javonne Shepard – OT – Transfer
After making one appearance as a freshman, Shepard decided to enter his name into the transfer portal, and ended up at Butler Community College.
Myron Warren – DL – Transfer
Warren did not play his first two seasons, as he redshirted his first, and did not record a snap in his second. He saw limited playing time this past season and recorded three tackles. Warren announced that he would enter the transfer portal on April 26, 2022.
Isaiah Hoofkin – OL – Reserve
A former four-star, Hoofkin has one career appearance as a Longhorn. He like many other players in this class have underwhelmed mightily.
Roschon Johnson – QB/RB – Contributor
Johnson is likely the best player in this class, and even then he is the backup to Bijan Robinson. He made no impact at quarterback, actually never took a snap at the position until he was used in the wildcat. He has served as a great change of pace running back that gives Bijan Robinson time to rest, and will likely have a bigger role now that the team found success with him in the wildcat.
Johnson has 1,636 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns rushing touchdowns, and two touchdown catches as well. He is one of the lone bright spots from this class.
Derrian Brown – RB – Medically Retired
Brown’s career unfortunately never get started as he suffered a stroke that required emergency brain surgery, and several months in the intensive care unit. He wasn’t medically cleared to play football for Texas, and likely will not play again unless he is cleared elsewhere.
Chris Adimora – S – Transfer
Adimora was once a starter under Tom Herman, but lost his starting spot when the new staff came to town. Adimora accumulated 61 total tackles, seven pass defections, and one interception.
Brayden Liebrock – TE – Reserve
Liebrock has been outshined by younger tight ends, and only has two career catches.
David Gbenda – ILB – Reserve
Gbenda is a reserve linebacker that has seen an increased role each season. This past season he recorded 27 total tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Marcus Washington – WR – Contributor/Starter
Washington was thrust into a starting role after Jordan Whittington went down, and had a decent season. Prior to this season, he was a reserve that really never contributed. He hauled in 18 catches for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
Kenyatta Watson II – S – Transfer
Watson was stuck behind players like Caden Sterns and BJ Foster, and was never able to be a consistent contributor on defense. He has since transferred to Georgia Tech.
Tyler Owens – S – Transfer
Many thought Owens would make the move to linebacker like Overshown, but never seemed to. He struggled in his lone start, and was not really a contributor during the other seasons. He recently transferred to Texas Tech.
De’Gabriel Floyd – ILB – Medically Retired
Tyler Johnson – OT – Transfer
Johnson has only played in one game, and was buried on the depth chart every season. He is the latest player from the class to enter the portal.
Jake Smith -WR – Transfer
At one time Jake Smith was thought to be the best receiver on the roster, but he continuously battled injuries during his time at Texas, and transferred to USC after the firing of Tom Herman. In two seasons with the Longhorns, he recorded 48 catches for over 500 yards and nine touchdowns.
Jordan Whittington – WR – Starter
Whittington is the second best receiver on the roster, but has been fighting major injuries every season, which has held him back. He announced that next season will be his last season at Texas. Whittington recorded 26 catches for 377 catches, and three touchdowns this past season.
Bru McCoy – WR – Transfer
The top rated player in the class, McCoy was a Longhorn for about five minutes before transferring to USC. Texas was hopeful he would give them a dynamic receiver, but he suited up for a couple practices and headed back to California.