The only unsigned commit from before the Early Signing Period in this Texas football recruiting class, Javonne Shepherd, had a host of visits last weekend.
The appeal of a blue blood program like the Georgia Bulldogs can be an undeniable factor for some of the better recruits in the nation. Head coach Kirby Smart is building something in Athens, GA, that is hard to compete with for anyone in the nation outside of the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers. But, Texas football could be reaching that point soon.
A commit at a position of need for the Texas Longhorns, along the offensive line, visited both Georgia and the Alabama this past weekend. That commit for Texas football is four-star Houston, TX, and North Shore High School offensive tackle Javonne Shepherd. Back in July 2018, Shepherd gave his original commitment to the 2019 Texas football recruiting class.
There’s a good number of programs still vying for Shepherd’s attention as the number of offensive tackles left on the market for the 2019 recruiting cycle is really thinning out. Even though Shepherd is committed to Texas football, he hasn’t sign his National Letter of Intent yet. Until that happens, Shepherd is still fair game for whoever tries to flip him from the Horns.
Outside Georgia and Alabama, one program that is hot on the trail of Shepherd is the rival Texas A&M Aggies. Head coach Jimbo Fisher and the Aggies were the main program competing with Texas football before Shepherd committed. Texas A&M could still be well alive in pursuit of Shepherd too.
However, the dark horse suitor for Shepherd that came out of the blue lately is Georgia. A key target for the 2021 Texas football recruiting class, five-star Latrell Neville, just received an offer from Georgia on Jan. 29 and has a relationship formed with the fellow in-state prospect Shepherd.
One thing that does bode well for the Horns is that the last scheduled official visit for Shepherd, as of Jan. 29, is on the Forty Acres. Getting the last crack at Shepherd on an official visit is huge for the Horns considering he’s already committed to this class.
With National Signing Day less than two fulls weeks out, on Feb. 6, the Horns need to lock down on Shepherd soon. Shepherd taking so many official visits since he committed to Texas football is not ultimately a great sign that he is going to ink his letter of intent to play for head coach Tom Herman. However, Herman and offensive line coach Herb Hand needed added depth at this position. This has to be a priority over the next week for the coaching staff.
While Georgia does have two commits and/or signees at offensive tackle lined up in the 2019 class, Shepherd would add valuable depth for them too. Shepherd would also have the opportunity to play for a program producing a lot of NFL talent along the offensive line of late with the Dawgs.
Three programs to watch ahead of National Signing Day to try and pry Shepherd from Texas football are Alabama, Georgia, and Texas A&M. The program that is the most surprising of that group is Georgia, but the evidence is there for why his interest could sit there.