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National Signing Day 2018: Houston gets done early

Major Applewhite and his staff finished the 2018 recruiting class early, and we take a look at what new faces will be on campus soon.

NCAA Football: Hawaii Bowl-Fresno State vs Houston Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

With his first year as a head coach under his belt, Major Applewhite focused on finishing up his second recruiting class at Houston. Last year’s class ranked 68th in the country while dealing with the transition of a new coach. Applewhite’s class of 2018 is currently 70th, which is also good for fourth in the AAC (they also finished fourth last year).

Houston’s coaching staff got their work done early, and had their class completed before final National Signing Day. Hopefully that’s a sign of how the early signing period will affect recruiting for college football, and take less stress off of this later date. The Cougars have 22 recruits to sign with them in their 2018 class, and added a graduate transfer as well. Darrion Owens, a linebacker from Miami, will join Houston this season to give the class a total of 23 players. Let’s take a look at the players coming in to Houston this year (all information is from 247Sports).

2018 Houston Cougars Recruiting Class

Houston 2018 Recruiting Class

NAME POS HT WT PREVIOUS SCHOOL STARS
NAME POS HT WT PREVIOUS SCHOOL STARS
Julon Williams ATH 5-9.5 182 Judson ⭐⭐⭐
Kelan Walker RB 6-0 205 DeSoto ⭐⭐⭐
Willie Smith DE 6-2 245 Spring ⭐⭐⭐
Clayton Tune QB 6-2.5 200 Heron ⭐⭐⭐
Ja'Kori Morgan WR 6-2 190 Clear Lake ⭐⭐⭐
Dekalen Goodson OLB 6-2 205 John Tyler ⭐⭐⭐
Tahj Brown DE 6-2.5 256 Donaldsonville ⭐⭐⭐
Donavan Mutin ILB 6-0.5 228 Klein Collins ⭐⭐⭐
Garrison Vaughn S 6-2 190 Belton ⭐⭐⭐
Christian Trahan TE 6-3 238 Sulphur ⭐⭐⭐
Zaire Taylor CB 6-1 182 O'Connor ⭐⭐⭐
Peyton Sawyer WR 5-10 160 Clear Springs ⭐⭐⭐
Henry Thomas WR 5-11 175 Fort Bend Marshall ⭐⭐⭐
Spencer Wells TE 6-4 230 Dawson ⭐⭐⭐
Bo Alexander OT 6-4 300 Arizona Western College ⭐⭐⭐
Logan Hall DE 6-6 225 DeSoto ⭐⭐⭐
Gleson Sprewell S 6-0 182 Mesa C.C. ⭐⭐⭐
Max Banes OT 6-5 307 St. Thomas ⭐⭐⭐
Kameron Lewis OT 6-4 300 Klein Collins ⭐⭐⭐
Johnathan Phenix S 6-0 175 McGregor ⭐⭐
Jack Freeman OT 6-4 260 Heritage ⭐⭐
Zamar Kirven OLB 6-2 200 Mart ⭐⭐

Analysis

Houston’s campaign this year featured a #RedOps18 theme for their class, and once again provided a cool graphic with each signing which you can see below.

Applewhite’s staff brought in some interesting pieces to campus, and a couple that could contribute right away. Offensive lineman Bo Alexander (Arizona Western College) and safety Gleson Sprewell (Mesa Community College) could both see the field in 2018. Houston loses a couple starters on the line, and Alexander could step into one of those roles, while Sprewell will compete for the open safety position next to Garrett Davis. Garrison Vaughn and Jonahtnan Phenix could also be in the mix, but Ole Miss transfer Deontay Anderson should be considered the frontrunner if he gains eligibility to play immediately.

One potential issue was at the quarterback position. When Kyle Allen declared for the NFL Draft, it left the quarterback position thin. With just D’Eriq King and 2017 signee Bryson Smith as the only two quarterbacks on scholarship, 2018 signee Julon Williams was thought to be kept at quarterback. Applewhite’s staff continued working on the position, and got Clayton Tune, a pro-style quarterback, to sign with the Cougars. Williams might still be rotated in at quarterback, but it is expected that he will move to receiver.

One thing that Appelwhite mentioned about this class was that he was excited about the four defensive lineman that he signed. Three of them appear to be solid, but one has the potential to jump off the screen based on his size alone. Logan Hall is an intriguing prospect, but he will need to add some size before he sees the field. At 6’6”, he’s got great length naturally, but adding weight will be essential for his success. At 225 pounds, he will need to put on some pounds or he will most likely get pushed around. Hall is also the teammate of fellow Houston recruit Garrison Vaughn.

Overall, Applewhite and his staff did a great job to address their needs, as well as bring some solid talent to the team. Positions like wide receiver, offensive line, and safety have some openings that these signees can compete for, but it might be too early for any of them to see the field. Adding Tune late in the process was huge as well. Houston is considered by some to win the AAC West, and these recruits could provide valuable depth at positions of need. That could prove valuable as the season wears on, and gives Applewhite’s staff confidence heading into 2018.