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Houston goes around the world to sign 15 in Early Signing Period

Memphis v Houston Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

This might be the first time I’ve seen a recruiting class like this. Dana Holgorsen inked 15 recruits for the 2020 class in the early signing period, but did so by snagging players from three different continents. He addressed positions of need (two serious needs), and added a couple nice pieces to already solid positions. Let’s take a look at who joined Houston, and how they fit on the team.


P Laine Wilkins—Perth, Australia

247Sports Composite Rating: N/A
Other Notable Offers: N/A

Analysis: The quickest observation is one everyone’s already said. Wilkins gives the Cougars another Australian punter. If he’s as good as Dane Roy, Houston’s in good hands. Roy just finished a season with a career high 46.9 yards per punt, leaving big shoes for Wilkins to fill. Wilkins and Roy trained at the same academy, so Houston fans should expect similar results.


LB Malik Robinson—Snellville, GA

247Sports Composite Rating: .8375
Other Notable Offers: Kansas State

Analysis: Robinson comes from Fort Scott Community College after transferring from North Carolina. He’ll give Houston another option in the competition for starting spots next year. Zamar Kirven and Donavan Mutin held the starting spots while Terrance Edgeston battled injuries. Robinson gives them another option to rotate in and hopefully keep this group healthier next year.


S Jovanni Stewart—Katy, TX

247Sports Composite Rating: .7716
Other Notable Offers: N/A

Analysis: Stewart comes from West Virginia as a graduate transfer safety. He played for Dana Holgorsen to begin his career and then with Neal Brown when Brown took over the Mountaineers. It’s interesting that Holgorsen and his staff would take another transfer at this position, given how crowded things are already. Then again, the defense can use some help so Stewart could elevate the play in the secondary.


WR Dylan Robinson—Humble, TX

247Sports Composite Rating: .8477
Other Notable Offers: Arizona, Colorado State, Kansas State, Texas Tech, Utah

Analysis: Another Robinson in this class gives Houston a playmaker at receiver. Dylan great at competing for jump balls and knows how to use his body to shield defenders from passes. Unless he stands out in the offseason, it’s tough to see him competing for reps as a starter, but the competition should be wide open for the third receiver spot.


WR Darius Edmonds—Humble, TX

247Sports Composite Rating: .8376
Other Notable Offers: Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Utah State, Wyoming

Analysis: I tell you what, stopping Atascocita’s passing attack must have been a nightmare. Edmonds was Dylan Robinson’s teammate in high school, and they’ll continue their careers in Houston. On film, it doesn’t look like he runs fast, but he takes such long strides that covers ground fast. With just Corbin as an outside deep threat, both Edmonds and Robinson could make a case for starting spots if they thrive in camp.


S Stacy Sneed—Arlington, TX

247Sports Composite Rating: .8539
Other Notable Offers: Arizona, Colorado, Arkansas, Baylor, Boise State

Analysis: Mulbah Car and Kyle Porter will be the starters this year, but the race is wide open in a year when they’re gone. Sneed won’t get a ton of carries this season, but he can show the coaching staff that he deserves starting reps in 2021.


DT Sedrick Williams—Houma, LA

247Sports Composite Rating: .8500
Other Notable Offers: North Texas, Arkansas State, Charlotte, FAU

Analysis: If you’re a defensive tackle, and you win any player of the year awards, that’s worth noting. Houston fans miss their beloved DT Ed Oliver (now on the Buffalo Bills), but it sounds like another great may have joined the Cougars. Williams showed a balance of strength and quickness at Kilgore College, and that’s something Houston’s defense lacked at his position this year.


CB Jayce Rogers—Valdosta, GA

247Sports Composite Rating: .8353
Other Notable Offers: N/A

Analysis: One thing’s for sure, Houston needs cornerbacks to emerge quickly. Damarion Williams was a stud this year for the Cougars, but no one else really impressed. Roger might be undersized, but he’s a playmaker. His return skills could help him see the field earlier than expected too.


DT Chidozie Nwankwo—Richmond, TX

247Sports Composite Rating: .8626
Other Notable Offers: Arkansas, Baylor, Boston College Duke, Indiana, Iowa State

Analysis: Strength is just the beginning to Nwankwo’s game. Holgorsen’s staff knows they need better play from their defensive tackles, and will get a young player eager to win a starting spot. His explosiveness off the snap jumps out on film, and the Cougars need a disruptor in the middle of their defense.


QB Sofian Massoud—Katy, TX

247Sports Composite Rating: .8552
Other Notable Offers: Rutgers, Boston College, UMass

Analysis: A playmaker with both his arm and his legs, Massoud will give fans similarities to D’Eriq King (though they are far from the same). Massoud can get it done on the ground and in the air. His throwing motion is unique, but his arm strength doesn’t take a hit because of it. Once D’Eriq King finishes up his eligibility, the quarterback position becomes wide open.


WR Nathaniel Dell—Daytona Beach, FL

247Sports Composite Rating: .8381
Other Notable Offers: Akron, USF

Analysis: Man is he skinny, but this kid can fly. Coming from Independence Community College (post-Last Chance U), Dell has Marquez Stevenson speed. He also knows how to run solid routes and use his footwork to get open. It will be tough to keep him off the field with his quickness, but he should make an impact when he finally sees the field.


OL Derek Bowman—Magnolia, TX

247Sports Composite Rating: .8565
Other Notable Offers: Air Force, Indiana, Arizona, ECU, Arkansas State

Analysis: Offensive line was the worst position for the Cougars, and Holgorsen addressed that in this year’s class. Bowman’s just one of the big lineman that will join the Cougars. He has a great frame that can add more weight, and he brings a nasty style of play with him.


OL Ugonna Nnanna—Arlington, TX

247Sports Composite Rating: .8418
Other Notable Offers: Washington State, Air Force, Arkansas State, SMU

Analysis: Houston needs help up the middle more than anything. Cougars quarterbacks ran for their lives this year because the play at center and the two guard positions were suspect. Nnanna won’t play right away, but he’ll definitely get a serious look in camp.


TE Trevonte Sylvester—Breaux Bridge, LA

247Sports Composite Rating: .8105
Other Notable Offers: Louisiana Tech

Analysis: Listed as both a tight end and defensive end, Sylvester’s an interesting prospect. First, it looks like he’s playing against middle schoolers on his film, because he towers over almost everyone. He’s raw at both positions, but a little technique adjustment will help. A 6’5” tight end would give whoever wins the quarterback job a huge target downfield.


OL James Faminu—London, England

247Sports Composite Rating: .7730
Other Notable Offers: UMass

Analysis: Dana Holgorsen’s global recruiting class includes a massive offensive lineman from England. Another former rugby player who will join Houston, Faminu won’t be easy to miss. At 6’6”, 360 he already has the size to compete. It just comes down to if he can keep up with the AAC speed of the game.