Despite being ranked 14th in the country and already having several quality wins on their resume, Tuesday's game against Kansas represented a fork in the road for Texas. The Longhorns were ranked in the top 5 in the country not long ago and were poised for a deep run in the NCAA tournament, but a rough stretch over the last month reached its potential breaking point on Saturday when Texas blew a huge lead against West Virginia. Shaka Smart's team took the first step in getting back on track against the Jayhawks, overcoming a large deficit of their own en route to a 75-72 overtime victory over Kansas.
Overall, it was not a pretty game for Texas. The Longhorns shot 37.7% from the field and struggled mightily from deep (19.2%), but rose to the occasion defensively to hold a Kansas team in check that has been playing very good basketball the last few weeks. The Jayhawks raced out to a big lead in the first half on the backs of strong performances from Jalen Wilson and Ochai Agbaji. Agbaji finished with a game high 17 points and Wilson added 16 points to go along with 13 rebounds.
After a dominating first half by the Jayhawks, the second half was controlled by Texas. The Longhorns quickly cut into the deficit with 2 quick three pointers from Greg Brown and steady guard play. Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey and Matt Coleman had a rough night shooting the basketball as they combined to go 9 for 36 from the field, but the trio was excellent from the free throw line (19 for 22). Ramey connected on a pair of free throws to give Texas a 73-72 lead with a minute left in overtime, a lead the Longhorns never gave back.
The win improves the Longhorns to 14-6 on the season and 8-5 in Big 12 play. Texas currently sits in 5th place in the Big 12 standings, but are just a 1 game out of second place with 4 regular season games remaining.
Obviously, this was a huge win for Texas. From a confidence and momentum standpoint, the Longhorns needed to pull out this victory. The way the game on Saturday ended after Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones were seen in a heated exchange during a timeout had to leave a bad taste in a lot of people's mouths. The win over Kansas shows again the capabilities this Texas team has. The final 4 games of conference play will not be easy, and the Longhorns needed to add another quality win to their resume with the NCAA Tournament quickly approaching.
In the game itself, the biggest takeaway was how Shaka Smart turned to Kai Jones down the stretch to pair with Jericho Sims. Greg Brown had a good game, but Jones, who finished the game with 10 points and 8 rebounds, is beginning to show better feel offensively to go along with his elite defense. The Longhorns will need all 3 players playing at a high level if they hope to do damage in March.
Texas will travel to Lubbock on Saturday to face Texas Tech. Following the matchup with the Red Raiders, Texas will play 3 makeup games next week, all of which will also be on the road. The Longhorns will face Iowa State on Tuesday, Oklahoma on Thursday and TCU on Sunday.
Recently, the dominoes have started to fall for class of 2022 quarterbacks. However, one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Cade Klubnik, is still undecided about which college program he will be attending in the future. Right now, the Longhorns are one of the many schools that are interested in Klubnik's services. In fact, he currently has 30 college offers.
In 2020, Klubnik led the Westlake Chaparrals to their second straight state championship win. Additionally, Klubnik was later named to the 2020 MaxPreps High School Football Junior All-American team.
Junior Season Statistics (Via: MaxPreps😞
3,495 passing yards, 35 passing touchdowns and a 129.3 QBR.
583 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns.
To begin, Klubnik has a live arm and has success throwing to all levels of the field. Additionally, Klubnik illustrated his ability to make smart plays while being an efficient passer in the championship game.
In addition, Klubnik's athleticism has always been visibly apparent as he possesses great speed for a quarterback. Furthermore, Klubnik is an elusive runner who is more than capable of juking out a defender. However, last season, Klubnik also did an excellent job of staying patient in the pocket before looking to scramble.
Lastly, Cade is an infectious leader who knows how to get the most out of his teammates. It is not a coincidence that Westlake had so much success in 2020 with Klubnik at the helm. Quite simply, Cade is an uplifting leader who is hungry to win.
Klubnik, who stands in at 6'2.5", could add some weight to protect himself from the body blows of college football. However, I am confident that he will be able to do that with help from a college strength and conditioning program.
Also, Klubnik needs to work on protecting his body in the running game. Of course, you cannot control everything in football, especially when facing a looming defender. However, Klubnik frequently falls hard on his throwing shoulder when rushing. As a result, avoiding unnecessary hits, and practicing how to fall safely, can help to keep Cade healthy.
What I See:
I think that Cade has the potential to develop into a great Power Five quarterback, with long-term NFL Draft capabilities. Although Klubnik holds a Texas offer, it is unclear where Klubnik will end up signing. However, one college football head coach will end up getting a solid player. As for now, Klubnik will look to lead Westlake to their third straight football championship in the fall. And, of course, I am looking forward to watching him improve upon his game during his senior season.
In February, Texas's recruiting efforts have been on fire. Entering February, the Longhorns had two players in their 2022 recruiting class. Now, Texas's 2022 class has grown to six commitments. In addition, the class is currently the fifth best in the nation, according to 247Sports.
Today, we will look at Texas's most recent addition to their 2022 class, and at the other recruiting news surrounding the Longhorns.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
Last Thursday, the Longhorns landed a commitment from 2022 four-star wide receiver Evan Stewart, out of Frisco Liberty. Furthermore, Stewart became the second wide receiver in Texas's 2022 recruiting class, following Armani Winfield. As a result, Texas commit Maalik Murphy will have the pieces around him on offense to do some damage.
Stewart, the nation's fifth ranked class of 2022 wide receiver, tallied 906 receiving yards and eight receiving touchdowns during his junior season at Liberty.
On Friday, the 2022 four-star safety shocked Texas fans when he announced his commitment to Oregon. As a result, Hullaby plans on joining Ducks head coach Mario Cristobal and the 16th ranked recruiting class (currently) in the nation.
Prior to his commitment, all eight of Hullaby's 247Sports crystal balls were trending towards the Longhorns.
On Sunday, 2022 five-star cornerback Denver Harris announced his top four schools. Furthermore, the Longhorns joined Alabama, LSU and Texas A&M on Denver's list. Currently, Harris is listed as the third highest-rated cornerback in the nation's 2022 recruiting cycle, according to 247Sports.
Additionally, Harris is one of the premier players on the North Shore Mustangs, a powerhouse high school football program in Texas.
Bryan Allen Jr.
On Saturday, Bryan Allen Jr. listed Texas as one of his top seven schools. In January, Allen de-committed from the LSU Tigers. Allen, a four-star class of 2022 safety, was named as a second team MaxPreps All-State player in 2020.
Additionally, Allen is a member of the Aledo Bearcats, and helped Aledo win their record-breaking 10th state title last season.
On Wednesday, the Longhorns named Brandon Harris as their new Director of Recruiting. Previously, Harris was an assistant running backs coach for the Longhorns. Additionally, Harris replaces former Texas Director of Recruiting, Bryan Carrington, who has joined USC as a quality control analyst.
Prior to joining the Longhorns, Harris was a Power Five quarterback for LSU and then North Carolina.
On Friday, Billy Glasscock announced that he will be accepting the job as Texas's Director of Player Personnel. Previously, Glasscock held the same role at South Carolina.
Previously, the Texas coaching staff was getting up to speed on the class of 2022. However, recently, the staff has focused on developing relationships with class of 2023 athletes. Down below, I have listed all of the staff's offers since my last article.
2022:Gracen Halton - Four-star Defensive End - St. AugustineCole Hutson - Four-star Offensive Guard - Frisco
2022:Earl Little Jr. - Four-star Cornerback - American HeritageEarnest Greene - Four-star Offensive Guard - St. John BoscoJ'mari Monette - Defensive End - AlexandriaZac Swanson - Four-star Defensive End - Brophy College Preparatory2023:Avion Carter - Defensive End - TascosaAndre Cojoe - Offensive Guard - Mansfield TimberviewDaniel Demery - Four-star Safety - Parish Episcopal SchoolNathaniel Joseph - Wide Receiver - EdisonJaquaize Pettaway - Wide Receiver - Langham CreekJordan Renaud - Four-star Defensive Tackle - LewisvilleHarris Sewell - Offensive Guard - Odessa PermianMatayo Uiagalelei - Four-star Defensive End - St. John Bosco
The Texas Longhorns earned a huge commitment last Saturday from Martin High School (Arlington, TX) three-star linebacker Trevell Johnson. His commitment, parlayed with that of five-star quarterback Maalik Murphy, set the tone for a great weekend for Texas fans.
“I felt like the relationships I had with the coaching staff were genuine. I like what coach Sark is trying to do with the program,” Johnson said.
Johnson is a three-star linebacker via the 247Sports Composite. He’s the 21st ranked inside linebacker in the nation for his class and overall the 65th ranked player in the state of Texas.
Johnson specializes not only on the defensive side of the football but shines on special teams as well. Last season he recorded 109 tackles, 14 for a loss, with four sacks. Yet it was his ability on punt and kick coverage that earned him his district's Special Teams MVP.
“It’s always fun, If it’s not, then you shouldn’t be playing them. But there’s just something about blocking kicks and hitting people that just makes me go,” Johnson said.
Johnson in his career has accumulated 208 tackles, 26 for a loss, five sacks, four forced fumbles, and three passes broken up. Arlington Martin has now become a pipeline for Texas talent as last cycle, Morice Blackwell, a linebacker for Martin committed to Texas. Now, Johnson joins him.
Martin, over the past two seasons with Johnson as their linebacker, has gone 21-4. While that’s amazing, Johnson really just has one thing on his mind for his final season in Arlington.
“I want to win State.”
After going undefeated in district play, Martin knocked off Richardson and subsequently Lewisville in the post-season. They then met the eventual 6A D1 runner-up, Southlake Carroll. Quinn Ewers threw three touchdown passes in that game en route to a 30-26 victory.
Before he arrives in Austin, Johnson has one more year at Martin and is determined to live by coach Sarkisian's mantra, all gas, no brakes.
When he does finally make his presence known at Texas, he has a few simple goals for his time on the 40 Acres.
“I want to go there and be a major impact from the start and be the best teammate and player I can be,” Johnson said.
Trevell Johnson may just have three-stars on the 247Sports Composite, but he’s one of the more polished three-star prospects you’ll ever see. He’s an absolute ballhawk and is a magnet to whoever has the ball at all times. Whether on defense or special teams, he’s always making a play when needed.
Johnson wants Texas fans to know a few things about him upon his arrival in Austin.
“I’m a hardworking person and y’all won’t get nothing but the best from me.”
The Texas Longhorns now sit in the top-five in recruiting classes for 2022. The commitment that pushed them over the top came late Thursday night, in four-star wide receiver Evan Stewart.
Via the 247Sports Composite, Stewart is the 40th ranked player in the nation in the class of 2022. In those same rankings, he’s the fifth-best wide receiver in the nation and the eighth-ranked player overall in the state of Texas.
In January Stewart announced his top-13 of Alabama, Baylor, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, and USC. Last night, he made things official, announcing he will be staying in Texas and became the latest commitment to Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns.
Stewart in his high school career has hauled in 89 receptions for 1,670 yards and 16 touchdowns. As a junior, he recorded 46 receptions for 913 yards and nine touchdowns.
Five days after Texas gained the commitment of five-star quarterback Maalik Murphy, Texas now gets a future star wide receiver in Stewart to pair with fellow four-star wideout, Armani Winfield.
There is still a long time until signing day, but the class of 2022 is lining up to be one of Texas’s bests in recent memory.
Name: Evan Stewart
Position: Wide Receiver
High School: Liberty
City, State: Frisco, TX
Three Best Traits
Experience - Stewart is a guy who has thrived in Liberty’s passing attack since he was a sophomore. He is used to the spotlight and big moments as he’s played two full seasons for the Redhawks. Stewart has also had the ability to be able to play from the slot and out wide.
Quick Feet - Stewart has crazy quick footwork that makes him a cut above a lot of the other top wide receiver talents in the nation. He uses his footwork to make people miss all the time if he can get the ball out in space.
Speed - Stewart is probably one of the fastest athletes in the 2022 class. Simple as that. He has lightning-quick speed that few defensive backs in the nation can match. He has the ability to take the top off of any defense. Stewart is a track star who holds personal bests of 10.74 in the 100-meter dash and 21.08 in the 200-meter dash. He’s a guy who if utilized correctly, is a weapon unlike any other Texas has possessed in a quite some time.
Areas of Improvement
More versatile route tree - Like many wide receivers making the leap to college, Stewart has a basic route tree. His skill set currently includes nine routes and screens. While his speed allows him to excel at these routes, he’ll have to showcase a lot more in the future. His quick footwork should make this process easy for him.
Size - Stewart stands at 6’0 175-pounds. The good news is he’s tall enough and he’s springy enough to come down with 50-50 balls. If he could just add a bit to his frame, for now at least 10-15 pounds, while not giving up any speed then Stewart will be able to add a lot to his game.
At his core Stewart is a speedster. He’s an electrifying playmaker who can make any defense look silly if you don’t prepare for his skill set. He’s a little raw, but under the right coaching staff, he could develop into a top-level wide receiver for the Sarkisian offense. Stewart can already take the top off of most defenses. If he can develop more of a route tree in the future, then Texas has a very dangerous weapon on their hands.
Texas’s offensive class of 2022 is looking as electric as Stewart looks on the field. The Longhorns have a five-star quarterback in Maalik Murphy, multiple four-star wide receivers in Stewart and Winfield, and a four-star running back in Jaydon Blue. All four of the above players mentioned are ranked in the top-80 nationally overall via the 247Sports Composite. The future of Texas with Steve Sarkisian appears to be glaringly bright.
Today the Texas Longhorns earned the commitment of another 2022 prospect in Arlington Martin interior linebacker Trevell Johnson.
Johnson is the second Martin linebacker to join the Texas program in the past two years. Last year, Texas earned the commitment of four-star Martin linebacker, Morice Blackwell. Now, they add his teammate.
Johnson is a three-star prospect via the 247Sports Composite. He’s the 21st ranked inside linebacker in his class in the nation, and the 65th ranked player overall in the state of Texas.
In his high school career , Johnson thus far has recorded 208 tackles in two years as a starter. He also has 26 tackles for a loss, five sacks, and four forced fumbles. In 2020, he was his district’s Special Teams MVP.
Johnson has earned offers from Baylor, LSU, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Texas Tech among others.
Name: Trevell Johnson
Position: Inside Linebacker
City, State: Arlington, TX
High School: Martin
Three Best Traits
Ballhawk - Johnson is a magnet to the ball. Whether he’s on special teams or defense, beware that Johnson is coming for you. Whenever a recevier catches a ball over the middle, he’s going to be met by Johnson every time.
Great production - From a production and statistical standpoint, you can’t get much better than what Johnson has done on the field. In 2019, he recorded 99 tackles, 12 for a loss, with one sack. In 2020, he improved on everything. In one fewer game, he had more tackles, more tackles for a loss, and more sacks than what he had in 2019. Expect massive numbers from Johnson in his senior year.
Special teams monster - Johnson was the special teams MVP in his district for a reason. He makes every return man pay for thinking about returning the ball for better field position. Whether on kick returns or punt returns, Johnson is meeting the returner for a minimal gain. His ability to play special teams makes him a unique prospect.
Areas for Improvement
Frame - Of the 20 interior linebackers ranked higher than him, only two weigh less than Johnson. If he can keep his same speed while also putting on another 15 pounds of muscle, that would be ideal. His frame is suitable for the high school game but he needs to fill it out a bit more before he takes the field in Austin.
Pass coverage - Johnson is one of the more polished three-star prospects I’ve seen the film on. If he’s lacking in any area it’s pass-coverage. Some of the better middle linebackers in today’s game can cover the pass extremely well, making life difficult for tight ends or wide receivers coming over the middle. Johnson is solid in this area, but it’s something he can work on.
Don’t let the three-stars deter you, Johnson is an incredible athlete. There’s not much wrong with his game and he can do almost everything asked of him. He’s a ballhawk of a middle linebacker who has great anticipation and awareness on defense and on special teams. He’s a true leader as a middle linebacker and will immediately make the Texas defense better once he takes the field.
Johnson is an solid get by the Texas staff and he will be a player who is a force to be reckoned with on the field when his time comes. He joins Jaylon Guilbeau as the second defensive commit for the class of 2022. The Martin pipeline is strong as this is the second elite prospect the Longhorns have earned commitments from in the past few years. Johnson is a truly skilled linebacker and even better punisher who will be a leader in the Texas defense.
Well, tonight has been great to the Longhorns. On Saturday, Texas landed two commitments for their 2022 class. While Steve Sarkisian's staff has only been in Austin for a little over a month, it appears that Texas's recruiting needle is starting to move.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
In life, patience is a virtue. Additionally, patience is even more important under a new coaching staff. However, tonight, Texas's new staff has made some impressive progress in their recruiting efforts. Moreover, it is possible that there is more to come soon.
Today, we discuss Texas's new commitments and the other recruits to keep your eyes on.
On Maalik's birthday, he decided to give Steve Sarkisian a big gift. In this case, Murphy's gift was his commitment to the Longhorns. As a result, Murphy is now the fourth player in the class of 2022 to commit to Texas. In addition, Murphy automatically becomes Texas's highest-rated commit in their 2022 class.
Currently, Murphy is ranked as the 30th highest-rated prospect in the country's 2022 recruiting cycle.
Last month, Murphy got to spend some time with Texas commit, Armani Winfield. Undoubtedly, Texas fans will be happy to watch the duo in the future.
However, Longhorns fans should also check for updates on 2022 four-star wide receiver, C.J. Williams, another California native.
Additionally, the Longhorns landed another big recruit. Tonight, three-star linebacker Trevell Johnson also committed to Texas. Consequently, the Arlington Martin product became Texas's fifth class of 2022 commit. Furthermore, the 6'1" athlete also became the first linebacker in Texas's 2022 recruiting class.
Players to Watch:
In January, Anderson de-committed from the LSU Tigers. Lately, the four-star safety from Beaumont (West Brook) has received many different crystal ball predictions. However, two recent crystal ball predictions have been in favor of the Longhorns.
Currently, Anderson is the 12th highest-rated player in the state's 2022 recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.
On Friday, Hullaby also received crystal ball predictions in favor of the Longhorns. Furthermore, Landon Hullaby is the brother of current Texas linebacker, Jaden Hullaby. Last season, Hullaby led Mansfield Timberview to a regional semifinal appearance in the state playoffs.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Landon is listed as a four-star safety.
Currently, Ross has not received any crystal ball predictions. However, the North Shore defensive tackle has listed the Longhorns as one of his top four schools. In addition, his top four schools tweet mentions the fact that an announcement might be coming next Friday.
Ross, who stands in at 6'2.5", could become the first defensive lineman in Texas's 2022 recruiting class.
Last week, the Longhorns continued to pump out scholarship offers. In addition, several of these offers were sent out to the east and west coast. Down below, I have listed all of Texas's offers since last week's article.
Niuafe Tuihalamaka - Four-star Linebacker - Bishop Alemany
DJ Wesolak - Three-star Defensive End - Boonville
Derrick LeBlanc - Defensive End - Osceola
Malik Muhammad - Four-star Cornerback - IMG Academy
Ish Harris - Three-star Running Back - Pilot Point
Rashad McKenzie - Three-star Tight End - Bishop Alemany
Jamel Johnson - Cornerback - Arlington Seguin
John Walker - Defensive Tackle - Osceola
Tre Wisner - Running Back - Waco Connally
A week ago, the Longhorns put together one of their worst performances of the season in a double overtime loss to Oklahoma State, which raised major questions about the direction Texas was trending with March quickly approaching. Fast forward a week, and Shaka Smart's team has shown signs of progress in stringing together back to back wins, the latest a 70-55 victory over TCU on Saturday afternoon at the Frank Erwin Center.
Despite several poor offensive performances over the past few weeks, Shaka Smart has been adamant the Longhorns needed to improve defensively if they wanted to get back on track. His team appeared to take the message heart against the Horned Frogs, holding TCU to 36.5% shooting from the field. Greg Brown and Jericho Sims avoided foul trouble, allowing the duo to control the paint and make a big impact defensively. On the offensive end, Brown finished with 13 points and connected on all 3 of his attempts from behind the arc. Sims chipped in 11 points and grabbed 8 points.
The star of the game was Texas guard Andrew Jones, who scored a team 19 points and likely would have been in for a bigger game if not for picking up his 4th foul halfway through the second half, forcing him to the bench. Jones was 0-4 from deep, but routinely got into the paint and was his midrange shot was nearly automatic all game. Fellow guard Matt Coleman filled the stat sheet with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
The win improves the Longhorns record to 13-5 on the season and 7-4 in Big 12 play. Earlier on Saturday, the NCAA selection committee revealed their current top 16 teams, with Texas checking at #15 (a 4 seed).
Texas absolutely had to have this game if they hoped to maintain favorable seeding with the NCAA tournament fast approaching. The biggest takeaway from the victory is the play of Greg Brown and Jericho Sims. If the last few games are any indication, Shaka Smart appears to have settled with Brown, Sims, Brock Cunningham and Kai Jones as his big men. Royce Hamm has not seen the floor since the Oklahoma State game. The shortened rotation means Smart will lean heavily on Brown and Sims to give Texas extended minutes and avoid foul trouble, something both players have struggled with at times this season. Brown's outside shot has been excellent the last two games, and his ability to stretch the floor will give Texas another dimension to their offense.
Texas will return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Norman to take on Oklahoma. The Sooners defeated the Longhorns in Austin several weeks ago, 80-79, in a game that Shaka Smart and several players missed. Tip off is set for 8 PM.
Steve Sarkisian got his guy.
After 5-star Southlake Carroll quarterback prospect Quinn Ewers committed and subsequently de-committed from Texas, there were a lot of question marks as to what direction Texas would go regarding the quarterback position for the class of 2022. The Longhorns found their answer and his name is Maalik Murphy.
Murphy is a 6’4.5 225-pound quarterback from Gardena, California. The Junipero Serra quarterback is a top-30 ranked player nationally and is a five-star prospect via the 247Sports Composite. Murphy is the second-ranked pro-style quarterback in the class of 2022 and overall the fourth-ranked player in the state of California.
Essentially every school in the nation has been knocking on Murphy’s door. He holds offers from Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas, and UCLA, among others.
Prior to Murphy’s commitment, Texas possessed the 14th ranked class for 2022 via the 247Sports Composite. With Texas now adding the 30th ranked player in the class and a top-tier quarterback, things are looking stronger and stronger for what will be Steve Sarkisian's first full recruiting class.
Today is a special day for Murphy as not only does he announce his commitment, but he’s doing so on his birthday. Today is also a bright day for Texas fans as they have their quarterback of the future.
Name: Maalik Murphy
City, State: Gardena, California
High School: Junipero Serra
Three Best Traits
Can make any throw on the field - Murphy has a cannon for an arm... it's as simple as that. He can literally make any throw on the field and can already sling it 70-yards if need be. He can throw the ball from one side of the field to the other and he can squeeze it within two defenders. He is a magician with the football. Murphy has elite arm strength along with elite arm accuracy and has every tool you could want in a quarterback.
Great size - Murphy stands at nearly 6’5 and 225-pounds. He possesses the ideal size of a starting quarterback in a power-five conference. Murphy is still only a junior so there’s a chance he grows into his body a little more. Even if he doesn’t, he’s already where you would like to see a future quarterback in terms of size.
Unbelievable poise in the pocket - Murphy is listed as a pro-style quarterback and it shows on film. He has unbelievable poise in the pocket, even when it’s collapsing around him. Many quarterbacks, when they sense a little bit of pressure, turn to scramble mode. While there’s nothing wrong with that, and Murphy can move if he wants to, he’s elite at sitting back and delivering a great ball even with defenders draped around him. It’s a rare quality to see in someone so young and so raw at the position.
Areas for Improvement
Mobility - Murphy has great pocket awareness, but is he a threat to tuck the ball in and pick up the first down with his legs? Maybe, but it’s not his go-to. He has the mobility to be that kind of quarterback, he just hasn’t shown it yet. He’s much more likely to scramble and try and deliver a dart down the field.
More reps - Unfortunately due to COVID-19, Murphy hasn’t had a chance to show off any junior film highlights. California pushed back the high school football season until March, which is when Murphy will truly show off his talent. Overall, he lacks the production you would like to see from someone with two years left in high school. Last year in limited reps as a sophomore, Murphy completed 26 of his 58 passes for 305 yards with two interceptions.
Murphy is a raw talent whose ceiling is through the roof. He is a big strong kid with a rocket arm and great touch. He has some of the best pocket poise you’ll see from high school level talent and he can make any throw on the field. The big question for Murphy is in March when he takes the field again as the starter for his junior year, can he put all the tools together in game-time situations? If he can, then Texas has a star in the making.
Steve Sarkisian should be elated by this news. There’s not much more you would want from a quarterback prospect like Murphy. Murphy will join four-star commits Jaydon Blue, Jaylon Guilbeau, and Armani Winfield as commits in the 2022 Class. Today is a big day for everyone involved, as Sarkisian is building what appears to be a powerhouse class of commits.
Today marks 163 years since "the cherished design of the Republic and the State of Texas" was realized and The University of Texas, Texas A&M's parent institution, was established by the Texas Legislature.
Today also marks 163 years since the establishment of the Permanent University Fund, the endowment fund overseen by the University of Texas Board of Regents for the benefit of The University and its branch institutions.
The PUF was initially funded with $100,000 of the money given to Texas via the Compromise of 1850. During the Civil War, the Legislature raided the PUF leaving just $0.58 in cash and a handful of state warrants (IOUs) of dubious value as the fund's assets.
The Fourteenth Amendment stated "neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States." There was extensive discussion whether the warrants held in the PUF were worthless pursuant to this clause. It was left to the Legislature to determine how The University established in 1858 would be funded. This would be worked out and, in 1883, the first institution of higher education in Texas created "Of the people of Texas, by the people of Texas, and for the people of Texas" opened its doors.
In 2020, Ja'Tavion Sanders was out for revenge. After Denton Ryan was just one win shy of a state title in 2019, Sanders was not going to let anything stop him from winning it all during his senior season. Ultimately, Sanders was able to lead the Ryan Raiders to their first football state title since 2002. After the season, Sanders was named as a first team MaxPreps High School Football All-American.
According to 247Sports, Sanders is ranked as the nation's top athlete in the 2021 recruiting cycle. The five-star athlete has been committed to joining the Longhorns since September of 2019 and signed his National Letter of Intent last December.
Senior Season Statistics (Via: MaxPreps)
Offense: 1,161 receiving yards and 16 receiving TDs.
Defense: 12 tackles and 4 sacks.
After the 2019 season, I talked about the versatility I saw from Sanders. After 2020, my views remain unchanged. Sanders has the skillset to play multiple positions at the next level thanks to his physical traits. Furthermore, Sanders, who stands in at 6'3.5" and 235 pounds, does an excellent job of utilizing his size as both a wide receiver and a defensive end. In addition, Sanders has great ball skills, which has been best exemplified by his many one-hand catches.
Other than Ja'Tavion's size and versatility, his athleticism is something that always stands out. Despite being the size of a defensive lineman, Sanders is fast enough to play wide receiver. Also, he tends to show off his strength at wideout as he will just shove defenders right off of him after the catch.
Sanders has the talent to play on either side of the ball but, if he wants playing time on offense, he will have to work on his blocking. Usually, Sanders has lined out wide as a receiver in high school. As a result, it might take some time for Sanders to get accustomed to the tight end position, if that is where he ends up lining up in college. While not all great tight ends are fantastic blockers, it is a skill that is highly valuable for an offense.
What I See:
My sentiment remains the same, I think that Ja'Tavion has the potential to be a tremendous player for the Longhorns. The question is, will he be featured on defense or offense? During his senior year of high school, Sanders was primarily used as a wide receiver, but has greater long-term potential as a defensive end. As of now, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian
that he plans to give Ja'Tavion an opportunity on both sides of the ball. In the long run, Sanders has the potential to develop into a game-changing NFL Draft pick.
Notre Dame insider, Tom Loy, submitted the first crystal ball on 2022 Junipero Serra quarterback Maalik Murphy and it’s for Texas. Loy has a 100% pick rate for the class of 2022 and an 80% success rate all-time. The confidence of his crystal ball is a seven out of 10.
Murphy is a 6’4.5 225-pound pro-style quarterback from Gardena, California. He’s a five-star prospect via the 247SportsComposite. Murphy ranks as a top-30 player via those rankings as he’s the fourth highest-rated prospect overall in the state of California and the second-ranked player at his position in the nation. The one guy who’s ahead of him? Quinn Ewers who de-committed from Texas in favor of Ohio State.
Murphy has been offered by just about every program you can imagine, including Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon, Texas, and UCLA among others.
Unfortunately, Murphy missed his junior season due to COVID-19 as the state of California decided to forego high school football this past season.
Murphy has a connection with four-star wide receiver prospect C.J. Williams. Murphy says that he and Williams will be playing together in the future.
Murphy is reportedly set to visit Austin this weekend.
If Murphy continues to trend toward Texas and ultimately commits, it will be a massive gain for Steve Sarkisian's 2022 class. His commitment would set up the future of Texas Football for really good things.
Currently, Texas has the 13th ranked class in the nation for 2022. Their commits include Jaydon Blue, Jaylon Guilbeau, and Armani Winfield.
Last week the Texas Longhorns earned the commitment of Brentwood School quarterback Cole Lourd. The Los Angeles quarterback is a three-star commit via the 247Sports Composite. He’s ranked as the 51st pro-style quarterback in the nation for his class and overall the 126th ranked recruit in the state of California.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lourde unfortunately was unable to play football his senior season. Nonetheless, he was still able to accumulate offers from esteemed programs such as Florida Atlantic and LSU among others. With LSU seeming like a lock, Lourd instead decided to walk-on at Texas due to a last-ditch effort from head coach Steve Sarkisian.
“My recruiting process was a long and stressful one. Due to COVID's cancellation of the season, my recruitment slowed down last summer. Many of the schools that had already offered me already took their commit(s) and I was left unsure about where I was going to end up. It has been a dream of mine to play power-five football my entire life, and I was planning on waiting until National Signing Day to see if anything would happen late, as I had no power-five offers on the table,” Lourd said.
“As signing day got closer, LSU started to recruit me harder and harder. Then, 2 days before signing day, they offered. This offer meant the world to me and I was so fired up. My dad is an LSU alum and that’s where I thought I was going to sign on National Signing Day. JM Jones and Coach Milwee continued to recruit me very hard, but I didn’t know if I could pass up a full-ride scholarship,” Lourd added. That’s when Steve Sarkisian stepped in.
“Then, the night before signing day, I got a call from Coach Sark and had a great conversation with him. After this call, I was so conflicted between LSU and Texas. I woke up the next morning feeling the same way and decided I needed more time to decide. I continued to have great talks with both staff throughout National Signing Day. That night, my dad and I hopped on another call with Coach Sark where we had another great talk, and I started to feel like Texas was the right place for me. I took the night to sleep on it to make sure I wasn’t making a rushed decision. The next morning, I felt the same way and decided on Texas,” Lourd said. “It was difficult making those calls to the LSU staff, as I have built great relationships and have so much respect for the entire coaching staff. But, I felt like Texas was the best fit for me. Then, I hopped on FaceTime calls with Coach Sark, Coach Milwee, and JM Jones to let them know I’m committed. They were all fired up as was I. After that, I publicly announced and couldn’t be more excited to be a Texas Longhorn.”
While Lourd’s father may have been an LSU alum, he also has family ties to Texas. His brother is currently a student while both his grandfather and uncle were former Longhorns.
Lourd as a junior threw for 3,316 yards and 39 touchdowns in just 10 games. Lourd also ran for 213 yards and six more touchdowns. He’s a pure pocket-passer yet is more mobile than people think. Lourd, if given the opportunity, can be a great fit in Sarkisian’s offense.
“I am very excited to learn Coach Sark’s offense. What he did at Alabama last year was truly remarkable, and I have no doubt that he will put us in the best position to succeed. He is a proven quarterback developer and the opportunity to play under him was truly something I could not pass up,” Lourd explained.
Lourd unfortunately hasn’t played any actual game-time football since he was a junior. COVID-19 shut down football in California last year. Lourd however hasn’t let that deter him from being in shape for the 2021 football season at Texas.
“During this COVID period, I have been keeping my head down and staying hard at work on and off the field. I have been consistently working at the gym and have put some muscle on. I feel that I am throwing the ball better than I ever have. Overall I have really added a lot to my game since we’ve played last,” Lourd said.
Lourd will join Charles Wright as the only other quarterback commit for the 2021 class. Both Lourd and Wright will be in a quarterback room with Hudson Card and Casey Thompson for the upcoming season.
In his first year on the40 Acres, Lourd should serve as a perfect scout team guy to match the fast-paced offenses and mobile quarterbacks that the Big-12 possesses. Steve Sarkisian’s pursuit of him should tell you all you need to know about Cole Lourd. He’s a big quarterback with a great arm who can also run it when need be.
Texas is a better program today with the addition of Lourd and he wants all Texas fans to know a few things about him..
“Texas fans should know that this has been my dream since I was a young kid. I have grown up watching Texas football and attending games at DKR Memorial Stadium. It is a true honor and privilege to be in this position and I will work my tail off to give my best for this program. I am a student of the game, and there is nothing I would rather do than be on the football field. I can’t wait to get up to the 40 Acres, as I’m ready to get to work with the rest of my teammates and coaches.”
Heading into Saturday's matchup in Stillwater, Texas had lost 3 of their last 4 games, a trend they hoped to reverse against an Oklahoma State team coming off a road loss to TCU. Instead of a bounce-back game, the questions for the Longhorns continued to mount as they turned in their worst offensive performance of the season in a 75-67 double overtime loss to the Cowboys.
The Longhorns' offense has had their ups and downs throughout the season, but nothing compared to the struggles they experienced on Saturday afternoon. Texas had their worst shooting performance of the Shaka Smart era, connecting on only 25.3% of their shots from the field and an abysmal 14.3% of their shots from three point range. Guards Courtney Ramey, Matt Coleman and Andrew Jones combined to go 10 for 49 (20.4%) from the field. The big men did not fare much better, with Greg Brown and Jericho Sims combining for only 12 points on 5 of 15 (33.3%) shooting. The Longhorns were able to keep Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham in check for most of the game, holding the freshman to 19 points and 8 rebounds on 5 of 22 shooting, but were unable to capitalize on repeated open looks on the offensive end to compliment their strong defense.
After trailing 35-29 heading into halftime, the Longhorns responded with a strong second half to prevent the Cowboys from pulling away. After forcing a missed three pointer from Cunningham to send the game to overtime with 9 seconds left to send the game to overtime, the Longhorns appeared to have momentum heading into the extra session. Brock Cunningham forced a steal with 50 seconds remaining in the first overtime to give Texas a chance to take the lead late, but Courtney Ramey's jumper was blocked by Bryce Williams, giving the ball back to the Cowboys. Cade Cunningham followed up with another missed jumper but forced a steal on an inbounds pass following a timeout to send the game to a second overtime. The second extra period was dominated by Oklahoma State, with the Cowboys outscoring Texas 10-2 to secure the win.
The loss is the 4th for Texas in the last 5 games and drops the Longhorns record to 5-4 in Big 12 play and 11-5 overall. The win keeps Oklahoma State's NCAA tournament hopes alive and improves their record to 12-5 on the season and 5-5 in big 12 play.
If it wasn't obvious the previous 4 games, it is officially safe to say Texas is going through a rough patch right now and now faces perhaps the defining moment in their season. The Longhorns have gone from a projected 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament to a 4 or 5 seed, and they still have a handful of very tough games remaining. The most concerning aspect for Texas is their lack of offense. Greg Brown is seemingly disappearing in key stretches and the Longhorns' guards have been unable to knock down shots when given repeated opportunities. In previous seasons, Shaka Smart's offenses have seen severe drop-offs as Big 12 play has gone on. This year seems to be headed in a similar direction, and the Longhorns have to stop the bleeding if they hope to return to their early season form.
Texas will return to action on Tuesday when they travel to Manhattan to face Kansas State. Tip off is set for 7 PM and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
On Wednesday, the Longhorns wrapped up their 2021 recruiting cycle. Overall, Texas's recruiting class ranked 17th in college football, according to 247Sports. However, the Longhorns were still able to have the second best recruiting class in the Big 12, behind just Oklahoma. This week, I decided to highlight some of the highs and lows of Texas's recent recruiting efforts.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
Well, Blue is actually in the class of 2022 but I felt like cheating. Blue's commitment came on the eve of Signing Day, and marked the third commitment in Texas's 2022 recruiting class. Currently, Blue is the fourth highest-ranked running back in the entire 2022 recruiting cycle.
On National Signing Day, the Longhorns were able to land three-star defensive end, David Abiara. Until last fall, Abiara was committed to joining the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and coach Brian Kelly. However, new Longhorns defensive line coach Bo Davis was able to work swiftly in securing pen on paper from the 6'4", 248 pound lineman.
Keithron Lee & Ishmael Ibraheem:
Both athletes had been committed to joining the Longhorns, but it became official on Wednesday. Furthermore, Lee is Texas's third wide receiver in the 2021 recruiting cycle and Ibraheem becomes Texas's third highest-ranked prospect in the class.
Preferred Walk-On Program:
Recently, Texas's walk-on program has been on fire in recruiting quality athletes. In last week's article, I mentioned the fact that the Longhorns landed Bert Auburn, a nationally ranked class of 2021 kicker.
Afterwards, the Longhorns landed both Zane Minors and Michael Taaffe from Austin Westlake. In addition, both Minors and Taaffe have big game experience as they have helped Westlake win back-to-back state titles.
Lastly, Texas's walk-on program also landed three-star quarterback Cole Lourd, from the Brentwood School in Los Angeles. Lourd, a 6'2" pro-style quarterback, also had an offer from Ed Orgeron and the LSU Tigers.
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, the new staff has only been in place for about a month. As a result, it will take time for the new coaching staff to build authentic relationships with recruits. So, they were also bound to miss out on some recruits who decided to commit or sign around National Signing Day.
The 6'4" offensive tackle from Dallas Parish Episcopal had the Longhorns as a finalist, but ended up signing with Stanford. However, you could argue that newly minted offensive line coach, Kyle Flood, did a great job in even getting Texas into the conversation. Unfortunately for Texas, their 2021 recruiting class only consists of two offensive linemen. On the bright side, there is a ton of talent to be won in the great state's 2022 class.
Last month, the 6'3" defensive tackle earned a state title with Denton Ryan. On National Singing Day, Alexander committed to continuing his football career with Georgia after he graduates from high school in 2022. Prior to his commitment, Alexander listed Texas in his top 16 schools list. According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Alexander is the 22nd highest-rated player in the state of Texas's 2022 recruiting cycle.
After losing a commitment from Quinn Ewers, the Longhorns have been searching for a class of 2022 quarterback. One of the quarterbacks they started to recruit was Bridgeland's Conner Weigman, however he is now off the table. As a result, the Longhorns will have added pressure to land 2022 quarterbacks such as Maalik Murphy or Cade Klubnik. Or, the long shot, flipping Quinn Ewers back from Ohio State to Texas.
This February, Texas continues to be active in offering and re-offering recruits in the 2022 class. However, the staff has started to also offer 2023 recruits as well. Down below, I have listed all of the offers that the Longhorns have made since my last article.
Kelvin Banks - Four-star Offensive Tackle - Summer Creek
Austin Jordan - Four-star Cornerback - Denton Ryan
Jarred Kerr - Four-star Athlete - Lexington
Jamarion Miller - Four-star Running Back - Tyler Legacy
Shazz Preston - Four-star Wide Receiver - St. James
Malick Sylla - Four-star Defensive End - Katy
Jalen Hale - Four-star Wide Receiver - Longview
Anthony Hill Jr. - Four-star Linebacker - Denton Ryan
Rueben Owens - Four-star Running Back - El Campo
Javien Toviano - Cornerback - Arlington Martin
Other Texas Offers:
David Hicks Jr. (2023) - Defensive End - Morton Ranch
Jason Llewellyn (2022) - Tight End - Aledo
Connor Robertson (2022) - Three-star Offensive Tackle - Austin Westlake
Kristopher Ross (2022) - Defensive Tackle - North Shore
Qae'shon Sapp (2022) - Offensive Tackle - Lee County
One day after National Signing Day concluded, the Texas Longhorns added yet another preferred walk-on thanks to head coach Steve Sarkisian’s efforts. Quarterback Cole Lourd (Brentwood School, Los Angeles, CA) will walk-on at Texas, joining a 2021 recruiting class that is ranked 17th in the nation via the 247Sports Composite.
Lourd is a three-star commit via those same rankings. He’s ranked as the 51st best pro-style quarterback nationally in his class and overall the 126th ranked recruit in the state of California. Lourd will join fellow three-star quarterback Charles Wright as the only other quarterback commit the 2021 class.
While Lourd wasn’t able to play high school football this past season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he still accumulated a wealth of offers from esteemed programs. That list includes Florida Atlantic, LSU, and Ole Miss among others. LSU seemed to be a sure thing until Sarkisian made a last-ditch effort and much to his avail, it paid off.
Lourd has family ties with the University of Texas as his brother is currently a student and his grandfather and uncle are both former Longhorns players.
In his junior season, Lourd threw for 3,316 yards and 39 touchdowns in just 10 games. He also ran for another 213 yards and six touchdowns on the year. Lourd is a talent with a high ceiling who offers incredible depth to the quarterback room in Texas.
Name: Cole Lourd
School: Brentwood School
City, State: Los Angeles, CA
Three Best Traits
Down Field Accuracy - First and foremost, Lourd is a pocket-passer. He has a great ability to sling the ball downfield with beautiful touch and accuracy. On film Brentwood runs a spread offense that allows Lourd to do what he does best. He's a highly gifted passer of the football. In terms of deep routes, he’s elite at delivering the ball to where it needs to go.
Good Size - Lourd currently stands at 6’2 and is 220-pounds. He’s a big, thick kid who can move, thus making him hard to bring down in the backfield. At 6’2 he has the optimal height to stand in the pocket when needed and deliver strikes all over the field.
Mobility - Lourd ran for over 200 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. He’s a pro-style pocket passer first but he has great pocket awareness and can slip out of the grasp of defenders with ease. When he has to run, he can burn you and make you look silly for thinking that he can’t run. He has the perfect amount of athleticism to be successful in today’s age of football.
Areas for Improvement
Rust - Lourd hasn’t played in-game action since the 2019 season. This isn’t his fault as the COVID-19 pandemic made playing football in California impossible. There’s no doubt that he’s been practicing but in terms of actual on-the-field football, he’s got to be a little rusty.
Throwing into Tight Windows - A lot of the time, Lourd’s receivers were running wide open all over the field. Thus, the throws he was making weren’t crazy impressive. He has a great ability to throw on the run, but if there is something I would like to see more of, it’s him fitting the ball into tight windows.
Lourd is an excellent passer who is a great QB PWO pickup for the class of 2021. He’s a tall, thick, mobile pocket passer with a great arm and great mechanics. Lourd is a guy who instantly makes Texas better as he will add great depth to an already amazing quarterback room at Texas. He’s a little rusty due to him not playing for a year, but he should help out a lot once he’s back in the groove of things.
Lourd along with Charles Wright will join Hudson Card and Casey Thompson in the quarterback room at Texas. He and Wright will fill the void left by Ja’Quinden Jackson and Jalen Milroe who transferred to Utah and flipped to Alabama respectively. He and Wright will serve as great scout team guys early on for Card and Thompson. Lourd is a guy who if he does see the field, will have everything you want from a quarterback prospect. Physically he can impose his will while also delivering darts anywhere on the field.
National Signing Day is in the books. Most of the 2021 class signed their letters of intent during the early signing period in mid-December. However, in between then and now, a lot has happened for the Texas Football program.
Fans said goodbye to Tom Herman after four years and they welcomed new head coach Steve Sarkisian. Along the way, they gained a few more recruits. Sarkisian has already secured a few commits for the 2022 class while picking up the last few pieces of the 2021 class as well.
While yesterday wasn’t nearly as jam-packed as a few months ago, some notable signings still took place. Below is everything you need to know about what happened for the Texas Longhorns on National Signing Day.
David Abiara - Mansfield Legacy - Defensive End
Abiara was not only a surprise commitment, but he also signed his letter of intent yesterday. Abiara is a three-star defensive end from Mansfield Legacy High School. He ranks as the 29th best player nationally at his position and overall the 62nd best player in the state of Texas.
While Abiara’s production significantly dipped in his senior season, he had a junior season to remember as he and Mansfield Legacy made the playoffs. As a junior, he was a first-team All-District selection with 15 sacks.
Abiara originally committed to Notre Dame shortly after the pandemic started in March. In November though he de-committed and reopened his recruitment. On February, 3rd he made it official that he would play at the next level as a Texas Longhorn.
Abiara becomes the fifth defensive line commit for the 2021 class.
Ishmael Ibraheem - Kimball - Cornerback
Ibraheem committed back on June, 15th. He along with fellow four-star defensive back JD Coffey committed in the same video. While Coffey and many others signed their letter of intent back in December, Ibraheem signed his yesterday.
The Kimball cornerback is a 6’1 175-pound four-star commit. Via the 247Sports Composite, he’s the 14th ranked cornerback in the nation for his class and overall the 32nd ranked player in the state of Texas. Based on those rankings, he’s the third highest-ranked commit for Texas’ 2021 class.
Ibraheem closes out his career at Kimball with 76 total tackles, 14 passes broken up, and an interception. As a sophomore, he was a first-team All-District selection while as a junior and senior he helped Kimball reach seven wins and the playoffs.
Ibraheem is a long and lengthy cornerback with great speed and anticipation who will match up well against the best Big-12 wide receivers. He’s one of the premier signings of the 2021 class.
Keithron Lee - Rudder - Wide Recevier
Keithron Lee committed to Texas on Christmas Day and yesterday he signed his letter of intent, officially joining the 2021 class.
At the end of November via Twitter, Lee announced his top-eight. That list included Baylor, Ole Miss, SMU, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, and Utah. After a month he announced Texas was the place for him. Lee is a three-star wide receiver via the 247Sports Composite. He’s the 77th ranked wide receiver in the class nationally. Overall, he’s the 78th ranked player in the state of Texas.
Lee stands at just 5’10 and 175-pounds but don’t let his frame fool you - he can make defensive backs look silly. He is an absolute speedster that has enough hops to high point any ball thrown his way. Lee is the definition of a playmaker.
At Rudder, he finished his career with 1,157 rushing yards, 2,322 receiving yards, and 49 touchdowns from scrimmage. As a senior, Lee ran for 554 yards, had 1,139 receiving yards, and 25 total touchdowns. He’s entering Texas on a hot streak.
Lee is one of four pass catchers to commit to the 2021 class as he joins Jaden Alexis, Casey Cain, and Gunnar Helm.
Jaydon Blue - 2022 - Klein Cain - Running Back
While he didn’t sign a letter of intent and while this didn’t happen yesterday, it’s still big enough to mention. On February 2nd, Texas gained its third 2022 commit in four-star running back, Jaydon Blue.
Blue via the 247Sports Composite is a top-60 player nationally regardless of position. He’s the fourth-ranked running back in the nation and overall the 11th ranked player in all of Texas. He joins fellow four-star commits Armani Winfield and Jaylon Guilbeau as the only 2022 commits thus far.
Blue was the district Offensive MVP this past year as he ran for 2,155 yards and 30 touchdowns for Klein Cain. For his career so far, he’s accumulated 3,767 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns.
Blue is a building block and an integral part of the 2022 recruiting class. It's still early, but Steve Sarkisian has done a brilliant job in recruiting thus far as head coach of the Texas Longhorns.
National Signing Day saw Steve Sarkisian secure his third commitment since becoming head coach at Texas. After Armani Winfield committed a month ago, the Longhorns have received two commitments in two days. Tuesday night it was Jaydon Blue, and on National Signing Day it was David Abiara.
Abiara is a three-star defensive end via the 247Sports Composite. He’s ranked as the 29th best player at his position for the 2021 class nationally and the 62nd ranked player overall in the state of Texas.
In 2018, Abiara accumulated 23 tackles, six of which were for a loss, and one sack. He broke out a year ago, when en route to a playoff berth, Abiara recorded 75 tackles, 21 for a loss, and 15 sacks. His production earned him first-team All-District selection. As a senior, he played in just seven of his teams’ nine games.
Abiara originally committed to Notre Dame back in March of 2020. However, he re-opened his commitment just a few months ago in November. Abiara decided ultimately to choose Texas over other programs such as Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma, among others.
Abiara becomes the 21st player in the class of 2021 to sign his National Letter of Intent. Texas now holds the 17th ranked class in the nation via the 247Sports Composite for the 2021 cycle.
Name: David Abiara
Position: Strong-Side Defensive End
School: Mansfield Legacy
City, State: Mansfield, TX
Three Best Traits
Fits Multiple Schemes - Abiara can line up in a base 3-4 set or a base 4-3 set as he has experience with both. He’s equally as effective in one set as in the other. With the overhaul of staff at Texas, we're going to see some changes in the future on both sides of the ball. Whatever is asked of Abiara, he can do.
Good Size - Abiara stands at 6’4 250-pounds. He has great size and even has more room in his frame if he wanted to transfer over to an interior defensive lineman. In terms of an edge rusher, he has an optimal size for his current age.
Strength - The new Longhorn pass-rusher relies on his power and strength to get to the quarterback. What he lacks in speed and pure technical ability, he makes up for with sheer strength. He can mow over most offensive linemen and just simply push them out of the way. Can that translate to the next level? Time will tell, but for now, it’s impressive to watch.
Areas for Improvement
More Quickness off the Edge - Once he’s passed the initial blocker, Abiara has great closing speed and can get to the quarterback/ball-carrier with ease. However, if he can’t use his power to outmuscle a lineman, he doesn’t have elite quickness to get around the edge. This is something he can clean up and work on in the off-season that would take his game to the next level.
Production Dip - Even though Abiara only played seven games this past season, his per-game statistics from his junior season to his senior season dropped off significantly. His 15 sacks in his junior season, which translates to 1.3 sacks a game, was an outstanding showcase to recruiters everywhere. In his senior season, via Maxpreps, he recorded no sacks.
David Abiara is an extremely talented defensive end. He’s a three-star edge rusher who sometimes looks like a bonafide four-star prospect. He has great size and outstanding strength for his frame. If he can improve on his technical ability and quickness, he will be a problem at the next level. Abiara is the only player to commit to Texas on National Signing Day and he's a great final addition to the Longhorns' 2021 Class.
Abiara is the fifth defensive line commit in the 2021 class for Texas. He joins Derrick Harris, Byron Murphy, Barryn Sorrell, and Jordon Thomas. Those five average out to be a 0.8887 via the 247Sports Composite. Abiara, Sorrel, and Thomas are all listed as strong-side defensive ends. Abiara is a great last-minute addition to this class. He’s a guy who will add a ton of depth and will be able to play in multiple schemes and do whatever is asked of him. He can get to the quarterback, stop the run, and he still has room to grow. His floor is already extremely high from a physical standpoint and he hasn’t reached his ceiling yet.
Texas fans received a big surprise ahead of Wednesday’s National Signing Day. That surprise came in the form of a big-time commitment for new head coach Steve Sarkisian. Earlier yesterday via Twitter, four-star running back Jaydon Blue became the third athlete to commit to Texas’ 2022 class.
Not only is Blue a four-star back, he’s a top-60 player nationally via the 247Sports Composite. The Klein Cain running back is listed as the fourth-best at his position in the nation for his class and the 11th ranked player overall in the state of Texas. He is the top-ranked running back in the state of Texas in his class.
Blue was the Offensive MVP for his district this past season. On 227 carries, He ran for 2,155 yards with 30 rushing touchdowns. Blue chose Texas over programs such as Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma among others.
Sitting at a .9735, he’s the highest-ranked commit in the 2022 class. Blue joins four-star cornerback Jaylon Guilbeau and four-star wide recevier Armani Winfield as the lone three commits in the Longhorns' class thus far.
As of this signing, Texas' 2022 Class is now a top-ten class nationally via the 247Sports Composite.
The Steve Sarkisian era is off to a hot start as Texas has landed both Blue and Winfield since Sarkisian's hiring.
Name: Jaydon Blue
Position: Running Back
High School: Klein Cain
City, State: Houston, TX
Three Best Traits
Production - The sheer level of production that Blue has had at Klein Cain has been impressive, to say the least. As a sophomore, Blue was the district Offensive Newcomer of the Year. He ran for over 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns on just under eight yards a carry. As a junior, he improved drastically and was named the Offensive MVP for his district. On just 22 more carries, Blue ran for over 500 more yards and 14 more touchdowns. Who knows what he’s capable of in his senior season.
Great Speed - Blue has God-given speed and quickness. As a freshman, he ran a 10.97 in the 100-meter dash. One year later, he improved that time to a 10.79. His speed at the high school level is lethal. If he has a hole or the edge, he’s gone almost every time. Almost no one at this level of football can keep up with Blue.
Bruiser - Blue is the best of both worlds. He’s a short and stout speedster, yet he’s big enough to bulldoze you over. His 205-pounds is a perfect size and weight to stand up to most linebackers at this level. If he can translate that success to the next level, Blue has a chance to be really special.
Areas for Improvement
Pass Blocking - Klein Cain is a run-heavy offense with Blue as it's featured back. They only threw the ball 15 times a game on average. Therefore, he didn't have many opportunities to drop back and pass block for his quarterback. Texas has a plethora of quarterback talent in its program and we know that coach Sarkisian loves to sling it. For Blue to reach his full potential, he has to be able to stand up to the best defensive lineman and blitzers in the Big-12.
Receiving Threat - In his two seasons at Klein Cain, Blue hasn’t been productive in the receiving game. In both years combined, he’s caught just 29 passes for 198 yards and no touchdowns. With running backs becoming more and more versatile these days, Blue is going to have to tighten up this aspect of his game.
Blue is the top-rated commit so far in the Sarkisian era. He’s a guy, who when the ball is in his hands, can do it all. From trucking to a linebacker to cruising past defensive backs, Blue is simply the man. If he can become a viable receiving threat and pass blocker, we’re talking about an athlete who can be the full package and then some. Blue is a guy who is so good and so talented he may be able to attract other prospects as well.
Texas has maybe the best running back in the nation in former five-star prospect, Bijan Robinson. They may have just gained the next man up for that title in Jaydon Blue. With Jonathon Brooks serving as the bridge between the two, the Texas running back corps is one with a glaringly bright future. With National Signing Day here, it's time to dwell on the future of Texas football. Blue is the first of many outstanding recruits coming in that really has a chance to turn the Texas program around. Even though the importance of running backs has been a hot topic as of late, Blue has a chance to be an integral part of the Texas offense in the coming years.
The 2020 high school football season was a fruitful one for Longhorns signee Jonathon Brooks. First of all, he led Hallettsville to a state championship appearance. Secondly, Dave Campbell's Texas Football named him the 2020 Mr. Texas High School Football Player of the Year. In addition, Brooks was listed as a first team MaxPreps High School Football All-American. So, it is safe to say that he had a productive season.
In January, 247Sports upgraded Brooks to a four-star grade, making him the 20th ranked running back in the entire 2021 class. Brooks committed to joining the Longhorns last May and signed his National Letter of Intent last December.
Senior Season Statistics (Via: MaxPreps)
2020: 295 carries, 3,530 rushing yards, 12 yards per carry, 284 receiving yards and 70 total touchdowns.
Brooks is a threat whenever he has the ball. He is a talented running back and, obviously, is a skilled punt returner as well. One of Jonathon's biggest skills is that he shows patience and gives his teammates opportunities to develop blocks in front of him.
In addition to starting on offense, Brooks also made some big plays for the Brahmas on defense. While his gifts are at running back, I think that playing both ways in high school will serve to benefit him in the long-run with his athletic skill set.
His ability to make defenders miss is uncanny as he seemingly always has a juke up his sleeve. And when I say juke, I mean juke, watching Brooks on the field is oftentimes like watching a video game. In addition, his vision as a running back shows great promise and is what sets up his ankle-breaking jukes.
Brooks has the potential to do damage in the passing game as a running back. However, thanks to being Hallettsville's cash cow as a runner, he was seldomly needed out of the backfield as a receiver. As a result, Brooks could greatly benefit his chances of seeing playing time, especially early on in his collegiate career, by developing that aspect of his game. Additionally, evolving into a bona fide pass blocker would give him an advantage in today's game.
Lastly, while with the Longhorns, Brooks will need to work on improving his top-end speed. However, Brooks will be in great hands with Texas's new Director of Football Performance, Torre Becton.
What I See:
Honestly, Brooks was one of the most fun players to watch at the high school level. Now, the question is, can his play translate to the collegiate level? Hallettsville is in Texas's Class 3A Division I, which means that it is far away from being in the state's biggest football classification. So, Brooks will have his work cut out for him in trying to get accustomed to the speed of the college game. However, I think that Brooks has the grit to do it. At minimum, I can see him developing into a great situational player for the Longhorns, with greater long-term potential on the Forty Acres.