Texas reeled in a commitment from Michael Taaffe, the 6A D1 championship game defensive MVP. Taaffe, a cornerback at Westlake High School in Austin, had six tackles and intercepted former Texas commit, Quinn Ewers, twice en route to a second consecutive state title.
Along with Zane Minors, Taaffe is the second Westlake Preferred Walk-On that Texas gained this past weekend. The 6’0 cornerback had offers from Brown and Colgate but decided to stay in Austin and walk-on at Texas.
Over the course of the season Taaffe played on both sides of the ball. On offense, He caught 18 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns. On defense, he accumulated 60 tackles, seven for a loss, with five interceptions.
Taaffe was the defensive leader for the best team in all of 6A D1 this season. He’s one of the more underrated prospects in the state and he’s a hidden gem in terms of a PWO commit.
Name: Michael Taaffe
High School: Westlake
City, State: Austin, TX
Three Best Traits
Experience at a High Level - Much like Minors who also committed to Texas, Taaffe has played at an elite level in the toughest division in all of Texas high school football. Against the best quarterback prospect in a decade, Quinn Ewers, Taaffe had the best game of his career. When it comes to the big moments, he seems to always rise to the occasion. The year before last Taaffe was the defensive MVP in the title game against Guyer with one interception and two passes broken up.
Great Open Field Tackler - Taaffe is a ballhawk. Whether it’s finding the ball in the air or chasing down the ball carrier, he specializes in finding the ball. Even on designed runs, Taaffe can collapse into the zone and meet the ball carrier in a second. If he does let up a big play, he’ll track him and bring him down.
Speed - Taaffe is deceptively fast. Turning on the game film, it’s insane how quickly he can make up ground and stay with wide receivers stride for stride. If need be, he can go from one side of the field to the other without losing ground on whoever he’s covering. He’s a great corner and if it’s man-to-man he's even better.
Areas for Improvement
Frame - Taaffe at 6’0 180-pounds needs a little more bulk to make it at the next level. His speed makes up for his lack of size at the moment, but to become elite he needs to fill out his frame to the fullest.
Covering Short-Intermediate Routes - Guarding the deep ball is like a hobby to Taaffe, he’s special at it. If anything, Taaffe needs to work on covering the routes within five-ten yards of the line of scrimmage. If he can lock that down he could be a complete cover cornerback.
Overall, Taaffe is an incredible talent. Particularly for a PWO. He’s an insanely fast cover corner who’s been the leader of the Westlake defense for the past couple of years. In the biggest spots, he always rises to the occasion. If he can add some bulk he could prove to be a great depth pick up for the new Texas Longhorns staff.
Texas has three four-star commits at defensive back for the 2021 class. JD Coffey, Ishmael Ibraheem, and Jamier Johnson will hold the fort down for the future. If need be, Taaffe is an incredible talent who should be able to translate nicely to the next level. He has experience as a wide recevier as well so if he can’t find any time on the defensive side you can plug in and play him on offense.
Texas gained the commitments of two 2021 PWO athletes over the weekend. The first to commit was Westlake runningback, Zane Minors.
Minors is a 5’10 180-pound running back from Austin Westlake. He’s a two-time state champion for the Chaparrals and was the leading rusher this year for Westlake’s second championship run.
Over the past two seasons Minors ran for 1,939 yards on over eight and a half yards per carry with 34 rushing touchdowns. This past year he became a true dual-threat back as he was lethal in the passing game as well. In the 2020 season alone he ran for over 1,000 yards with 20 touchdowns and caught 37 passes for 628 yards with three touchdowns.
Minors had offers from Air Force, Lamar, and Yale. Yet, he chose to become a preferred walk-on at Texas to stay in Austin.
Minors is supremely talented yet extremely underrated and should be an integral part of the Texas offense in the future. He’s as good as a PWO as you can get.
Name: Zane Minors
Position: Running Back
High School: Westlake
City, State: Austin, TX
Three Best Traits
High-Level Experience - Minors has played against the best of the best for his whole high school career. Against Quinn Ewers and Carroll in the state championship game, Minors ran just 11 times but accumulated 132 yards and a touchdown. In 6A D1, the top of the top when it comes to Texas football, Minors was elite in every facet of the game.
Running from the Gun - Westlake runs an Arizona Cardinals type of offense with Minors lining up in the backfield with the quarterback most every snap. It’s difficult for a running back to accumulate a lot of yardage due to them not getting a running start beforehand. Yet, Minors was overly successful in this system and racked up a majority of his yards in these situations.
Speed and Acceleration - If Minors sees a hole, he is gone. Simple as that. He can find the correct hole immediately and make a defense pay every time. If he’s in the open field, there aren’t very many defenders who can bring him down.
Areas for Improvement:
Undersized - Minors stands at a stout 5’10 and 180-pounds. He is a little undersized for the position but has a good weight for his height. Overall, if he were to fill out his frame and bulk up, he could be very successful in the Longhorns' system.
Pass Blocking - Texas prides itself on having great signal-callers. We love to throw the football around so whenever Minors isn’t going out for a pass, he needs to be able to stand back and block some of the elite edge rushers in the Big-12.
Minors is a speedster at the running back position. He has as much experience as you can ask for without being run into the ground. He’s as good of a PWO as you can hope for. The Texas 2021 Class has 18 players who signed their letters of intent plus two other hard-commits. He joins four-star Jonathon Brooks as the only other running back in the 2021 class.
Minors is a great depth add for the Longhorns. Texas has the running back position on lock with five-star Bijan Robinson carrying the load for the future. If he goes down or needs rest though, guys like Minors and Roschon Johnson with Brooks are great depth pieces that serve as solid back-ups. If called upon though, Minors is a guy who can cut up the hole for a big gain or beat whoever is in his way outside to the edge. For a PWO, you can’t ask for more.
This Wednesday, athletes will be signing their National Letters of Intent, declaring the schools that they will be attending. Consequently, college football programs throughout the country have been engrossed in recruiting. Of course, the Longhorns are one of those programs.
However, the Longhorns have also been an active participant in the transfer portal as well.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
Ray Thornton (LSU):
On the 20th of January, the Longhorns announced that Ray Thornton would be joining the team. At LSU, Thornton appeared in 41 games and combined for 45 tackles. Out of high school, Thornton was rated as a four-star prospect and graduated from Killeen Shoemaker in 2016. As a result, Thornton will be returning to the great state of Texas.
Ovie Oghoufo (Notre Dame):
Last Tuesday, Ovie Oghoufo announced that he would be transferring to the University of Texas. Earlier in the week, our Aaron Carrera wrote about the transfer.
Bert Auburn (Flower Mound):
On Sunday, Bert Auburn announced his commitment to the Longhorns. Furthermore, Auburn, a class of 2021 kicker, will arrive on campus as a preferred walk-on. According to Chris Sailer Kicking, Auburn is the tenth ranked kicker in the class of 2021. Additionally, Auburn exhibits great leg strength as he routinely knocks down 65-yard field goals in practice.
Moving the Needle:
David Abiara (Mansfield Legacy):
Last November, Abiara de-committed from Notre Dame. Now, just a couple of days before signing day, Abiara has had multiple 247Sports crystal ball picks in favor of Texas. So, the four-star defensive end will be one to watch on Wednesday.
With the football season over, offers have been flying out to recruits. In addition, thanks to a new coaching staff, many players have been re-offered by the Longhorns. One thing is for certain, Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian and the rest of his staff have been busy recruiting the class of 2022. Down below, I have listed all of Texas's offers since my last recruiting road trip article.
Bryan Allen Jr. - Four-star Safety - Aledo
Bryce Anderson - Four-star Safety - Beaumont West Brook
Terrance Brooks - Four-star Cornerback - John Paul II
Raleek Brown - Five-star Running Back - Mater Dei
Devon Campbell - Five-star Offensive Tackle - Arlington Bowie
Kam Dewberry - Four-star Offensive Tackle - Atascocita
Landon Hullaby - Four-star Safety - Mansfield Timberview
Trevell Johnson - Three-star Linebacker - Arlington Martin
Cade Klubnik - Four-star Quarterback - Austin Westlake
Maalik Murphy - Five-star Quarterback - Junipero Serra
Jacob Sexton - Four-star Offensive Tackle - Deer Creek
Bobby Taylor - Four-star Cornerback - Katy
Other Texas Offers:
Kaleb Artis - Three-star Defensive Tackle - St Francis Preparatory School
Tyler Booker - Four-star Offensive Tackle - IMG Academy
TreVonte' Citizen - Four-star Running Back - Lake Charles College Prep
Kip Lewis - Three-star Linebacker - Carthage
Le'Veon Moss - Four-star Running Back - Istrouma Senior
Khurtiss Perry - Four-star Defensive End - Park Crossing
Jaleel Skinner - Four-star Wide Receiver - Greer
Holden Staes - Four-star Tight End - Westminster School
And just like that, the 2020 Texas high school football season ended in 2021. We saw unbelievable comebacks, remarkable stat lines and some of the nation's best talent. But, with twenty road trips down, it is time to get serious and rank last season's top performances.
Not all games were created equal. So, these rankings will reflect the importance of stellar play in the playoffs.
Also, I was lucky enough to cover some incredible athletes who consistently bring their A-game. However, I am implementing a one spot limit, selecting an athlete's best performance that I covered in person.
Lastly, there were many deserving candidates but not everyone can make the list.
2020 Top Performers:
Week 2: Jarred Kerr - Lexington
During the week leading up to Lexington's matchup against Thrall, Jarred Kerr's recruiting stock was piping hot. In fact, Kerr had received an offer from the Longhorns just a couple of days prior to this game. However, Kerr did not let the recruiting buzz get to his head as he rushed for four touchdowns and had a multitude of tackles on defense as well.
Week 7: Quaydarius Davis - Dallas Skyline
Davis, a former Longhorns commit, showed off his knack for making big plays in his game against the Keller Indians. Although he did not have many receptions, he finished the night with three touchdown grabs and a nail-biting victory. Currently, Davis is committed to playing for the Kansas Jayhawks.
Week 8: Ryder Hernandez - Cedar Park
Although 2020 did not go as anyone imagined, Ryder Hernandez's 2020 football season was one that he probably dreamt of having. In 2020, Hernandez shattered Cedar Park's passing records and led the Timberwolves to a state title appearance. Against Anderson, Ryder threw for four touchdowns in an abbreviated blowout performance.
Week 13: D.Q James - Lancaster
Lancaster wanted to face a non-district challenger late in the regular season so they scheduled a good Grapevine Mustangs team. However, James, a Hawaii commit, made the Mustangs look like a not-so-good team. Ultimately, James finished the game with 300 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
Week 18: Roderick Daniels - Duncanville
Roderick's offensive versatility has always made him a fun player to watch. Against DeSoto, Daniels used some playoff magic to tally 267 receiving yards and a touchdown reception. Additionally, Duncanville flexed their muscles and was able to beat their rival.
10. Oscar Gordon - Austin LBJ (Week 12)
Prior to the season, Austin LBJ was a legitimate dark horse in the 4A classification. The Jaguars secondary was stellar, led by four-star recruits Andrew Mukuba and Latrell McCutchin. However, Gordon proved that he could help the Jaguars on offense as he passed for five touchdowns in their playoff win against Alice. Gordon, a junior, was a major factor in LBJ's playoff run that lasted until the state semifinals.
9. Ace Whitehead - Lampasas (Week 3)
At this point, Lampasas will always be synonymous with Ace Whitehead. Early in the season, Lampasas squared off against Wimberley in a battle of two of the top teams in the 4A classification. Unfortunately for Wimberley, Whitehead and the Badgers were much too powerful for the Texans to handle. Whitehead, a Texas baseball signee, finished the game with a total of five touchdowns: 3 rushing and 2 passing. According to MaxPreps, Whitehead finished the year with 1,993 passing yards, 978 rushing yards and 44 total touchdowns.
8. Cade Klubnik - Westlake (Week 20)
Looking to cement Westlake's place as back-to-back title winners in the history books, Chaparrals quarterback Cade Klubnik was making his first title game start. As a sophomore, Klubnik was part of Westlake's three-headed monster at quarterback. However, Westlake head coach Todd Dodge eventually handed (then) senior quarterback, Kirkland Michaux, the keys to the Chaps offense. Despite not receiving the lion's share of the playing time in 2019, the experience paid off for Klubnik in 2020 as he showed the nation why he is a four-star recruit.
In this year's title game against Southlake Carroll, Klubnik, a Longhorns target, was the definition of efficient. Completing 90% of his passes in the game, Klubnik made all of the right decisions and was rewarded with a championship and the Offensive MVP award. Additionally, Klubnik tallied 220 passing yards, 97 rushing yards and a total of three touchdowns.
7. DeMarco Roberts - Aledo (Week 16)
Honestly, DeMarco's entire playoff run was pretty impressive. However, the Aledo game I covered against North Forney had to top the list. Versus the Falcons, Roberts rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns and eliminated a sneaky good North Forney team.
In December, Roberts signed his National Letter of Intent to play for Lamar. In January, Roberts helped to lead the Bearcats to their record-breaking 10th state title. Quite simply, he had a heck of a winter.
6. Ollie Gordon - Euless Trinity (Week 16)
Well, well, well, week 16 of the road trip was a fruitful one. In the state's final game of the weekend, Euless Trinity was set to face another state powerhouse in Midland Lee. The Rebels, led by senior quarterback, Mikey Serrano, had a 35-14 lead at one point in the second quarter. However, Ollie Gordon and the Trojans would not let up. Led by Gordon's four total touchdowns, the Trojans clawed their way to a thrilling victory. The icing on the cake? Gordon threw the game's winning touchdown on a trick play that kept the Trojans alive in the playoffs.
Gordon, a three-star class of 2022 running back, has seen his recruitment explode following his magnificent playoff performances. Currently, Gordon holds 17 collegiate offers from schools such as: Michigan, Nebraska and TCU.
5. Ralph Rucker - Lovejoy (Week 18)
This selection is a nod to Lovejoy quarterback Ralph Rucker. Why? Although Lovejoy ended up losing this playoff game, Rucker still had a dominant performance. How did he do? Well, Rucker combined for a total of six touchdowns. However, Aledo, of course, found their way to fight and claw their way back thanks to stellar special teams play and the duo of DeMarco Roberts and JoJo Earle. Despite the nail-biting loss, Rucker threw for 422 yards and rushed for another 114 yards.
Now, Ralph Rucker is getting some respect on the recruiting trail and recently committed to Oklahoma as a preferred walk-on.
It was about time that a wide receiver makes the list. Boyd, a Minnesota enrollee, has been one of Texas high school football's most unguardable players. In addition, Boyd's rapport with Quinn Ewers makes him extra-lethal.
Although the game's storylines would be on both Quinn Ewers and Ollie Gordon, Boyd's route-running quietly solidified himself as one of the season's top performers. Against Trinity's defense, Boyd had: 17 receptions, 261 receiving yards and four touchdowns. In addition, Boyd's playoff performance came against (arguably) Carroll's biggest rival.
3. Charles Wright - Austin High (Week 6)
Entering a game with tremendous playoff implications, Charles Wright was looking to lead the Maroons past an underrated Austin Bowie team. However, things did not look good for the Maroons as they trailed by 21 points early in the fourth quarter. In fact, I was waiting to see if Austin's head coach, Mike Rosenthal, would pull the plug on his starters. But, he sent Wright and the offense back onto the field and struck magic. Wright, a Longhorns signee, quite literally willed the Maroons back into the contest and was hungry for more. Actually, the Maroons were hungry for a lot more, as Rosenthal had the Maroons go for a game-winning two point conversion when down 55-56. The final result? You guessed it, the Maroons won 57-56.
How did Austin High get to that point? Charles Wright accounted for a total of seven (yes, seven) touchdowns. And, more importantly, the Maroons eventually ended up sneaking into the playoffs.
We already mentioned Brady Boyd's performance in this game, but let's also talk about his quarterback. Against Trinity, Quinn Ewers threw for 450 yards and six touchdowns in Carroll's playoff win. The only major mistake Ewers had was throwing an interception on a pressured throw, but the Dragons already had a 45-21 second half lead at that point. Additionally, Ewers completed 37 out of 41 of his passing attempts, approximately equivalent to a 90% completion rate. Also, Quinn's game against Trinity was just his second game back for the Dragons after sustaining an injury earlier in the regular season.
Currently, Ewers is committed to joining head coach Ryan Day at Ohio State.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have made it to the number one spot. And quite honestly, Jonathon Brooks is a cheat code. I was excited to travel to Bastrop in order to see the (now) Longhorns signee in action, especially after seeing the video game-like numbers that he had been producing. Of course, his performance certainly did not leave me disappointed. Against Little River Academy, Brooks scored a total of seven touchdowns and combined for over 300 total yards on just his rushes and receptions alone.
After Hallettsville's playoff win over Little River Academy, Brooks kept on rolling. In fact, Brooks led the Brahmas to a state title appearance and nearly was able to win it all. But, you want to get crazy? Let's get crazy. In 2020, Brooks rushed for 3,530 yards and scored a total of 70 touchdowns. As a reward, 247Sports finally upgraded him to a four-star grade.
Following an extended layoff due to several games being postponed, Texas returned to action Tuesday night at the Erwin Center against Oklahoma. While it was reported the postponements of their previous two games were due to Covid-19 issues for their opponents, it was revealed Monday that the Longhorns were dealing with Covid-19 issues of their own. Head Coach Shaka Smart, Courtney Ramey, Jericho Sims and Brock Cunningham all missed the matchup against the Sooners, and their absence left a huge hole as the Longhorns fell to their rival, 80-79.
While missing Shaka Smart certainly hurt Texas, missing a trio of players proved to hurt more as the game played out. The Longhorns battled foul trouble for the entire evening and were forced to play without Matt Coleman, who ended up only playing 23 minutes, for a good chunk of the second half before he fouled out with under 30 seconds left. Greg Brown and Royce Hamm also battled foul trouble and eventually fouled out, leaving a big void for the Longhorns in the paint. Kai Jones stepped up and put together a good performance, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, but the Longhorns really missed Sims defensively.
Oklahoma controlled the game for most of the evening behind a strong night from Austin Reaves, who scored 23 points. The Sooners appeared poised to run away with things once Coleman headed to the bench early in the second half with his 4th foul, but Texas hung around and went on a run late in the game despite trailing by 12 at one point. A Matt Coleman layup with 40 seconds left got the Longhorns within 1 point at 78-77. After a pair of Reaves free throws to extend the lead back to 3, Andrew Jones connected on two free throws of his own to set up a wild finish. On the ensuing inbounds pass with 5 seconds remaining, Donovan Williams nearly forced a steal before the Longhorns scrambled to foul Jalen Hill with 2.3 seconds. Hill missed his first free throw and then intentionally tried to miss his second free throw, but his miss did not hit the rim, resulting in a violation. Texas had a chance to run a full court inbounds play for the win, but a long pass down the court was stolen and gave Oklahoma the victory.
At full strength, Texas likely wins this game fairly comfortably, but the lack of depth absolutely killed the Longhorns down the stretch and limited what interim head coach KT Turner could do with his substitutions. When it comes to the game itself, the biggest takeaway has to be Texas continues to get into way too much foul trouble. Fouls have been an issue for Texas going back to the beginning of the season and caught up to them tonight when they didn't have the depth available to pull out a victory.
Big picture wise, this loss likely helped Oklahoma more than it hurt Texas. The Longhorns have a big game a week from tonight when host 2nd ranked Baylor and give themselves a chance to add to an already strong resume. As it stands today, Texas is still a team on track for a 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA tournament.
Texas will travel to Kentucky on Saturday to take on the Wildcats in the SEC/Big 12 challenge. It is unknown if Shaka Smart or any of the players who missed tonight's game will be back. Tip off is set for 7 PM.
After entering the transfer portal almost two weeks ago, Texas running back Keaontay Ingram announced his decision to transfer to USC on Tuesday.
Ingram, a 4-star recruit from Carthage High School, was ranked as the top running back recruit in the state and sixth best running back in the country in 247 Sports' 2018 recruiting rankings.
He started two games as a freshman for the Longhorns and played in all 13 games and assumed the starting role his sophomore season, starting in all 13 games. He rushed 144 times for 853 yards and six touchdowns and caught 29 passes for 242 yards and three touchdowns that season, his best at Texas. Last season Ingram started in three games and played in six, but suffered a high ankle sprain which sidelined him for a significant portion of the season. Ingram ultimately found himself third on the depth chart behind running backs Roschon Johnson and Bijan Robinson.
Ingram is likely to compete for playing time immediately for the Trojans, joining Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai in the backfield. The Trojan rushing offense struggled in their six-game 2020 season, averaging just 97.3 yards per game and finishing ranked 120th out of 127 FBS Programs.
He finishes his career at Texas with 1,811 yards on 339 carries with 11 touchdowns and 67 receptions for 515 yards and six touchdowns.
Texas football head coach Steve Sarkisian mentioned he would use the transfer portal to fill roster holes when it made sense. After securing a transfer commitment from LSU LB Ray Thornton, Sarkisian did just that again. This time the Longhorns were the beneficiary of Notre Dame OLB/DE Ovie Oghoufo's decision to play elsewhere.
Oghoufo's transfer comes at an opportune time for the Longhorns, who lost their leading edge rusher Joseph Ossai to the NFL Draft. Sarkisian was keenly aware of the need an acted quickly, utilizing the transfer portal to add quality players to his defensive line.
Oghoufo played three years at Notre Dame and registered 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks this season.
The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fall into place as Steve Sarkisian assembles his initial staff on the 40 acres. Friday afternoon, Sarkisian announced 9 on-field hires in addition to naming his Director of Football Performance. The head coach spent some time talking about how he went about filling out his staff:
“Player development, X’s and O’s and ability to recruit were our priorities with this staff. When you look at their backgrounds, there’s experience and expertise from an NFL standpoint, coaching at a very high level in the college ranks, and it’s an outstanding collection of proven and successful recruiters, as well,” Sarkisian added. “For every coach we hired, I looked closely at their ability to recruit and evaluate prospects, and this group can do that with the best of them. They all have a great recruiting background and many of them with significant ties to recruiting in the state of Texas.”
Let's take a look at the hires that became official and what Sarkisian had to say about the members of his new coaching staff:
AJ Milwee- QB Coach
Sarkisian praised Milwee, calling the former Alabama analyst his "right-hand guy". Milwee was set to become the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State under new head coach Butch Jones, also a former Alabama analyst, before joining the Texas staff. Milwee was previously an offensive coordinator at Akron for 6 seasons, so he has playcalling experience. Sarkisian thinks very highly of his new QB coach and will value his input while gameplanning and also on game day.
Interesting Sarkisian quote about Milwee- "I like the guy's drive, I like the guy's focus, but I also like that he thinks like me."
Stan Drayton- Offensive Run Game Coordinator/RB Coach
Drayton is one of two on-field holdovers from Tom Herman's staff and is entering his 5th season at Texas. He is considered one of the best teachers of the running back position in the country and is widely respected by his position group. Recruiting wise, he reeled in 2020 5-star Bijan Robinson, who will be the focal point of the Texas offense. It is not surprising that Sarkisian chose to retain Drayton and he will be counting on him to continue his track record of development and recruiting his position at a high level.
Sarkisian on Drayton- "He has developed some of the best runners in the country and is clearly done the same thing since he's been here."
Andre Coleman- WR Coach
Coleman joined Texas as an analyst during the 2019 season and was promoted to WR coach for the 2020 season. It was an up and down season for the Texas receivers, but the friendliness of Steve Sarkisian's offense will benefit Coleman greatly both on the field and on the recruiting trail. Sarkisian was not shy in his praise for Coleman, mentioning that he tried to hire the former Kansas State offensive coordinator as his receivers coach on several different occasions.
Sarkisian on Coleman- "I'm excited about Andre. He's somebody that might actually talk to at my last two stops about potentially joining us. I wasn't the final say so that didn't quite work out but I had a prior relationship with [him] probably the last three or four years and the development of the receiver position, the connections he's had in state, even his time recruiting in state here when he was at Kansas State. I think her all are all positives for us on that front."
Jeff Banks- Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator/TE Coach
One of the biggest wins on Sarkisian's initial staff was being able to hire away Jeff Banks from Alabama. Banks is one of the best recruiters in the country and has spent time in the state of Texas previously as an assistant at Texas A&M. He has deep ties to high schools in Texas and will be a volume recruiter for the Longhorns. Banks also is seen as one of the best special teams coaches in the country. There is a reason Texas is paid over $1 million to pry him away from Nick Saban's staff. He should make an immediate impact.
Sarkisian on Banks- "Jeff has roots in recruiting are really here in the great state of Texas. But he's also a my opinion that the premier special teams coordinator in the country. So we get a fantastic coach there and get a fantastic recruiter with with ties to the state."
Kyle Flood- OL Coach/Offensive Coordinator
Flood comes to Austin after spending the previous two seasons as the offensive line coach at Alabama. Prior to his time in Tuscaloosa, Flood was with Sarkisian with the Falcons, where he served as the assistant offensive line coach after his stint as the head coach at Rutgers from 2012 to 2015. He is receiving a promotion to offensive coordinator to come to Austin, but Sarkisian made it clear on Friday that he would call the plays on game day while receiving input from Flood.
Sarkisian on Flood-"I think Kyle has a wealth of knowledge and experience at the offensive line position. He's a tremendous recruiter, and a great developer of talent which clearly we saw a year ago at Alabama."
Pete Kwiatkowski- Defensive Coordinator/OLB Coach
Sarkisian and Texas surprised nearly everybody earlier this week when they hired away Pete Kwiatkowski from Washington. Kwiatkowski had spent the last 7 seasons with the Huskies and coordinated some of the top defenses in the country. Sarkisian praised him for how tough his defenses are to face and said he had been "a thorn in my side the last decade" so he knew it was somebody he wanted to get to run the Texas defense. Kwiatkowski will also coach the outside linebackers, which he had done with the Huskies the previous 3 seasons. This leaves open the possibility that Sarkisian will hire an inside linebackers coach with his final on-field assistant spot.
Sarkisian on Kwiatkowski- "When you start talking to him and when we first started talking, he kept coming back to fundamentals and technique. Fundamentals and technique. That is one of his key components to playing great defenses"
Bo Davis- Defensive Line
Bo Davis is a familiar name for Texas fans, having coached the defensive line under Mack Brown from 2011 to 2013. Davis is seen as a great recruiter and developer who is coming back to Austin after spending the last 3 seasons in the NFL with the Detroit Lions. Former players speak very highly of him and he should be able to get a leg up in recruiting having recruited the state of Texas previously for the Longhorns.
Sarkisian on Bo Davis- "He's a tremendous recruiter. He's a tremendous developer of talent. Once you get them here, which is important. It's one thing to get players here. It's another to develop them and probably one of the key components to Bose. He's an unbelievable staff guy and we talked about building a culture here."
Terry Joseph- Secondary Coach/Defensive Pass Game Coordinator
Many in the state of Texas are familiar with Joseph, who served as the defensive backs coach at Texas A&M for 3 seasons from 2014 to 2016 and was most recently the safeties coach at Notre Dame. Similar to Kwiatkowski, Sarkisian praised Joseph for the way he prepared his secondary when they played Alabama in the CFP. Interestingly, Joseph was one of the first hires Sarkisian made on the defensive side of the ball.
Sarkisian on Joseph- "Was really impressed obviously with with our game against Notre Dame and just the way they defended us compared to everybody else in the country and just I think a real Pro's Pro when it. He has some defensive coordinator in his background at North Carolina. He's got ties to some of the people that were bringing on staff who he's worked with before so really excited about about Terry"
Blake Gideon- Safeties Coach
Gideon returns to Texas after having played for the Longhorns from 2008-2011. He has risen quickly through the coaching ranks, going from Georgia State to Houston to Ole Miss in the last 3 seasons. Gideon should serve a good recruiter for Sarkisian's staff and has connections throughout the state after growing up in the state and having a father who coached in the high school ranks in Texas. He is also likely to contribute to special teams coaching after being named the Special Teams Coach of the Year by FootballScoop.com in 2019.
Sarkisian on Gideon- "I just think Blake he's got a very bright future in the profession and he's been super impressive up to this point so far so I am excited about that"
Torre Becton- Director of Football Performance
Becton previously worked for Sarkisian at the University of Washington and comes to Texas after being the head athletic performance coach at Cal the last 4 seasons. One of the most interesting parts of Sarkisian's press conference is when talked about his vision for what the Longhorns want to do strength and conditioning wise. He talked about how the program needs to be wired into sports science and nutrition but also said they will also be focusing on velocity training, which will emphasize the need to improve explosiveness.
Sarkisian on Becton- "The fact that you have somebody there that you've worked with before, that I know can really support our messaging and reiterate our messaging from a weight room standpoint was really big to me."
One more win. That is all that separated state champions from runner-ups. Last weekend, several Longhorns targets were looking to earn that elusive last victory of the football season. Included in this mix, Longhorns signee Ja'Tavion Sanders looked to reach the peak of his high school football career, just one season after coming up just short of a title in 2019.
Game #1: #4 Cedar Park vs #1 Denton Ryan
Last weekend, I went into depth about the many Longhorns targets that make up the Ryan Raiders. Obviously, this group is headlined by five-star athlete Ja'Tavion Sanders, however there is a lot of young talent on the roster as a whole.
For example, 2022 four-star defensive tackle Bear Alexander had a tremendous game on the defensive side of the ball. Alexander, who stands in at 6'3" and 325 pounds, showcased his athleticism on the defensive front and tallied a sack. Additionally, Alexander had some active hands as he batted down a pass from Ryder Hernandez, Cedar Park's senior quarterback. However, what caught my eye was Alexander's pursuit of the football as he ranged sideline to sideline to track down the ball carrier.
In addition to Alexander, 2023 four-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. had another productive outing for Denton Ryan. For the second consecutive weekend, Hill forced a fumble, this time resulting in a third quarter Ryan Raider touchdown. Also, Hill once again found his way into the end zone with a second quarter rushing touchdown.
In the secondary, 2022 four-star cornerback Austin Jordan was engaged in some lockdown coverage as I only saw him allow one pass completion. Although teammate, Ty Marsh, ended up taking home the game's Defensive MVP award. Marsh, a safety, finished the game with both a forced fumble and an interception. Despite his great season and playoff run, Marsh only has ten collegiate offers.
[caption id=attachment_14898" align="alignnone" width="300] Anthony Hill Jr. and Austin Jordan | Courtesy of our Greg Hammer.[/caption]
Texas signee Ja'Tavion Sanders had five pass receptions on offense, including a fourth quarter touchdown catch.
Overall, Ryan's star power was far too much for Cedar Park to handle. As a result, Ryan won their first state title since 2002 with a 59-14 victory.
Game #2: #9 Katy vs #8 Cedar Hill
If you like watching pro-style offenses, you will love the Katy Tigers. Looking to win their ninth state title, Katy was hungry and it was evident. Led by brothers Seth and Jalen Davis on offense, the duo rushed for over two hundred yards and two touchdowns in the title game. Also, Texas target Nicholas Anderson, a three-star class of 2022 wide receiver, had a big reception that set up a second quarter touchdown rush.
However, Katy's defense was just as lethal as they only allowed Cedar Hill to score 14 points, compared to Katy's 51 points. As a result, Katy breezed past Cedar Hill to win their ninth state football title.
Game #3: #19 Southlake Carroll vs #3 Westlake
Entering the game, both teams had impressive semifinals wins as Westlake beat North Shore in a thriller, and Carroll held on to beat Duncanville. However, prior to the championship game, the storylines swirling around the "Dodge Bowl" were all about the coaches and the
Of course, Westlake's head coach, Todd Dodge, is a former Longhorns quarterback. Additionally, his son, Riley, is Carroll's head football coach and was a former quality control coach for the Longhorns as well.
Meanwhile, the game's quarterback battle featured two of the state's best quarterbacks in the 2022 recruiting cycle. In addition, both Cade Klubnik, and Quinn Ewers, have interest from Texas. Currently, Klubnik is uncommitted, however he has plenty of schools to choose from with 27 college offers. On the flip side, Ewers is committed to Ohio State, however he was briefly committed to the Longhorns while Tom Herman was at the helm.
In the "Dodge Bowl," both quarterbacks showed the nation why they are so highly rated. For Carroll, Ewers finished the game with 23 completions on 39 passing attempts, and threw for three touchdowns and two interceptions. Additionally, Ewers passed for 351 yards, while Klubnik passed for 220 yards and added 97 rushing yards with his legs. For Westlake, Klubnik finished the game with 18 completions on 20 passing attempts, and had a total of three touchdowns. Ultimately, Klubnik was able to have the last laugh as Westlake beat Carroll 52-34, resulting in their second consecutive football title.
2023 Texas target, Jaden Greathouse, continued to be Klubnik's deep ball threat as he finished the game with 103 receiving yards and a touchdown reception. However, Carroll's 2021 three-star wide receiver Brady Boyd stole the show from a receiving standpoint as he amassed 190 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions. Boyd, who is now a Minnesota enrollee, had been terrorizing defensive backs throughout the entirety of the playoffs.
Championship weekend was an exciting one from a Longhorns perspective. Multiple Longhorns targets contributed to their team's dominance and showcased how much talent lies within the state. Now that the season has come to an end, it will be interesting to see who Steve Sarkisian will be able to attract to the Texas program.
Also, Denton Ryan's defense is very fun to watch, and there are multiple Raiders who would be great additions for the Longhorns.
[caption id=attachment_14901" align="alignnone" width="300] Anthony Hill Jr. | Courtesy of our Greg Hammer.[/caption]
Lastly, the "Dodge Bowl" might have only been a close contest for one half, however it was still very exciting. Both quarterbacks showed excellent pocket presence and made some tough throws. I think that fans in attendance might have very well witnessed the future of the sport. Also, Westlake's defense continued to show their might with their second half adjustments and SportsCenter-esque plays. In fact, Westlake's, Michael Taaffe, finished the game with two interceptions, one of which was SportsCenter's top play.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
To begin, 2022 four-star safety Jacoby Matthews was re-offered by the new Texas Longhorns coaching regime.
After suffering their second loss on the season last Wednesday, the Texas Longhorns (11-2, 5-1) bounced back with an 82-67 home win over Kansas State (5-9, 1-5) on Saturday. Andrew Jones led all scorers with 19 points, leading three other Texas players who scored in double figures (Kamika Hepa - 15, Courtney Ramey - 14, and Jericho Sims - 14).
Kansas State's Davion Bradford led the Wildcats in scoring with 14 points, with Rudi Williams contributing 12 points and Mike McGuirl and DaJuan Gordon each scoring 11 points.
Texas shot 52.5% from the floor and 38.7% from beyond the arc. Kansas State shot 43.1% from the floor and 36.8% from three point range.
The Longhorns never trailed Kansas State and used a 15-0 run in the first half to take a 44-24 lead at halftime. Texas led by as many as 28 points in the second half before the Wildcats eventually cut the Longhorns' lead to 15 points before the game clock expired.
The loss was the fourth straight for Bruce Weber's team.
Up Next: Texas will travel to Ames, Iowa to face the Iowa State Cyclones on Wednesday.
Coming off an emotional win in Morgantown over the weekend to begin Big 12 play at 4-0, Texas had plenty of momentum as they hosted Texas Tech at the Erwin Center on Wednesday night. The Longhorns came out strong, using a big first half to build up a 10-point halftime lead. The Red Raiders ultimately came alive though behind the hot shooting of Matt McClung, who made several big buckets down the stretch to allow Texas Tech to erase the deficit and hand Texas their first Big 12 loss, 79-77.
The Longhorns received another huge game from their backcourt, led by Andrew Jones who took over the game at certain points during the first half. Jones finished with a team high 20 points. Courtney Ramey (15 points) and Matt Coleman (13 points) also turned in solid performances. Jones, Ramey and Coleman combined to go 11 of 20 from beyond the arc in a game where Texas shot the ball very well against a Texas Tech team known for their defense. Jericho Sims continued to put his early season struggles behind him by collecting 16 points and 5 rebounds, but missed a pair of free throws late in the game with the Longhorns up 77-75. The Red Raiders took advantage by stealing the inbounds pass the next Texas possession and converting a layup. Following a missed jumper from Matt Coleman, Mac McClung connected on the game-winning jumper with 3 seconds remaining.
While Texas shot the ball very well from beyond the arc (52%) and won the rebounds battle (42 to 36), the Longhorns did not have a good night at the free throw line (58%) and had a key turnover late. The loss drops Texas to 10-2 on the reason and 4-1 in Big 12 play, while the Red Raiders improve to 11-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12.
After being 3-0 in games decided by 3 points or less to start the season, Texas dropped their first close game of the year tonight. Shaka Smart has to be frustrated considering the Longhorns appeared to control the game throughout before Mac McClung took over late. The biggest takeaway for Texas is probably that they need to get the ball in the hands of Andrew Jones more. Jones was on the fire in the first half but disappeared for long stretches during the second half. He is the best scorer Texas has right now and the Longhorns did not do a great job of getting the ball in his hands down the stretch.
The second biggest takeaway is that the loss does not change much big picture wise for Texas. They are still one of the best teams in a very good conference, and they are still very much alive for a Big 12 title. Texas still has a handful of very difficult games left and will have plenty of opportunities to add to their resume.
The Longhorns will return to action on Saturday when they welcome Kansas State to Austin. Tip off is at 7 PM and the game will be broadcasted on LHN.
Last weekend, Longhorns signee Ja'Tavion Sanders looked to lead Denton Ryan past Mansfield Summit in the state semifinals. However, Summit was looking to pull off another upset in their underdog playoff run.
After beating Highland Park, the Raiders proved that they are the team to beat in the 5A Division I classification. However, it was paramount for the Raiders to not overlook an underrated Summit team. Despite a close contest for much of the game, Ryan's star power prevailed in a 49-35 victory.
[caption id=attachment_14848" align="alignnone" width="252] Anthony Hill | Courtesy of our Greg Hammer.[/caption]
2023 Texas target Anthony Hill had a big game for Ryan, tallying a rushing touchdown on offense and a forced fumble on defense. Although Hill is only a sophomore, he shows great promise and already plays a large role for the Raiders. Additionally, Hill's teammate, Austin Jordan, is another Longhorns target at the cornerback position.
[caption id=attachment_14850" align="alignnone" width="300] Austin Jordan | Courtesy of our Greg Hammer.[/caption]
Jordan, a member of the 2022 class, has 19 college offers from schools such as: Georgia, Ohio State and Oklahoma. This weekend, Jordan will have his work cut out for him in stopping Cedar Park's passing attack. In Cedar Park's semifinal win, quarterback Ryder Hernandez threw for seven touchdown passes against Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial. However, another Longhorns target, 2022 defensive tackle Bear Alexander will look to lead Ryan's defensive front in Friday's championship game.
[caption id=attachment_14851" align="alignnone" width="300] Bear Alexander | Courtesy of our Greg Hammer.[/caption]
The 6'3" and 325 pound lineman commanded many double teams in Ryan's win over Mansfield Summit. Like Jordan, Alexander is another popular commodity in the recruiting world, currently holding 29 college offers.
Fellow defensive lineman, Ja'Tavion Sanders, was able to show off his skills with a passing touchdown on offense.
[caption id=attachment_14853" align="alignnone" width="289] Omari Abor | Courtesy of our Greg Hammer.[/caption]
In Duncanville's semifinals playoff game against Southlake Carroll, 2022 four-star defensive end Omari Abor wrecked havoc on the Dragons offensive line. Abor, a Longhorns target, tallied multiple sacks for the Panthers. Unfortunately for Duncanville, Southlake Carroll was ultimately able to advance to the title game.
Back to Ryan, Ja'Tavion's touchdown pass was just another example of his versatility. As a result, Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian will be very pleased to get to work with Sanders. Additionally, Sarkisian will look to continue the Denton Ryan to Austin, TX pipeline.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
Well, that did not take long. Yesterday, 2022 four-star wide receiver Armani Winfield became the first commit of the Steve Sarkisian era.
The Steve Sarkisian effect.
After firing Tom Herman with a 32-18 record after four years, the Texas Longhorns announced they would be hiring Alabama offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian, to take over things The 40 acres.
This past season Sarkisian was the mastermind behind one of the greatest offenses in recent memory. After dismantling Notre Dame in the College Football semifinals, he and Alabama went on to ravage Ohio State 52-24. The following day, he made his mark on Texas, landing his first commit for the 2022 class in a wide receiver, Armani Winfield.
Winfield is a four-star commit via the 247Sports Composite. The 6’2 180-pound wide receiver is ranked as the 14th best player in the state of Texas and the 12th best wide receiver in the nation for his class. He’s also a top-80 player nationally for the class of 2022.
Winfield, a Lewisville native, hauled in 43 receptions for 596 yards and five touchdowns this past season for the Farmers. Over his career, he’s caught 128 passes for 1,730 yards with 16 touchdowns.
In November Winfield, via his Twitter, announced a top-nine that included Arizona State, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Ohio State, Penn State, Texas, Texas A&M, and USC.
Last night though he made it official,. He will be the newest member of Sarkisian’s offense in Austin when 2022 hits.
Name: Armani Winfield
Position: Wide Receiver
High School: Lewisville
City, State: Lewisville, TX
Three Best Traits
Experience + Strength of Opposition - Winfield possesses all of the experience that you want from a wide receiver. He’s already a three-year starter as he’s been playing varsity football since his freshman season. Winfield as a freshman was his district’s Offensive Newcomer of the Year. As a sophomore, he was a unanimous first-team all-district selection at wide receiver. He’s already done it all at the high school level, and he’s done it against some of the best of the best considering he’s a Texas 6A prospect.
Deep Routes - When it comes to deep routes that take time to develop, Winfield is elite. Go routes, double moves, and deep posts and corners are Winfield’s bread and butter. He’s the ultimate deep threat as he combines his game-breaking speed with his above-average height to become a nightmare for defenders.
Speed + Acceleration - Winfield is a burner, no other way to put it. He has the perfect frame to weave in and out of defenders while maintaining his top speed. His first few steps out of his break are impressive, to say the least. Winfield also has experience in the return game thus his vision with his speed is top-notch.
Areas for Improvement
Short/ Intermediate Route Tree - Winfield, again is elite when it comes to deep routes. I would like to see him develop more of a route tree though when it comes to his short/ intermediate routes. Outside of screens, Winfield needs to develop some more routes here to truly take him over the top.
Run Blocking - We all know Winfield is a great pass-catcher there’s no denying that. But, to take him over the top, he needs to learn how to become an elite blocker to lead the way for Bijan Robinson and others. Winfield currently is 6’2 180-pounds so he has a pretty lengthy frame. If he can add some more muscle and turn into a solid blocker, watch out.
Winfield overall is a great all-around prospect that can do it all offensively and on special teams. He’s a tall, lengthy, speedster who can burn anyone deep at any time. Once he develops more of a short/ intermediate route tree along with some blocking, he can be a truly exceptional talent. Winfield is a tremendous first get for Sarkisian and company. He’s a talented wide receiver that Sarkisian will have a lot of fun with designing plays for him to get open.
What a way to kick off the Sarkisian era at Texas. After winning a national championship, he shows he didn’t forget about Austin too as Winfield is a perfect first commit for the new look Longhorns. Winfield joins four-star cornerback Jaylon Guilbeau as the only other commit in Texas’s 2022 class. Nonetheless, even after the de-commitments, it’s off to a hot start as those two average a 0.9551 on the 247Sports Composite. The Longhorns have two building blocks of that class, one on each end of the field. Now it’s time for Sarkisian and company to fill out the rest.
Last weekend, 32 teams looked to advance to the state semifinals. With the season winding down, I was able to cover four of the state's 16 games, headlined by #2 Highland Park vs #1 Denton Ryan.
Game #1: #2 Highland Park vs #1 Denton Ryan
2021 Longhorns signee Ja'Tavion Sanders has been all over SportsCenter this year with his highlight catches. However, he also has been a star on the defensive side of the ball for the Ryan Raiders. In addition to Sanders, Texas has been interested in cornerback, Austin Jordan, and defensive tackle, Bear Alexander. Both Jordan and Alexander have been stellar for the Raiders and it showed against Highland Park.
Once again, Ja'Tavion Sanders had a SportsCenter top ten catch as he palmed a touchdown pass, thrown by Seth Henigan, to give the Raiders a 7-0 first quarter lead. However, Ryan's defense was the highlight of the game as they were swarming to the football and only allowed the Scots to score seven points. Up front, Alexander did a solid job of plugging up Highland Park's running lanes. In the secondary, Austin Jordan did an excellent job of using his speed to not get beat deep.
Similar to Sanders, 2021 Oklahoma signee Billy Bowman Jr. also had a big day for the Raiders. In the second quarter, Bowman caught a deep touchdown pass from Seth Henigan. Additionally, Bowman was shutting down Highland Park's passing game from the cornerback position. Furthermore, Bowman also recovered a blocked Highland Park field goal attempt. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, Bowman was originally committed to Texas before de-committing and signing with Oklahoma.
Highland Park's seven points was their lowest output in a game since 2013, when they scored only three points against Aledo.
Game #2: #8 Lovejoy vs #2 Aledo
Through three quarters, it looked like Lovejoy was going to experience a program-changing upset. Unfortunately for the Leopards, Aledo had other plans. Thanks to DeMarco Roberts and JoJo Earle, the Bearcats found another gear and pulled away with a 52-48 victory.
Last time I covered Lovejoy, quarterback Ralph Rucker scored five touchdowns for the Leopards. Against Aledo, Rucker had another fantastic night, throwing dimes left and right, but ultimately his six total touchdowns were not enough to beat the Bearcats.
On early Signing Day, Earle flipped his commitment with LSU and signed with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Earle, who is the second-highest rated wide receiver in the state's 2021 class, is looking for his third state title in a row as a member of the Bearcats.
Game #3: #23 Euless Trinity vs #19 Southlake Carroll
Against Arlington Martin, quarterback Quinn Ewers returned from an injury and led the Dragons to a playoff victory. However, Euless Trinity would present different kinds of challenges for the Dragons, thanks to star running back Ollie Gordon.
Despite Gordon's three touchdown performance, Carroll's offense proved to be too potent for Trinity. In fact, Quinn Ewers threw for a total of six touchdown passes, four of which went to 2021 Minnesota signee Brady Boyd. Quite simply, Ewers, an Ohio State commit, put on a clinic in offensive efficiency against the Trojans. Ultimately, the Dragons won 59-35 and will face Duncanville this weekend in the state semifinals.
Game #4: #11 DeSoto vs #2 Duncanville
In the previous round of the playoffs, Texas signee Byron Murphy II had a phenomenal performance for the Eagles. However, DeSoto was going to need a lot of help in order to beat a loaded Duncanville team.
For Duncanville, quarterback Grayson James was on the same page all night with wide receiver Roderick Daniels. In fact, Daniels, an SMU signee, finished the game with over 250 receiving yards and an appearance on ESPN's 'You Got Mossed'. In addition, Duncanville's defensive front did an excellent job of living in DeSoto's backfield. Additionally, 2022 Texas target Omari Abor had a nice performance on the defensive line as his active hands led to an interception on a tipped pass.
Lastly, it was obvious that Murphy was the focus of Duncanville's offensive line. However, Murphy still ended up having several key tackles and pressures that kept DeSoto in the game.
To start, Ja'Tavion Sanders is going to be one fun player to watch for the Longhorns. Despite being projected as a JACK linebacker, Sanders might be able to make a case about seeing some snaps on offense as well. Actually, Sanders was double teamed on offense for much of Ryan's game against the Scots.
Like Sanders, there are many players that stand out for Ryan. On defense, Austin Jordan and Bear Alexander will be two intriguing players to watch for the Longhorns, especially with new head coach Steve Sarkisian.
Next, Byron Murphy II had another impressive playoff game and now will be moving onto his collegiate career with the Longhorns. Despite being listed as a 6'1" defensive tackle, Murphy has legitimate athleticism and could be a recruiting steal for the Longhorns.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
On New Year's Eve, the Longhorns offered 2022 four-star defensive end Marvin Jones Jr.
Also on New Year's Eve, the Longhorns extended an offer to 2022 three-star defensive end Samuel Okunlola.
While the hiring of Steve Sarkisian is not recruiting news, it directly relates. First of all, it is paramount that Sarkisian is able to keep the talent that already exists on the roster. However, just as important, Sarkisian will have a lot of recruiting to do. Currently, four-star cornerback Jaylon Guilbeau is the only member of Texas's 2022 recruiting class. For comparison's sake, Ohio State, currently ranked first in recruiting for the 2022 class, has 10 commitments.
Coming off the biggest win the program has had in his tenure as head coach, Shaka Smart emphasized to the media yesterday how all his focus was on Iowa State and how his team could not afford to dwell on their accomplishments. The Longhorns moved up to #4 in the latest AP poll and have begun receiving national attention for their early season success, but Smart did not want his team to lose their edge. Texas took the message to heart, taking care of business against a pesky Cyclones's team to improve to 3-0 in conference play with a 78-72 win.
The Longhorns were paced by a career game from Andrew Jones, who finished with 23 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Freshman Greg Brown had a very quiet game last Saturday in Lawrence, but rebounded with a solid showing against the Cyclones, finishing with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Fellow big man Jericho Sims put together another quality game, flirting with a double-double (10 points and 8 rebounds). All 5 starters for Texas finished in double figures and while they didn't have their hot shooting touch they had against the Jayhawks, the Longhorns controlled the rebounding battle all evening (43 to 31) and did enough for their 5th straight win.
Iowa State fell to 0-3 in Big 12 play with the loss, but showed signs of life throughout the game, particularly early in the first half and late in the second half. Javon Johnson poured in a team high 21 points and Solomon Young added 13 points to go along with 8 rebounds. Young proved to be a tough test for Sims and Brown, winning his fair share of battles down low.
Texas needed to find a way to get Greg Brown back on track following his performance in Lawrence. Brown appears to be getting more and more comfortable with his outside shot. He connected on 3 of 4 three pointers and is at his best when he is able to stretch the floor. If Texas gets consistent performances from Brown and an improving Jericho Sims for the rest of the season, they are going to be a tough team to beat.
Texas will travel to Morgantown on Saturday to take on 14th ranked West Virginia. The Mountaineers are 2-2 in Big 12 play with losses to Kansas and Oklahoma. The game is scheduled to tip off at noon and will be on ESPN.
Just hours after firing Tom Herman after 4 years as head coach at Texas, the University of Texas hired Alabama Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian to replace him.
Sarkisian will serve in his third head coaching position, with previous stints at the University of Washington (2009-2013) and USC (2014-2015). He played QB at El Camino College and BYU and served in the NFL as QB coach with the Oakland Raiders (2004) and OC of the Atlanta Falcons (2017-2018).
Sarkisian, the 2020 Broyles Award winner, has spent the last two years with the Alabama Crimson Tide as the Offensive Coordinator. He will coach his final game with Alabama in the College Football Playoff Championship Game on January 11th.
Statement from Steve Sarkisian
"On Jan. 4, 2006, I was the USC quarterback coach when we played Texas in that famed national championship game. There has always been something special about Longhorn football, its history and traditions – not just on that day – and I could never have imagined that 15 years later, I would join the Longhorns as their head coach," Sarkisian commented. "This is a unique and compelling opportunity to lead this storied program to the next level, competing once again amongst the best in college football."
Statements on the Hiring of Steve Sarkisian
"We are excited to have Steve Sarkisian join us and lead the next chapter of our football program. University of Texas football has a long and proud history of competing at the highest levels within our conference and nationally, and he brings with him the coaching caliber and championship experience needed to restore this kind of excellence to our program." --Kevin Eltife, UT System Board of Regents Chair
"Hiring Steve Sarkisian represents a critical investment in our football program's future, not just for our student-athletes, but for all of Longhorn Nation. Our entire community benefits from a healthy and successful athletics program, and naming Steve as our coach infuses our football program with the necessary guidance and expertise to drive further success." -- UT President Jay Hartzell
"Steve Sarkisian is one of the top offensive minds in the game of football, which he has proved over and over during his time with USC, Atlanta, and most recently, Alabama. We are confident our players and coaches will thrive under his leadership and in response to his energy and passion for the game." --Chris Del Conte, Vice President and Athletics Director
In his 6 season as head coach at Texas, Shaka Smart has had plenty of big wins. The Longhorns have knocked off North Carolina three times while also securing wins in several different seasons against strong Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas Tech teams. None of those wins compare to the win he secured at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon, blowing out 3rd ranked Kansas 84-59. The win improves the Longhorns record to 8-1 and 2-0 in Big 12 play.
Texas received a huge game from their frontcourt, with Jericho Sims turning in one of his best performances of the season to go along with a strong performance off the bench from Kai Jones. Sims registered a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds while having his way with the Kansas big men for much of the afternoon. Jones chipped in 12 points and 5 rebounds of his own, knocking down 2 of 3 three pointers. The Texas guards were equally as good, with Courtney Ramey, Andrew Jones and Matt Coleman all recording at least 13 points. Ramey led the way with a team high 18.
The Jayhawks struggled putting the ball in the basket all afternoon. Jalen Wilson was their main source of offense, pouring in a game high 20 points, but Kansas only had one other player reach double figures. As the team, the Jayhawks shot 30.8% from the field and 13% from deep. The Longhorns were red hot from the floor for the entire game, shooting 49.2% from the field and 46.2% from deep. Texas never trailed the entire game and won their first game in Allen Fieldhouse since 2011.
The biggest takeaway for Texas has to be the fashion in which they won. The game was pretty much over at the halfway mark of the second mark. The Longhorns put together their best defensive performance of the season and scored the basketball in a variety of ways all afternoon. Shaka Smart has shown a lot of faith in Jericho Sims despite some uneven performances to start the season and was rewarded today. If Texas gets consistent high level play from Sims for the rest of the season, the ceiling for Texas is raised significantly. It is important that Greg Brown did not contribute much today due to early foul trouble and the Longhorns still won by 25.
Texas will have a quick turnaround as they prepare to host Iowa State at the Erwin Center on Tuesday evening. Following the matchup with the Cyclones, the Longhorns will end the week by traveling to Morgantown to face West Virginia on Saturday.
Four years ago, Texas handed the keys to the program to Tom Herman in hopes he could help get the Longhorns back to the top of the Big 12 and in the conversation as one of the best teams in the country. Outside of a Sugar Bowl victory in 2018, it was a tenure full of ups and downs for Herman, and Athletic Director Chris Del Conte ultimately decided it was time for the change.
Herman compiled a 32-18 record during his 4 seasons at the helm, including a 22-13 record in Big 12 play. During his first season in 2017, the Longhorns went 7-6, capping off the season with a victory over Missouri in the Texas bowl. The 2018 campaign that featured the Sugar Bowl win was the most successful season for Herman despite losing to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game. The 10-4 record in 2018 was the Longhorns first 10-win season since 2009 and set the table for what was supposed to be a team that would be in the conversation for the College Football Playoff in 2019. Instead, the Longhorns suffered an early season loss to LSU before falling to Oklahoma, TCU, Iowa State and Baylor on the way to a 7-5 regular season finish. A victory over Utah in the Alamo Bowl gave the Longhorns momentum heading into 2020, but the Longhorns failed to capitalize. Texas lost their third game of the season against TCU and followed it up with a loss in 4 overtimes to Oklahoma. Needing to win out to make the Big 12 championship, the Longhorns ultimately dropped a Black Friday game against Iowa State to eliminate any hopes of Big 12 title.
The Tom Herman era will likely be remembered for his inability to beat Oklahoma and TCU along with the failure to capitalize on 4 years of Sam Ehlinger at QB. Herman finished his Texas career with a 1-4 record against the Sooners and a 1-3 record against the Horned Frogs. He was also only 2-2 against Kansas State and lost the season opener in his first two seasons to Maryland.
Texas is now in the market for a new coach for the 3rd time in 7 years. Follow along at HornSports.com for updates or on twitter at @HornSports.
The Texas Longhorns (7-3, 5-3 Big 12) won their second straight Alamo Bowl on Tuesday night, defeating the Colorado Buffaloes (4-2, 3-1 Pac-12) 55-23. The bowl win was Tom Herman's fourth straight as head coach of the Longhorns and the 31st for the Texas program. Texas started seven freshmen on the night, including six true freshmen.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 160 yards and a touchdown before being sidelined in the second half with a shoulder injury. Backup Casey Thompson did not disappoint, going 8-10 for 170 yards and four touchdowns. True freshman running back Bijan Robinson continued to shine, rushing 10 times for 183 yards and a touchdown. Robinson also grabbed two passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns.
The Longhorns amassed 638 yards of offense in a dominating performance on both sides of the ball.
Bijan Robinson and DeMarvion Overshown were named offensive and defensive players of the game respectfully.