The dominoes continue to fall for Texas football following the commitment of 2023 five-star quarterback Arch Manning last week. On Tuesday, DeSoto product Johntay Cook II announced his commitment to the Longhorns, becoming the 17th member of the 2023 class.
With Cook's commitment, the wide receiver becomes Texas's ninth pledge in their 2023 recruiting class, and becomes the second highest-rated recruit in the class - trailing only Arch Manning. Furthermore, Cook is currently rated as the sixth-ranked wide receiver in the nation's 2023 recruiting cycle per the 247Sports Composite.
Prior to his announcement, the Dallas-area native had amassed 41 scholarship offers, choosing Texas over the likes of programs such as Alabama, Michigan and Texas A&M.
The 5'11" wide receiver is known for his quick route running and has become a key player for one of Texas's powerhouse high school football programs in DeSoto. Last season, Cook tallied 806 receiving yards and 18 receiving touchdowns, ultimately helping DeSoto reach the quarterfinal round of the playoffs.
Texas continues to roll on the recruiting trail since the commitment of Arch Manning. Over the past 48 hours, the Longhorns have added two more commitments to the 2023 class from safety Derek Williams and defensive end Billy Walton.
Williams, a 5-star safety out of Louisiana, chose Texas over offers from Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and more. Walton, who was originally committed to Oklahoma State, decommitted on Monday evening before pledging to the Longhorns on Tuesday afternoon. The South Oak Cliff product is ranked as the 50th best edge prospect in the country per the 247sports composite rankings.
Texas is up to 16 commitments in the 2023 class and currently has the 3rd best class in the country per the 247sports composite team rankings.
An historic week for Texas continues to get even better. Kyle Flood and Steve Sarkisian received good news Sunday afternoon when 2023 OL Jaydon Chatman pledged to the Longhorns.
Chatman chose the Longhorns over offers from Texas A&M, LSU and Oklahoma. The Harker Heights product becomes the 3rd OL commit today, joining Connor Stroh and Andre Cojoe.
It has been an eventful day for Texas on the recruiting trail as the Longhorns wrapped up an important official visit weekend for the 2023 cycle. The dominoes started to fall Sunday, with Steve Sarkisian receiving commitments from OL Connor Stroh and WR Jonah Wilson. OL Andre Cojoe joined them Sunday afternoon by pledging to the Longhorns.
Cojoe chose Texas over offers from TCU, Houston, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and more. The 6'6 330 pounder from Mansfield Timberview was a priority for Kyle Flood through the recruiting cycle, picking up his first college offer form Texas in February of 2021.
Ten minutes after Wakeland High School offensive lineman Connor Stroh announced his commitment to the Longhorns, more good news came for Steve Sarkisian and his staff on the recruiting front. Dekaney (Houston, TX) wideout Jonah Wilson, a 6'3" 195 lb. prospect and the 34th ranked wide receiver in the country (247 Sports Composite) gave his verbal pledge to the Longhorns on Sunday.
Wilson held offers from no less than 15 programs including Texas A&M, Ohio State, LSU, Houston, Arkansas and Baylor among others. The speedster, who also runs track at Dekaney, is fresh off his visit to Austin in what is amounting to a massive recruiting weekend for the Texas program.
He is a tall, athletic quick player that played quarterback for the Wildcats before making the move to wideout. In his two years on the varsity program at Dekaney he has caught 52 passes for a total of 891 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Wilson becomes the 11th commit in the 2023 cycle and joins fellow 4-star wide receiver Ryan Niblett (Aldine Eisenhower - Houston, TX) as the other true wide receiver in the class.
Photo courtesy Nick Stroh
Wakeland High School offensive lineman Connor Stroh committed to Texas on Sunday, choosing the Longhorns over the Auburn Tigers, Texas A&M Aggies and Arkansas Razorbacks. Stroh, a 3-star prospect via the 247 Sports Composite Rankings, stands 6'7" and weighs 345 lbs. He's precisely the type of prospect that Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Kyle Flood wants - big, strong and a player with a high ceiling. And he's exactly the type of human being Head Coach Steve Sarkisian wants on his team.
The Texas pick by Stroh may come as a surprise to many, as his immediate family is comprised of a multitude of Texas A&M graduates. Stroh knew the Longhorns were going to be tough to beat in his recruitment, as he whittled down his final list of schools and scheduled his official visits to those programs. He took his visits, the last of which was Texas this weekend, and the visit reaffirmed his feeling that Steve Sarkisian, Kyle Flood and staff were who he wanted to play football for on Saturdays.
Before he made his commitment public he called all of the programs that were finalists for his services and gave them the news personally. Again, not something a lot of recruits would take the time to do, but that is one indication of the kind of person Stroh is outside of football. His dad Nick said he and his wife let Connor handle the process and decision himself, and did not want to interfere or bias Connor in any manner. Stroh grew up watching Texas A&M play and that would have been the easy pick, but he ultimately liked the energy the coaching staff brings and the feeling of the upward trajectory of the program on the 40 Acres.
Stroh becomes the first offensive line commit in Texas' 2023 recruiting class and the 10th overall. He follows a strong recruiting week for the Longhorns who received commitments from tight end Will Randle (Isidore Newman - New Orleans, LA), quarterback Arch Manning (Isidore Newman - New Orleans, LA), and linebacker Liona Lefau (Kahuku, HI).
On Thursday, the Longhorns landed a commitment from the nation's top-ranked class of 2023 quarterback in Arch Manning. Today, our recruiting analyst, Devon Messinger, discusses Arch's commitment and what the Isidore Newman product brings to the table for Texas.
(Photo: USA Today)
Steve Sarkisian secured perhaps the biggest commitment of his Texas tenure Thursday morning when 2023 QB Arch Manning pulled the trigger in favor of the Longhorns.
Manning chose Texas over Georgia and Alabama. The nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning is the consensus #1 overall prospect in the country in the 2023 recruiting class. Manning is the second commitment in the 2023 class out of Isidore Newman High School, joining TE Will Randle.
On Monday, 2023 five-star running back Rueben Owens, out of El Campo, TX, announced his commitment to Louisville. Owens, the top-rated running back in the country's 2023 recruiting cycle, had been a Longhorns commit as recently as June of 2021, however had ultimately de-committed prior to the start of last year's football season.
Although the Longhorns are still very much in the race for top targets such as quarterback Arch Manning, Monday's announcement from Owens certainly serves as a blow to Texas's recruiting efforts. In fact, the two heralded recruits seemingly have been able to bond over the recruiting process and it seemed possible that the two would end up eventually committing to the same school. However, barring any unforeseen circumstances, it appears that Owens will be under scholarship at Louisville, although a recruitment is never truly over until after National Signing Day.
In covering two of El Campo's games last year, the main thing that stood out about Rueben's skillset on the football field was his ability to make defenders miss in open space and his versatility on offense. Thanks to these traits, Owens was able to rush for 2,989 yards and 46 touchdowns last season, ultimately being named the MaxPreps National Junior of the Year.
(Photo: Texas Baseball)
A day after the Longhorns season ended at the College World Series, David Pierce opted to shake up his coaching staff by parting ways with pitching coach Sean Allen, per a report from Kendall Rogers.
Allen has been at Texas during Pierce's entire tenure, serving as the hitting coach beginning in 2017 and then moving to pitching coach following the 2019 season. Allen also served as the recruiting coordinator all 6 years. Prior to his time at Texas, Allen worked with Pierce at Tulane and Sam Houston State.
On Sunday, the Longhorns landed a commitment from Isidore Newman class of 2023 tight end Will Randle, on the weekend of his official visit to the Forty Acres. Randle's announcement marks the second commitment in-a-row that the Longhorns have received from a tight end in the 2023 recruiting class, following Spencer Shannon's recent pledge.
Worth noting, Randle's quarterback at New Orlean's Isidore Newman is Arch Manning, a name that many will be familiar with due to his family's pedigree and his own ongoing recruitment by the Longhorns coaching staff. Last season, Randle's rapport with Manning was on display as the tight end tallied 42 receptions for 464 yards and 10 touchdowns according to Nola.com.
Prior to making his announcement, the 6'3" tight end had received 11 scholarship offers from programs such as Alabama, LSU and Miami. Now, with his commitment, the Longhorns have seven pledges in their 2023 recruiting class, making it the 24th-best class in the country's 2023 cycle per 247Sports.
Lastly, while Randle's college announcement should be viewed as independent of Arch Manning's future college decision, it would be foolish to not expect a reading of the tea leaves in Manning's recruitment. Manning, who is currently regarded as the top recruit in the nation's 2023 recruiting cycle, is rumored to have a short list of schools that he is considering: Alabama, Georgia and Texas. While there still might be a ways to go in winning the five-star quarterback's recruitment, the Longhorns have already been able to host Manning a handful of times, as well as earn a commitment from a talented high school teammate and friend in Will Randle. Regardless of the final outcome, Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns have certainly put forth a valiant effort in trying to attract the nation's top football prospect to the Forty Acres.
Photo: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
In Sunday’s four-hour affair with the Aggies, the Longhorns simply did not have enough. The pitching and batting really struggled this weekend and as tough as that is to swallow, it is a reality. Here are three key takeaways from the season finale loss to arch-rival Texas A&M at the College World Series in Omaha.
1. Too many runners left on the bases. Texas left twelve runners on base which is entirely too many regardless of the game, but in Omaha, you will not win that way. The Longhorns went just 2-16 with runners in scoring position. When you have the offense that Texas has, it is tough to imagine the bats going that cold. But they did, and did so at the absolute worst time possible.
2. Texas pitching came up short once again. Following Pete Hansen’s underwhelming start Friday night against Notre Dame, Lucas Gordon did the same against the Aggies. He went just 1 2/3 innings which isn't going to cut it. He had a great first inning, retiring the aggies in order using just nine pitches. The second inning was not so kind. Gordon threw 40+ pitches before being yanked in favor of Jared Southard.
3. Timely hitting was not there for the Longhorns. That really was the difference in this game. Texas A&M got the two-out hits with runners on, while Texas would strikeout or hit into a double play. Not to oversimplify things but often in baseball it comes down to who can get the two-out hits and who cannot. This weekend in Omaha, Texas just could not get those hits and that is a large reason Texas is going home.
Photo: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Omaha, NE -- The Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies both came into Sunday facing elimination. The Texas bullpen has been a question mark all season while Lucas Gordon has arguably been the Longhorns' most effective pitcher since he took over Saturday's starting duties. Gordon threw only ten pitches in the first inning but struggled in the second on his way to being pulled. With Tristan Stevens unavailable, the Aggie bats took over and led them to a 10-2 victory.
In typical fashion, the Longhorns got off to a fast start. Two runs in the first two innings came by way of an Austin Todd RBI single to left to bring in Douglas Hodo III and an RBI double down the left field line from Hodo III that drove in Campbell. Unfortunately for the 'Horns those two runs would be the only ones on the day.
The Longhorns were betting on Lucas Gordan being able to pitch deep into the game but the Aggies delivered four runs in the second frame that saw Gordon being pulled, giving way to a lead they would not relinquish. Texas A&M smacked two RBI singles to left and a two-run double off the left field wall.
Texas A&M continued scoring runs in four of the remaining seven innings. They knocked one run in in the third, fourth, seventh and eighth frames while adding two runs in the fifth.
Awards for the Longhorn Baseball standouts
Even though the Longhorns fell short of expectations, (with Tanner Witt going down to injury being a big part of that) the 'Horns can hang their hats on history being made. Ivan Melendez smashed a single season team record 32 home runs on the season and is the current favorite to win the Golden Spikes award. Ivan's 32 home runs is the most in a season since Billy Becher of New Mexico State hit the same in 2003. This Texas squad also destroyed the team record for home runs in a season with 128 (previous record was 81).
Ivan Melendez won Big 12 Player of the Year award, the highest honor in the conference.
Longhorns making the All-Big 12 First Team include: Ivan Melendez, Murphy Stehly, Silas Ardoin, and Pete Hansen. Melendez and Hansen being the only two unanimous selections in the conference.
All-Big 12 Second Team: Trey Faltine, Skyler Messinger, and Lucas Gordon
All-Big 12 Honorable Mentions: Douglas Hodo III, and Austin Todd
Congratulation to head coach David Pierce and the Texas Baseball program on a successful season and trip to Omaha.
Photo: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Baseball is one of America’s most iconic sports. Part of that deep-rooted love for baseball probably comes from the fact that it is a summer sport, so most people have childhood memories of watching games or playing in the park without school getting in the way or having little worry about rain, sleet or snow.
Baseball is tied up in our collective unconscious with sunny days and blue skies, with hotdogs and soda pop — or an ice cold, crisp beer once you’ve hit a certain age. The MLB has such an extensive minor league system that even once the major games got more expensive, there was always the chance to hang out with friends at a smaller local game and enjoy a few innings of great ball without breaking the bank.
Yet, for some reason, college baseball never attracts the same attention and fervor as college football or basketball. Maybe it is because it’s seen as a summer sport, so people forget about the college leagues. Another reason is that baseball players can be drafted right out of high school without having to play in college first.
Thankfully, in the last few decades, NCAA baseball has begun to grow in popularity across the country, instead of just in the South. More universities are building baseball teams and taking the sport seriously. This makes the fight for the title more competitive and more interesting, even if it still doesn’t attract quite as many viewers as March Madness does.
Even some baseball fans still aren’t entirely aware how the College World Series (CWS) works since it doesn’t get as much TV and media coverage as other college tournaments. This article will try to help clear up any confusion by comparing the CWS to the MLB World Series.
The College World Series features eight teams that qualify for the tournament by accumulating wins throughout the season and in regional competitions. This is how a team such as Tennessee, who were the top national seed, didn’t make it to the CWS — they lost to Notre Dame in a Super Regional series. The CWS is a double elimination style tournament, with two brackets. The final is a best-of-three series. Considering that there are 300 Division 1 teams across the country, this is a very limited tournament.
The NCAA baseball season takes place from February to June. The CWS takes place over the final two weeks of June. It is held in Omaha, Nebraska at Charles Schwab Field. This year, the Texas Longhorns were knocked out in the first round by Texas A&M.
The World Series is held in October. There is no set stadium for the World Series, it shifts between the competing teams’ home fields to allow everyone to have a home field advantage and keep things balanced. The teams that won their Divisions automatically qualify for the playoffs and the teams with the next best records are given a wild card slot. After the Divisional playoffs, the winners from the American League and the National League face off in a seven game final series.
Favorites to win?
The College World Series finished on June 26th, with Ole Miss taking the title after beating Oklahoma with a two-game sweep in the final series. It is the first time that Ole Miss has won the CWS. Judging by their performance, it’s likely that they’ll be favorites next year as well.
Despite the MLB season getting off to a bumpy start due to the lockout that delayed opening day by a week, it has been smooth sailing since then. Even though we’re only about 80 games into the 162-game season, predictions for which teams are likely to win the World Series are already being worked out.
Currently the bookmakers are favoring the Los Angeles Dodgers, the NY Yankees and the Houston Astros. All three of these teams are sitting at the top of their Divisions, though the Yankees have a higher win percentage than their two main rivals. The Astros, meanwhile, have won nine of their last 10 games, so they could be on a hot streak that carries them through the summer.
The World Series is one of the most watched professional sporting events of the year. Each game in the final series might not attract the same number of viewers as the Super Bowl does, but that’s simply because there are more games. The College World Series attracts a lot of viewers, especially from states that have colleges competing. However, it still lags behind March Madness and the big Bowl games in terms of nationwide viewership.
Photo: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Due to losses by both teams in their opening games of the College World Series, the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies find themselves in a matchup on Sunday that once used to be commonplace: playing against one another in a high stakes game. The Aggies lost to Oklahoma in the Omaha opening game on Friday, and the Longhorns were ousted by Notre Dame shortly thereafter. The pair of losses sets up a matchup between the two rivals that once used to play each other every year in every sport, until the Aggies bolted for the Southeastern Conference in 2012.
The game is of critical importance, with the loser packing their bags and heading home. With that, lets look at three things that will serve as important factors in the game for both teams.
1. How much pitching will Texas A&M have left? During Friday’s defeat to Oklahoma, the Aggies used six pitchers, which is certainly something to watch for on Sunday. Getting one day off is going to make it difficult for the staff should the bullpen be asked to pitch several innings once again.
2. How will the Longhorns offense respond? In Friday’s loss to Notre Dame, it was the first game all year that Texas did not have an extra base hit. Nobody outside of Dylan Campbell could really get things going. If Texas looks to extend their season, the offense needs to help Lucas Gordon and company out.
3. Will Lucas Gordon bounce back from his last start? In Gordon’s last start against East Carolina, he went just four innings, giving up four earned runs and three walks. Gordon has been a bright spot overall, stepping up following Tanner Witt’s injury. If Gordon gets back to form, Texas has a great chance to send their rival home. If he struggles on Sunday, things become very difficult.
Photo: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Omaha, NE -- #9 Texas Baseball drew Notre Dame in the opener for both schools after the Fighting Irish shockingly defeated #1 Tennessee in Knoxville. Led by head coach Link Jarrett, the Irish gave Pete Hansen and the Longhorns everything they could handle. Notre Dame's starting pitcher, John Michael Bertrand, pitched with conviction and led the Fighting Irish to a victory.
Pete Hansen had a shaky start to his postseason in a loss to East Carolina. His struggles unfortunately persisted against the active bats of the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame claimed a first inning lead when Jared Miller skipped a solo homer off the right field wall. The Texas fielders were then put into a tough position in the second with two on and no outs. A grounder to Messinger allowed a runner to score while Messinger took the out at second base.
Texas finally got on the board in the third with a sacrifice bunt from Eric Kennedy that brought in Dylan Campbell. The 'Horns bats struggled against the pitching of the Irish, registering only six hits on the evening.
Notre Dame answered with a controversial overturned call at home that allowed them to take a 3-1 lead. Pete Hansen was pulled in the fifth after two singles and an RBI single to extend the Fighting Irish lead. Tristan Stevens entered in relief and was immediately called for a balk that walked in another Irish run. Notre Dame finished the inning with an RBI single to right field that gave them a 6-1 lead.
The Longhorns began chipping away in the fifth and sixth innings. Dylan Campbell smacked a single up the middle followed by a stolen base. Douglas Hodo III then drove him home with an RBI single to left. Murphy Stehly contributed with a single to left field, advanced to second on a wild pitch and eventually to third on a groundout. Another wild pitch allowed him to score to bring the game to within three runs.
Tristan Stevens pitched beautifully in relief until an insurance home run from Notre Dame in the ninth effectively ended the game and solidified a 7-3 victory for the Fighting Irish.
Texas will have to win back to back games to climb out of the losers bracket. First they have a date with rival Texas A&M on Sunday, June 19th at 1 P.M. and if they win they will face the loser of Oklahoma and Notre Dame.
Photo: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
The Longhorns lost their fifth straight opening game in Omaha on Saturday, falling to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 7-3. Texas ace Pete Hansen took his second straight loss, and the Longhorns now find themselves facing a win-or go-home game on Sunday.
Here are three observations from Saturday's game at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.
1. Pete Hansen simply didn’t have it on Saturday. It was clear early on that Hansen didn’t have his best stuff, similar to his last start against East Carolina. Hansen is the type of pitcher that relies heavily on command versus being able to rely strictly on his stuff. He struggled locating his pitches early and often. Notre Dame made hard contact virtually every at-bat and with his recent starts, Hansen may just be reaching fatigue from so many innings this year.
2. The heart of the Longhorn lineup struggled against the Irish. The 1-4 hitters went a combined 3-14 with 5 strikeouts. When those guys don’t deliver it’s really tough to produce runs, plain and simple. That hasn’t happened much this season, but it happened at the wrong time. This was the first game all season in which the Longhorns didn’t produce an extra base hit. In order to extend their season in Omaha against Texas A&M on Sunday, the bats will need to show up.
3. David Pierce lost the coaching battle. While this wasn’t the main reason the game went the way it did, it didn’t help Texas. Eric Kennedy really struggles against lefties, and he did so again. With Douglas Hodo on first multiple times, Kennedy popped out and struck out. With the speed Kennedy has it would’ve been worth the bunt attempt, especially with Hodo’s speed. Doing so may have eliminated possible double plays that came back to bite the Longhorns.
Texas and Texas A&M will meet at 1:00 PM in and elimination game on Sunday.
The trophy case continues to fill up for Ivan Melendez. The redshirt junior was named the winner of the Dick Howser Trophy Friday morning, recognizing him as college baseball's player of the year in 2022.
Melendez is the 4th Texas player to ever win the Dick Howser trophy, joining Brooks Kieschnick, Scott Bryant and Taylor Jungmann. His 32 home runs and 94 RBI's lead all of college baseball. Melendez accepted the award in Omaha as the Longhorns prepare to open the College World Series this evening at 6 PM against Notre Dame.
Photo: Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC
The Texas Longhorns (47-20) make their 38th appearance in the College World Series on Friday as they face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (40-15) in Game 2 at 6:00 PM at Charles Schwab Field. The #9 seeded Longhorns punched their ticket by defeating East Carolina in the last two games of the Greenville Super Regional, while the Fighting Irish left Knoxville with a Super Regional series win over top-ranked Tennessee.
The 'Horns and Irish have met six times on the diamond previously, the last coming in 1995, with each team holding a 3-3 record. The only time they have played each other in the College World Series was in 1957.
Probable pitching matchups for Texas vs. Notre Dame are lefty Pete Hansen (11-2, 3.40 ERA) against Irish left-hander John Michael Bertrand (9-3, 2.67 ERA).
Included in the Longhorns' bracket are rival programs Texas A&M and Oklahoma, which open College World Series play at 1:00 PM.
What: Texas vs. Notre Dame
When: Friday, June 17, 2022
Time: 6:00 PM CST
Venue: Charles Schwab Field at TD Ameritrade Park
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
All-time record in the College World Series: 88-63
On Monday, the Longhorns started off their week with an addition to their 2023 recruiting class, landing three-star tight end Spencer Shannon, a product of Mater Dei High School. The 6'7" athlete continues the trend of Steve Sarkisian's Californian pipeline to the Forty Acres, having earned commitments from Maalik Murphy and Larry Turner-Gooden in the previous recruiting cycle.
Prior to his announcement, Shannon had earned 14 scholarship offers, and chose Texas over the likes of programs such as Tennessee and Washington. Additionally, with Shannon's commitment, Texas's 2023 recruiting class now stands at six pledges and is currently the 28th-best class in the country.
Last season, as a junior at Mater Dei, Shannon was primarily used as an inline blocker at the tight end position in the two games that he appeared in. According to MaxPreps, Shannon totaled 3 receptions for 81 yards and a touchdown.