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Five Things to Look For When Texas Takes on Louisiana

The Longhorns open the 2021 season on Saturday at DKR-TMS against a well-coached and talented Ragin' Cajun football team.  With a new coaching staff and a multitude of new starters at key positions, here are five things I will be looking for in the season opener against Louisiana.
1. Getting Bijan Robinson Going 
Texas must find creative ways to "free Bijan," as Louisiana will be likely be stacking the box. With the Longhorns starting redshirt freshman quarterback Hudson Card, Card will have to prove he can win the game with his arm. There should be a variety of ways to accomplish this and and his ability to do so will make Robinson's day easier or more difficult.  If Texas can keep a balanced attack, they should have no problem scoring 30 or more in Sark’s debut.
2. Texas Defensive Line vs. Louisiana Offensive Line
This very well may be the matchup that determines the game. Texas has a great interior line with Keondre Coborn, T’vondre Sweat and Moro Ojomo in the starting lineup, and that doesn’t include Alfred Collins who flashed his five-star potential last season. They will likely wreak havoc on most offensive lines they face this season but that should especially be the case on Saturday. Left Tackle Carlos Rubio is questionable for Louisiana although many expect him not to play. If he is able to go, he will most likely be far from 100 percent. Left Guard AJ Gillie is making his first career start at left guard, which is not ideal for a young player on the road in front of a packed house at DKR..  
3. Will the Texas Wide Receivers Show Up Consistently?
The receiving corps has struggled with consistency in camp. Under former head coach Tom Herman, particularly in his last two seasons at Texas, they struggled with press coverage and physical corners.  That is something Andre Coleman's receivers will need to prove they can overcome. Under the previous regime there were also issues with rotations at the position during games, which greatly hurts players in terms of getting in rhythm. That should come to an end under Sark, as he lives with the mantra of FTS (Feed The Studs). Starter and true freshman Xavier Worthy has elite breakaway speed that Texas simply hasn’t had in some time at the position. Jordan Whittington and Joshua Moore complete the starting trifecta and they will have opportunities to make plays on Saturday.
4. Playing with All Gas No Brakes in the Second Half
Many times, under Tom Herman Texas would start fast but finish slow.  Leads were built only to disappear, or they would be on the wrong side of close games.  Last season the Longhorns lost three games by a total of 13 points.  One game (vs. Oklahoma) was a 4OT game in which they lost by eight. Simply put, they couldn't close the games they needed to close  Good teams have the ability to do that.  If Sark's players can play to his standard and live by his "All Gas No Breaks" motto, expect different results moving forward. Texas needs to put an exciting product on the field this year to entice fans and recruits alike, and how things play out late in games is something that will everyone will be watching for.
5. The Special Teams Battle
The third phase of the game of football is often overlooked in today’s age of player safety on punt and kick returns. Many teams fair catch kickoffs, but this is a critical matchup to watch. In their upset win last season over Iowa State, Louisiana was able to score two touchdowns on special teams. That was a pivotal reason as to how they were able to pull off the upset. This is a phase of the game where Texas has struggled under previous regimes. Often times special teams provide a barometer for just how fundamentally sound your team is. If you are bad on special teams, you most likely aren’t a well-coached team in the other phases of the game. Sarkisian understands this, which is why he brought Jeff Banks with him to Austin.  Banks is as good as they come as a special teams coach and knows his guys can change the outcome of games in one play.  Texas return man D’Shawn Jamison has made an impact on special team throughout his career, adding three touchdowns via punt and kick returns over the last three years. If Texas can win or be neutral with Louisiana in the special teams phase it’s hard to imagine the Longhorns losing in Sarkisian's debut.    

Messinger's prediction for #23 Louisiana vs #21 Texas

Correction: I misspoke on the stadium's name, Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.
Tomorrow the #23 Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will travel to Austin,TX to take on the #21 Texas Longhorns. open their season at home against Louisiana-Lafayette. Kickoff is set for 3:30 PM (CT) and will be televised on FOX. Today, I breakdown the matchup and predict the game's winner. Stay tuned to HornSports for our full staff predictions, coming soon!

Longhorns land 2022 4-Star D-Linemen JaRay Bledsoe & J'Mond Tapp

On Monday, the Longhorns landed a commitment from 2022 four-star defensive lineman JaRay Bledsoe and 2022 four-star edge rusher J'Mond Tapp. Moreover, Steve Sarkisian and Defensive Line Coach Bo Davis also landed a commitment from 2022 four-star defensive lineman Aaron Bryant last Thursday.
Today, I will discuss these defensive linemen and will list all of Texas's offers since my last article.
J'Mond Tapp:
The Longhorns open their season against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday but their week is already off to a great start thanks to the addition of J'Mond Tapp and JaRay Bledsoe. On Monday night, the 6'3" and 245 pound native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana announced that he would be taking his talents to Texas to play college football. 
As of Monday, the Louisiana native has earned 19 scholarship offers from schools such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia and LSU. Prior to his commitment, it appeared that Tapp would ultimately elect to commit to Louisiana State, having been the recipient of four 247Sports crystal ball predictions to LSU. However, Tapp elected to surprise fans when he announced that he would spend his college years on the Forty Acres.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Tapp is ranked as the ninth-best EDGE in the nation's 2022 recruiting cycle. Following Monday's commitments, the Longhorns now hold the nation's sixth-best recruiting class in the nation's 2022 cycle per 247Sports. Tapp's commitment also pushed Texas's pledge total to 20 in their 2022 recruiting class.
Last season, Tapp accumulated 64 tackles and 5.5 sacks in high school for the Ascension Catholic Bulldogs.
JaRay Bledsoe:
JaRay Bledsoe was the first player to commit to the Longhorns on Monday and showcased Texas's ability to keep a recruit within the state's borders. In fact, according to the 247Sports Composite, Bledsoe is a top-25 player in the state of Texas's 2022 recruiting cycle. Thanks to Bledsoe's size, standing in at 6'4" and 270 pounds, Bo Davis will have a lot to work with on the defensive line in the near future.
Prior to Bledsoe's senior season, the four-star recruit transferred from Bremond to Marlin to finish out his high school football career. During the 2020 season, Bledsoe tallied a total of 114 tackles, 4 forced fumbles and 2 sacks. It is worth noting that Bledsoe also contributed to Bremond as a running back and rushed for 1,259 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Aaron Bryant:
Along with Bledsoe and Tapp, Aaron Bryant also recently announced his commitment to Texas. Bryant, a native of Southaven, Mississippi, chose the Longhorns over the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M. Furthermore, Bryant represents a big haul for the Longhorns as the 247Sports Composite has listed him as the ninth-best recruit in the state of Mississippi's 2022 recruiting class.
Now, the 6'4" and 306 pound Mississippi native is set to join five other defensive linemen in the Longhorns 2022 recruiting class. Like many other of the pledges, Bryant has proven to be a productive player at the high school level, totaling 68 tackles, 6 sacks and 4 forced fumbles last season for the Southaven Chargers.
This recent trio of pledges on the defensive line represents a series recruiting victories for the Longhorns, particularly due to the fact that these prospects were also heavily recruited by several SEC programs. While Texas has had solid depth on the defensive line throughout the years, the Southeastern Conference frequently has linemen, on both sides of the ball, drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft. As a result, it will be critical for the Longhorns to continue to win recruiting battles in the trenches in order to compete with their future rivals.
2024 Offers:
Stacy Gage - Four-star Running Back - IMG Academy

Longhorns Recruiting Road Trip: Week 1

This weekend, I traveled to Lake Travis to watch the eighth-ranked Cavaliers take on Arlington Martin in one of the state's premier games. In addition to being a battle of two powerhouse programs, the contest had no shortage of notable recruits including two key Texas targets Trevell Johnson and Javien Toviano.
Week One:
Entering Friday's game, the Martin Warriors were the ninth-ranked team in Texas's 6A classification, just one spot below Lake Travis. Like all teams, the Warriors had lost key players such as Morice Blackwell, who is currently a linebacker for the Longhorns, to graduation. However, Head Coach Bob Wager's squad certainly does not lack any talent. This season, Wager's defense is led by 2022 three-star linebacker Trevell Johnson, who is currently committed to the Longhorns, and 2023 five-star cornerback Javien Toviano.
On the other sideline were the Lake Travis Cavaliers, led by 2023 three-star quarterback Bo Edmundson, 2022 four-star wide receiver Caleb Burton and 2022 three-star athlete Derrick Johnson. Burton, who transferred from nearby Del Valle High School, made his return to football after missing the 2020 season due to a knee injury that he sustained in the season opener. His first challenge? Lining up against one of the state's premier cornerbacks in Toviano.
Throughout the night Toviano was busy making play after play including: scoring a touchdown on a kick return, being tasked with providing an offensive spark as a running back and, most importantly, shadowing Caleb Burton while on defense. Other than suffering a touchdown reception to Burton on a craftily drawn up trick play, Toviano had an impressive performance.
For Trevell Johnson, Friday's contest was a tough one due to the fact that the linebacker has been dealing with a nagging shoulder injury. As a result, Johnson played sparingly and had to watch Lake Travis take advantage of Martin's other linebackers when he was on the sidelines. Lake Travis running back Derrick Johnson was the main beneficiary of Trevell's absence, routinely getting to the second level and scoring a total of three touchdowns.
Also, it is obviously worth noting that Bo Edmundson had a solid season opener as he took care of the football and delivered accurate passes. The Cavaliers coaching staff did not dial up any deep passes for the junior quarterback, but Bo showed poise in the short and intermediate passing game. Furthermore, he was able to throw for two touchdown passes by the end of the night.
Extra Point:
Although his stat line would not blow you away, Caleb Burton looked good for the Cavaliers in his first game back. As Burton continues to learn the nuances of the Lake Travis playbook and becomes more comfortable with his knee, I expect his game to improve each week. Additionally, with Edmundson at quarterback, I believe that Burton will produce career-high numbers this season.
Speaking of Edmundson, I will be interested to see how his recruitment heats up as he gains exposure. Currently, he holds 9 collegiate offers from schools such as Michigan State, Oklahoma State and Penn State.
Lastly, it will be interesting to see how Trevell Johnson handles his injury. He is currently giving his teammates everything that he has, which is very admirable, but it is always painful to see someone try to play through an injury. Hopefully Trevell's health status progresses throughout the course of the season.
Miles Logged:
44 (Total)

Great Expectations? What To Expect From Sark’s Offense In Year One

Photo: Texas Sports
University of Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian has a track record of engineering explosive offenses as a coordinator. Whether it was most recently putting up historic numbers at Alabama or assembling elite offenses as a coordinator at USC in the mid 2000’s, it's hard to argue with his success.  Coordinators have extremely important jobs, but there is less responsibility than that of the head coach - they typically only need to watch their respective side of the ball or coach one position or unit.
As a head coach your plate looks like a Thanksgiving Day meal. Everything is piled on top of each other, much like green beans running into your cream corn because there is not enough space....  But, everything must fit and it's all equally important to the palate.  
Head coaches are responsible for both sides of the ball and special teams along with making sure the position coaches are moving things forward. They are also expected to finish many recruiting battles against the Nick Sabans of the world. Which is many head coaches don’t call plays be it on offense or defense. It’s easy to be an above average play caller as a coordinator, but as Tom Herman & Charlie Strong have shown, doing it as a head coach proves to be much more difficult.
In 2009 Sarkisian took over a Washington Huskies team that went winless in 2008. In 2009 the Huskies went 5-7 including a massive win over #3 USC. The offense averaged 26.1 points per game, up from 13.2 points per game in 2008. In Sark’s first year he turned QB Jake Locker into what would have been presumably the first pick in the NFL draft had he not returned to school the following year. In 2008 the Huskies' leading rusher gained just 338 yards on the ground; Chris Polk ran for over 1100 yards in Sark’s first year offense. Sarkisian turned the offense around 360 degrees from day one in Washington. No matter what you think of the talent on the current Texas roster, it’s significantly better than what Sark walked into before the 2009 season at Washington.
In 2014 Sarkisian left Washington to take the head job at USC. He assumed the post after Lane Kiffin and and the Trojans decided they weren’t a good marriage. The offense in 2013 averaged 29.7 points per game under Kiffin. When Sark came in he increased that to 35.8 points per game, good for 23rd best in the country. Sarkisian had the offense rolling and QB Cody Kessler was looking like a Heisman candidate, throwing for just under 4,000 yards and 39 touchdowns to just five interceptions.
It didn’t stop with Kessler. Running Back Javorious Allen had just under 2,000 yards from scrimmage, good enough for an average of over 6 yards per play. While Allen was a talented back, Bijan Robinson is on another level in terms of talent. If Robinson is used right, there is no reason he can’t be in the discussion as the best running back in the country.
The two previous stops for Steve Sarkisian as a head coach show that he can and will improve offensive output from day one. Given some of the talent in Austin is young but rich, there will be expected bumps in the road throughout the season.  But even with youth, the roster is gleaming with potential.  In fact, I'd say this group is just as talented, if not more so, than Sark has had as a head coach.
Many people assume the Sarkisian offenses of the last couple years are a product of the Alabama players. While the talent and depth in Tuscaloosa certainly helped, if you watch film and see the schemes Sark presents, it wouldn't matter if it was a two-star or five-star player executing the plays.
The Texas offense should be fun to watch this year.

2022 4-Star WR Brenen Thompson names Longhorns as Finalist

This weekend, the Texas high school football season will kick off across the state. However, prior to the start of the football season, the Longhorns received positive confirmation from two of their top targets.
Today, we will discuss the latest news in Texas's recruiting and will list all of the team's scholarship offers since my last article.
Brenen Thompson:
On Friday, 2022 four-star wide receiver Brenen Thompson announced that the Longhorns are one of three finalists in his recruitment. Joining Texas on Thompson's list include: Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Thompson is the nation's eleventh-ranked wide receiver in the 2022 recruiting cycle. Additionally, Thompson is a top 15 player in the state of Texas.
Entering his senior season, Thompson will look to lead Spearman deep into the Texas high school football playoffs in the state's 3A Division II classification. During his junior season, Thompson led the Lynx to a third round playoff appearance before being eliminated by Childress.
Aaron Bryant:
On Thursday, 2022 three-star defensive lineman Aaron Bryant will announce his commitment to a mystery school. However, currently, Bryant is the recipient of multiple 247Sports crystal ball predictions in favor of the Longhorns.
If Bryant were to commit to the Longhorns, he would become Texas's fourth pledge on the defensive line in their 2022 recruiting class. Furthermore, according to the 247Sports Composite, Bryant is the tenth-ranked class of 2022 recruit in the state of Mississippi.
Jaylon Guilbeau:
Along with Thompson, 2022 four-star cornerback Jaylon Guilbeau also named the Longhorns as one of his three finalists. It is worth noting that Guilbeau had previously been committed to joining the Longhorns before ultimately de-committing in mid-July.
According to 247Sports, Guilbeau is the 13th-ranked cornerback in the nation's 2022 recruiting cycle. Additionally, he would become the highest-ranked cornerback in Texas's recruiting class, surpassing recent Longhorns commit 2022 three-star cornerback Ronald Lewis.
2022 Offers:
Kelby Collins - Four-star Defensive Lineman - Gardendale Javin Simpkins - Four-star Running Back - Norland

Texas Basketball target 2022 4-Star G Jalen Hood-Schifino sets commitment date

This summer, while the Longhorns football team has been the talk of the town, Chris Beard has given the entire Texas basketball team a facelift. Prior to Beard's arrival on the Forty Acres, it seemed that the Longhorns would be destined to appear outside of the nation's top 25 basketball rankings. However, as we approach the start of the new school year, it is clear that the Longhorns are now much more likely to be ranked as a top 5 team in the nation.
How did this drastic change happen? Two words: talent acquisition. While Beard has had a busy summer courting potential transfer commits, he has also kept the Longhorns alive in several high school basketball recruiting battles as well.
Today, we will discuss Texas Basketball's recent activity in the recruiting world and will list all of their scholarship offers since my last article.
Jalen Hood-Schifino:
On Saturday, 2022 four-star guard Jalen Hood-Schifino announced that he will be committing to his future school on August 24th. The Longhorns are one of Jalen's five finalists with Florida, Indiana, Memphis and Tennessee also making the list.
According to the 247Sports Composite, Jalen is the nation's third-ranked combo guard in the 2022 recruiting cycle. Additionally, he is ranked as the 24th best recruit in the 2022 recruiting cycle as well.
Although the Longhorns were able to make Schifino's list, they will face heavy competition in earning his services on the court. Currently, Schifino attends Montverde Academy in Florida, which is roughly 95 miles away from the University of Florida. As a result, the Florida Gators will have the "home field advantage" in Schifino's recruitment. However, it is also worth noting that Montverde Academy is a national basketball powerhouse and it is not uncommon for their players to leave the state of Florida.
Keyonte George:
Unfortunately for the Longhorns, they were unable to land a commitment from 2022 five-star shooting guard Keyonte George. Keyonte, the nation's second-ranked basketball player in the 2022 recruiting cycle, elected to verbally commit to the Baylor Bears.
The Longhorns were one of George's finalists, however Baylor, being the defending national champions on the hardwood, was able to attract George to Waco. Interestingly enough, George's high school teammate, 2022 five-star point guard Arterio Morris, committed to the Longhorns roughly one month ago.
Rowan Brumbaugh:
Several weeks after extending an offer to 2022 thee-star point guard Rowan Brumbaugh, the Longhorns were able to land on the recruit's top six schools list. Other schools that join Texas on Brumbaugh's list include: Kansas, Maryland, Miami, Northwestern and Oregon.
Brumbaugh's measurables have helped to make him a valuable commodity as he stands in at 6'4". As a result, Brumbaugh has been able to amass 29 scholarship offers to play point guard at the collegiate level.
2022 Offers:
Rowan Brumbaugh - Three-star Point Guard - Northfield Mount Hermon Jalen Hood-Schifino - Four-star Combo Guard - Montverde Academy Jai Smith - Three-star Power Forward - Word of God Christian Academy Isaac Traudt - Four-star Power Forward - Grand Island 2023 Offers:
Kylan Boswell - Point Guard - Centennial Chris Johnson - Four-star Shooting Guard - Elkins Cody Williams - Small Forward - Perry Wesley Yates - Shooting Guard - Beaumont United 2024 Offers:
Liam McNeeley - Small Forward - John Paul II Derik Queen - Power Forward - St. Frances Academy

Longhorns add commitments from 2022 3-Stars Eoghan Kerry & Ronald "Champ" Lewis

On Friday, the Longhorns football team started their annual fall camp in preparation for the upcoming football season. However, leading up to fall camp, Steve Sarkisian and Texas's recruiting staff had been busy on the recruiting trail. Today, we will discuss Texas's recruiting moves and will list all of their scholarship offers since my last article.
Since the end of Texas's series of official visit weekends in June, the Longhorns have added seven commitments to their 2022 recruiting class. This past week, the Longhorns landed commitments from 2022 three-star linebacker Eoghan Kerry and 2022 three-star cornerback Ronald "Champ" Lewis. Our Aaron Carrara wrote about Texas's addition of Lewis here.
To begin, Kerry had received 10 collegiate offers from schools such as Arizona, Colorado and UCLA. Additionally, according to 247Sports, Kerry ran a 4.59 40-yard dash in 2020 and stands in at 6'3", 225 pounds. In August of 2020, Kerry announced that he would transfer to Mater Dei and was later able to suit up for the Monarchs during their condensed spring football season.
Furthermore, what stands out about Kerry is his size as he already looks to have a college-ready frame. This fall, Eoghan will be able to spend his senior season at Mater Dei further developing physically, as well as being able to gain more experience on the football field.
Along with Kerry, Ronald "Champ" Lewis also announced his commitment to the University of Texas last week. Prior to committing to the Longhorns, Lewis was committed to joining the Colorado Buffaloes football program. However,  Lewis is now set to join former Warren Easton teammate Casey Cain, a 2021 three-star wide receiver recruit, on the Forty Acres in 2022.
In terms of a skillset, Lewis's ball skills are what automatically stands out from his highlight reel as he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Consequently, Lewis frequently finds a way to pick off opposing quarterbacks, something that is much needed in Texas's secondary.
Other Recent Commits:
As I previously mentioned in this article, the Longhorns have added a plethora of new commitments in the recent weeks. If you would like learn more about what these recruits will bring to the Longhorns, click on the hyperlinks below to watch break downs of their skillsets.
2022 Four-Star EDGE Derrick Brown 2022 Four-Star Cornerback Austin Jordan 2022 Three-Star Offensive Lineman Connor Robertson 2022 Four-Star Offensive Lineman Cole Hutson 2022 Four-Star Running Back Jamarion Miller   Offers:
2022 Offers:
Rodney Johnson - Three-star Cornerback - Gadsden City Eoghan Kerry - Three-star Linebacker - Mater Dei Ronald "Champ" Lewis - Three-star Cornerback - Warren Easton 2023 Offers:
Liona Lefau - Four-star Linebacker - Kahuku Rodrick Pleasant - Four-star Cornerback - Junipero Serra Will Randle - Tight End - Isidore Newman

Great expectations? What's realistic for Sarkisian, staff in first season?

Often times when a coach takes a new job, there is a honeymoon phase. That time period typically offers the staff an opportunity to instill their systems, philosophies and team culture while establishing their base in recruiting.  It's fairly common in college football programs, but for Steve Sarkisian, he is unlikely to be afforded a transition year in Austin. The last month and a half have been tough on the Texas staff, losing key recruiting battles at critical positions.  The microscope is focused, and the Longhorns must win on the field to deter further criticism of the new regime.  
What is the barometer for Sarkisian's first-year at the helm?  A nine or ten win season would quell concerns and most certainly spark recruiting momentum.  Less than 9 wins and recruits may scratch their heads and think it’s the same old underachieving Texas program with a new slogan and a new staff. It’s not Sarkisian’s fault but Herman and Strong sold the new staff idea to recruits and didn’t back it up on the field.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times....
Recruits won't fall for that same idea this time around. If your motto is "All Gas No Breaks," you can’t go 7-5.
The good news for the Longhorns is that there was plenty of talent left behind for Steve Sarkisian and his staff to succeed in their inaugural season. If you are one that likes to base talent off of recruiting rankings, there won’t be a single game Texas plays where they have the less talented team. Player development in Austin has been the biggest struggle over the last decade, and that must consistently improve in order for Texas to win games they are capable of winning.
Many will argue that Sarkisian and his assistants only won at Alabama because of talent, but that talent still must be developed and put in the right position. Texas is 2-7 vs TCU since they joined the Big 12, which is inexcusable. The reason for most of those losses was simply Gary Patterson outcoaching the former two Texas head coaches. If Texas just doesn’t get outcoached so often, they will be back to winning 10 games a year.
As talented as Iowa State is on paper this year, Texas had the lead for 57 minutes last year in Austin. Iowa State should never beat Texas in football plain and simple. Texas is 14-4 all time vs Iowa State for a reason and people assuming the Longhorns are an automatic loss to the Cyclones this season should re-watch the last two matchups between the teams in which Texas lost by a combined four points.  Tom Herman was largely responsible for losing those games.
An achievable goal for the Longhorns this season should be no less than 9 wins and a spot in the Big 12 Championship in December. Other than Oklahoma in Dallas I’m not sure there is another game on the schedule they should lose. If this staff is as advertised, they certainly can beat the Cyclones, Louisiana and Arkansas which are all solid teams.  If the Longhorns go 9-3 or 10-2, they will likely be in Arlington facing Oklahoma for the Big 12 title.  That would be a successful season and would help the recruiting efforts in Austin.          

Texas Legislators Veer into a New Lane: College Athletic Conferences

Ten years after Texas A&M University announced it was leaving the Big 12 and joining the Southeastern Conference (SEC) with no intervention or public scorn from Texas lawmakers, the Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, appointed a Senate Select Committee on the Future of College Sports in Texas to hear testimony on the impact of The University of Texas’ (UT) decision to leave the tenuous ten-team conference led by scorned Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.  This, a show of force by a self-proclaimed conservative state government, not even two weeks after the leak from the Aggies to the Houston Chronicle’s TAMU sports beat reporter about the former rival’s rumored move.   
The alma maters of committee members span Texas but most noticeably the ire toward Texas’ decision was fired from Baylor, Texas Christian University and Texas Tech alum and their respective representatives.  While the Chair, Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), and Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston), publicly commented that college athletics would not be intertwined with state funding decisions for UT, Senators Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Brian Birdwell (R-Waco), along with State Representative Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), were unequivocal in their disdain for the Texas flagship’s decision and that funding implications would be entertained in future Legislative Sessions.   
Notably, asked to testify but declined, was Texas A&M University.
Complaints from the remaining Big 12 schools and their legislators ranged from acting in secrecy and complete betrayal to their brothers, diminishing local revenue from losing powerhouse schools playing in their communities, harming bond ratings necessary to build infrastructure to their now inability to become Tier 1 research institutions and recruit top students and athletes.  Who knew the Texas Longhorns' athletic program had so much power?  Power to shutdown emerging universities and small towns across Texas with one decision. 
The irony is these same lawmakers run on platforms and pass laws to ensure less government intervention. Protesting the freedom of personal responsibility and championing capitalism to allow those who work hard to succeed and not be held back to a common denominator.  Yet, they are asking the State’s one and only Constitutionally deemed university of excellence to stray from a clear business decision, that doesn’t violate any law or rule, they believe most prudent in light of the changing collegiate athletic landscape to preserve their own future.  
The Texas Legislature cannot stop UT from joining the SEC but after today’s theater, it is clear some will dangle the small portion of state funds appropriated relative to the total $3B annual UT operating budget in front of them as a threat to coerce their behavior moving forward.   
Since we have the luxury of Monday morning quarterbacking and hypocrisy is all too common in politics to serve one’s self-interest and preservation, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see recent patterns of government overreach into local and institutional decisions.  COVID-19 infection rates in Texas are soaring to previous deadly surge levels but local schools, public health systems, cities and counties have their hands tied behind their backs by the state and are prohibited from implementing public health measures that could save lives in their communities. Moreover, the Legislature squandered a 140-day Legislative Session that the public expected would result in meaningful power grid and supply reform to ensure millions of Texans have access to electricity and clean water unlike they did for weeks in February.  But the Legislature didn’t and won’t – and, that is okay because they need to protect those free-market energy companies that fund their reelection coffers instead of 30M Texans. 

Why Texas to The SEC Makes Sense

Texas leaving the Big 12 Conference for greener pastures was always a possibility.  All one needs to do is look back to the realignment discussion in 2011.
At that time there were talks of the Pac-10 adding the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Colorado. While most of those teams stayed put, Colorado made the jump along with Utah, and joined the Pac 10, molding what is now the modern-day Pac-12.
Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference (SEC), as did Missouri, and Nebraska trended North and joined the Big-10.
The shuffling left the Big 12 with many questions regarding the future of the conference, but the Longhorns didn't stew too long.  To the chagrin of others, Texas secured its golden goose, the Longhorn Network, substantially increasing revenue and making it more palatable to remain a Big 12 member. 
West Virginia and TCU were added, bringing the school count to ten. But Oklahoma and Texas held the cards and the conference alive with brands that were appealing. 
The informal assumption was that Texas would eventually join the Pac-12 as the school's profile fit the Pac-12's academic profile more so than that of the SEC. 
When Bret Zwerneman's Houston Chronicle article dropped last week reporting that Texas and Oklahoma had expressed interest in joining the SEC, it was a surprise to many.  But the move makes a lot of sense.  
The new leadership at Texas in President Jay Hartzell, Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Eltife and Athetic Director Chris Del Conte is the biggest reason the move to the SEC should come as no surprise. The priority the triumvirate is placing on the athletic programs at The University is unparalleled and unprecedented. 
Firing head coach Tom Herman during a global pandemic when budget cuts were enacted and paying Herman's $25 million buyout showed they didn’t care about optics. Many administrations would have saved that money after a 7-3 season,  especially given the country's state of economic turmoil. Texas cares about it's brand and reinvigorating the program's blue-blood status, and the move to the SEC is what's best for both. 
The move undoubtedly makes the path to the College Football Playoff more challenging, but that's precisely what the Longhorns need.  Texas has been called soft, entitled and second-best in the Big 12 for many years. The hope is that in a new conference, that stigma is erased on the field.   Saturday competition will be fierce week-in and week-out, and fellow blue-bloods will push Texas both on the field in the trenches of recruiting battles.
Rivalries will be renewed, with the Longhorns picking back up games against Texas A&M and former Southwest Conference foe Arkansas.  They also keep the Red River Shootout game against the Sooners.
Texas is the biggest brand in college sports from a revenue perspective, and the SEC is the best conference in college sports. The revenue share SEC teams will enjoy by adding Texas and Oklahoma will rise from 44 million to roughly 60 million per year.  That's a win-win for everyone involved.
Joining the SEC will craft a different roster for the Longhorns, as they will receive commitments from players that otherwise wouldn't pull the trigger to play in the Big 12. One of the biggest recruiting sells against Texas was the conference they played in. 
That will no longer be a sales pitch.
There are no more excuses for Texas to lose the in-state recruiting battles and for placing a mediocre product on the field.

Two Longhorns Named to 2021 All-Big 12 Preseason Team

The Big 12 Conference released its preseason all-conference team on Wednesday, and included on the list were sophmore running back Bijan Robinson and senior defensive back Bijan Robinson.
Jamison, a 2020 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, started in 9 of the 10 games in a shortened season for the Longhorns.  He had 31 total tackles (25 solo) and 17 kick returns for a total of 564 yards and a touchdown (including one for 100 yards).
Robinson, an early Heisman watch-list candidate, had a break-out season in his campaign as a true freshman.  The Arizona native played in 9 games and started in 6, amassing 703 yards and 4 touchdowns on 86 carries.
Complete All-Big 12 Preseason Team can be found below.

Messinger's reaction to 2022 4-Star RB Jamarion Miller's Commitment

On Monday, the Longhorns were able to land their 12th pledge in their 2022 recruiting class when Jamarion Miller announced his commitment. Miller, a product of Tyler Legacy, also becomes Texas's second running back in their 2022 recruiting class, following Jaydon Blue. Today, our Devon Messinger reacts to Miller's commitment and shares his thoughts on Miller's skillset.

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