Last weekend, there was a multitude of playoff games that included players that the Longhorns are interested in. In addition, two of Texas's commits, Byron Murphy II and Morice Blackwell, were playing in big time games against ranked opponents.
Game #1: Lone Star vs #2 Highland Park
. However, this year, the Scots were hungry for revenge and kept the Rangers away at an arm's length. Thanks to their 30-20 win over the Rangers, Highland Park will face Denton Ryan in this weekend's regional final matchup.
Scots quarterback Brayden Schager had a methodical performance against Lone Star and was accurate on intermediary throws. Additionally, offensive tackle Jack Leyrer has done an excellent job of protecting Schager's blind side throughout the season. Currently, both Schager, a Hawaii commit, and Leyrer, a Stanford commit, have three-star grades on 247Sports.
Game #2: #19 Southlake Carroll vs #14 Arlington Martin
Earlier in the season, former Longhorns commit Quinn Ewers was dealing with a sports hernia injury that sidelined him for much of the year. However, Ewers made a surprise return for Carroll in his first appearance since October. As a result, the Dragons had the firepower that they needed to compete with Martin.
Unfortunately for the Dragons, 2021 Longhorns signee Morice Blackwell was not looking to give them a cakewalk. As a result, Blackwell showcased his top-end speed from the linebacker position as he ranged from sideline to sideline for the Warriors. Furthermore, Blackwell is one of the state's most productive linebackers and had 128 tackles in 2019.
On the other side of things, the Dragons showed some signs of rust on offense but were able to produce when needed. Ultimately, Ewers' rapport with receivers, Brady Boyd and Landon Samson, helped him to finish the game with three passing touchdowns. After Carroll's 30-26 win over Martin, the Dragons will face long time rival, Euless Trinity, this weekend at Globe Life Park.
Game #3: Rockwall-Heath vs #7 Bridgeland
Last time I covered Bridgeland, they beat Klein Collins in the bi-district round of the playoffs. Led by 2022 four-star quarterback Conner Weigman, the Bears were looking to beat a talented Rockwall-Heath team.
However, Rockwall-Heath is led by another talented 2022 quarterback in Josh Hoover, who scorched the Bears with three passing touchdowns. In addition, 2022 wide receiver Jay Fair scored a total of two touchdowns: one receiving and one on a kick return.
Unfortunately for Bridgeland, a few costly turnovers early in the contest all but sealed the deal as the Hawks took advantage of every opportunity. Despite this, Weigman was still able to throw for three touchdown passes as well.
Game #4: #15 Spring vs #11 DeSoto
Last month, 2021 defensive lineman Byron Murphy II flipped his commitment from Baylor to Texas. Against Spring, Murphy was seemingly in the backfield wreaking havoc on every other play. Furthermore, he ended the game with multiple sacks and led the Eagles to a 27-20 come-from-behind victory. In addition to Murphy, teammate Shemar Turner also feasted on Spring's offensive line and even caught a touchdown pass on offense.
This weekend, DeSoto will face #2 Duncanville in the regional finals at Globe Life Park.
First of all, it was nice to see Ewers back in action for Carroll. With Ewers, Carroll's chances of winning a title are drastically improved however, North Shore and Duncanville are still the heavy favorites to win it all.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Bridgeland's Conner Weigman showcased his dual-threat ability against Rockwall-Heath as he was able to rush for many first downs. Weigman's recruitment will be one to keep an eye on for Texas fans, after he was offered by the Longhorns in November.
Changing topic, Martin's Morice Blackwell looks like a quality prospect for the Longhorns. One thing's for sure, Blackwell was all over the field against Carroll and delivered many punishing hits. Blackwell signed his letter of intent during the early National Signing Day period and will join Texas's linebacker group.
Lastly, speaking of another Texas signee, Byron Murphy was very impressive in DeSoto's win over Spring. Murphy's athleticism is readily apparent as he is able to shake off offensive linemen at the snap and pursue the ball carrier down the field.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
Last Tuesday, the Longhorns offered 2023 four-star wide receiver, Jalen Hale, from Longview.
On Christmas, the Longhorns were gifted with a commitment from 2021 three-star wide receiver Keithron Lee.
It has been a season of ups and downs for both programs, but the Texas Longhorns (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) and Colorado Buffaloes (4-1, 3-1 Pac-12) each have an opportunity to finish strong with a win in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
The Longhorns won four of their last five games while Colorado reeled off four straight wins before losing to Utah in their last game played. Both teams had their last games of the season canceled (Texas vs. Kansas, Colorado vs. Oregon) due to COVID-19 challenges.
These two teams will meet for the 19th time in history, rekindling a matchup that was once frequent until the Buffaloes left the Big 12 for the Pac-12 Conference. The Longhorns hold an 11-7 all-time record against Colorado and have won seven of the last eight.
Texas head coach Tom Herman is undefeated in bowl games (4-0) and looks to win his fourth straight bowl game with the Longhorns.
The Longhorns are favored by 9.5 points in the game, but can the Buffaloes pull off the upset and dish Tom Herman his first bowl loss as a head coach?
The HornSports Staff weighs in with their thoughts and game predictions.
The Alamo Bowl will serve as an opportunity for a lot of younger players to make a name for themselves heading into the offseason. The Longhorns will be without 4 starters on defense and 2 on offense due to players opting out to prepare for the NFL Draft. The good news for Texas is they still have Sam Ehlinger and an emerging Bijan Robinson. The duo may be all the Longhorns need against a Colorado team that would likely be a middle of the pack Big 12 team. The Buffaloes enter with a 4-1 record but played a relatively easy schedule. I believe Texas matches up well on both sides of the ball and will cover the 9.5 point spread.
Score Prediction: Texas 31 Colorado 17
Of course, we have all heard of the opt-outs and transfers but they have only provided the team's youth with opportunities. Against Kansas State, players such as Jerrin Thompson showcased what fans can expect about the team's future. In this year's bowl game, expect big performances from Texas's underclassmen on offense. Bijan Robinson had a breakout game against K-State but look for him to have another stellar game to end the season. Lastly, in what could potentially be Sam Ehlinger's last game for the Longhorns, take some time to appreciate what #11 has given to the program. From what we all know about Ehlinger, he wouldn't want to end his Texas career on a sour note.
Score Prediction: Texas 41, Colorado 20
Another year, another Alamo Bowl but with much less intrigue this time around. Tom Herman's job status is very much still in question and the Longhorns' opponent is a Colorado team that has only played five games in a shortened COVID season. To put it as simply as possible, this game shouldn't be a close contest...at all. Even with Texas having several players opt out (including Joseph Ossai), the match-ups aren't favorable if you're a Colorado fan which explains the double-digit underdog status going into
Tuesday night. I expect Texas to test Colorado's front seven with Bijan Robinson early considering LB Nate Landman is sidelined due to an ankle injury, and go on to control the game throughout assuming they play somewhat clean against a squad averaging only 22 points in their last three games. The good guys close out 2020 as they should.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, Colorado 17.
Despite an underwhelming season, Texas and Tom Herman have a chance to end on high note when they meet Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. Many of the key Longhorns starters have opted out for the draft including Brennan Eagles and Samuel Cosmi. Nonetheless, Texas is still a 2 possession favorite over the Buffaloes. This could serve as a great opportunity for Texas’s young players to get playing time on a big game while Sam Ehlinger looks to likely go out with a bang. Colorado meanwhile comes into this game 4-1. Quarterback Sam Noyer has yet to throw for 300 yards in a game while Jarek Broussard is averaging over 160 yards on the ground per game. Expect this to be closer than expected with all of Texas’s opt outs. They’ve played in six one-possession games this season, expect this to be seven. In a close game, I trust Ehlinger over Noyer. Texas goes out on top while Sam Ehlinger finishes his career with a great win.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Colorado 30
The Longhorns will be playing with what can be considered a depleted roster, but it will provide many talented underclassmen with much-needed playing time. While Colorado is no pushover, Texas should be able to win this game handily. A healthy Sam Ehlinger with a clear #1 running back in Bijan Robinson, and the Texas offense will move the chains against a Buffs defense that gives up 376 yards of offense per game. The Colorado offense is averaging 421 yards per game and has the capacity to put points up, but the linebacker and secondary play have stepped up for the Longhorns in the last few games - I look for these units to continue to shine in the bowl game. Tom Herman wins this to remain undefeated in bowl games.
National Signing Day saw the Texas Longhorns pull in a solid Top-20 recruiting class. As Tom Herman mentioned in his Signing Day Press Conference, the Longhorns expected more commitments to come in between then and February. One big one came on Christmas Day through the commitment of Keithron Lee. The Rudder High School wide receiver announced his top-eight schools via his Twitter at the end of November. That list included Baylor, Ole Miss, SMU, TCU, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, and Utah. Today, Lee makes it official, he’s headed to Texas.
Lee will only have to travel two hours from his home in Bryan, TX to get to the 40 Acres. The 5’10 175-pound wide receiver is a three-star commit via the 247Sports Composite. He’s ranked as the 86th best wide receiver in the nation and overall the 76th best player in Texas via those same rankings.
Lee can do it all as at the high school level. He took snaps at defensive back, running back, and wide receiver. In 2020 he recorded 65 receptions for 1,139 yards and 16 touchdowns while also adding another 554 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. In his career, Lee has amassed 1,157 rushing yards, 125 receptions, 2,322 receiving yards, and 49 touchdowns from scrimmage.
He joins Jaden Alexis and Casey Cain as one of three wide receiver commits that the Longhorns have secured in their 2021 recruiting class.
Name: Keithron Lee
Position: Wide Receiver
High School: Rudder
City, State: Bryan, TX
Three Best Traits
Playmaking - When you need a big play, get the ball to number five. He’s the focal point of the Rudder offense and for good reason. He can catch, and take a handoff on a reverse and do damage. Lee is a playmaker through and through. In the running game, he can take any handoff the distance. In the passing game, watch for him to run go routes or bubble screens getting him into space. He’s a big-play wide receiver that does it all for the Rangers. His speed and sheer playmaking ability will translate to the next level nicely.
High Pointing the Ball - For being on the shorter end at 5’10, Lee is exceptional at grabbing the ball at its highest point and bringing it down. You would expect Lee to play out of the slot but many times he’s out wide on the opposition’s top cornerback. Just throw it up to him and more likely than not he will get a hand on it. Even in double coverage, Lee can go up and wrestle the ball away from anyone. That’s a special thing to see out of a sub-six-foot tall wide-out.
Speed - Lee’s game revolves around his speed, acceleration, and overall ability to make the secondary look silly. He’s constantly outrunning everyone on the field. Lee has true track and field speed on the gridiron. Just give him the ball out and space and watch sheer athleticism at work.
Areas for Improvement
Route Running - For Lee to really develop into a top-level wide receiver at the next level he needs a more diverse route tree. Right now, his routes consist of bubble screens, go routes, and touch passes. No doubt that stuff will work at the next level. But for him to see the field on a consistent basis he needs more routes to his game. This is something that he can easily work on and develop as time goes on.
Blocking - Lee at 5’10 175-pounds isn’t the biggest guy in the world. He relies on his speed, not his strength. Thus, he really hasn’t been asked to do too much blocking at Rudder. Texas possesses one of the freakiest running backs in the nation in Bijan Robinson. There’s no doubt he’ll be the focal point of this offense soon. Lee will have to learn to be able to block cornerbacks consistently when Robinson takes it outside the tackles in the future.
Lee is a pure speedster. With offenses becoming more pass-oriented and teams spreading the field more than ever before, Lee is perfect for the game of football now. He’s just a guy who you need to get the ball to and he’ll make anyone pay. Lee adds some depth to the wide receiver position as he is the third wide receiver commit for Texas’s class of 2021. Lee fits the same mold of a Jaden Alexis, who is also in this class. Those two inside with Casey Cain outside makes things look good for the future.
This is a great pickup for Texas as Lee can be extremely beneficial to the Longhorns' future offense. What Lee lacks in stars, he makes up for in speed. He joins Jaden Alexis, Jonathon Brooks, Casey Cain, Hayden Conner, Juan Davis, Gunnar Helm, Max Merril, and Charles Wright as offensive commitments for Texas’s 2021 class.
The 2020 season is set to officially come to a close on Tuesday evening in San Antonio when Texas takes on Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. The Longhorns will be playing in the Alamo Bowl for the second consecutive season and look to wrap up a disappointing season with a victory. Colorado had a surprisingly good year, going 4-1 in their shortened PAC-12 schedule that featured several cancellations. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the Buffaloes:
Former head coach Mel Tucker was not shy about his preference to win games by running the ball and playing great defense. Current head coach Karl Dorrell's background comes from the offensive side of the ball, so it is no surprise that Colorado has opened up the offense a little more this season. Offensive Coordinator Darrin Chiaverini has been on the Colorado coaching staff since 2016 and was promoted to offensive coordinator once Dorrell took over.
The Buffaloes will operate primarily out of the spread, but still feature a strong running game. Sophomore running back Jarek Broussard handles the bulk of the carries and has rushed for over 800 yards on the season to go along with 3 touchdowns. Despite standing at only 5’9 and 185 pounds, Broussard runs hard and has been a big bright spot for Colorado this season.
At quarterback, Sam Noyer got the starting nod to begin the year after spending 2019 as a safety. Noyer initially entered the transfer portal following last season but chose to return to Colorado to fight for the open QB position. He has had an up and down season, completing 58% of his passes with 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He will be used in the running game (5 rushing touchdowns on the season) and the Texas defense will have to account for his legs, especially in the red zone.
The Buffaloes only have 3 receivers who have caught 10 or more passes on the season. Noyer’s favorite targets will be slot receiver Dimitri Stanley and outside receiver La’Vontae Shenault. Stanley has a team leading 249 receiving yards and is averaging over 15 yards per reception. Texan native KD Nixon will also be involved and has 10 catches on the season.
Former Georgia Southern head coach Tyson Summers coordinates the Colorado defense. This is Summers second season in Boulder after spending two seasons as a quality control coach at Georgia. The Colorado defense operates out of multiple fronts and has been effective at getting pressure on the quarterback (12 sacks in 5 games). Outside linebacker Carson Wells has a team leading 4.5 sacks and will provide a big test for the Texas tackles.
In the secondary, junior Makhi Blackmon and freshman Christian Gonzalez occupy the two corner spots. The Buffaloes secondary as a whole has struggled at times this season. The unit allowed over 300 yards passing in their first two games of the season against UCLA and Stanford before putting together more respectable showings against run heavy San Diego State, Arizona and Utah. The opportunities will be there for the Longhorns to move the ball in the passing game, even without leading receiver Brennan Eagles, who announced yesterday he was opting out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.
On paper, this matchup heavily favors Texas, even with all the players that will be missing for the Longhorns. The Colorado offense struggles to push down the field in the passing game, meaning they will likely want to win the game in the trenches against a tough Texas defensive line. Keondre Coburn, T’Vondre Sweat, Moro Ojomo and Alfred Collins will have an opportunity to make their presence felt. Offensively, Texas still has Sam Ehlinger at the helm and Bijan Robinson coming on strong to end his freshman year. It will be interesting to see how the Texas offensive line looks after an excellent performance in Manhattan, but the opportunities will be there for Texas to put points on the board.
Last weekend, 6A and 5A programs entered the area round of the Texas high school football playoffs. In addition, there were many thrilling games across the state and I was fortunate enough to witness a few of them.
Game #1: Everman vs #8 Lovejoy
This year, Lovejoy benefited from UIL realignment as they did not have to face Aledo in the second round of the playoffs once again. However, Everman was led by 2021 Longhorns signee, Juan Davis, who is a jack of all trades on offense. Unfortunately for Everman, Lovejoy quarterback Ralph Rucker brought his A-game for the Leopards and scored a total of five touchdowns in their 49-21 victory.
Despite this, Juan Davis still was able to show off his athleticism as he scored two touchdowns for the Bulldogs. In addition, one of Davis's touchdowns was a contested reception that he caught over two Lovejoy defenders.
Last Wednesday, Davis was one of 17 athletes from the 2021 class to sign with the Longhorns. Additionally, Davis has a good combination of size (listed at 6'4") and athleticism, and is projected to be a tight end at the college level.
Game #2: North Forney vs #2 Aledo
On National Signing Day, JoJo Earle flipped his commitment from LSU to Alabama. As a result, Earle's game against North Forney would be his first as a Alabama signee. Furthermore, Earle did not miss a beat against the Falcons as he had Aledo in the driver's seat for the majority of the game.
In total, Earle scored three touchdowns: two rushing and one on a punt return. However, teammate DeMarco Roberts also had himself a big game as he scored four rushing touchdowns for the Bearcats. Additionally, the Allen brothers, Bryan and Jaden, had big games defensively for the Bearcats as both came away with an interception. Bryan, an LSU commit, also displayed his ability to be a safety net for the defense as he had several tackles in the secondary.
Ultimately, Aledo had a dominant performance and advanced with a 49-24 win over North Forney.
Game #3: Arlington vs #13 Denton Guyer
Coming into the game, Guyer was a big favorite over the Colts. However, Arlington played with the necessary grit that was needed to keep things close. In fact, the Colts were able to take the Wildcats to double overtime. However, Texas A&M signee, Eli Stowers, led Guyer to a thrilling 38-31 victory as he scored a rushing touchdown on a bootleg play in the second overtime period.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they have been playing without another Texas A&M signee, Deuce Harmon. Deuce, who is one of the highest-graded cornerbacks in the state, suffered a season-ending injury a couple of weeks ago. Consequently, Guyer gave up quite a few deep passes and will need to shore up the defense if they want to make back-to-back title game appearances.
Game #4: Midland Lee vs #23 Euless Trinity
Finally, in the state's final game of the weekend, two prestigious programs squared off in an instant classic. Early in the game, the Rebels were firing on all cylinders on offense. However, the Trojans were able to stay in the game thanks to running back Ollie Gordon's ability to find the end zone.
With under a minute left in regulation and the game tied at 49 a piece, Ollie Gordon sealed the deal with a trick play passing touchdown to Xzavior Kautai. Gordon's passing touchdown gave Trinity a 56-49 lead and was his fourth total touchdown of the game.
Longhorns signee Juan Davis could be an interesting add for the Longhorns offense. Davis could end up playing either tight end or wide receiver, and also has a similar build to former Longhorn, Lil' Jordan Humphrey.
Lastly, with Ennis being upset by Mansfield Timberview in the playoffs, Aledo now has a great chance to win their record-breaking 10th state title. However, the Bearcats will still have to face tough challenges within their own region in order to have another title shot.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
On National Signing Day, the Longhorns landed a commitment from cornerback Darion Dunn, a graduate transfer from McNeese State.
Also on National Signing Day, the Longhorns landed a commitment from 2021 three-star defensive lineman, Barryn Sorrell, who signed with Texas.
On Saturday, the Longhorns extended an offer to 2022 four-star wide receiver Nicholas Anderson. Currently, Anderson is a member of the dominant Katy Tigers high school football program.
Yesterday, Texas offered 2021 three-star safety, Dorian Singer. Currently, 247Sports' crystal ball predictions have the Arizona native trending towards Texas.
The Texas Longhorns (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) will head to San Antonio for the second time in as many years for the upcoming college football bowl season, as they received an invitation to play in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Sunday.
The Longhorns will face the Colorado Buffaloes (4-1, 3-1 Pac-12) who have played a shortened schedule in the Pac-12.
Texas will make its 57th bowl appearance and fourth straight under head coach Tom Herman.
Texas and Colorado have played 18 times, with the Longhorns holding an 11-7 record against the Buffaloes.
Kickoff is slated for 8:00 PM on Tuesday, December 29th and will be televised on ESPN.
Junior guard Courtney Ramey and true freshman forward Greg Brown each scored a team high 17 points as the Texas Longhorns (6-1, 0-0 Big 12) defeated the Sam Houston State Bearkats (3-5, 0-0 Southland) at the Frank Erwin Center on Wednesday evening. Texas never trailed in the contest and at one point held a 27 point lead (65-38 at the 11:17 mark in the second half) before ultimately winning 79-63.
The Longhorns shot 42.9% from the floor compared to the Bearkats' 35.2%.
Texas struggled from behind the arc, shooting 10-31 (32.3%) while Sam Houston State went 8-16, shooting 50% from three point range.
Greg Brown also grabbed 10 rebounds notching the only double-double of the game for either team. Andrew Jones had 13 points, 2 steals and 2 assists.
Sam Houston State's Zach Nutall led all scorers with 23 points.
The win gave Texas their seventh straight over the Bearkats and sixth overall on the season.
The Longhorns were scheduled to open Big 12 play last weekend against Baylor, but were unable to due to COVID-19 issues on the Baylor side. Instead, Texas will host Oklahoma State on Sunday in their first Big 12 matchup this season,
The Texas Longhorns are once again a top-20 overall class in the nation as they entered today with the 17th ranked class via 247Sports. The Longhorns lost some commitments along the way, most notably five-star athlete Billy Bowman, but they gained some elite players recently as well.
Headed into the day, Texas had 18 hard commits for the class of 2021. They had a couple of welcome surprises today, as they added a graduate transfer and another player that was previously uncommitted. Below is a recap of the 19 athletes who signed with the Longhorns on National Signing Day 1.
Charles Wright - Austin High - Three-star - Quinn Ewers, the best player in the class of 2022, committed to Texas a few months back. That resulted in 2021 Texas commit Jalen Milroe to flip to Alabama. Ewers later de-committed, leaving a gaping hole at quarterback for the future classes of Texas. Charles Wright a native Austinite, has filled that hole.
Wright is a three-star quarterback, via the 247Sports composite Wright is the 33rd ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2021 class. The 6’1 quarterback has improved his play in each and every season. In his senior year, he posted career highs in yards per game (306.6) touchdowns (32), and quarterback rating (108.1.)
Wright plans to enroll in January and learn behind Hudson Card and Casey Thompson.
Jonathan Brooks - Hallettsville - Three-star - If you thought Wright was having a great senior year, then take a look at Hallettsville's Jonathon Brooks. The 24th ranked running back in the class of 2021 is having a record-setting senior season.
In the Class 3A D1 regional semifinals matchup against Lorena, Brooks ran for a school-record 501 yards and nine touchdowns in the 61-48 victory. Hallettsville due to Brooks' abilities now finds themselves in the 3A D1 state championship game at AT&T Stadium.
Brooks, in the state semifinals, ran for 304 yards, six touchdowns, and also had two interceptions. He is now over the 3,000-yard mark this season with still one game to go. Brooks has all the momentum in the world and will now be running toward Austin to play on the 40 Acres.
Jaden Alexis - Monarch (Florida) - Four-star - One of five out-of-state commits for Texas’s class of 2021 is four-star wideout, Jaden Alexis. Alexis hails from Pompano Beach, Florida, and is a 5’11 185-pound speedster. He is projected to be the next great slot receiver on the team.
Alexis is the son of a former NFL running back, Rich Alexis, who played for Jacksonville, Seattle, and St. Louis. In 2019, Alexis hauled in 49 receptions for 894 yards with eight touchdowns as he was a first-team all-district selection.
The speedy wide receiver is expected to enroll early in January. He’ll likely sit behind Jake Smith and Jordan Whittington his first season. But when it’s his time to shine, expect some big-play magic.
Casey Cain - Warren Easton (Louisiana) - Three-star - Texas was one of only three power-five programs to throw an offer at Casey Cain. The 6’2 wide receiver is ranked as the 151st wide receiver in the class of 2021 but don’t sleep on his potential and talent.
Cain and Warren Easton will meet Edna Karr in the Class 4A State Championship game this season for the third year in a row. The first two meetings went to Edna Karr, but Cain looks to end his Warren Easton career on top with a state title to his name.
Cain joins Barryn Sorrell as one of two Louisiana prospects to commit to Texas’s 2021 class. Expect him to make an impact outside the numbers when his time finally comes.
Gunnar Helm - Cherry Creek (Colorado) - Three-star - Juan Davis is committed to the 2021 class and is expected to transition to a tight end, yet, the only true tight end in this year’s Texas class is Gunnar Helm of Cherry Creek High School in Englewood, Colorado.
Helm is a 6’5 225-pound three-star tight end. He ranks as the 33rd best tight end in the class of 2021 via the 247Sports Composite and is overall the fifth-ranked player in the state of Colorado.
Helm will also fill the hole of Landen King who originally committed to Texas back in April but a month later de-committed in favor of Auburn. Helm as a junior last season, en route to winning a state championship, hauled in 25 receptions for 370 yards and eight touchdowns.
He has experience lining up outside as a wide receiver yet is also an outstanding run-blocker. He’s a guy who can completely change the Texas offense for years to come if he continues to develop a diverse route tree. Helm will be an early enrollee and will face stiff competition to see the field immediately but will make an impact once his time arrives.
Hayden Conner - Katy Taylor - Three-star - One of the original 2021 commits, Hayden Conner has officially signed with Texas. Conner committed back in July of 2019 and has stayed true to his commitment for the duration.
The three-star tackle is also expected to be an early enrollee to Texas’s aerospace engineering program this coming January. The 6’6 320-pound tackle was a four-year starter at Katy Taylor and one of the best offensive lineman in the state of Texas. He’s ranked as the 30th best tackle in the country for the class of 2021.
Conner is talented enough to receive playing time as a true freshman. While it’s expected that Christian Jones and Andrej Karic will be the starters next season, Conner, with a full spring practice could fight his way up the depth chart.
With Samuel Cosmi deciding to enter the NFL draft, it opens up a need for depth at the tackle position. A position that Conner can fill with ease.
Max Merril - Strake Jesuit - Three-star - The only other offensive lineman Texas received a commitment from was Strake Jesuit’s, Max Merril. The 6’4 left tackle committed near the end of September.
Merril is seen as the 95th ranked offensive tackle in the entire 2021 class via the 247Sports Composite. He started at left tackle as a junior and helped Jesuit reach a 10-3 record. This season, Jesuit struggled as they went 4-6, yet Merril was still as dominant as ever at the left tackle position.
Like Conner, Merril will provide great depth at the tackle position moving forward with the loss of Cosmi and potentially Derek Kerstetter.
Ja’Tavion Sanders - Denton Ryan - Five-star- Like Bijan Robinson a year ago, Sanders is the top prize of the year’s class. Despite his Denton Ryan teammate Billy Bowman de-committing and signing with Oklahoma instead, Sanders is staying with Texas.
The lone five-star talent in this year’s class for Texas is the 21st ranked player overall in the nation and the number one ranked athlete in the nation via the 247Sports Composite. What can you say about Sanders other than he can literally do it all?
He splits time at powerhouse Ryan playing defensive end and wide receiver. In 2020 he’s having his best wide receiver year as he’s caught 35 passes for 658 yards and a career-high 11 touchdowns. Coming into 2020 Sanders had totaled 20.5 sacks, 43 tackles for a loss, nine passes defended, and a pair of forced fumbles as well.
As a sophomore, he was the Defensive Newcomer of the Year for his district. He parlayed that into a first-team all-district selection last year. Sanders was recently announced as the cover boy to the 2020 edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Rising Magazine. He and Ryan are the favorites to win the 5A D1 state championship after falling short in the title game one year ago.
Juan Davis - Everman - Three-star - Like Sanders for Ryan, Juan Davis does everything for Everman. Davis has taken snaps at wide receiver, running back, and quarterback over the years for Everman. In 2018 he was a first-team all-district selection as a wide-out before making the transition to quarterback in 2019. He’s expected to develop into a tight end at Texas.
In 2020, Everman is having it’s greatest season since Davis has been there. The team is 6-5 and currently in the area round of the 5A D2 playoffs where they have a date with undefeated Lovejoy.
Davis in his Everman career has eclipsed the 500-yard mark in passing, rushing, and receiving. A true triple-threat. When I talked to him back in the summer he had the perfect quote to summarize what Texas fans can expect from him.
“When Juan Davis hits the field, it’s showtime!”
Derrick Harris Jr. - New Caney - Four-star - Another early enrollee in the class of 2021 is Derrick Harris Jr. out of New Caney. Unfortunately, Harris missed his entire senior season due to a leg injury and still won’t be fully healthy in time for spring practice.
Harris has experience at outside linebacker and defensive end in high school. He’s a bit on the slender side and will have to make up the weight once he’s fully rehabbed but he lives in the opposition’s backfield.
Harris is ranked as the 19th weak-side defensive end in the nation for the class of 2021 via the 247Sports Composite. In his New Caney career, he racked up eight and a half sacks, 13 passes defended, 38.5 tackles for a loss, three interceptions, and a forced fumble.
Jordan Thomas - Port Arthur Memorial - Four-star - Jordan Thomas is yet another four-star commit that Texas will have on its defensive line in the future. In 2018, Thomas was a second-team all-district selection as a sophomore recording seven tackles for a loss and five sacks. He missed his entire junior season due to injury, but came back in 2020 and has led Port Arthur Memorial to an undefeated regular season.
Unfortunately, Memorial went one-and-done in the 5A D1 playoffs, a seven-point loss to Fort Bend Hightower. Nonetheless, Thomas’s play on the field, and at camps has taken the recruiting world by storm.
He’s the 21st ranked weak-side defensive end in the class of 2021 via the 247Sports Composite and is a player that Texas fans will fall in love with soon enough.
Byron Murphy II - DeSoto - Three-star - Murphy was originally committed to Baylor. That was until the three-star defensive tackle flipped the switch and committed to Texas in mid-November. The 6’1 290-pound defensive tackle along with a five-star prospect, Shemar Turner, has turned DeSoto into one of the better defensive units in the state of Texas.
Last year, Murphy was a unanimous first-team all-district selection as well as a Class 6A all-state selection. Murphy though is having a career year in 2020. He entered this season with six and a half career sacks, this year alone he has 10 in just nine games. Murphy also has 13 tackles for a loss with a forced fumble on his 2020 resume as well.
DeSoto now has to face red hot Rockwall in the area round of the 6A D1 playoffs. A game that has all of DFW on notice. Murphy is a bonafide stud.
Barryn Sorrell - Holy Cross (Louisiana) - Three-star - One of the newest signees to this class is Barryn Sorrell out of Holy Cross high school in Louisiana.
Sorrel is a 6’3 edge rusher who has experience playing that along with defensive tackle. He also has experience inside of a 3-4 base scheme as well as a 4-3 scheme. This three-star commit is now also the second Louisiana commit in this class joining wide receiver Casey Cain.
Sorrell, an original Northwestern commit, was between six schools today. Arizona State, Louisville, Northwestern, Texas, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech were all fighting for his services. Lucky for Texas, he will be playing on gamedays in Austin.
One of the many surprises of the 2019 National Signing Day, Sorrell ranks as the 54th best strong-side defensive end in the class of 2021 via the 247Sports Composite. Whether it’s as an edge-rusher or a nose tackle, expect Sorrell to make a difference once he gets playing time.
Terrence Cooks - Shadow Creek - Four-star - Another recent commitment is from one of two four-star linebackers in this class for Texas in Terrence Cooks out of Shadow Creek.
Cooks is the 18th ranked outside linebacker via the 247Sports Composite. He transferred to the powerhouse program prior to his junior season and ended up being a second-team all-district selection on his way to a 16-0 season and a 5A D1 state championship for himself and the Sharks.
This season, the Sharks made the jump to 6A and so far are 5-3 and in the area round of the 6A D1 playoffs. Cooks in seven games is credited with 55 tackles, four for a loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble. The Sharks and Cooks now have a date with 8-3 King on Friday.
Cooks is an exceptional talent. He’s a tackling machine who can also get pressure on the quarterback. He’s approaching 150 total tackles in his two year Shadow Creek career.
Morice Blackwell - Arlington Martin - Four-star - The other four-star linebacker headed to Texas is Morice Blackwell out of Arlington Martin. Whereas Cooks ranked number 18 in the nation at his position, Blackwell comes in at number 24.
If Cooks is a tackling machine then tackling is what Blackwell does for a living. As a sophomore, he racked up 112 total tackles en route to being named districts Sophomore of the Year. As a junior, he was the unanimous district MVP as he racked up another 128 tackles with 13 for a loss, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions. In 2020, it’s more of the same for Blackwell. He’s credited with 78 tackles, eight for a loss, four passes defended, and even a passing touchdown in eight games.
Arlington Martin currently sits at 9-1 with their lone loss being to Ja’Tavion Sanders and Denton Ryan in week one of the season. Blackwell looks to come in and have an immediate impact at Texas.
JD Coffey - Kennedale - Four-star - Coffey, a four-star safety is the seventh-ranked safety overall for 2021 and the 26th best player in the state of Texas.
The Kennedale star has been lighting up the box score and opposing wide receivers since he was a freshman. In 2017, he was a Class 4A first-team all-state selection with 88 tackles and six interceptions. One year later and he was a first-team all-district selection with another six interceptions. Last season, he was named the Defensive MVP for his district with 71 tackles, six for a loss, two sacks, and two interceptions.
After a 10-win season, Kennedale kissed their season goodbye in a 43-17 loss to Melissa in the area round of the 4A D1 playoffs. Coffey will also be an early enrollee and is expected to compete with Jerrin Thompson for the gaping hole that will be left when Caden Sterns departs.
Coffey is an amazing safety, a true center-fielder who can prevent any offense from beating him deep. The Longhorns lose Caden Sterns to the NFL Draft, but with Coffey, Texas is in great hands.
Jamier Johnson - John Muir (California) - Four-star - Another early enrollee this year will be Jamier Johnson out of John Muir High School in Pasadena, California. Texas clearly showed an interest in the secondary as Ishmael Ibraheem (has not signed yet), Coffey, and Johnson, are the second, third, and fourth best commits in this class respectively via the 247Sports Composite.
Johnson is ranked as the 20th best cornerback in the country for 2021 and the 22nd ranked player for the state of California overall. Johnson, like Ibraheem, is a tall, lanky, yet fast cornerback who will be able to handle the elite wide receiver threats in the Big-12.
Unfortunately, Johnson wasn’t able to play his senior season due to California canceling their season. He will now get to shake off some rust during spring practice. As a junior, he helped John Muir reach an 11-3 record. He recorded 32 tackles, four interceptions, and a forced fumble on defense. On offense, Johnson eclipsed 100 yards on the ground and 200 yards receiving.
With Texas returning their starting corners from this season, don’t expect Johnson to play immediately.
Darion Dunn - McNeese State - Grad Transfer - No recruiting class is complete without a graduate transfer. Texas benefitted by playing two this season in wide receivers Brenden Schooler and Tarik Black. Now, they await the arrival of cornerback, Darion Dunn.
Dunn previously played at McNeese State where most recently as a Junior he racked up 42 tackles and five interceptions. Dunn’s play warranted him a first-team All-Southland Conference selection.
The 6’1 190-pound cornerback originally decided to transfer to North Carolina State due to McNeese State pushing back their season to the spring. Dunn also made this move to hopefully fly up the draft boards with an increase in exposure and competition. Instead he will be playing for the Longhorns in 2021 and not the Wolfpack.
Isaac Pearson - ProKick Australia - Three-star - Following in first-team All-Pro Michael Dickson’s footsteps is Isaac Pearson of ProKick Australia.
Texas has amassed some incredible special teams’ talent over the years including the aforementioned Dickson, as well as maybe the best kicker in recent memory in Baltimore’s Justin Tucker.
The 6’2 punter looks to add his name to that incredible list as he’s a three-star commit who ranks as the fourth-best in the nation at his position for 2021.
Say hello to hard commit number 19 for the class of 2021. Barryn Sorrell, a 6’3 edge rusher out of New Orleans, Louisiana.
After previously committing to Northwestern, Sorrell de-committed in October tweeting that he was reopening his recruitment process. Shortly after, Arizona State, Texas, and Washington State all showed interest by offering a scholarship to the Holy Cross defensive end.
Today, Sorrell finally ended the suspense when he announced Texas would be his new home. The Longhorns beat out Arizona State, Louisville, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech for his services.
Sorrell is a three-star commit via the 247Sports Composite. He ranks as the 54th best strong-side defensive end in the class of 2021 and overall the 22nd ranked prospect in the state of Louisiana. In 2019, the 250-pound edge rusher led Holy Cross to a 5-6 record and a first-round appearance in the Louisiana Division-1 playoffs. In 2020, Holy Cross has been a disappointing 1-6, but not due to Sorrell as he’s been as dominant as always.
Sorrell primarily plays defensive end but has lined up as defensive tackle on numerous occasions. He can play out of a base 3-4 scheme and even a 4-3 scheme as he has experience with both.
Sorrell recently was awarded Academic All-State as well as being a first-team all-District selection for 2020. He was the only Holy Cross football player to be named to the all-District team.
Now, he’s taking his talents to Texas and the 40 Acres. He becomes the second commit from Louisiana in the class of 2021 joining wide receiver, Casey Cain. He’s also now the fourth defensive line commit Texas has obtained for 2021 joining Derrick Harris, Byron Murphy, and Jordon Thomas.
Name: Barryn Sorrell
Position: Defensive End
High School: Holy Cross
City, State: New Orleans, LA
Three Best Traits:
Versatility - Sorrell is one of the more versatile athletes that Texas has signed recently. He spends most of his snaps playing as an edge rusher, but realistically he can play anywhere on the defensive line. He has experience in the past few years all over the defensive line. Sorrell has played the defensive end and the defensive tackle position out of the 3-4 scheme and has played both positions in a 4-3 scheme as well. When it comes to getting to the quarterback, Sorrell no matter what will find a way.
Great First Step - Sorrell has a great initial step full of strength and acceleration. He uses his size and speed to overpower or maneuver around the first line of defense. On a multitude of occasions, Sorrell was in the backfield in the matter of a second. He imposes his will on opposing offensive lineman at the high school level.
High Ceiling as a DT - Sorrell is listed as a defensive end, as that is where the bulk of his snaps are from. However, he appears to have a much higher ceiling as a defensive tackle at the next level. He lacks the sheer speed and athleticism it takes to be an elite edge rusher at the next level. Put him right over the center though and he can wreak havoc. Texas would be smart to move Sorrell to a nose tackle in the future.
Areas for Improvement:
Athleticism - Sorrell isn’t a freak athlete like some of the other edge rusher recruits in the nation. He has great speed, but not top-level speed. He has strength, but not strength that will completely overpower a division one tackle. As a defensive tackle, maybe. But as a defensive end, he lacks that sheer freaky athleticism you see from the greats.
More Reps - Sorrell is pretty raw on the defensive line. He’s received his three stars through sheer talent alone. He has a ton of potential and an extremely high ceiling. Don’t expect him to pop right away but give him some time and he can flourish in the Longhorns defensive system.
Sorrell is a high ceiling prospect with loads of potential as a defensive lineman. He’s a guy who’s very versatile and can play anywhere on the defensive front in really any scheme and find success. He has a great first step and at the high school level, lives in the opposition’s backfield. With some more time to learn and gain experience at the next level, Sorrell one day can become an instrumental part of the Texas front lines. Sorrell is a guy who will shine in the future, particularly as a nose tackle.
After the multitude of de-commitments Texas has seen recently it’s nice to see a win in terms of recruitment as of late. Sorrell becomes the latest member to Texas’s class of 2021. Not including Ja’Tavion Sanders who is listed as an athlete, Sorrell becomes the ninth true defensive commit for the Longhorns 2021 class. The nine defensive commits for Texas have an average composite ranking of .9018. Clearly, Texas has made an effort to stack up on the defensive side of the ball. Sorrell will add tremendous depth and upside to a defensive line that is improving year in and year out.
This season due to COVID-19, Texas was the beneficiary of a graduate transfer named Brenden Schooler. The wide receiver transferred to Texas after the uncertainty surrounding Oregon and the rest of the Pac-12 as for a while it appeared as if they wouldn’t play this season.
McNeese State is another school that pushed back football activities to the spring due to COVID-19. This caused defensive back Darion Dunn to enter the transfer portal. The graduate transfer was looking at power five schools in which he could come in right away and make an impact in order to be looked at in the NFL draft.
It was announced back in November that he had found his home with the North Carolina State Wolfpack. But, Texas remained in contact and now it appears Dunn is headed to the 40 Acres instead.
Last season at McNeese State, Dunn recorded 42 tackles, 11 passes defended, and five interceptions en route to receiving a first-team All-Southland Conference selection. Clearly, Dunn has excelled at the Southland level and he’s among the best secondary prospects in that conference.
Now, he’s looking for an uptick in competition. With Texas, he’ll more than certainly get what he’s looking for.
Name: Darion Dunn
Position: Defensive Back
College: McNeese State
Three Best Traits
Ballhawk - Dunn is a ballhawk in every sense of the word. He has track and field speed and finished first in the 60-meter hurdles at the Southland Conference Indoor Championships in 2020. He uses his speed and raw athletic ability to cover anyone in front of him. Dunn is a lockdown corner who’s always able to make a play on the ball.
Ideal Size - Dunn stands at 6’1 and weighs nearly 200-pounds. He has size, speed, and a good frame to be a lethal cornerback in the Big-12. Dunn won’t be manhandled at the line of scrimmage by anyone. He can outmuscle you and still run with you 40-yards down the field. That’s rare to see.
Experience - Dunn has all the experience in the world. He spent four years at McNeese State and spent the majority of that on the field for the Cowboys. Yes, it’s Southland Conference experience, but it’s experience nonetheless. Time and time again, Dunn has proven himself in the biggest games for the Cowboys and will be able to translate that well to the Big-12.
Areas for Improvement
Level of Competition - This is an obvious one. There’s a big talent gap between the Big-12 and the Southland. That’s not to say that Dunn can’t compete at Texas though. In order to make it to the next level, you have to dominate where you were previously. Dunn at McNeese State dominated, to say the least. He shouldn’t have a big problem moving over to a more difficult level of competition but it could be a little tricky at first. After a few practices though Dunn should know what to expect moving forward.
Open Field Tackling - Looking at his film, Dunn appears to be a solid tackler. He has a great frame and not many wide receivers can break out of his grasp. In the Big-12 though where offenses spread the ball out, can Dunn consistently bring down wide receivers in the open field? I believe he can, but to really improve his game this is an area he’ll have to work on.
Dunn is a great graduate transfer pickup for the Longhorns. He can do it all and has experienced it all at McNeese State. He’s a guy who can come in and play right away given his freakish speed, ideal size, and great covering skills. Texas is a better team today than they were yesterday with the addition of Darion Dunn.
Dunn will join three other defensive back commits from the class of 2021. JD Coffey, Ishamel Ibraheem, and Jamier Johnson all will be incoming freshmen in the 2019 season. Those three guys are all four-star talents but expect Dunn to see the field first and the most often as he will be with Texas just this upcoming season. The secondary, even with the departure of Caden Sterns, is a crowded one. Dunn adds loads of depth to that group and will surely receive some playing time as well. He’s a great pickup for the Longhorns as he adds everything you could possibly look for in a transfer.
Prior to Wednesday's national early signing day, I wanted to watch 2021 Longhorns commit Charles Wright in action for one last time in his Austin Maroons career. In addition, I decided to cover a fellow quarterback in Bridgeland's, Conner Weigman, who is a Texas target. Furthermore, both players were also looking to lead their team to a bi-district playoff victory.
Game #1: Klein Collins vs #7 Bridgeland
One of the prospects that has garnered the most buzz has been Bridgeland's quarterback, Conner Weigman. Currently, the 2022 four-star quarterback is uncommitted, however he has offers from 19 schools. In addition, Texas has been one of the schools to recruit Weigman following Quinn Ewer's de-commitment. Furthermore, the only other 2022 quarterback in the state of Texas that has an offer from the Longhorns and remains uncommitted is
, out of Austin Westlake.
Entering Bridgeland's playoff game, I was expecting fireworks out of the gate, and they delivered. The Bears defense made some big plays early, with a forced fumble by Bryce McMorris that was returned for a touchdown by Aaron Vital. Additionally, Bears junior running back Mason Culton had an impressive three touchdown performance. The thing that impressed me about the Bears was that Weigman was out of rhythm early, yet Bridgeland was still able to dominate. Eventually, Weigman found his groove and was able to find senior wide receiver Dylan Goffney for a score.
Altogether, I think that Bridgeland has the potential to win a state title this year. However, Weigman will have to continue to work his magic in order to put the Bears in a position to capitalize.
Game #2: Austin vs Vandegrift
Entering Friday's game, Austin was trying to win their first playoff game since 1957. However, it was impressive that 2021 Longhorns commit, Charles Wright, was able to lead the Maroons to the playoffs in the first place.
Early in the game, Wright and the Maroons were able to move the ball with ease against Vandegrift's defense. Additionally, Wright showcased some mobility and downfield vision as he was able to find a wide receiver in the back of the end zone for the game's first touchdown. However, despite ending the game with two passing touchdowns, Wright's Maroons were unable to stop the Vipers on offense. Ultimately, the Vipers were able to eliminate the Maroons 45-24 with help from a game-sealing pick six by Michael Mastrodicasa.
Wright is planning on signing with the Longhorns during early national signing day this week. According to MaxPreps, Wright will finish his high school football career with 8,539 passing yards and 88 passing touchdowns. Entering Texas's 2021 season, Wright will join a quarterbacks room that includes: Casey Thompson, Hudson Card and Ja'Quinden Jackson.
On the other hand, Weigman's season continues as he tries to lead Bridgeland to a state title in the 6A Division II classification. In addition to excelling at football, Weigman is also a highly regarded baseball prospect as well. As a result, Texas could be an appealing destination for Weigman as he could potentially play both sports for the Longhorns.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
First of all, 2021 Longhorns commit Jonathon Brooks is continuing to put up video game-like numbers in the playoffs. This Thursday, Brooks will look to lead the Hallettsville Brahmas to their first ever state football title.
Last Friday, the Longhorns extended an offer to 2022 three-star wide receiver, Chris Marshall. Currently, Marshall plays for the Fort Bend Marshall Buffaloes.
Also on Friday, the Longhorns offered 2021 three-star offensive tackle, Austin Uke, from the Parish Episcopal School in Dallas, TX.
Last Friday, 2021 three-star offensive lineman Michael Myslinski announced that he is de-committing from the Longhorns. This move was announced ahead of Wednesday's early national signing day.
Lastly, Texas extended an offer to 2022 four-star wide receiver Kyion Grayes. Previously, Grayes was committed to Arizona before the firing of Kevin Sumlin.
Currently, the playoffs are winding down for small schools. However, multiple athletes with interest from the Longhorns are still are leading their teams deep into the playoffs. In fact, 2021 Longhorns commit Jonathon Brooks has the Hallettsville Brahmas just one win away from a state title appearance.
Game #1: #1 Shiner vs Mason
Admittedly, I was pretty excited to see Shiner's Brooks brothers in action. To begin, 2023 athlete Dalton Brooks already has an offer from Texas. In addition, his brother Doug Brooks, a 2022 defensive tackle, has an offer from Houston. It became readily apparent that the Brooks brothers are something special. Despite playing defensive tackle, Doug is also featured on offense as a running back and showcases decent agility. Furthermore, Doug's stiff-arm is the stuff of legend as he frequently leaves defenders on their back. Along with Doug, Dalton also exhibits great promise and operates well in space. Dalton also offers change of pace speed for the Comanches on offense, and has a habit of making home run plays.
Thanks to the Brooks brothers, Shiner was able to sail past Mason with a 56-0 win. In the winning effort, Dalton rushed for two touchdowns, and Doug accounted for one rushing touchdown as well.
Game #2: #3 Lancaster vs Grapevine
I was interested in covering this game because I was curious to see how Lancaster would fare against a challenging non-district opponent. This season, the Tigers have absolutely smashed their opponents, but have lacked formidable foes. As a result, Grapevine served as a great tune up for the Tigers, who showed no signs of slowing down in a chilly night that featured some rain.
Lancaster's passing game, led by junior quarterback Glenn Rice, is stealthy thanks to a multitude of great wide receivers. However, the Tigers make their money on the ground and are led by 2021 running back D.Q. James. D.Q, a Hawaii commit, scored a total of four rushing touchdowns against the Mustangs.
Lastly, Lancaster was able to beat the Mustangs 61-21 in an impressive win.
Game #1: #2 Refugio vs #1 Shiner
In a game that was being regarded by some as the "unofficial" 2A Division I classification championship game, the Brooks brothers would face a big challenge. However, the Comanches came into the game prepared and started off strong. Making a big impact was Doug Brooks, who had a big sack and a game-sealing touchdown rush in the fourth quarter.
Shiner was able to beat Refugio, 24-13. On Thursday, the Comanches will play #4 Timpson in the state semifinals.
Game #2: Columbus vs Hallettsville
From a pair of Brooks to another, the Brooks brothers' cousin, Jonathon, has also been insanely incredible during the playoffs. In fact, he scored a total of seven touchdowns in the playoff game that I covered against Little River Academy. However, Brooks and the Brahmas were facing a great team in Columbus.
In the third quarter, Columbus found themselves with a 21-10 lead over the Brahmas. However, Jonathon, who had already had an ankle-breaking touchdown rush earlier in the game, was not finished. Late in the fourth quarter, Brooks delivered a game-winning punt return touchdown that sent Hallettsville to the state semifinals.
Following their 23-21 win over Columbus, the Brahmas will face #7 Llano on Thursday in Georgetown.
I stated it last time I covered Hallettsville, Jonathon Brooks plays well above a three-star grade! He always seems to find a way to make a man miss and has a multi-faceted game. The run that he has made in this year's playoffs will not be soon forgotten to say the least.
Also, Shiner's Brooks brothers are just fun to watch. Doug's strength is always on full display, whether he is sacking a quarterback with one arm or stiff-arming his opponent to the dirt. Doug, a junior for the Comanches, will definitely be someone to watch over the remainder of the playoffs. Likewise, Dalton has been making big plays as well, as a sophomore, and has plenty of time to leave his mark. Furthermore, Texas is the first school to have extended an offer to Dalton.
Longhorns Recruiting Notes:
Overall, there has not been a lot of news in the recruiting world. However, something to keep in mind is that early signing day is on December 16.
On Tuesday, the Longhorns offered outside linebacker, Byron Young. Currently, Young is enrolled at Georgia Military College.
Earlier this week, Texas was able to reel off 3 straight victories at the Maui Invitational thanks to strong defense and the ability for the Longhorn guards to make plays down the stretch. On Sunday, Texas was unable to make the winning plays down the stretch as they suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of Villanova, 68-64.
Texas welcomed the Wildcats to the Erwin Center as they looked to build on one of the most successful weeks Texas basketball has had in quite some time. It was a strong start for the Longhorns, as they build up a 27-20 lead during the first half, but Villanova responded by controlling most of the second half and ultimately pulling out the victory. Matt Coleman and Courtney Ramey led Texas with 17 points each, with Coleman also adding 3 assists and 3 rebounds. Freshman Greg Brown finished the afternoon with 7 points and 6 rebounds. For Villanova, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Justin Moore each had 19 points and Jermaine Samuels contributed a team-high 12 rebounds.
After trailing 32-30 at halftime, the Longhorns got off to a slow start in the second half, falling behind 46-38 with 15:08 remaining. Texas was able to battle back and eventually tie the game at 57 following a Courtney Ramey three pointer with 2:37 remaining. The Wildcats responded a three pointer of their own from Cole Swider. In the final 15 seconds of the game, Collin Gillespie went 4 for 4 from the free throw line to ice the game.
The Texas frontcourt struggled with foul trouble for much of the afternoon, with Kai Jones unable to contribute much off the bench after picking up his 4th foul. Shaka Smart's team also had a tough time getting to the foul line. The Longhorns finished the game with only 6 free throw attempts.
Heading into the season, Villanova was widely considered one of the best teams in the country. In the big picture, the loss today should not impact Texas negatively. The biggest frustration for Longhorn fans will be that Texas was just as good as Villanova for much of the game. It was uncharacteristic to see the veteran Texas guards struggle with taking care of the basketball during stretches of the second half, and that will surely be an emphasis for Shaka Smart this week. The Big 12 schedule is going to be grueling and the rest of the season will likely feature several ups and downs, so games like today will serve as a benefit long term as the Longhorns build towards March.
Texas will welcome Texas State to the Erwin Center on Wednesday for their final tune-up before Big 12 play begins on Saturday in Waco against Baylor.
On Saturday, the Longhorns scored early and often in their 69-31 win against the Wildcats. In addition, Texas's running backs had a huge day, combining for over 300 yards. Next weekend, the Longhorns will travel to play Kansas to finish out their regular season.
Despite a ton of outside noise surrounding the football program, Texas put together one of their best performances of the season in a 69-31 rout of Kansas State. The win improves the Longhorns record to 6-3 on the year and 5-3 in conference play. Here are some quick thoughts and takeaways from a thorough beatdown in Manhattan.
Today will be remembered as the coming out party for freshman RB Bijan Robinson. The freshman appeared to be building up to this moment considering his strong performances the last few games, but I don't think anyone expected what he put on display today. Robinson finished with 9 carries for 172 yards and 3 TD's while also adding 3 receptions for 51 yards. He showed everything that made him a 5-star recruit and much more. The combination of speed, balance, explosiveness and pass catching ability is rare, especially for a freshman.
Not to be outdone by Robinson, fellow RB Roschon Johnson turned in the best performance of his career, piling up 139 yards on 14 carries and having 3 touchdowns of his own. Johnson looked fully healthy for the first time in a while and his running style showed it. He appears to be nicely settling into a role that features him in a lot of short yardage and goal line situations. Having him and Robinson as a 1-2 punch heading into next season has to have Longhorn fans excited.
Sam Ehlinger had an efficient day at the office, completing 20 of 27 passes for 274 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Ehlinger connected with 9 different receivers and looked extremely comfortable with the gameplan. The Longhorns did not take many deep shots, instead opting to use the RPO game heavily and get their athletes out in space. As was expected, Ehlinger did anything but mail it in with the season winding down.
Jake Smith and Jordan Whittington combined for 7 catches for 90 yards. The duo did a lot of damage out of the slot on short routes and screens, with Whittington also adding a touchdown on a reverse. Brennan Eagles (4 catches for 41 yards) did the majority of his damage on slants in the RPO game.
The offensive line was the biggest surprise of the afternoon. Following Sam Cosmi opting out, most people wouldn't have expected the unit to dominate the way they did by paving the way for 334 rushing yards. Jake Majors did not look like a freshman at all taking Derek Kerstetter's spot at center, and Andrej Karic also flashed when he was inserted at LT in the second half.
Speaking of Kerstetter, his injury in the first half was very tough to see. Kerstetter is a 3-year starter and captain, and it was awful to see him go down with an ankle injury as his senior season was winding down. Tom Herman revealed in his press conference after the game that Kerstetter dislocated his ankle and had it reduced at the hospital. He was able to return to the stadium and celebrate with his teammates postgame.
Defensively, it was a forgettable game for Texas. The Longhorns struggled with staying disciplined against a Kansas State offense featuring Deuce Vaughn heavily in the zone read game. Vaughn finished with 125 yards on 10 carries and a pair of TD's. The Longhorns benefited greatly from the 3 turnovers they forced, with all 3 setting up the offense deep in Kansas State territory. Texas also had a lot of plays where they let receivers run freely down the field. It was an unusual performance for a unit that looked like they cleaned up most of their assignment/fundamental issues earlier this season.
The positives for the defense centered around the play of freshmen Jerrin Thompson and David Gbenda. Thompson was all over the field most of the afternoon. He made a few freshman mistakes, but reeled in his first career INT and was wasn't afraid to be physical. Gbenda came in and saw extended action following the ejection of Juwan Mitchell for targeting and also had his first career INT. Freshman LB Jaylan Ford also saw playing time and made a few nice plays despite a couple of missed tackles.
The focus will now turn back to Tom Herman's feature. It is unknown what will happen this week or what Athletic Director Chris Del Conte is thinking. Kansas State is one of the worst teams in the Big 12 so it's hard to envision this win changing the decision of what the administration wants to do moving forward. The Longhorns still have one game remaining against Kansas in Lawrence next weekend, although the odds of the game occurring are likely 50/50 at best considering the Covid issues the Jayhawks have been dealing with.
MANHATTAN, KS -- Despite a makeshift offensive line and several starters deciding to opt-out for the remainder of the season, the Texas Longhorns (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) put together their most impressive game of the season on Saturday against Kansas State (4-6, 4-5 Big 12) in Manhattan.
Led by true freshman Bijan Robinson, the Texas ground attack got started early and didn't let up, enabling the Longhorns' 69-31 thrashing of the Wildcats. Robinson finished his day with 179 yards on nine carries, including a 75 yard touchdown run. Sophmore Roschon Johnson rushed 14 times for 142 yards. Each had three touchdowns in what became the team's fourth straight win over Kansas State and their second-straight in the Little Apple.
The rushing effort by Robinson and Johnson marked the first time the Longhorns produced two 100-yard rushers since the 2016 season.
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 274 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, both to his tight ends Cade Brewer and Malcolm Epps.
Senior offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter suffered a nasty ankle injury midway through the second quarter and was carted off the field. Kerstetter's injury was officially classified as a dislocated ankle, and he returned to the team's locker room after spending time at the hospital. The offensive line played exceptionally well, protecting Sam Ehlinger all day and allowing the Longhorn tailbacks to find holes and enjoy success.
Kick returner D'shawn Jamison continues to produce, gaining 150 yards on three returns (including one for 98 yards).
Kansas State quarterback Will Howard threw two touchdown passes, both to Malik Knowles, but committed two turnovers in the form of interceptions by DB Jerrin Thompson and LB David Gbenda. The INT's were the first for Thompson and Gbenda at Texas.
Freshman Deuce Vaughn dazzled for the Wildcats, rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
Saturday's win marked the most points scored by the Longhorns under head coach Tom Herman and was the team's most productive output of points since the 2005 Big 12 Championship in which they scored 70 points.
The Longhorns close out their regular season next Saturday in Lawrence against the Kansas Jayhawks at 2:30 pm.
The Texas Longhorns (5-3, 4-3) own a three-game winning streak against the Kansas State Wildcats (4-5, 4-4), but Saturday's game in Manhattan, Kansas could prove to be a challenge regardless of Texas being favored by seven points.
The Longhorns have historically had trouble winning in the Little Apple. Sam Ehlinger threw for 207 yards and one touchdown and Texas squeaked out a 19-14 win in 2018. Other than that, the last time Texas won in Manhattan was 2002. Before that? 1926.
While the Longhorns have had their share of struggles in an otherwise disappointing season, Kansas State has lost their last four games. The Wildcats lost starting quarterback Skylar Thompson for the season due to an injury suffered in Kansas State's 31-21 win over Texas Tech on October 3rd. Freshman quarterback Will Howard took the reins and won his first two starts but has struggled since.
The Longhorns will be missing several key players at kickoff as well. Safety Caden Sterns and offensive lineman Sam Cosmi announced their decisions to opt out of the remainder of the season in preparation for the NFL Draft. Center Derek Kerstetter is nursing an injury and may not play against the Wildcats.
True freshman running back Deuce Vaughn leads Kansas State in rushing and receiving yards, and is the only player in the Big 12 to lead his team in both categories.
What: Texas Longhorns (5-3, 4-3) vs. Kansas State Wildcats (4-5, 4-4)
When: Saturday, December 5, 2020
Time: 11:00 AM CST
Venue: Bill Snyder Family Stadium
Location: Manhattan, Kansas
The Line: Texas -7
Last Meeting Between the Two Teams: Texas defeated Kansas State 27-24 (November 9, 2019, Austin, Texas)
All-Time Series Record: Texas and Kansas State are tied 10-10-0
Kansas State Wildcats
Head Coach: Chris Klieman
Head Coaching Experience: 8th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Kansas State: 2
Career Record: 84-23
Career Record at Kansas State: 12-10
Head Coach: Tom Herman
Head Coaching Experience: 6th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Texas: 4
Career Record: 52-22
Career Record at Texas: 30-18
Relevant Articles & Information
Depth Chart – Texas vs. Kansas State
Staff Predictions – Texas vs. Kansas State
Scouting Report: Kansas State
Win a HornSports Lid by guessing the final score of Texas-Kansas State
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The Texas Longhorns (5-3, 4-3) head to Manhattan, Kansas to face the Kansas State Wildcats (4-5, 4-4) on Saturday. The Wildcats have lost their last four games, including a clock expiring, game-winning field goal by Baylor last weekend in Waco. The Longhorns meanwhile are reeling from a 23-20 loss to Iowa State that essentially knocked the 'Horns out of a potential spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. With a number of internal challenges taking place on The 40 Acres, will the Texas game plan muster a win in the Little Apple?
The HornSports Staff provides their thoughts and game predictions on tomorrow's 11:00 am kickoff from Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan.
I have a tough time believing the Texas players and coaches are blocking out the outside noise right now. Tom Herman knows his time in Austin could end at any moment and two team captains opting out for the remainder of the season speaks to the mindset of some of the leaders on the team. The assistant coaches are probably looking over their shoulder wondering if they will have a job in a few weeks.
In regards to Kansas State, they are one the worst offenses in the Big 12 since Skylar Thompson went down early in the season. Will Howard does not present much of a threat throwing the football meaning the Wildcats will want to shorten this game and try to move the ball on the ground.
Texas fans should be very worried about what the Texas offense might look like without Sam Cosmi and Derek Kerstetter (who is questionable with an injury). The Kansas State defensive line is strong and Wyatt Hubert has to be salivating at the thought of going up against the inexperienced Texas tackles.
I do not see Texas winning this game.
Score Prediction: Kansas State 21, Texas 14
While the Longhorns were not able to capitalize on the opportunity that was presented last weekend, they still have a lot to play for. After the opt-outs of Sam Cosmi and Caden Sterns, Saturday's contest could offer fans a sneak peek of next year's studs. Consequently, Texas's play against the Wildcats may be more inconsistent than usual, but will pay dividends for the program's future.
Luckily for the Longhorns defense, quarterback Will Howard has struggled to replace Skylar Thompson (season-ending injury) for the Wildcats. As a result, Kansas State has lost four games in a row. However, Texas will have to stop Deuce Vaughn, the talented freshman running back from Round Rock, TX. In fact, Vaughn leads the Wildcats in both rushing and receiving yards.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, Kansas State 17
After what amounts to a program-changing loss against Iowa State over Thanksgiving weekend, the question heading into Manhattan is where Texas’ coaches and players are at mentally. Kansas State isn’t a good football team, but this reads like a perfect trap game. Tom Herman has reached lame duck status, the team goal of a conference title has been wiped out and certain players have opted not to play the last two games of the season. It’s difficult to envision this match-up as anything but a close, grind-it-out defensive struggle in which one break could determine the outcome of the game. Sam Ehlinger working with a true freshman center and a new LT won’t help matters. I want to believe the Longhorns’ morale is still decent, but even so, I will fade them on the road with an early kickoff.
Score Prediction: Kansas State 20, Texas 17.
Texas suffered a devastating loss to Iowa State that virtually killed their Big-12 title dreams. Nonetheless, it’s important to still come out and finish this season strong. This week Texas matches up with a 4-5 Kansas State squad that somehow beat Oklahoma. The Wildcats though are in a free fall as they have lost four consecutive games, Two of which by one possession. Does Kansas State continue their plummet or will they feast on a vulnerable Texas? It’s hard for me to imagine Texas losing this game. It’s been a disappointing year but this is a bounce back game one that they should be able to handle. The Longhorns play up to their superior opponents and also play down to inferior opponents so still expect this one to be a close exciting contest. Kansas State needs to get after Sam Ehlinger early to have a chance in this game. Unfortunately for them, I just don’t see it.
Score Prediction: Texas 27, Kansas State 23
On paper Texas should win this game, but given the recent deficiencies, injuries and opt-outs, I think Texas will have their hands more than full on Saturday. Tom Herman consistently preaches "tuning out the noise" to his players, but some things are hard to ignore - particularly within the program. Opt-outs, injuries and the swell of chatter regarding Herman's future in Austin aren't good for team morale and certainly aren't ideal for motivating players during game week. I worry about an offensive line devoid of Cosmi (and likely Kerstetter) and their ability to protect Ehlinger as well as Texas being able to win in Manhattan. In the last 14 years Texas has won just once in the Little Apple. The Wildcats have had their share of struggles though, losing their last four games and currently sit at 4-5. A win at home against the Longhorns is always something to celebrate for Kansas State, and I expect them to do so this year.
For the second straight season, Texas basketball has opened the season with a 4-0 record. This year though, it feels different considering the quality of opponents the Longhorns faced the past 3 days and the potential they showed in Asheville during the Maui Invitational. Heading into the tournament, it was thought a 2-1 showing against quality competition would leave the Longhorns satisfied heading back to Austin. Instead, Matt Coleman’s step back jumper with .1 seconds remaining gave Texas a 3-0 record in the tournament and the Maui Invitational championship.
It was an eventful 3 days for Shaka Smart’s team. College basketball teams never play on consecutive days outside of early season tournaments, so it served as a test to the Longhorns depth. Texas answered the test despite facing foul trouble in nearly every game, with Smart getting significant minutes out of Brock Cunningham, Kai Jones and Royce Hamm Jr off the bench.
Matt Coleman was easily the MVP of the tournament, reaching double figures in points in all 3 games and pouring in a team-high 22 points in the championship game. Coleman also barely missed a double-double in the opening game against Providence (10 points and 9 assistants). The Texas offense looks much improved from years past, and Coleman appears to have a good grasp on how Smart wants the offense to look.
Freshman Greg Brown entered the season with a ton of hype and was expected to lead a strong frontcourt, but early in the season it has been a balanced effort across the board, with Brown, Jericho Sims, Kai Jones and Royce Hamm all making positive impacts. If there is one positive trend for Brown moving forward, it was the fact he appeared to be getting into more of a rhythm with his outside shot in against UNC and connected on his first 3-pointer of the season.
How good is this team?
After 4 games, it is fairly easy to draw the conclusions that this is Shaka Smart’s deepest team since he’s been at Texas. The Longhorns have 10 guys who can give them quality minutes, and does not include G Jase Febres, who is still working his way back from injury. Texas has all the ingredients to make a lot of noise in the Big 12 this season and position themselves well for the NCAA Tournament. One thing to keep in mind is the Big 12 is insanely deep this year and there will not be many breaks in the schedule. A team with a veteran backcourt and depth in the frontcourt has a chance to beat any team in the country on any given night. If the Longhorns continue to grow on the defensive end and receive consistent shooting from the likes of Courtney Ramey and Andrew Jones, there is no reason they shouldn’t be playing during the second weekend of The Big Dance.
Texas will face another tough test at the Erwin Center on Sunday when 12th ranked Villanova visits Austin. Following the contest against the Wildcats, the Longhorns will get one more tune up game against Texas State on Wednesday before traveling to Waco for the Big 12 opener against Baylor.