Author Archives: Sam Walton

About Sam Walton

Houston area high school football and recruiting fanatic. @Sam_WaltonFB on Twitter!

2023 Recruiting Class Update: Spring

The 2023 recruiting class is in full swing, and were already starting to see highly touted recruits make their commitments.

Sitting pretty:

Leading the pack thus far is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish headlined by five star defensive end Keon Keeley. First year head coach Marcus Freeman is hitting the recruiting trail hard ahead of his first campaign at the helm. Look for more big time commits in the coming weeks with playmakers like wide receiver Carnell Tate (IMG Academy, FL) and Braylon James (Del Valle, TX).

The next team having a surprisingly good start to the cycle is Tennessee. Coach Heupel’s second class at the helm is headlined by five star quarterback, Nicholaus Iamaleava (Long Beach Poly, CA) and four star tight end, Ethan Hill (Collins Hill, GA). The Vols are also in the top 5 schools for wide receiver Carnell Tate(IMG Academy, FL).

The final up-trending team is one completely out of left-field, currently sitting at the number two spot at this time. The Texas Tech Red Raiders are making a splash in the recruiting scene with four 4 stars committed to Joey McGuire’s program thusfar. They’re still in the mix for 4 star safety, Ryan Yaites (Denton, TX). Keep a close eye on this Texas Tech class as they look to load up for the new Big 12.

Off to a slow start:

The first team in this category will not be here for long, the Alabama Crimson Tide are currently 33rd in the nation for the 2023 class. Now we all know how this goes, Bama gets off to a slow start and then dominate the national signing days.

The Tide are in the mix for current consensus number one recruit Arch Manning (Isodore Newman, LA). They are also in the mix for the top 2 running backs, 3 of the top 5 receivers and the top 2 offensive tackles in the class. Don’t expect Saban and company to stay this low for too much longer with kids taking their official spring visits.

The second team off to a slow start is the Texas Longhorns. The ‘Horns are currently sitting at 25th in the national rankings, but are in the mix for some big name recruits. Targets for Texas are headlined by 5* quarterback, Arch Manning (Isodore Newman, LA), but also include 4* receiver Johntay Cook (DeSoto, TX) and 5* running back Reuben Owens (El Campo, TX). Sarkisian and company are off to a slow start, but just like Alabama, will not stay here for much longer.

On life support:

Jumping over to the west coast for the first time today, we spotlight Oregon for our final breakdown of the day. Coach Lanning is off to a very slow start with his first class at the helm. Cristobal leaving for Miami has hurt the Ducks recruiting class as they dropped out of the top 15 for the 2022 class after his departure.

Lanning looks to build his class from the ground up, but sitting at 45th in the nation he is going to need to build momentum and quick. They are in the mix for 5* defensive back Javien Toviano (Martin, TX) and 5* athlete Nyckoles Harbor (Arch Bishop Carrol, D.C.).

Conclusion:

The 2023 recruiting class has barely started taking shape and there is still a lot of time between now and Early Signing Day in December to make moves. Be ready for all teams to really hit the recruiting trail hard after the spring and into the summer for camp and 7 on 7 showcase season.

As always be sure to follow on Twitter @Sam_WaltonFB.

Key Defensive recruits for the Texas Longhorns in the 2023 cycle.

Introduction:

With the 2022 class wrapped up and the 2023 class starting to take shape. I am going to take a deep dive into the key 2023 defensive recruits. Just like in my offensive target breakdown I am going to choose one or two players for each position group to highlight. I will be linking film if I can find it and if not I will be linking their 24/7 Sports account.

Malik Muhammad Final 12 courtesy of Hayes Fawcett on Twitter

If you have not read my first article talking about the impact of the 2022 class on the 2023 class, start HERE. If you want to look into the 2023 offensive recruits, look HERE.

Defensive Line:

First up for the defense is David Hicks Jr. (Allen, TX). The 6’4″ 250 pound defensive linemen has fantastic speed and power that makes him difficult to handle on the line. He has a good frame that he could add mass to at the next level. His track background makes him very explosive off the ball, and his motor allows him to make plays downfield. He has fantastic awareness that allows him to read and make plays even when the ball isn’t coming his way. Hicks will probably move to the inside of the line when he makes the jump to college.

Closing out the defensive line is Ashton Porter (Cy-Ranch, TX). Porter is 6’3″ and 240 pounds and he uses his size to his advantage. He possesses great athleticism that allows him to get off of blocks quickly and great patience that allows him to always be ready to make a play. Porter’s speed and had usage will allow him to play anywhere on the line. Also, he is a guy that will probably play the edge and has the skillset to make an early impact if we land him. Be on the lookout for a verbal from him soon.

Linebacker:

At the linebacker position, Anthony Hill (Denton Ryan, TX). The 6’2″, 225 pound linebacker from Ryan Texas is the top rated linebacker in the nation. Besides his size, his vision and instinct gives him a clear advantage at the start of the play and his physicality and nose for the ball allows him to shut down offenses. He is very good in pass coverage as well, with speed to keep up with backs and tight ends. He has a very high ceiling with room to grow. Currently, Hill plays both inside and outside and has the versatility to play both at the next level. Furthermore, Hill is a guy that could come in and make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball.

5-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. – 2021 Highlights
Cornerbacks:

I’d like to start the cornerback targets off with one of the best in the class in Malik Muhammad (South Oak Cliff, TX). The 6’0″ 170 pound corner is fast and physical. I think he would be a great fit in Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense as he can play in both man and zone coverage successfully. Also, he is a great tackler and very good at getting through blocks to make plays. He also has great hands that allow him to go up and win 50/50 balls. Furthermore, Muhammad possesses the traits that lead to longevity at the position and has the frame to add mass at the next level.

Finally, I’d like to talk about five-star corner, Javien Toviano (Arlington Martin, TX). Javien is 6’0″ and 185 pounds and is one of the most versatile guys in the nation. He continuously makes plays in both man and zone coverage. Toviano has great speed and he always seems to meet the receiver as they are attempting to make the catch. As well as cornerback, Javien also plays running back, and is an electric kick and punt returner. Toviano has the makings to be the next big time Texas defensive back to make the league. Be on the lookout for Toviano’s recruitment to heat up throughout the summer!

Safeties:

This brings us to our final prospect, Jamel Johnson (Seguin, TX) is the first safety on our list. As the number nine safety in the class, Johnson has fantastic length and athleticism. His reaction time is off the charts which allows him to transition well in coverage. As well as zone, he excels in press coverage, using his height and length to his advantage. Finally, he has great play recognition skills and he seems to always find the ball in the run game as well. Jamel is a player that could play almost anywhere in coach P.K.’s defense and make a huge impact on the game. Since he has already committed to Texas be on the lookout for him to recruit other players over the next cycle.


As always be sure to follow us on Twitter here and check out our most recent episode of Around The Horns here. Also, check out our most recent articles below!

Key offensive recruits for the Texas Longhorns in the 2023 cycle.

Introduction:

With the 2022 class coming to a close, the Horns locked down the number five class in the nation. The 2023 recruiting cycle is now under way and what better way to kick it off than to take a look at the key offensive recruits the Texas Longhorns should focus on. In this piece I will be choosing one to two players from each position and going in depth about what they mean and what I see on film.

If you have not read my first article talking about the impact of the 2022 class on the 2023 class, start HERE.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

NOTE TO THE READER: I tried to get videos of each player in the article, however, if I cannot find one I will link their 24/7 profile to their underlined name.

Quarterback:

The key piece to this class will rest on the shoulders of Arch Manning (Isodore Newman, LA). Manning being the number one overall recruit in the 2023 cycle is going to be instrumental in building the future of the program. Arch has mentioned Texas and the future move to the SEC may be what pushes us to the front of the pack.

Running Backs:

Reuben Owens (El Campo, TX). Owens has been high on Texas for what feels like 2 years now. Owens can beat you with speed or power in the hole, and is a great asset in the passing game as well. The physical back from south Texas has great potential and is a guy that can make a huge splash in the class.

Dalton Brooks (Shiner, TX) is another guy that can be big for the class. The ATH from small-town Shiner, Texas is also a defensive lineman. Brooks is one of the most punishing runners in the nation and could line up on either side of the ball in college. Brooks is very patient to start but once he finds an opening, he is able to kick into another gear and pull away from opposing defenders.

Wide Recievers:

Johntay Cook (De Soto, TX) is a big time playmaker out wide or in the slot, and would be a fantastic target from the get-go. The WR has great speed and hands but can also beat you with his route running and head fakes. He is a threat at all levels of the field. He also knows how to successfully high-point the ball which will make him a threat in the red-zone as well.

Jaden Greathouse (Westlake, TX) is another reciever the Horns could immediately utilize in the passing game. The 6’3″ target has fantastic hands and wins off the line with both speed and physicality. He is someone who will have a lot of influence in the class with him being from Austin. Look for Greathouse to start narrowing down schools in the coming months.

Tight End:

Will Randle (Isodore Newman, LA) is a guy that I chose due to his connection with Arch Manning. He is currently projected to attend LSU, but he and Arch Manning have grown up together and both of them coming to Texas could be a big-time chemistry boost for the offense. We also know how Coach Sarkisian likes to utilize the tight ends. He isn’t as polished as Lafayette Kaiuwai but he can be just as dangerous.

Offensive Tackles:

Two tackles in this class really stand out to me as far as the guys we have offered. Olaus Alinen (Loomis Chaffee, CT) is a big left tackle with a high motor and eyes in the back of his head. Additionally, his IQ is through the roof and his physical attributes give him a high ceiling for potential growth. Texas is in his top 4 so be on the lookout for a verbal this summer. He would fit in really well with Banks and Campbell and is a great asset in both the rushing and passing game.

Another tackle prospect is Isaiah Robinson (Lamar, TX). The 6’7″ Tackle prospect is strong and he knows it. He often overpowers the defensive linemen from the start and ends up driving them to the second level of the defense. Robinson shows great potential in the pass game and shows great skill in the run game. He is even more dangerous when in motion and if used correctly, will lead to big runs down field.

Inside Offensive Line:

Harris Sewell (Permian, TX) is a big time guard/Center in the 2023 class. He has great size and speed that makes him very difficult to get around. His film shows great success in the run game as both a guard and a center and could be just what the horns need to boost the line play. The top 70 recruit has offers from Texas, Texas A&M, Alabama and more are on the way. I wouldn’t expect him to make a decision anytime soon, but keep an eye on him.

Conclusion:

The 2023 Recruiting class is only going to build off of the momentum of the 2022 class. Make sure to follow for more 2023 class inside looks and targets. The defensive side of the ball is coming soon.

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Longhorn Nation should also be excited that @longhorns_atb is starting a podcast! Follow all of us on Twitter to make sure you don’t miss it: @ryanmcaloon@michalfarber_@tn_longhorn, @Sam_WaltonFB.

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The Texas 2022 Class And The Effect On The Longhorns 2023 Targets

This past weekend the Texas Longhorns hosted a “Junior Elite Day” for their 2023 targets. Why would these elite prospects choose the Horns over teams like Oklahoma, Alabama, and LSU? The answer is simple — the 2022 recruiting class. Recruiting is all about momentum and Texas’ 5th ranked class is growing stronger by the day. In an attempt to carry the momentum into the 2023 cycle the Longhorns offered eight underclassmen.

Underclassmen

The Longhorns 2023 targets offered last weekend included: Ian Reed (OL, Austin Vandergrift), Kyle Parker (WR, Lucas Lovejoy), Jaren Woods (OL, La Grange), Ansel Nedore (DL, Round Rock), Tyler Turner (DB, SA Brennan, currently a verbal commit to Baylor), Colton Vasek (DE, Westlake), Braylan Shelby (DE, Friendswood), and Cameron Cook (RB, Round Rock Stony Point).

Every Longhorn 2023 Target can be found HERE.

Photo courtesy of @TexasRecruiting on Twitter

Current Influences

Derrick Brown (2022 LB, Texarkana) has been an important factor in this year’s recruiting class and that doesn’t seem to be changing in the upcoming cycle. Brown is always in the replies of the Longhorns targets and with him being on campus, it will end up making an important mark on the underclassmen. He seems to be in the ear of any potential longhorn, especially on Twitter. Brown was influential in the recruitment of Kelvin Banks, Terrance Brooks, Bryan Allen Jr., Justice Finkley, and J’mond Tapp. Brown seems to be a great locker room leader and someone that can have an impact recruiting for his tenure on the Forty Acres.

Staff Influence

I also like to consider any new coaches part of the signing class. With that said the addition of Gary Patterson (Special Assistant to the Head Coach), Tashard Choice (Runningback Coach), and Brennan Marion (Wide Receiver Coach) will also be an instrumental part in the upcoming class. These additions are already making an impact. Specifically Marrion and Patterson with the underclassmen. Patterson was included in most of the recruits’ tweets and pictures from this past weekend.

The 2022 class will also be the best pitch since this is Sarkisian’s first full recruiting class at the helm. The talent of this class (especially with players from the portal) is already drawing attention to the next generation of Horns. How this class develops both in the locker room and on the field will be important in how recruits see the program trending in a short amount of time. That all started with the underclassmen weekend the Texas staff hosted this past week.

Momentum is one of the most important things in recruiting and with guys like Brown, Finkley, Neyor, Billingsley, and Quinn Ewers the Horns are already hot on the trail for guys who want to play with the best. Combine that with a good season and we will be in a fantastic spot when early signing day comes back around in December of 2022.

Conclusion

All and all the 2022 class will make the biggest impact on the Longhorns 2023 targets from a point of culture and expectations. The first major pitch will come at the hands of the spring game and national signing day on February third. Be on the lookout for upcoming offers and you will see firsthand who is in the replies before any fans, family members, or friends of the recruits!

Be sure to give us a follow us on Twitter here and check out our most recent articles below. As well as Episode 3 of “Around The Horns” here.

BIG News Coming On Sunday For The Texas Longhorns?

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Breaking News: Texas hires Gary Patterson to staff