Twelve days after receiving an offer from the Texas Longhorns and four days after visiting for the Orange and White game, DeSoto offensive guard Xavier Newman announced his commitment to the 'Horns on Wednesday evening via Twitter:
Ranked as a consensus three-star prospect, Newman is the No. 589 player overall, the No. 22 offensive guard, and the No. 82 player in Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, a significant bump since he received his offer from the Longhorns on April 8. Schools to offer Newman include Arizona State, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Missouri, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and others.
When Texas offered, Texas A&M was the consensus leader in his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, but that changed in recent days, as the Longhorns trended heavily since the Orange and White game with four projections in favor of the burnt orange and white.
"I loved it," Newman told Horns247 about his spring game visit. "I was really impressed with the fan base. I can't say enough about them. They left me speechless. I also liked the new offense. I think it will be a great fit for me because we run a lot of up-tempo at DeSoto."
Some recruits are understandably going to wait until much later in the process to make a final determination on the ultimate trajectory of the program, but Newman was willing to buy in based on what he saw in Austin last week, his feelings regarding head coach Charlie Strong, and the energy around the Longhorns.
Still relatively lean at 6'2.5 and 272 pounds, Newman was a standout at the Dallas The Opening regional camp in mid-March, earning offensive line MVP honors and then an invite to the finals in Oregon. The former awards tend to go to under-recruited players who had a great camp, but getting that invite is a major accomplishment and speaks to how the Student Sports staff evaluated his overall performance on a wider scale.
At DeSoto, Newman plays left tackle, guard, and some center for DeSoto because of his excellent mobility, but projects as a pure guard at the next level unless he has a late growth spurt. Since he does need to add some mass and strength, he's a likely redshirt candidate unless he can a significant amount of weight over the next year. Newman also doesn't have the most naturally powerful punch in his class, so that's another major reason why he needs to continue adding strength.
On film, his best attribute is probably his motor -- once Newman gets his hands on his opponents, he consistently keeps his feet moving and plays to the whistle, much like 2016 early enrollee Zach Shackelford. It appears that offensive line coach/running game coordinator Matt Mattox agrees:
There's a clip early in his highlight reel at center that shows an opponent trying to get inside hand placement and pull Newman off balance. Instead, the defender ends up leaning back too far and Newman quickly takes advantage with a pancake in pass protection.
Newman is the sixth commitment in the 2017 class for the Longhorns, which ranks No. 17 nationally (up four spots) in the 247Sports Composite team rankings and No. 2 in the Big 12.