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Recapping another big visit weekend for Texas

Maalik Murphy highlighted the commits on campus as the Horns hosted key targets like Evan Stewart, Kelvin Banks, and Denver Harris.

Evan Stewart at Texas
via @0fficial_evan

For the third straight weekend this month, the Texas Longhorns hosted a monumental visit weekend with a handful of pledges and some of the most important targets in the 2022 recruiting class as new head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff seek to shape the program’s future.

The weekend’s importance was heightened by the presence of the two most vocal leaders in the Texas recruiting class — Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra quarterback Maalik Murphy and Klein Cain running back Jaydon Blue.

Murphy has been a frequent visitor on the Forty Acres since announcing his commitment back in February, but his official visit was particularly important as an opportunity to continue building his relationships with his future coaches, future teammates, and potential future teammates.

As a recruiter, Blue is a key figure in the class because of his previous relationships with in-state targets and his proximity to them with Murphy based on California.

Lewisville wide receiver commit Armani Winfield took his official visit as well.

Texas also hosted Arlington Martin linebacker commit Trevell Johnson, who recently took visits to Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. There was never a sense that Johnson was seriously considering flipping to either, but the time in Austin over the weekend should ensure that the 6’1, 200-pounder remains in the class.

Another key commit to get on campus was Allen safety Bryan Allen Jr. Former Texas cornerbacks coach Jay Valai is making a push for Allen at Alabama, with the Crimson Tide extending an offer in late May, but Texas offered Allen’s younger brother and may have ensured that Allen is solid with the Longhorns on his official visit.

The hope from the Texas side is certainly that Alabama is no longer a threat.

Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei wide receiver CJ Williams was one of the high-profile visitors on campus as Sarkisian attempted to leverage his Mater Dei connections to influence the recruitment of the top-10 wide receiver nationally.

On Friday, the initial impression on Williams was positive.

Williams is set to visit Notre Dame next weekend — the Fighting Irish are considered a top contender for the 6’2, 193-pounder — and is also considering Alabama, Ohio State, and Stanford. The Buckeyes hosted Williams on June 11 and Williams is taking in Palo Alto on Monday.

The biggest wide receiver target on the Forty Acres was Frisco Liberty wide receiver Evan Stewart, who was committed to Texas from mid-February until mid-March.

Stewart recently took visits to Florida and Texas A&M with a trip to USC planned for next weekend. Alabama and LSU are also under consideration by the consensus five-star prospect, but so far there isn’t any consensus about which school is in the most favorable position for the nation’s No. 4 wide receiver.

Recommitments are certainly rare and that factor plays against the Longhorns. However, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic and its impact on visits could mean that the odds for Texas are better than in a normal year.

The Longhorns landed a visit from another out-of-state wide receiver over the weekend in St. James (La.) product Shazz Preston.

As always, beating LSU for top recruits from Louisiana remains an extremely difficult task. The Tigers may still be the leader, but the Longhorns should now have a fighting chance after getting him on campus.

A fourth talented wide receiver was in Austin, too — Spearman speedster Brenen Thompson.

Several months ago, Clemson looked like the leader for the track standout, but Texas has made up enough ground that two 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions were cast in favor of the Longhorns last month. Oregon and Texas A&M are the next schools that will receive visits from Thompson.

As offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Kyle Flood seeks to assemble a large and talented offensive line class to make up for the 2021 misses by his predecessor, local Austin Westlake product Connor Robertson is the type of recruit the Horns need to land.

Since Robertson recently took a visit to Northwestern and is also considering Stanford, the academic presentation by Texas was surely a big part of the pitch from the Longhorns.

One of the biggest visitors of the weekend — both in terms of rankings and pure size — was Humble Summer Creek offensive tackle Kelvin Banks, a consensus five-star prospect ranked as the No. 15 player nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

It’s been a busy month of visits for the 6’5, 300-pounder, who has already visited LSU, Oklahoma State, and Oregon and still has a pending trip to Texas A&M scheduled for next week. The Aggies were thought to be the leader for Banks for about a year now, but two Crystal Ball predictions came in for the Longhorns on Monday.

The other consensus five-star prospect on campus was Galena Park North Shore cornerback Denver Harris, the No. 8 prospect nationally and one of the most important targets for Texas in the 2022 recruiting class.

The Longhorns currently hold two Crystal Ball predictions for Harris and have been in a strong position throughout his recruitment. LSU has already hosted Harris this month and Georgia has him on campus on Monday with Alabama scheduled to receive a visit later this week.

Little Elm cornerback Terrance Brooks joined Harris on the Forty Acres.

An A&M legacy, Brooks is not considering the Aggies. He has taken visits to Florida and Oregon this month and is currently on the Ohio State campus in Columbus just days after receiving his offer from the Buckeyes. Keep an eye on the Big Ten power in his recruitment, as well as Alabama, which will host Brooks later this week.

There are not currently any Crystal Ball predictions for the 5’11, 190-pounder.

One recruit did not make the trip — El Paso Burges running back Tavorus Jones. Long considered the most likely second running back take for the Longhorns in the 2022 class, Jones no longer seems like a take for Texas. With the recent addition of Alabama transfer Keilan Robinson, the staff may not take another high school running back in this cycle since recent visitor DeAnthony Gatson is considered a USC lean ahead of his decision on Tuesday.

The weekend’s true impact on the recruits in attendance will take some time to play out. If Sarkisian and his staff are able to land some of the talented recruits on campus over the weekend, the impressions made during that time will play a big role in those decisions.