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Longhorn football commits in action, Sept. 16-17

A newly-minted UT commit faces a nationally-ranked opponent on Friday night.

2022 DL Justice Finkley, pictured during his official visit to Texas on June 27, 2021. His high school will play the fifth-ranked team in the country on Friday night.

The recruits committed to the Texas Longhorns had a very successful first two weeks of the 2021 season. Last week’s results were more mixed by comparison. The two offensive line commits both helped pave the way for their offenses to run wild on their opponents, wide receiver Armani Winfield made big time plays in his first game as a senior, and Eoghan Kerry won this season’s first “UT commit vs. UT commit” battle, with his team topping Anthony Jones’s team.

On the downside, Maalik Murphy as injured in the first half of his game last week and his team was ultimately shut out, Jamarion Miller had a solid game in a losing cause, and three defensive line commits were on the losing side of their games, including one whose team lost in the regular season for the first time in four years.

This will likely be the least active week for the #22EFFECT class this season until the playoffs, as seven of the program’s 21 current commits have a bye this week, in addition to the three others who will not play due to opting out, injury, or ineligibility.

The game of the week will feature new commit Justice Finkley, who pledged to the Longhorns one week ago. He plays for Alabama’s fourth-ranked team, and on Friday they will play Alabama’s top-ranked team, which one publication ranks as the #5 team in the country.

Below is this week’s schedule for each commit, and the game start times are written according to Central Time.

2022 QB Maalik Murphy — Gardena (California) Junipero Serra

Friday, September 17 at 9:00, vs. Carson (California)

Note: Murphy’s team lost 14-0 last week to Downey (California) Warren. Junipero Serra’s team stats from the game have not been posted on the game’s MaxPreps report, but Warren apparently had 43 pass attempts and just 7 rushes, with those passes resulting in 376 receiving yards and the game’s only touchdowns. Maalik Murphy suffered what was reported by Jason Suchomel as a “right clavicle injury” in the first half of the game and he did not return. I have not read a timetable on his expected return to the field. A local reporter shared this update on Murphy from Junipero Serra’s head coach after he was evaluated over the weekend.

Serra is now 1-3 in the current season and will next play 1-1 Carson, a team that lost its first game 35-0 and won last week by a 40-0 score.

2022 RB Jamarion Miller — Tyler Legacy

Thursday, September 16 at 7:00, vs. Allen

Note: Miller had 16 carries for 135 yards and a TD, and also caught 3 passes for 37 yards last week in a 46-20 loss to Longview, the seventh-ranked team in Class 5A Division I at the time. Tyler Legacy led 10-7 at the end of the 1st quarter, but was outscored 39-10 the rest of the way.

Having suffered their first loss of 2021, the Legacy Raiders will next host Allen, which is 2-1 on the season and now two weeks removed from its first regular season loss since 2010: a 41-20 home loss to fifth-ranked Humble Atascocita. This will be Legacy’s final non-district game, then after a bye week the Raiders will start district play on October 1.

2022 WR Armani Winfield — Lewisville

No game this week

Note: Armani Winfield sat out Lewisville’s first two games while recovering from a concussion. Playing in his first game of his senior season last week, Winfield had great production on limited touches, gaining 142 yards and scoring a pair of TDs on just 3 receptions and helping Lewisville move to 3-0 with a 42-17 win over Arlington Lamar.

The Lewisville Farmers have a bye this week before opening their district schedule next week against Plano West. Lewisville entered the 6A state rankings for the first time this season and is currently #24.

2022 OL Cole Hutson — Frisco

No game this week

Note: Frisco opened district play last week with a resounding 70-27 win over Lake Dallas. Against Frisco’s rushing attack the Lake Dallas defense offered little more resistance than the banner the Raccoons ran through when taking the field, as they piled up 594 yards on 41 carries, good for 14.5 yards per carry. Cole Hutson’s highlights from the game show him lining up at both right and left guard on different plays, and he also blocked a kick. (He’s wearing jersey #70.)

Frisco has a bye this week before resuming district play on September 24.

2022 OL Connor Robertson — Austin Westlake

No game this week

Note: Westlake improved to 3-0 on the season with a 59-21 neutral site win over Mansfield Summit last week in Belton. Connor Robertson helped block for an offensive attack that gained 627 total yards (375 passing, 252 rushing).

The Chaparrals have now won 27 consecutive games dating back to the middle of the 2019 season, and are ranked #1 in Class 6A by Texas Football, and #4 in the nation by USA Today. The team has a bye this week before opening district play on September 24.

2022 DL Aaron Bryant — Southaven (Mississippi)

Friday, September 17 at 7:00, vs. Lake Cormorant (Mississippi)

Note: Southaven fell to 1-2 with a 12-8 loss to Oxford Lafayette last week. Southaven’s points came on a safety and a pick-six.

2022 DL Justice Finkley — Trussville (Alabama) Hewitt-Trussville

Friday, September 17 at 7:00, at Alabaster (Alabama) Thompson

Note: Finkley committed to Texas on Thursday of last week, just hours after last week’s post was published. The next day, he made four tackles and forced a fumble in Hewitt-Trussville’s 42-7 win over Tuscaloosa County.

Alabama is a state the Longhorns have rarely dipped into with football recruiting; as of the beginning of the 2021 season only five Alabama high schoolers (one of whom was born in Galveston, Texas) have earned a football letter at Texas. Current Longhorn Ben Davis, who hails from Gordo, Alabama, will likely be the sixth.

Hewitt-Trussville is 4-0 in the current season and ranked fourth in Class 7A, Alabama’s highest classification. Its reported enrollment at the time of Alabama’s 2020-22 reclassification (1,168) would actually put it among the larger Class 4A Division I schools if it were in Texas. I don’t know whether Alabama counts enrollment in grades 9-12 (as Texas does) or just 10-12 (as some other states do) when classifying schools, but the Alabama High School Athletics Association’s 2020 reclassification release indicates that Hoover, the state’s largest school, has an enrollment (2,126) that wouldn’t even get it into Class 6A in Texas if that number counts grades 9-12.

On Friday Finkley’s team travels to play the top-ranked team in 7A, Thompson, which received all 22 first-place votes in this week’s Alabama Sports Writers Association (ASWA) rankings. USA Today ranks Thompson at #5 in this week’s national Super 25 rankings. Thompson is 4-0 and has outscored its opponents 217-3, and its roster includes seven seniors currently committed to FBS schools. Thompson allowed its first points of the season last week in a 49-3 win over Spain Park, a team Hewitt-Trussville had beaten 38-17 the week before. In fact, if all of Thompson’s players are healthy, Justice Finkley, the #112 overall recruit in the current 247Sports Composite for the 2022 class, will only be the fifth-highest-rated recruit on the field.

Still to come on Hewitt-Trussville’s schedule are regional games against the current #2 (Hoover) and #9 (Oak Mountain) teams in 7A.

2022 DL Kristopher Ross — Galena Park North Shore

Friday, September 17 at 7:00, vs. Klein Oak

Note: Ross’s North Shore team suffered its first regular season loss since 2017 last week when the Mustangs fell 27-21 to Spring Westfield. North Shore lost despite forcing four turnovers on the night. With the loss, North Shore dropped from #4 to #13 in the Class 6A rankings.

The Mustangs will aim to rebound on Friday night against 1-2 Klein Oak, which is coming off a 43-21 loss to fourth-ranked Humble Atascocita.

2022 DL Zac Swanson — Phoenix (Arizona) Brophy Prep

Friday, September 17 at 9:00, at Chandler (Arizona) Basha

Note: Swanson was credited with 3 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss last week in a 26-23 loss to Mountain Pointe.

2022 DE J’Mond Tapp — Donaldsonville (Louisiana) Ascension Catholic

Thursday, September 16 at 7:00, vs. Archbishop Hannan (at Pearl River High School)

Note: Ascension Catholic will play its first game in three weeks later tonight. The Bulldogs were scheduled to host Archbishop Hannan, but the game will instead be played 100 miles away at Pearl River High School in Pearl River, Louisiana “due to weather conditions having an impact on the scheduled venue”, which likely means Hurricane Ida and subsequent rains have left Ascension’s stadium as yet unplayable.

2022 DE/LB Derrick Brown — Texarkana Texas

No game this week

Note: Texas High beat Forney 34-13 last week to improve to 2-0. Texas High’s stats from the game have not been reported on MaxPreps, but Derrick Brown caught a TD pass on a fade near the goalline. The Tigers have a bye this week, and though their next game doesn’t appear on the team’s MaxPreps schedule for some reason, they will open district play on September 24 with their homecoming game against Mount Pleasant.

2022 LB Eoghan Kerry — Santa Ana (California) Mater Dei

No game this week

Note: Kerry was credited with one tackle last week in Mater Dei’s 49-7 win over Henderson (Nevada) Liberty. Mater Dei has a bye this week and will play its next game on September 24.

2022 DB Bryan Allen — Aledo

Friday, September 17 at 7:00, at Burleson

Note: Aledo had no trouble with Fort Worth Arlington Heights last week, as it swatted the Yellowjackets 64-0. The Bearcats, the top-ranked team in Class 5A Division II, will likely have at least 2 or 3 games that end with similar scores during their district schedule. On Friday, Aledo opens district play by visiting 2-1 Burleson.

2022 DB Austin Jordan — Denton Ryan

Thursday, September 16 at 7:00, at Denton

Note: Austin Jordan was credited with two tackles, one carry for -2 yards, and two receptions for 7 yards in Denton Ryan’s 28-10 win over Frisco Reedy last week. The Raiders thus began a new regular season winning streak a week after suffering their first regular season loss since 2014.

The Raiders are the top-ranked team in Class 5A Division I, and tonight they will face cross-town rival Denton High. It’s been a one-sided rivalry this century, as Ryan has beaten Denton 17 straight times, and the vast majority of those wins came by lopsided margins. Denton’s last win over Ryan was in 1999. Denton is 0-3 this season, so 2021 likely won’t be the year it ends the long losing streak against Ryan.

2022 DB Ronald Lewis — New Orleans (Louisiana) Warren Easton

Friday, September 17 at 7:00, at Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Scotlandville

Note: Ronald Lewis and his Warren Easton teammates may finally get to play their first game of 2021 on Friday night. Their scheduled games in previous weeks were all cancelled due to the effects of Hurricane Ida. Their listed opponent for this week, Scotlandville, got a 39-20 win over East Ascension last week in its first game of the season.

2022 ATH Anthony Jones — Henderson (Nevada) Liberty

Friday, September 17 at 8:00, vs. North Las Vegas (Nevada) Legacy

Note: Anthony Jones was credited with one tackle and one catch for 3 yards in a 49-7 loss last week to the nation’s top-ranked team, Mater Dei, the team of his future Longhorn teammate Eoghan Kerry. His Liberty team will next play a North Las Vegas Legacy team that Maxpreps says has won a game by a 8-7 score, and lost the next week 9-8. Legacy also had a game cancelled earlier this season due to Covid concerns.

2022 K Will Stone — Austin Regents School

No game this week

Note: Austin Regents shut out Bellaire Episcopal 35-0 last week. The Regents Knights will have a bye this week and resume district play on September 24.

2022 LS Lance St. Louis — Gilbert (Arizona) Williams Field

No game this week

Note: Lance St. Louis presumably snapped the ball for several extra point attempts last week, as his team beat La Joya Community 42-0. The Blackhawks will have a bye this week and will play again on September 24.

Other commits not playing this week

2022 RB Jaydon Blue (Klein Cain)

Cain opted out of playing in the 2021 season. Unless there is a change with his status I will not be posting Klein Cain’s weekly schedule.

2022 DL Jaray Bledsoe (Marlin)

After previously attending Bremond High School, Bledsoe transferred in the summer of 2021 to Marlin High School, which is 17 miles away. He was subsequently ruled ineligible for the 2021 football season, and in late August the U.I.L. denied his eligibility appeal. Unless there is a change in Bledsoe’s eligibility status, I will not be posting updates on Marlin’s season.

2022 LB Trevell Johnson (Arlington Martin)

After dealing with a hip issue for several months, Johnson attempted to play in week one, but afterwards elected to have a surgery that will cause him to miss his senior season. I will not be posting weekly updates on Martin’s games unless one of Johnson’s teammates commits to Texas.

Author’s note: the original published version of this post did not mention Maalik Murphy’s injury last week, and it has since been modified to add that information.