The Texas Longhorns are in the market for more difference-makers at edge and found another one in their backyard, as four-star Austin Westlake edge rusher Colton Vasek announced his flip from the Oklahoma Sooners on Tuesday.
The No. 199 recruit in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Vasek used all five of his visits over the summer, intent on making his decision ahead of his senior year. Following the visit period, the Westlake product made his pledge to the Sooners, but the Longhorns did not go away silently. A Texas legacy, Vasek is no stranger to Longhorns games, taking in DKR with his father Brian Vasek, who played for the Longhorns in the 1990s.
“I’ve grown up a UT fan my entire life. When I went to go see the OU vs Texas game as an OU recruit, it just really didn’t feel right to me at all. Deep down I wanted to be playing for the team wearing burnt orange.”— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) November 8, 2022
- Colton Vasek
However, in October his visits to DKR went from a simple spectator to a prospect, as the Longhorns continued to try and push for his pledge, eventually sealing the deal.
Vasek joins a class that once again seems to be committed to winning in the trenches, becoming the second top-200 edge rusher in the group, joining Marlin’s Derion Gullette. The No. 25 edge rusher and the No. 36 player in the state of Texas, Vasek’s commitment puts the Longhorns in a relatively comfortable position at the edge spot, with space for an elite prospect if they choose to join the class.
His commitment to the class pushes Texas back into the top five of the 247Sports team recruiting rankings, sitting tied at No. 3 with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the third-best class in the country, ahead of the Ohio State Buckeyes and LSU Tigers.
Analysis (by Daniel Seahorn):
When you draw up the prototype for an edge rusher they typically look something like Colton Vasek. At just shy of 6’6, 225 pounds Vasek has a long, athletic frame that is going to easily fill out to carry another 25-30 pounds without any issue. While Vasek doesn’t consistently show a great ball get off, once he puts his foot in the ground and goes he shows very good closing speed and shows an elite motor that never downshifts. Vasek shows the ability to win with his hands and knows how to use his length to his advantage to keep offensive linemen at bay. He flashes a spin move and arm over move on tape as a pass rusher that will need to be a little fine tuned, but at this stage in the game they are effective and he is able to beat tackles with both. Vasek has been a very productive pass rusher for Westlake, as he notched double digit sacks in 2021 on the way to earning MVP honors in the state title game, and he has already hit double digit sacks this year as the Chaps prep for another title run.
The traits are there for Vasek to become a very talented and productive rusher at the next level. This is a big win for Steve Sarkisian and Pete Kwiatkowski to keep a Texas legacy home and to hurt their archrival in the process. Edge rusher was a big need heading into the cycle and getting a commitment from Vasek helps in a big way.