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Texas Longhorn signees/commits 2022 season in review

Eight of UT’s 2023 signees and one 2024 commit won state championships in the 2022 season.

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2024 cornerback Jaden Allen poses with his medal after his Aledo team wins the Class 5A Division I state championship game over College Station on December 17, 2022.
Justin Wells (@justinwells2424)

The 2022 high school football season ended two weeks ago with the Texas state championship games. The Texas Longhorns have added some new names to their 2023 recruiting class in the days since then, and now that the dust has (presumably) settled on the early signing period, it’s time for a recap on how each of the program’s signees and commits performed this past fall.

This column followed the weekly exploits of UT’s recruits throughout the season, and if you followed along with those reports you should have gotten a good idea of how competitive their teams were and — for the skill position players — how productive they were on the field. I first wrote this column during the 2015 high school season, which was Shane Buechele’s senior year at Arlington Lamar and Sam Ehlinger’s junior year at Austin Westlake. It has continued on in every year since save the 2020 season.

2022 was a somewhat disappointing season for the Longhorn football team, but a very successful one for its recruits. Of the team’s 23 signees in the 2023 recruiting class, only one played for a team that finished the 2022 season with a losing record, and eight of them walked off the field after their last high school game as a state champion! These incoming signees, several of whom will be early enrollees in January, won a lot of football games during their high school career and should have a good idea of what it takes to maintain a winning culture. Of those 23 signees, 12 of them played for a state championship team at some point during their high school career. And one 2024 commit will go into his senior season next fall as a two-time state champion. 2022 was the 27th consecutive Texas high school football season in which at least one state championship team had a future Longhorn in its lineup.

For comparison, the Longhorns’ 2022 signing class had seven players who won state championships in high school, while their 2021 class had four, the 2020 crop had five, and the 2019 class had three.

Of the 25 total commits and signees listed below, 22 of them were longtime commits and were followed in this column for either the entire season or a significant portion of it, and they should be very familiar to regular readers. For the three members of the 2023 class who committed to Texas either during or shortly before the early signing period, this is the first time I have written about them in this space. As such, this post will repeat a lot of information that has been included in previous posts, and will serve as a final recap of how each Longhorn commit performed during the 2022 season and note what postseason honors they have received since the season ended.

Before they arrive in Austin you’ll have one more chance to see some of these players in action, as ten total Longhorn signees (plus a few outstanding recruiting targets) will take part in one of the two major All-America games in early January. Five signees will play in the Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando, Florida on January 3, and five others in the All-America Bowl in San Antonio on January 7. Notes on each All-America game participant will be included in their respective sections below.

The Longhorns have 23 signees in the 2023 class and two commits in the upcoming 2024 class, and those 25 prospects hail from seven different states. The prospects individually listed below are from Texas if their home state is not otherwise noted.

2023 QB Arch Manning — New Orleans (Louisiana) Isidore Newman

The unanimous top-rated overall recruit in the 2023 class, Arch Manning proved to most fair observers that he had more attributes as a prospect than just a famous last name, as he broke all of his high school’s career records for passing, total offense, and touchdowns this fall. Among the past Isidore Newman greats whose career numbers he surpassed in 2022 were his uncles, former NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning. He didn’t play in an offense that anyone would mistake for an Air Raid scheme, but finished his high school career as a four-year starter and having thrown for 8,599 yards and 115 touchdowns.

His high school competes at the 2A level in Louisiana and has produced some quality teams but had never won a state championship going into Arch’s senior year, and had only made four appearances in the state semifinals. Peyton Manning, unquestionably one of the greatest quarterbacks of his generation, wasn’t able to lead the Newman Greenies past the second round of the playoffs during his senior year. This fall, Newman went 7-2 during the regular season, with its two losses coming against eventual Non-Select Division III state champion Many, and eventual Select Division III state champion St. Charles Catholic. After entering the Select Division III playoffs as that bracket’s top seed, they reached the quarterfinals before being unceremoniously dumped 49-13 by the defending Select Division II state champion Baton Rouge University Lab.

So Manning did not get to finish his high school career by winning his school’s first state title, but he will graduate as the owner of virtually all of its career passing and touchdown records, and he can say that he led Newman into the state semifinals twice as many times (2) as did Peyton Manning and Eli Manning combined during their high school years

2023 RB Cedric Baxter Jr. — Orlando (Florida) Edgewater

Baxter is the top-rated running back in the 2023 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He went on a tear to begin his senior season, rushing for 200 or more yards in four of his team’s first six games, but an injury early in their seventh game sidelined him for a month before he was able to return for the playoffs. Despite his missing most of the last four games of the regular season, his Edgewater team completed a 10-0 regular season run and entered the newly-formatted 3M playoffs as that classification’s top-ranked team.

After winning two playoff games to reach their regional final, the Edgewater Eagles lost in a 42-13 blowout to Orlando Jones, a team they had narrowly beaten 14-13 early in the season. Edgewater ended the season with a 12-1 record, and Baxter finished his senior year with 1,375 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 10 games played.

Baxter is on the roster for Team Phantom in the Under Armor All-America Game, which will be played on January 3 in his hometown of Orlando.

2023 RB Tre Wisner — DeSoto

Wisner transferred to south Dallas Class 6A powerhouse DeSoto for his senior year after previously attending Class 4A program Waco Connally. He held 15 reported scholarship offers before the start of his junior year in 2021, and he was named his district’s co-Offensive MVP that season. He committed to Texas on April 23, 2022.

In going to DeSoto he joined a talent-laden roster that had a plethora of offensive weapons, and he was one of three running backs who got at least 120 carries for the 2022 season. He was the second-leading rusher and fourth-leading receiver for a DeSoto Eagles team that went 8-2 in the regular season (losing only to eventual 6A Division I state champion Duncanville and nationally-ranked powerhouse Baltimore St. Frances Academy), then averaged 46 points per game in six playoff wins en route to winning the 6A Division II state championship. According to the Dallas Morning News’ stats, Wisner finished the 2022 season with 795 yards and 7 touchdowns rushing, and 486 yards and 4 touchdowns receiving, and he also had a 94-yard kickoff return during a regular season game. He was voted to the All-District 11-6A second team as a running back.

2023 WR Johntay Cook II — DeSoto

Cook was a highlight waiting to happen this fall, catching 84 passes for 1,478 yards and 22 touchdowns for DeSoto’s Class 6A Division II state championship team. According to the Dallas Morning News’ stats for DeSoto, Cook caught 50 touchdown passes during his three seasons on the Eagle varsity squad. He was voted the co-District MVP for District 11-6A along with Collin Simmons, a composite five-star defensive edge prospect from Duncanville who is one of UT’s top targets in the 2024 class. The Texas Longhorns have had eight football lettermen who came from DeSoto High School, but Tre Wisner and Johntay Cook will be the first to arrive in Austin as owners of state championship medals.

Cook is a five-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite, and has a good chance to be an early contributor in Austin next fall. With a 247Sports Composite rating of 0.9836, he is the highest-rated Longhorn wide receiver signee since Jordan Whittington (who had the exact same rating) in the 2019 class.

Cook will take the field with a few of his future college teammates on January 3 at the Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando, and he is on the roster for Team Phantom.

2023 WR DeAndre Moore Jr. — Bellflower (California) St. John Bosco

Moore signed with Texas on December 22 after having been publicly committed to Louisville since May 31. He has attended at least three different high schools. As a sophomore at Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas he did not play in 2020, as Nevada did not have a 2020 football season following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. He spent his junior year at Los Alamitos High School in California, and while playing with five-star quarterback prospect Malachi Nelson he caught 33 passes for 479 yards and 8 touchdowns in 11 games during the 2021 season.

He spent his senior season at national power St. John Bosco, where he played with four-star QB and Louisville commit Pierce Clarkson. St. John Bosco’s MaxPreps page credits Moore with 22 catches for 483 yards and 8 touchdowns in 10 games played this fall, though those stats may be incomplete. St. John Bosco went 13-1 this fall, losing a regular season matchup 17-7 with archrival and fellow southern California power Mater Dei. The Braves later atoned for that loss by beating Mater Dei 24-22 in the CIF Southern Section Division I championship. They completed their season by blowing out previously unbeaten San Mateo Serra 45-0 in the Open Division state championship. USA Today named St. John Bosco as its national champion in its final Super 25 national rankings for the 2022 season.

This is the first time I’ve mentioned DeAndre Moore in this column, but he played against a pair of fellow Longhorn signees this season. In addition to its two games against Spencer Shannon’s Mater Dei team, St. John Bosco beat Liona Lefau’s Kahuku (Hawaii) team 34-7 on September 17. Moore will compete at the All-America Bowl on January 7 along with four of his fellow Longhorn commits.

2023 WR Ryan Niblett — Aldine Eisenhower

Niblett was his district’s All-Purpose Player of the Year as a junior in 2021, and this fall he was named District 14-6A’s Offensive MVP after catching 55 passes for 1,088 yards and 10 touchdowns. The speedster’s efforts helped Eisenhower go 5-1 to finish out the regular season and reach the 6A Division II playoffs after an 0-4 start. Once in the playoffs the Eagles lost 28-6 to an undefeated New Caney team.

Niblett has been selected to play in the All-America Bowl in San Antonio on January 7.

2023 TE Will Randle — New Orleans (Louisiana) Isidore Newman

Randle, a three-star tight end prospect, committed to Texas on June 19, just days before his Isidore Newman teammate Arch Manning also committed to the Longhorns. After a solid start to his senior year in which he made plays at both tight end and defensive end, Randle’s season was ended after he suffered a torn ACL in September. Randle’s injury robbed Manning of one of his top receiving targets, though Newman still had a fairly successful season overall. Randle is currently the lowest-rated of UT’s 23 high school signees in the 2023 class, though it’s not hard to imagine he’d have a higher grade had he been able to play his entire senior year.

2023 TE Spencer Shannon — Santa Ana (California) Mater Dei

Shannon, a 6’7” 237-pound tight end for national power Mater Dei, was used much more often as a blocker than as a receiver during his high school career. The section listing Shannon’s career highlights in UT’s official signing day release has numerous mentions of how he “helped protect”, “helped pave the way”, “blocked”, and “helped produce” for Mater Dei’s prolific offense, but understandably says little about his receiving accomplishments. In three seasons with Mater Dei’s varsity he recorded just 8 receptions. He may prove to be a decent receiving option with the Longhorns and outpace his high school receiving stats, but at the very least he should have a good floor as an in-line blocker.

Mater Dei went 12-1 this season and was USA Today’s top-ranked team in the country for much of the year before losing 24-22 to DeAndre Moore’s St. John Bosco team in the Southern Section Division I final. Despite the loss to St. John Bosco, Mater Dei was ranked 3rd in USA Today’s final Super 25 rankings. In 2021, Mater Dei went undefeated and won the CIF Open Division state championship, and was named by USA Today as the national champion for that season.

2023 OL Jaydon Chatman — Killeen Harker Heights

Chatman was named to the All-District 12-6A first team this fall after blocking for a Harker Heights offense that powered the team into the fourth round of the Class 6A Division II playoffs. Harker Heights lost 60-24 in the playoffs to eventual state champion DeSoto, but not before making its longest playoff run in school history and setting a new program record by winning 12 games.

2023 OL Andre Cojoe — Mansfield Timberview

Cojoe blocked for the offensive line of a Mansfield Timberview team that spent much of the season ranked 2nd in Class 5A Division I, had the first undefeated regular season in school history, and set a program record for wins in a season with 13 before losing 37-21 in the fourth round of the playoffs to top-ranked Longview. For his efforts, Cojoe received a remarkable honor very seldom awarded to an offensive lineman: District MVP. Many districts will hand out “Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman” honors, and occasionally a lineman will impress enough to garner “Offensive MVP” accolades, but for an offensive lineman to win a district’s overall MVP award is a very rare thing.

The mammoth 6’6” 353-pound Cojoe is a year younger than several of his fellow Longhorn signees and won’t turn 17 until January. He is slated to be an early enrollee, and likely won’t be called into action in Austin until he’s an 18-year-old redshirt freshman in 2024 or a 19-year-old third-year sophomore in 2025.

2023 OL Trevor Goosby — Melissa

Goosby played left tackle for a strong Melissa team that went 11-3 and reached the fourth round of the Class 5A Division II playoffs in its first year at the 5A level after moving up from 4A. Two of Melissa’s three losses on the year came against state championship teams. The Cardinals lost 42-41 in their second game of the season against eventual 4A Division I state champion China Spring, and their season ended with a 30-16 loss in the playoffs to 5A Division II state champion South Oak Cliff.

Goosby was named Offensive Lineman of the Year for District 7-5A Division II, and he will potentially be the first Melissa Cardinal to win a letter at Texas. Melissa played its first season of varsity football in 2004, and its only previous alum to play for Texas was wide receiver Kennedy Lewis. Lewis played in two games as a freshman in 2019, but did not see further game action and transferred to UTSA after the 2020 season without having won a letter.

2023 OL Payton Kirkland — Orlando (Florida) Dr. Phillips

Kirkland, who committed to Texas on July 23, was one of just two Longhorn pledges whose teams did not reach the postseason in 2022 (Hunter Moddon was the other). Listed at a humongous 6’6” and 370 pounds in UT’s Signing Day Central release, Kirkland was a four-year varsity player at Dr. Phillips, which competes in Florida’s highest classification, 4M (formerly Class 8A). Until fairly recently Dr. Phillips was a team that could be counted on to reach double-digits in its win total nearly every year, but the Panthers finished 4-6 in 2022 for their second consecutive losing season. He was, in fact, the only Texas commit whose team finished the 2022 season with a losing record. Despite his team’s subpar showing, Kirkland impressed enough to win a spot on the All-Metro Conference team. He is also scheduled to participate in the All-America Bowl in San Antonio on January 7.

2023 OL Connor Stroh — Frisco Wakeland

Stroh’s Wakeland team had a poor 1-3 start in 2022, but rebounded to win 5 of its last 6 games and clinch a spot in the 5A Division I playoffs. The Wolverines’ season came to an end after a 52-50 loss (in four overtimes) to Port Arthur Memorial in the second round of the playoffs, and they finished with a final record of 7-5.

Stroh was one of two offensive linemen who were unanimously selected to the All-District 6-5A Division I first team.

2023 DL Sydir Mitchell — Oradell (New Jersey) Bergen Catholic

Mitchell’s Bergen Catholic team went 11-1 in 2022 and won New Jersey’s Non-Public A state championship for a second straight season. Bergen Catholic was ranked 21st in USA Today’s final Super 25 national rankings for the year. Mitchell was credited with 45 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries (one of which he returned or a touchdown) in his senior year. He also lined up as an eligible tight end on a goal line package in one game and caught a touchdown pass.

At a listed 6’6” and 352 pounds, Mitchell would seem to be an obvious candidate to get early playing time in the middle of the Longhorn defensive line in 2023, especially with the departure of senior defensive tackles Keondre Coburn and Moro Ojomo. He is one of three Longhorn defensive signees who will play for Team Phantom in the Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando on January 3.

Recent Longhorn linebacker Juwan Mitchell came to Texas from Mater Dei Prep in Middletown Township, New Jersey by way of Butler Community College in Kansas. But Sydir Mitchell is the first recruit Texas has signed directly from a New Jersey high school since Chris Simms, the blue-chip quarterback prospect from Franklin Lakes, New Jersey who was a big part of UT’s 1999 signing class, and who later spent 8 years in the NFL.

2023 Edge Tausili Akana — Lehi (Utah) Skyridge

Akana signed with Texas on December 21 after not previously being committed to any program but long being in possession of dozens of offers. Akana is a native of Hawaii but attended high school in Utah for his junior and senior years. His Skyridge team finished the 2022 season with a 13-1 record and won Utah’s 6A state championship. Akana was credited with 70 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles in his senior season and was named the 6A Player of the Year by the Deseret News.

His sister Keonilei Akana is a member of Texas’s 2022 national championship volleyball team and served the winning point in their title game victory over Louisville on December 17. Another older sister, Braelyn Akana, just completed her junior season on the volleyball team at the University of Hawaii, and announced earlier this month that she would not be returning to the Hawaii team for her senior season.

Erstwhile former Longhorn offensive lineman Junior Angilau (who announced his transfer to Oregon on December 20) is the only previous Utah high school product to letter in football at Texas, and Akana stands to potentially be the second. He is one of five Longhorn signees among the listed participants for the All-America Bowl in San Antonio on January 7.

2023 Edge Derion Gullette — Teague

Gullette was an all-around star at Marlin as a junior in 2021, finishing that football season with 64 receptions for 1,458 yards and 14 touchdowns while also recording 125 tackles and 2 interceptions for a Bulldog team that made its longest playoff run in 18 years after the school had won just 12 games over its previous 5 years. He added to an already tantalizing set of data points by qualifying for the 2A Region III track meet in the 200 meters and reaching the 2A state track & field meet in the shot put last spring.

Gullette transferred to nearby Teague over the summer but suffered an injury before the start of the 2022 football campaign that wiped out his senior season. He is a four-star prospect currently rated right in the middle of the pack of UT’s signees, having the 11th-highest 247Sports Composite rating out of the 23 members of the class. He would almost certainly have a higher rating had he been able to play his senior season and show why he was offered by national powers such as Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma, among others.

In Gullette’s absence, Teague went 6-5 and lost in the first round of the Class 3A Division I playoffs.

2023 Edge Colton Vasek — Austin Westlake

Vasek was a star off the edge for his highly-ranked Austin Westlake team in 2022. He had been a starter as a junior on Westlake’s 6A Division II state championship team in 2021, and was a reserve on the Chaparrals’ 2020 6A Division I championship team. The team began the 2022 season as winners of 40 consecutive games and three straight state titles. As is their wont of late, the Chaparrals marched through the regular season and the first few rounds of the playoffs with very little opposition, and were ranked either 1st or 2nd in Class 6A throughout the regular season. But they were denied a shot at a 4th straight championship when they were beaten 49-34 in the 6A Division I state semifinals by eventual runner-up Galena Park North Shore. USA Today’s final Super 25 national rankings slotted Westlake in the #15 spot.

Though he most likely didn’t have to play a significant number of snaps in the second half of most of his team’s games this season, Vasek was credited with 71 tackles, 14 sacks, and 7 other tackles for loss in 14 games played. His father Brian Vasek was a four-year letterman with the Longhorn football program, playing defensive end from 1992 to 1995. Colton will join former Westlake teammates Connor Robertson, Ethan Burke, and the newly-scholarship-adorned Michael Taaffe on the 40 Acres, and within a year or so they should help Westlake ascend to the second-place spot among UT’s all-time leading pipeline schools.

2023 Edge Billy Walton — Dallas South Oak Cliff

Walton was a disruptive presence on the defensive line for a South Oak Cliff team that lost to three strong opponents (including the two eventual 6A state champions) to open the 2022 season before reeling off 13 straight wins to win the 5A Division II state crown for a second consecutive year. He committed to Texas on June 28 after previously being pledged to Oklahoma State, and he was credited with 102 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 18 sacks, and 2 interceptions during his senior year. Walton and two other players were named Tri-MVPs of District 6-5A Division II.

2023 LB S’Maje Burrell — North Crowley

Burrell was credited with 80 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks during a senior year in which he helped North Crowley to its first-ever undefeated regular season and a school-record 12 total wins, including its first-ever wins over Arlington High and Euless Trinity. Burrell’s North Crowley Panthers made their longest playoff run in 19 years and cracked the Class 6A rankings late in the season before losing to Prosper in the third round of the Class 6A Division I playoffs. For his efforts, Burrell was named the Defensive MVP of District 3-6A.

2023 LB Anthony Hill — Denton Ryan

Hill committed to Texas on December 15, five and a half weeks after de-committing from Texas A&M, so he was not a player who was followed in this column during the season. He had an injury-shortened senior year that saw him play in just six of his team’s ten games. In those six games he was credited with 67 tackles and a remarkable 5 forced fumbles.

Hill’s Denton Ryan team won the 5A Division I state championship in 2020, his sophomore season. Ryan has been one of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s elite teams for over a decade, and entering the 2022 season it had won at least 12 games in seven consecutive seasons. Ryan was ranked 2nd in Class 5A Division I to begin this season, but lost to New Braunfels in its first game. The Raiders rebounded to win their next four games, then dropped out of the 5A Division I rankings altogether after an upset loss to Burleson Centennial, which snapped Ryan’s 52-game winning streak against district opponents that had stretched back to 2015.

Ryan finished the regular season 6-3 and qualified for the playoffs, but lost 29-28 in overtime to Red Oak in the first round. It was Ryan’s first loss in a first round playoff game since 2007. Hill is slated to participate in the All-America Bowl in San Antonio on January 7.

2023 LB Liona Lefau — Kahuku (Hawaii)

Lefau’s Kahuku Red Raiders team went 12-2 during the 2022 season and won Hawaii’s Division I-Open state championship for a second consecutive season. Kahuku’s only two losses of the year came against out-of-state powers St. John Bosco of Bellflower, California and St. Frances Academy of Baltimore, Maryland. Those two teams were named by USA Today as the #1 and #10 teams in the nation in its final Super 25 rankings.

For his play on the field in 2022, Lefau was named MaxPreps’ Hawaii Player of the Year. He was UT’s first-ever signee from a Hawaii high school, and will potentially be the program’s first letterman to graduate from a high school in that state, though fellow signee Tausili Akana is originally from that state as well.

2024 CB Jaden Allen — Aledo

Allen’s Aledo team got off to an uncharacteristically poor start to the 2022 season, losing 24-17 to eventual TAPPS Division I state champion Dallas Parish Episcopal, then losing its second game 44-14 to eventual 6A Division II state semifinalist Denton Guyer. Two games into their 2022 campaign the Aledo Bearcats had already suffered two regular season losses for the first time since 2007. But those would be their last losses of the season, as the Bearcats ran the table on the rest of their regular season opponents to win their 15th consecutive district championship, then won six playoff games to claim a state-record 11th state championship. Aledo blew out College Station 52-14 in the 5A Division I state final.

Jaden Allen was credited with 48 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a half-sack, 3 interceptions, 11 passes defended, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble during his junior season. He was one of three cornerbacks voted to the All-District 3-5A Division I first team. The win over College Station gave Allen the second state championship medal of his career, after he had been a member of Aledo’s 5A Division II championship team as a freshman in 2020. Aledo is slated to return Allen and a number of experienced players at key positions in 2023, and he has a good shot at eventually becoming one of the select few among future Longhorns who arrive in Austin as the owners of three state championship medals.

2023 CB Malik Muhammad — Dallas South Oak Cliff

Muhammad, the state’s highest-rated cornerback recruit in the 2023 class according to 247Sports, finished his high school career on the highest of notes by winning Defensive MVP honors in the Class 5A Division II state championship game and helping his South Oak Cliff team to its second straight state title. SOC became the first Dallas ISD team to win back-to-back state championships in football.

In SOC’s come-from-behind 34-24 win over Port Neches-Groves in the state final, Muhammad returned a 3rd quarter interception for a 41-yard touchdown to give his team a 31-17 lead. For his senior season he was credited with 60 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 14 passes defended. He was named an All-District 6-5A Division II first team cornerback, and he will be part of the secondary for Team Phantom at the Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando on January 3.

2023 S Derek Williams — New Iberia (Louisiana) Westgate

Williams’s Westgate team came into the 2022 season as Louisiana’s defending Class 4A state champion. A reorganization of Louisiana’s public school playoff structure did away with the Class 1A-5A brackets and replaced them with “Non-Select” Division I-IV brackets, and Westgate knew coming in that it would be in Division I along with the state’s 5A schools and some of its larger 4A programs. The Westgate Tigers got off to a 5-0 start and were rated as high as 2nd in the Non-Select Division I power ratings during the regular season, but they went 2-3 over their final five regular season games and slipped to 10th in their division’s power ratings.

The Tigers got the 10th seed in the playoffs and had a promising start to their postseason run, beating their first three opponents and reaching the Non-Select Division I semifinals after a 21-10 quarterfinal win over 2nd seed Neville. But their quest for a second straight championship ended there, as they fell 21-6 in the semifinals against undefeated Destrehan, the eventual state champion. Williams is the third-highest rated safety recruit in the 2023 class, according to the 247Sports Composite, and is one of the highest-rated Longhorn safety recruits in the current century. The only safeties to sign with Texas who had a 247Sports composite rating higher than Derek Williams’s 0.9813 were Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster in the 2018 signing class, and Drew Kelson in the 2004 class.

Williams will suit up for Team Phantom at the Under Armor All-America Game in Orlando on January 3 and may get to play some snaps along with his future Longhorn secondary-mate Malik Muhammad.

2024 ATH Hunter Moddon — Houston Clear Lake

Moddon was originally touted as a wide receiver recruit when he committed to Texas on September 2, but he now has the less-specific “athlete” tag as a prospect after a junior season that saw him spend most of his time on the defensive side of the ball and record just eight catches as a receiver. He was voted to the All-District 24-6A second team as a cornerback. His Clear Lake team got off to a 5-1 start to the 2022 season, but then dropped its last four games to finish the regular season with a 5-5 record. The Falcons lost 52-24 to Brazoswood in a win-or-go-home contest in the final week of the regular season, which resulted in Brazoswood clinching the district’s final playoff berth and Clear Lake missing the playoffs for a fourth straight year.

As of this writing, Moddon is one of just two Longhorn commits in the 2024 recruiting class, and is the 18th-ranked recruit in Texas and 99th-rated prospect in the nation for that class, according to the 247Sports Composite.

Historic Longhorn Notables of the Week

Several of this column’s posts during the 2022 high school football season were appended by a look at the life and career of various Longhorns from past eras, a few of whom were notable stars or contributors from the 1970s and very early 80s, while most of the others were more obscure players who suited up for Texas during the World War II years or earlier. Some of the featured players had notable college careers and long professional football careers, others were far less notable for their work on the gridiron than for their life story or what they did in their post-football careers.

Here is the full list of the former Longhorns who were featured, along with links to the posts that they were included in.

Week one: Thomas Milik (1944)
Week two: Raymond Clayborn (1973-76)
Week three: Ox Emerson (1929-30)
Week four: Winston McMahon (1906)
Week five: James Ross “J.R.” Callahan (1943)
Week six: A.J. “Jam” Jones (1978-81)
Week seven: Marshall Morgan “Mark” McMahon (1898-1901)
Week eight: John Robert “J.R.” Swenson (1902)
Week nine: Lawrence Sampleton (1978-81)
Week ten: none (this feature took a bye week)
Week eleven: Howard Fest (1967)
State championship week: Clarence “Blue” Smith (1924)

And with that, another season of week-by-week coverage of Texas Longhorn commits is in the books. Including this post, this column stretched for 19 total posts during the 2022 high school football season and had a total word count of slightly more than 100,000, which is comparable to To Kill a Mockingbird or Ender’s Game. Whether you read along for just this one post or for all 19 of them, I thank you for coming along on that journey and for following BON’s coverage of all things Longhorn recruiting-related. I’m very excited to see what this 2023 class develops into in the next 4-5 years, and hopefully you are too.

Thanks very much for reading, and this writer wishes you all a Happy New Year 2023!