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Arch Manning among high-profile recruits hosted by Texas last weekend

It was a busy weekend in Austin, as the Longhorns played host to the nation’s top quarterback plus several other top recruits.

Oklahoma State v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The 2022 recruiting cycle is still probably fresh on the minds of some, but the 2023 cycle is already kicking it into high gear, as recruits are filling out spring visit itineraries and heading to campuses all across the country.

The Texas Longhorns played host to several targets earlier in the spring, but with this past week marking the beginning of spring practices, another wave of visitors made their way to Austin to check out the action and meet with the coaches.

On top of your typical visitors, you also had athletes making their way over to the facilities as they participated in the Texas Relays on campus, which is an event that previous staffs have become accustomed to using as a chance to get face time with recruits while they are in town. Needless to say Steve Sarkisian’s staff was very busy over the weekend, as they made sure to spread the love around to several priority recruits.

The headliner of the visitors was of course five-star New Orleans (La.) Isidore Newman quarterback Arch Manning, as he made his way back to Austin with teammate Will Randle, a tight end prospect, after making a trip to see the Longhorns during the season against Oklahoma State. Needless to say the red carpet was was rolled out for the New Orleans duo, who took advantage of the chance to attend Dell Match Play.

Manning was fresh off of a visit to Georgia before making his way to Austin to see the Longhorns. Manning is also set to see Nick Saban and Alabama this spring, but after that no other visits appear to be set at this time.

The Longhorns have been all in on Manning as their main and only priority at quarterback this cycle and by all accounts they did nothing to hurt their standing with the five-star signal caller. Manning made his way to Austin on Thursday and stayed through Saturday before heading back to New Orleans. Any time you can get a recruit of Manning’s importance to stay in Austin for an extended period of time it is never a bad thing.

There is no timeline in place for Manning to make a decision at this time, but I think it is safe to say that Texas, Georgia, and Alabama seem to be most consistent programs mentioned and have been for some time. Florida, LSU, and Ole Miss have been mentioned as well, but don’t appear to be getting the same kind of buzz as the previously mentioned schools.

While Manning certainly headlined the visitors list, there was still plenty of other talented prospects that made their way in. The Longhorns saw a plethora of big bodies come into town and it is clear offensive line coach Kyle Flood isn’t resting on his laurels after notching a big haul in 2022. Guys like Austin Vandegrift’s Ian Reed, Mansfield Timberview’s Andre Cojoe, Odessa Permian’s Harris Sewell, and Frisco Wakeland’s Connor Stroh all made it in.

When you look at the guys Texas just signed and the crop of players they hosted this weekend, I think it is safe to say Flood has a type — big humans are going to become a thing as long as he is in charge of that position group. With a five-star quarterback in town it definitely looks like the staff made it a point to bring in some guys they will potentially be protecting him if he were to become a Longhorn.

Desoto four-star wide receiver Johntay Cook has been a regular in Austin and he made it back to campus to get some face time with Manning during his trip. Cook and Manning are two of the biggest targets on the big board for the Longhorn staff and, as you can tell by now, they have been working the angle hard of pairing them up together at the next level in Austin. One name that was supposed to make it in, but wasn’t able to was five-star running back Rueben Owens, who reportedly was not able to make the trip due to a family engagement.

Speaking of wide outs, Austin Westlake wide receiver Jaden Greathouse made the short trip over to the facilities this weekend and continues to be a priority for the staff. Texas wide receivers coach Brennan Marion has established a connection Greathouse since arriving in Austin and if the Longhorns want to keep him home they will need keep him from some of the top programs in the country who are in pursuit. Four-star Del Valle wide receiver Braylon James also made the trek over to campus and continues to reciprocate interest from the Longhorns. There has reportedly been some momentum from the Notre Dame side of things with James, so it will be something to monitor moving forward this spring as he begins to narrow things down.

Linebacker is a big position of need for the staff heading into the spring and they were able to host a talented backer over the weekend in Fort Worth North Crowley’s S’Maje Burrell. Don’t let the three-star ranking fool you on Burrell — he has notched almost 30 offers to date, including some big ones from programs like Oklahoma and Ohio State. The Sooners recently hosted Burrell on campus and were reportedly pushing hard and he will see the Buckeyes in Columbus next.

Burrell’s recruitment is going to be a big test this cycle for the Longhorn staff, as they need to address the position in a major way and will have even bigger holes to fill once guys like DeMarvion Overshown depart for the NFL next year.

As you can see there was a lot of foot traffic on campus over the weekend for the Longhorn staff and they are all setup to have another slate of eager visitors this coming weekend, with guys like Denton Ryan’s Anthony Hill Jr. scheduled to be in Austin. Ryan is arguably the top defensive target for the staff and an elite linebacker, so getting him on campus this spring is imperative as they battle schools from all across the country for his services.

You can probably expect a pretty steady stream of visitors throughout the spring, but the spring period will be capped off with a big visit date for the spring game. Keep your head on a swivel because there will be tons of names to keep up with the cycle getting fully revved up now.