The #ArchEffect continues to make waves and the 2023 class builds more momentum as four-star running back Cedric Baxter, Jr. made his pledge to the Texas Longhorns during a ceremony at Edgewater High School in Orlando on Wednesday.
“The biggest factor is Coach Choice. I’ve been building a relationship with him and that was one of my main focuses
Baxter, the No. 48 player overall, was long thought to be a player that would likely stay in his home state of Florida, with the Florida Gators and Miami Hurricanes making a strong push for him as the Gators hosted Baxter for an unofficial visit and a camp in June, although the Hurricanes weren’t able to get him back on campus after April. His name was also tied to the Texas A&M Aggies, after an unofficial visit to College Station in June.
Ultimately, however, it was an official visit to the Forty Acres in early June, combined with the subsequent commitment of quarterback Arch Manning that afforded Texas a commanding lead in the two months following Baxter’s trip to Austin — the first 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction came the same day that Manning pledged.
The 6’1, 215-pound back garnered all-state honors after rushing for more than 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns as a junior, averaging 8.6 yards per carry en route to leading his team to a district title.
It was no secret that Texas wanted to add two backs to the class after nearly doing so a year ago and position coach Tashard Choice showed why he is regarded as an elite recruiter by a top-50 player in the country with another top-tier running back, DeSoto’s Tre Wisner, already in the class. In any given year, having either of these backs in the class would be a successful haul, but having both of them gives Texas yet another set of dynamic playmakers in a group that is already chock-full of talent.
Texas is now clearly done recruiting at the running back position and is rapidly closing on an elite recruiting class with 22 pledges — including a fifth top-50 player in the country — moving Texas up two spots to No. 3 in the 247Composite team rankings.
Analysis (by Daniel Seahorn):
A big back (listed at 6’1, 215) that achieved workhorse status during his junior season. Played defensive back, linebacker, and running as a sophomore before his breakout junior year where he went for over 1,700 yards on the ground and 26 touchdowns. Shows good vision, burst, and change of direction on tape. Once he gets out into the open field you don’t see him getting caught from behind due to very good long speed. Runs through contact at all levels and displays a good stiff arm. Pretty elusive back even at his size and will make defenders miss at the moment of truth. His lateral agility and jump cuts have the potential to put guys on Sportscenter one day. Kid has a nose for the end zone and knows how to finish off his runs. Shows the ability to split out into the slot and be a weapon in the passing game. Even at his size he shows the ability to provide value in the special teams department as a returner. Potential workhouse running back, who can carry the mail at the next level and still has plenty of tread left on the tires.