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Longhorn football commits in action, Sept. 1-3

Arch Manning will play his first game as a Texas commit on Friday!

2023 Texas Longhorn commits Arch Manning (left) and Will Randle of Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans pose after an August practice.
Gerry Hamilton — On3/Inside Texas

The 2022 Texas high school football season began last week. 18 of the Texas Longhorns’ 24 total commits in the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes played their first game of the season a week ago, and their three commits from Louisiana will begin play this week.

Some skill position commits had big weeks in their 2022 debut, particularly Cedric Baxter and Jonah Wilson (see below). And this week will bear witness to Arch Manning’s first official game as a Texas Longhorn commit.

Below is this week’s full schedule of games involving UT’s commits, along with short recaps of some of the more high-profile games of last week. After that is this week’s featured Historic Longhorn Notable: 1970s great Raymond Clayborn, a player not as well-known among younger Longhorn fans as most of UT’s star defensive backs of the past 30 years, but one who had a longer NFL career than any of them.

The start times listed for each game are according to their local time zone, and all schools named are in Texas unless otherwise noted.

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

Last week: Manning completed 6 of 12 passes for 81 yards and ran for a TD in a 20-13 win over New Orleans De La Salle.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at Boutte (Louisiana) Hahnville

Isidore Newman’s game last Friday that you may have seen mentioned on this site was a “Jamboree” game and will not count for regular season record purposes. I did not mention the game in last week’s post because it was not (and still isn’t) listed on Newman’s MaxPreps schedule. Louisiana high schools traditionally kick off a new football season with a weekend of Jamboree games, which from what I understand tend to be competitive scrimmages that are played in game conditions but are often shortened from the length of a full game.

Newman plays its first actual game on Friday on the road at Hahnville.

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

Last week: Had 22 carries for 232 yards and a TD in a 22-7 win over Orlando Bishop Moore.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, vs. Ramsey (New Jersey) Don Bosco Prep

Cedric Baxter outgained Bishop Moore’s offense by himself in the first game of his senior year, rushing for 232 yards to top Bishop Moore’s 199 total yards of offense. He and his teammates should get a stiffer challenge on Friday when they host New Jersey powerhouse Don Bosco Prep, a team MaxPreps rates as that state’s top team.

Edgewater is ranked as one of Florida’s top ten teams in the 3M classification. Florida formerly organized its high school athletics classifications from 1A to 8A, but beginning this year the FHSAA moves to a newfangled scheme where schools are organized into Metro, Suburban, and Rural divisions.

The Metro and Suburban divisions range from 1M to 4M, and 1S to 4S, respectively. while the one Rural division, 1R, is effectively the new name for the former Class 1A. Schools are grouped into their divisions and classifications based on their enrollment and the population density of the county where they are located. Schools in the eight most densely-populated counties in Florida are in the Metro division, and this includes all Orlando schools.

Thus, Cedric Baxter’s school, which was formerly classified in 7A, is now in 3M, a group that includes schools with an enrollment between 1,667 and 2,329. So he’s largely playing against schools that would be somewhere between Class 5A Division II and the small side of Class 6A if they were in Texas.

2023 RB Tre Wisner — DeSoto
2023 WR Johntay Cook II — DeSoto

Last week: Tre Wisner had 15 carries for 66 yards and 2 TDs, and Johntay Cook caught 3 passes for 96 yards and a TD in a 35-10 win over New Orleans St. Augustine
This week: Saturday, September 3 at 7:00, vs. Baltimore (Maryland) St. Frances Academy

Playing against New Orleans power St. Augustine in Oregon in the Nike Kickoff Classic last week, DeSoto went into halftime tied at 7-7, and trailed 10-7 early in the 3rd quarter. But the Eagles then scored touchdowns on four straight possessions to take control of the game and won going away. Johntay Cook had a 69-yard touchdown reception on DeSoto’s second possession of the game.

The Eagles are ranked seventh in Class 6A and will have another inter-state matchup this week, this time with Baltimore’s St. Frances Academy, a team MaxPreps currently ranks 3rd in the nation.

2023 WR Ryan Niblett — Aldine Eisenhower

Last week: Team lost to Katy Morton Ranch 21-19.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at Conroe

Ryan Niblett and his Eisenhower teammates will be looking to even up their record on Friday when they face Conroe, which lost 14-3 in its season opener against defending 5A Division I state champion Katy Paetow.

2023 WR Jonah Wilson — Spring Dekaney

Last week: Caught 10 passes for 197 yards and 2 TDs in a 32-25 loss to Klein Oak
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, vs. Houston Strake Jesuit

Jonah Wilson had just shy of 200 yards receiving in last week’s season-opener, but to no avail, as his team fell by seven points to Klein Oak.

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

Last week: Team defeated Las Vegas (Nevada) Bishop Gorman 24-21.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:30, at Corona (California) Centennial

Spencer Shannon recorded no stats in last week’s 24-21 win by nationally second-ranked Mater Dei over sixth-ranked Bishop Gorman. The Monarchs will play another highly-ranked foe on Friday when they travel to face Corona Centennial, ranked seventh in the country by MaxPreps.

2023 OL Jaydon Chatman — Killeen Harker Heights

Last week: Team defeated Killeen Ellison 33-7.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at Smithson Valley

Harker Heights opened its season with a decisive win over cross-town rival Ellison. This week, the Knights travel 130 miles south to play Smithson Valley, the seventh-ranked team in Class 5A Division I. This will not be the team’s longest road trip this season; in Week Four they will travel 325 miles west to play Odessa Permian.

2023 OL Andre Cojoe — Mansfield Timberview

Last week: Team defeated South Grand Prairie 34-30.
This week: Thursday, September 1 at 7:00, at Arlington Sam Houston (at Arlington’s Choctaw Stadium)

Timberview scored two 4th quarter touchdowns to beat South Grand Prairie 34-30 last week, after going into the final frame trailing 30-20. Andre Cojoe played left tackle and blocked for a Timberview offense that gained 300 rushing yards in the win.

The Wolves will look to improve to 2-0 when they play Arlington Sam Houston on Thursday. Sam Houston is coming off a 50-12 loss to North Crowley in a game in which its offense gained just 79 total yards and its team was penalized for 81 yards.

2023 OL Trevor Goosby — Melissa

Last week: Team lost to Argyle 37-18.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:30, vs. China Spring

In its first game as a Class 5A program, Melissa lost 37-18 to Argyle, the sixth-ranked team in Class 5A Division II, and another program in its first year above 4A. Melissa led 18-14 at the end of the 1st quarter, but was outscored 23-0 the rest of the way. The Cardinals committed five turnovers and were penalized 14 times for 115 yards.

On Friday, they will host Class 4A Division I’s second-ranked team, China Spring. China Spring began its season with a 38-20 win over defending Class 3A Division I state champion Lorena.

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

Last week: Team lost 13-7 to Lake Mary.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at Orlando Timber Creek

In Cedric Baxter’s section I explained Florida’s move this year from classifications ranging from 1A to 8A to a setup that puts schools into “Metro” and “Suburban” divisions, with classifications ranging from 1M to 4M and 1S to 4S, respectively. Payton Kirkland’s Dr. Phillips team is classified in 4M, which consists of Metro schools with an enrollment of 2,330 or higher that are located in Florida’s eight counties with the highest population density.

2023 OL Connor Stroh — Frisco Wakeland

Last week: Team lost to Grapevine 49-28.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at White Settlement Brewer

The Frisco Wakeland offense gained 460 yards last week, but its defense allowed 538 rushing yards to Grapevine and did not force a turnover.

This week the Wolverines play a Brewer team that lost 36-7 last week to Frisco High.

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

Last week: Had two sacks and recovered a fumble that he returned for a 25-yard TD in a 49-14 win over Raleigh (North Carolina) Cardinal Gibbons.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at Scottsdale (Arizona) Saguaro

Sydir Mitchell scored a defensive touchdown in his team’s 49-14 blowout win last week. I’ve got a feeling that his Hudl highlights will be a must-watch this season.

Bergen Catholic is ranked 19th nationally this week by MaxPreps, and will travel across the country to face 14th-ranked Saguro of Scottsdale, Arizona. Saguaro is Arizona’s defending Open Division state champion.

2023 DL Dylan Spencer — Houston C.E. King

Last week: Made two tackles in a 63-7 win over Crosby.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at Allen

C.E. King started off the 2022 season with a bang, taking to the woodshed a Crosby team that advanced five rounds deep into the Class 5A Division II playoffs in 2020 and 2021.

This week, the Panthers will travel to play Allen, a team that has finished with a double-digit win total in 16 consecutive seasons, but which goes into Week Two in the very unfamiliar position of being unranked. Allen, the state’s largest high school by far with an enrollment of just over 7,100, lost 52-14 last week to the nation’s top-ranked team, St. John Bosco of Bellflower, California.

2023 EDGE Derion Gullette — Teague

Injured - out for 2022 season

2023 EDGE Billy Walton — Dallas South Oak Cliff
2023 CB Malik Muhammad — Dallas South Oak Cliff

Last week: Billy Walton made 6 tackles (1 for loss), and Malik Muhammad made 2 tackles, forced a fumble, and caught 2 passes for 13 yards in a 23-10 loss to Duncanville.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:30, at Lancaster

South Oak Cliff, the defending Class 5A Division II state champion, began its season against the fourth-ranked team in Class 6A, Duncanville, and was without the services of four-star RB/CB Jayvon Thomas, a Texas A&M commit. The Bears acquitted themselves reasonably well for three quarters; they were tied with Duncanville 7-7 at the half, and trailed only 9-7 going into the 4th quarter, but their offense was all but shut down in the second half, and Duncanville scored two 4th quarter touchdowns to pull away.

South Oak Cliff gained just 147 total yards, and after taking a 7-0 lead late in the 1st quarter, their subsequent possessions ended thus: punt, punt, punt, safety, turnover on downs, punt, punt, made field goal, turnover on downs, and end of regulation.

This week, the Bears face fellow south Dallas school Lancaster, a team they have not played since 2017. Lancaster opened its season with a 25-0 shutout win over Dallas Skyline.

Below are Billy Walton’s highlights playing defensive end vs. Duncanville.

2023 LB S’Maje Burrell — North Crowley

Last week: Team beat Arlington Sam Houston 50-12.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at Arlington

North Crowley blasted former district opponent Arlington Sam Houston in its season-opener last week, holding the Texans to 79 total offensive yards. The Panthers will look to move to 2-0 on Friday when they play another former longtime district opponent, the Arlington Colts. North Crowley is 0-11 all-time against Arlington High

2023 LB Liona Lefau — Kahuku (Hawaii)

Last week: Team beat Leilehua 57-14.
This week: Saturday, September 3 at 6:00, vs. Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou

Though the game result doesn’t show up on the team’s MaxPreps page, Kahuku had its third straight blowout win last week, beating Leilehua 57-14. This week the Kahuku Red Raiders will play Punahou, which had a 1-4 record a year ago but is currently undefeated at 3-0 and has outscored its 2022 opponents 129-7.

2024 CB Jaden Allen — Aledo

Last week: Made one tackle and had a 23-yard kickoff return in a 24-17 loss to Dallas Parish Episcopal.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:30, vs. Denton Guyer

Aledo dropped its season-opener last week to the state’s top-ranked private school team, Dallas Parish Episcopal. Aledo trailed 21-3 at halftime but scored two 3rd quarter touchdowns to cut the deficit to 21-17. But the Bearcats got no closer than that, as their three possessions of the 4th quarter ended with an interception, punt, and turnover on downs. With the loss, Aledo fell from third to ninth in this week’s rankings for Class 5A Division I.

To avoid starting 0-2 they’ll have to regroup quickly, as Friday’s opponent is Class 6A’s sixth-ranked team, Denton Guyer, which is one year removed from reaching the Class 6A Division II state championship game.

2024 CB Aeryn Hampton — Daingerfield

Last week: Team defeated Gladewater 14-13.
This week: Thursday, September 1 at 7:00, vs. Tatum

Daingerfield edged Gladewater in its season-opener. The Tigers are ranked fourth in Class 3A Division II.

2023 S Jamel Johnson — Arlington Seguin

Last week: Team lost to Midlothian 30-14.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, vs. Red Oak

2023 S Derek Williams — New Iberia (Louisiana) Westgate

Last week: No game.
This week: Friday, September 2 at 7:00, at New Iberia

Westgate is Louisiana’s defending Class 4A state champion, and its team is ranked #1 in 4A in the initial Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA) poll for 2022. The Tigers received four out of ten first-place votes, and were just one point higher in the poll than second-ranked New Orleans Warren Easton, the team they beat by one point in last year’s state championship.

Historic Longhorn Notable of the Week: Raymond Clayborn

New England Patriots
Raymond Clayborn playing in a 1978 NFL game with the New England Patriots.
Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The University of Texas has one of several college football programs that have claimed the mantle of DBU (Defensive Back Universitiy). Supporting evidence for UT’s claim includes: its many All-American defensive backs (six of whom were consensus All-Americans), its two Jim Thorpe Award winners (Michael Huff and Aaron Ross), and the 13 Longhorn DBs who were 1st round NFL Draft picks between 1977 and 2013.

If one were to solicit nominations for a Mount Rushmore of Longhorn defensive secondary stars, 21st century Longhorns like Earl Thomas, Michael Griffin, Michael Huff, Kenny Vaccaro, Nathan Vasher, and Quentin Jammer would likely be among the first mentioned, if for no other reason than recency bias. Fans with longer memories would no doubt cite 1980s or 1990s All-Americans like Mossy Cade, Jerry Gray, Stanley Richard, and Bryant Westbrook.

Derrick Hatchett and Johnnie Johnson were both 1st round picks in 1980, and the latter was twice a consensus All-American before playing a full decade in the NFL.

A historian would advise against forgetting about Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Dillon, a four-time All-Pro safety with the Green Bay Packers in the 1950s. Or Bill Bradley, the college quarterback turned NFL safety who was twice a first team All-Pro in the early 1970s and who once intercepted 20 passes over the course of just two NFL seasons (1971-72). And of course there’s two-way star Noble Doss, who had just a three-year pro football career in the late 1940s, but whose 17 career interceptions as a Longhorn has remained atop the program’s all-time list for 81 years (Nathan Vasher tied his record in 2003).

All are legitimate candidates for the Mount Rushmore of Longhorn defensive backs, but Raymond Clayborn, the name at the top of this section, has a strong case for being mentioned near the top of any list of Longhorn DB greats. He wasn’t the first Longhorn to be picked in the 1st round of an NFL Draft, but he was the first to be selected that high purely as a defensive back, and I suspect he’s far less well known than some of the above-mentioned names among UT fans from Generation-Y and younger because he played his last game in a Longhorn uniform nearly 46 years ago, and his final NFL game 31 years ago today.

Clayborn was a native of Fort Worth and grew up to be a football and track star at Trimble Tech High School. In football he was primarily a split end, though colleges recruited him as both a receiver and defensive back.

In track & field his specialty was the 440-yard dash, a race whose full distance was eight feet longer than today’s metric equivalent, the 400-meter dash. As a junior in 1972 he ran a leg of Trimble Tech’s mile relay team that finished second at that year’s Class 4A state track meet after running one of the fastest times in the nation earlier in the season (3:15.9). As a senior, Clayborn took second place in the 440-yard dash at the 1973 Class 4A state meet with a time of 47.7 seconds.

He signed a football letter of intent with West Texas State (now West Texas A&M) in February of 1973, but two months later he signed another letter of intent with Texas, who reportedly planned to play him at defensive back. In his four-year college career he would win All-America honors and make explosive plays on offense, defense, and special teams.

Plans to train Clayborn at defensive back were temporarily put on hold early in his freshman year after a hamstring injury to halfback Tommy Landry, which resulted in Clayborn being moved to running back to help shore up depth at the position. He finished the 1973 season as the team’s fourth-leading rusher with 320 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries. In UT’s 34-6 win over Arkansas, he ran for an 85-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter, which would be the Longhorns’ longest running play of the 1970s.

He spent part of his sophomore year at running back as well, before eventually becoming a full-time cornerback, and he was also a sometime kick returner. In UT’s 42-19 win over Boston College to open the 1974 season, Clayborn returned a 3rd quarter kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown, which was tied for the longest such return in program history at that time. As a Longhorn he averaged 25.3 yards on 32 career kickoff returns.

He made the All-Southwest Conference first team in his junior and senior seasons, and in both years was an Associated Press honorable mention All-American. As a senior in 1976 he was also named an All-American by The Sporting News and the Newspaper Enterprise Association (second team). He would later be named to the Southwest Conference’s 1970s All-Decade Team.

Along with showing game-breaking speed on the gridiron, he put his wheels to good use with the Longhorn track team, winning a pair of letters in that sport (1976-77) and running a leg on UT’s SWC champion 440-yard relay and mile relay squads in 1977.

Clayborn was the 16th overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft, and spent the first 13 of his 15 NFL seasons with the New England Patriots. As a rookie in 1977 he was mostly a backup defensive back and kick returner, and in that season he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns! He became a full-time starter at cornerback the following year, and he was very seldom put on kickoff return duty after the 1978 season. He was a starter on four Patriots teams that reached the playoffs, including their 1985 team that advanced from the Wild Card round of the playoffs all the way to Super Bowl XX before being blown out by the Chicago Bears. He was a highly durable player until the very end of his career, and over his first 11 seasons he played in 161 consecutive games.

After 13 seasons with the Patriots he signed with Cleveland in early 1990, at age 35, and he started all 16 games for the Browns that fall. He was a starter for Cleveland’s first game of the 1991 season, which took place 31 years ago today, but afterwards was put on injured reserve due to a broken ankle, and he never played in an NFL game again.

In all, Clayborn started 196 games at cornerback in the NFL and made three Pro Bowls (1983, 1985-86), and his 36 career interceptions are a New England Patriots franchise record (now shared with Ty Law). His 36 interceptions also leads all former Longhorns in pro football aside from the aforementioned Hall of Famer Bobby Dillon, whose 52 interceptions were the second-most in league history at the time of his retirement after the 1959 season.

Clayborn was inducted into the UT Athletics Hall of Honor in 1991, and the New England Patriots Hall of Fame in 2017.

Previous Historic Longhorn Notables of the Week

Week One: Thomas Milik