Texas Longhorns redshirt senior offensive tackle Christian Jones announced on Tuesday that he will take advantage of his extra year of eligibility and return for the 2023 season.
Jones was initially expected to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft after receiving recognition on Senior Day back in November, but as he noted in his post, he has “unfinished business to take care of” after Texas finished 8-5 and lost the Alamo Bowl to Washington.
A late-rising prospect in the 2018 recruiting class, Jones arrived on the Forty Acres as a consensus three-star recruit ranked as the No. 724 player nationally, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. At Cypress Woods, Jones played soccer his freshman and sophomore years before joining the football team as a junior and playing along the defensive line before primarily playing as an offensive lineman as a senior.
Combined with limited experience in pass protection because of the triple option offense run by Cypress Woods, the inexperience of Jones made him a developmental prospect, but his potential intrigued schools like California and Virginia late in the recruiting process.
After enrolling at Texas, Jones redshirted as a true freshman before playing in all 13 games in 2019, primarily on special teams. Jones moved into the rotation in 2020, starting all 10 games at right tackle before moving to left tackle with the arrival of position coach Kyle Flood in 2021. After struggling protecting the blind side, Jones moved back to right tackle and had a strong redshirt senior season in 2022, developing into a fringe NFL Draft prospect.
With the return of Jones, the Longhorns will have all five starters back along the offensive line and an extra year to develop rising sophomore right tackle Cam Williams, the prospective replacement for Jones.