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Texas Newcomers Report: Longhorns RB CJ Baxter seamlessly transitions to bell-cow role

Prepare yourselves to see a lot more of CJ Baxter

Syndication: The Ames Tribune Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

Welcome back to this week’s Texas Longhorns newcomer report. It’s a new year, and that means there are new faces across the Longhorns’ roster. But like last year, think of this as less a report than it is a quick rundown of how Texas’ 2023 freshman class and his talented pool of NCAA Transfer Portal adds faired in their latest showing this college football season.

Short and sweet, in other words.

This week, we’re reviewing the newcomers versus the Iowa State Cyclones.

CJ Baxter, RB: Baxter, a native of Orlando, Florida, was one of the Longhorns’ top recruits in the 2023 class. In his most recent outing – Baxter’s first as the bell-cow starter after Jonoathon Brooks’ injury – the true freshman recorded 20 rushes for 42 yards and a touchdown, as well as 2 receptions for 16 yards. Baxter has earned himself notable usage for most of the regular season alongside breakout Brooks, a redshirt sophomore that went down with a season-ending ACL injury. Baxter will continue leading Texas’ backfield.

Tre Wisner, RB: The true freshman running back got his cleats sort of dirty.

Johntay Cook, WR: Cook got some playing time.

Deandre Moore, WR: The true freshman wide receiver saw minimal playing time.

Adonai Mitchell, WR: The junior wide receiver transfer, who joined Texas after two seasons and back-to-back national championships with the SEC’s Georgia Bulldogs, recorded 3 receptions for 32 yards. As he lifts off and torches Big 12 secondaries, Mitchell has been one Texas’ most impactful targets throughout the Longhorns’ 2023 college football season.

Anthony Hill, LB: It’s beginning to go without saying that Hill’s latest performance was stellar. He was one of the top recruits at his position nationally, and his tenure at Texas is already paying off big for the Longhorns’ defense in one of the biggest games of the 2023 college football season. This past week, Hill recorded 6 tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss. The 2023 On3 “Midseason True Freshman All-American Team” continues showing out as an NCAA rookie. The only direction is up – and the SEC – for the freshman linebacker.

Liona Lefau, LB: Texas’ true freshman linebacker saw playing time.

Malik Muhammad, CB: The true freshman cornerback, coming to Austin straight from his native Dallas area, started over the weekend at boundary corner, where he had 2 tackles.

Gavin Holmes, CB: A redshirt junior cornerback and former member of the ACC’s Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Holmes recorded saw playing time in the defense’s latest showing.

Derek Williams, S: The true freshman safety recorded 3 tackles. As the 2023 regular season has worn on, Williams has made an increasingly louder statement alongside a stout Texas defense. Barring disaster – and the unavoidable toll of the NCAA transfer portal – expect the Texas secondary to be in good hands for the foreseeable future.

Jelani McDonald, S: As for Texas’ other notable true freshman safety, McDonald received a tiny portion of playing time this past week.

Ryan Sanborn, P: A fifth-year senior who transferred to Texas from the Stanford Cardinal program, where he was a two-time captain, Sanborn recorded 4 punts for 171 yards, with 54 yards as his long on the afternoon. Sanborn’s average on the day was about 42 yards.