From an NCAA transfer portal commitment to a 2024 flip to an addition to the 2025 recruiting class, it’s been quite a lead up to the early signing period for the Texas Longhorns on Monday, capped by a pledge from 2025 tight end Emaree Winston, who announced his commitment to the Longhorns on a 247Sports livestream.
BREAKING: Four-Star TE Emaree Winston tells me he has Committed to Texas!— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) December 18, 2023
The 6’2 240 TE chose the Longhorns over UCF & Ohio State
Winston joins 4-Star QB KJ Lacey in Texas’ 2025 Class https://t.co/lvuy4wZE6N pic.twitter.com/7vtDYsE8Zz
Winston picked Texas over his other two finalists, Ohio State and UCF. Close to 40 schools in total extended scholarship offers to the 6’1.5, 235-pounder, who is also as a standout on the hardwood. Out of Calhoun (Ga.), Winston also holds offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Missouri, North Carolina, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas Tech, USC, and Wisconsin, among others.
During the fall, Winston made unofficial visits to all three of his finalists, but Texas trended as the favorite with four picks logged in favor of the Longhorns in the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, including from Steve Wiltfong.
With the Longhorns likely losing their top tight end option in Ja’Tavion Sanders after this season and Gunnar Helm after 2024, Texas tight ends coach Jeff Banks has been busy trying to restock his pantry with more talent at the position.
Winston logged 965 receiving yards over the course of his junior campaign and would present Steve Sarkisian with another versatile weapon at the tight end position if he ends up picking the Longhorns next week. At 6’1.5, Winston doesn’t have prototypical size for a tight end, so Sarkisian is likely to deploy him as an H-back instead of in an attached role, but Winston is mobile and physical enough to successfully block players on the move and has uncommonly strong hands for the position with an aptitude for contested catches. Recognizing Winston’s playmaking ability, Calhoun deploys him in a number of ways as a blocker and pass catcher — the coaching staff clearly believes that getting him the ball or running behind him gives them a good chance of winning football games.
A consensus four-star prospect, Winston is the No. 12 tight end prospect in the 2025 recruiting class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and the No. 254 prospect nationally by the same metrics.
Winston is the second 2025 commit for the Longhorns, joining the nation’s No. 7 quarterback, KJ Lacey from Saraland (Ala.). With the addition of Winston, the class now ranks No. 20 nationally.
Analysis (by Daniel Seahorn):
Winston lacks the ideal size you look for at the tight end position (listed at 6’1.5, 235 pounds), but he makes up for it with how he plays the game and the versatility he brings to an offense. Winston is utilized in all the ways a traditional tight end is. He will line up in-line, split out wide, winged off the LOS, they will motion him out, and they even gave him snaps in the wildcat and at running back. With how he is utilized, he comes with a pretty well-rounded game on tape. He shows to be a willing blocker both as a move tight end as well as in-line. He still needs technical polish in this regard, but he is not afraid to get his hands dirty and looks to finish off blocks. Still a bit raw as a route runner, but shows the ability to get open and get separation. Possesses good athleticism for the position and pleasantly surprised me with his acceleration with the ball in hands on tape. He’s a big man that gets moving quickly once he gets the shoulders square and gets north and south. Shows good, dependable hands as a pass catcher. Routinely catches the ball out and away from his body and goes up to compete for the ball at the high point. Shows good body coordination with his ability to make adjustments to the ball. He’s a tough out after the catch and gets a fair amount of YAC. Arm tackles are not going to get him to the ground and he shows on tape he is going to grind and compete for every yard available. Winston tallied just under 1,000 yards receiving as a junior and when you look at the context in how he is utilized it is pretty impressive. This isn’t a guy who basically a wide receiver moonlighting as a tight end. Winston is a multi-sport athlete (basketball and football) and it shows in his body movements. He’s a very intriguing piece that could potentially evolve into a swiss-army knife for an offense that knows how to take advantage of his skill set.