With Early Signing Day in the books, Steve Sarkisian and his staff wrapped up another top-5 recruiting class for the Texas Longhorns. What are you most excited about in the ‘24 class?
Daniel Seahorn (@DanielSeahorn) - Championships are won and lost in the trenches, so I’m most excited about the guys that are being brought in on both sides of the ball. Steve Sarkisian and his staff knew they had to load up on quality big bodies heading into the SEC and I feel like that did an adequate job of continuing the load up the pipeline on campus. If I could fast forward into the future, I’d love to see some good-on-good action between Brandon Baker and Colin Simmons or Daniel Cruz against D’antre Robinson. Iron sharpens iron.
Gerald Goodridge (@ghgoodridge) - I mean, can I answer anything other than the fact they seemingly found the heir apparent for both Kelvin Banks and Jake Majors? In a world without Kelvin Banks, Brandon Baker is Kelvin Banks, so the fact that he can take a redshirt year and not be forced into action is huge. I’ve also been super critical of Texas’s inability to land and develop centers in the past, so having a guy like Daniel Cruz in the mix and ready to roll feels like a win-win.
Cameron Parker (@camerondparker) - Can I say having back-to-back classes in the top-5? I know it might not seem a big deal to the Alabama’s or the Georgia’s, and honestly, it used to be the norm here at Texas, but stringing together classes like this is what builds dynasties.
Who will be the Anthony Hill from this year's class? Doesn’t have to be a LB…
Daniel - Anthony Hill caliber players don’t grow on trees, so that’s tough. With that said I’d have to point toward Colin Simmons simply because he’s the type of talent that is going to assert his way onto the field early even if it’s just situational snaps. He possesses a talent a skill set that isn’t abundant on campus right now.
Gerald - Collin Simmons is the easy answer, but I could also make a case for Xavier Filsaime, so I might do both. It would be shocking to see Simmons not have an “Anthoy Hill like role in the defense with a specific package where he can find a way to contribute his unique skills early as he acclimates to the college game. For Filsaime, there is going to be some turnover in the room and Blake Gideon likes to rotate in guys at safety, so a freshman with his athletic profile can clearly find a way to make an impact this year (Derek Williams, cough cough).
Cameron - Collin Simmons or Xavier Filsaime. Filsaime can make an impact at safety and on special teams. Texas loves to rotate the defensive line so you know Simmons will see some action next year.
Are there any weaknesses in this class?
Daniel - If I had to quibble, I guess you could say a ready-made tight end who could factor into the plans as soon as 2024. Replacing JT Sanders is going to be a tall order (barring a surprise return) and that TE2 spot is wide open looking at the roster heading into the spring.
Gerald - I wouldn’t specifically call it a “weakness” in as many words, but I’m always one to advocate for a difference-maker along the interior defensive line. We saw this year what an impact those kinds of guys can have for defense and no shade to the guys in the class, there’s a longer development curve for them to get to that point. That being said, there are rumors of Texas still pursuing some unsigned elite interior DL, so that could very well change when it's all said and done.
Cameron - I’m a little bit worried about the defensive backs. I like Filsaime and Kobe Black but I would say the secondary is the biggest weakness of the Texas defense currently.
Sark’s 2024 and 2023 classes are the best back-to-back classes for Texas since…
Daniel - Man I feel like you would have to go back a good bit and when you do you have to take into account several things. You would probably have to go back to the peak Mack days to find back-to-back classes of this caliber all things considered.
Gerald - 2022 and 2023? That feels like a cheat, but when you look at it from a “complete group” standpoint, we would have to go back to Mack Brown’s days on campus to see that. These classes are way more balanced than anything we saw under Tom Herman and Charlie Strong, especially in the trenches, so we could rock back to the classes that built the foundation of the 2005 Championship team if we want to find classes composed like this.
Cameron - That’s tough because Texas has had classes that were Top-5 in back-to-back years but 75% of the classes were never developed properly. Hell, Mack had the #2 and #4 recruiting class in 2011 and 2012 and we know that turned out. It’s a lame answer but we’ll know the answer to this question in four or five years.
Obviously, Texas is still awaiting the decision of UTSA Edge Trey Moore and a few other high school players who will decide before National Signing Day. Who does Texas need to get?
Daniel - Texas needs one more addition at the wide receiver position after landing Matthew Golden leading up to NSD1. You are losing a considerable amount of talent from that position room, so you need to mitigate that with another portal addition. I also wouldn’t turn away another defensive lineman if the right one wants into the class. I’m looking at you Dominick McKinley, Dealyn Evans, and Alex Foster. Bubba Hampton defecting on Wednesday opens up an athlete spot as well. Looks like Texas reached out to Aaron Butler out in California to make a late push. We will see what comes of that or if they will make a run at Terry Bussey.
Gerald - I still think Texas needs to land one more body at wide receiver and I would love to see another at linebacker. Golden definitely fills a huge need there, but in a world in which you’re losing Xavier Worthy, Adonai Mitchell, and Jordan Whittington (your No. 1 guy at all three receiver spots), you need to have another proven option. I believe portal additions do one of two things, raise the ceiling or raise the floor and I think that Texas needs to find a floor raiser at wide receiver. The same can be said for linebackers, where Texas returns Anthony Hill and possibly David Gbenda, they will have to rely on a few unproven underclassmen without another addition. You need experienced depth there, especially given that the defense is losing both T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy up front.
Cameron - By the time this gets posted it might already be announced but I’d love for Texas to land Moore and Evans. Outside of that, I agree with Gerald in grabbing another wideout. Sark and Chris Jackson may like what they have at the position but I still worry about the experience heading into ‘24.