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Texas Newcomers Report: CJ Baxter continues carrying load for Longhorns’ rushing game

Overall, it’s been a great year for the newcomers

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / 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, even after a Big 12 Championship-winning week.

This week, we’re reviewing the newcomers versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Arch Manning, QB: The former five-star recruit out of New Orleans, Louisiana – and the latest heir to the Manning family’s pigskin throne – saw garbage time playing time again.

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 13 rushes for 43 yards and a touchdown. He also grabbed 4 receptions for for 33 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 into the postseason, as Texas prepares for Washington on New Year’s Day.

Tre Wisner, RB: The true freshman running back carried the ball 3 times for 11 yards.

Johntay Cook, WR: Cook secured 1 reception for 12 yards.

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 6 receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell has been one Texas’ most impactful targets throughout the Longhorns’ 2023 college football season. Now, he’ll get again prove his skills in his third consecutive appearance in the College Football Playoff – only at Texas.

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 4 tacklesm (2 solo) and 1 tackle for loss. The 2023 On3 “Midseason True Freshman All-American Team” continues showing out as an NCAA rookie. The only direction is up – and to 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 and 1 pass breakup.

Derek Williams, S: The true freshman safety recorded 1 tackle before he was ejected from the game for a targeting penalty, which has since been upheld following its appeal. 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 recorded 1 solo tackle.

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 1 punt for 51 yards, with 51 yards as his long on the afternoon. Sanborn’s average on the day was about ... 51 yards.