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 College Football Playoff Semifinal week.
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 9 rushes for 64 yards and a touchdown. He also grabbed 2 receptions for for 39 yards. Baxter 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 earlier this year. Baxter then led Texas’ backfield into the postseason, where the Longhorns fell to the Washington Huskies.
Tre Wisner, RB: The true freshman running back saw minimal playing time.
Johntay Cook, WR: Cook received little postseason game 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 4 receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown. Mitchell was one Texas’ most impactful targets throughout the Longhorns’ 2023 college football season.
Adonai Mitchell is one of them ones— Snoog’s Dynasty Society (@FFSnoog) January 3, 2024
Incredible body control, spectacular catching ability, and hands all over his tape
He should be a 1st round pick come April… pic.twitter.com/9FR1nb9WE8
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 2 tackles (2 solo) 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 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 the second half at boundary corner. Muhammad recorded no defensive stats.
Derek Williams, S: Entering the game in the second half due to a targeting ejection in the Big 12 Championship game, the true freshman safety recorded 2 tackles (1 solo) and 1 tackle for loss. As the 2023 regular season wore on, Williams made an increasingly louder statement alongside a stout Texas defensive roster. 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 saw playing time.
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 5 punts for 237 yards, with 55 yards as his long on the afternoon. Sanborn’s average on the day was about 47 yards.