An already-loaded Texas Longhorns defensive line class now has a new headliner, as four-star Trussville (Ala.) Hewiss-Trussville product Justice Finkley announced his pledge to the Horns on Thursday afternoon, siding with Steve Sarkisian’s program over the Alabama Crimson Tide and Colorado Buffaloes.
The news comes a little more than two months after Finkley trimmed his list of options to just his final three of Texas, Bama and Colorado on July 4.
Since then, there was relatively little news indicating which way Finkley may have been leaning — even leading up to his commitment, only two Crystal Ball projections were placed, each with a low confidence score. That said, though the Buffs were among his finalists, this was thought to be a two-horse race between Texas and Alabama, and of course, landing a home-state kid that the Crimson Tide actually want is a recruiting victory that’s few and far between for any program.
However, in the end, the balance of athletics and academics played a factor in Finkley’s recruitment, and the academics aspect of that certainly favored Austin. Of course, the Horns may need to whether a fall push from Nick Saban and the Tide, as he’s yet to officially visit Tuscaloosa and may use that trip, but for now, his pledge serves as a massive addition to Steve Sarkisian’s 2022 class.
With Finkley on board, Longhorns defensive line coach Bo Davis can essentially cap an elite first haul on the recruiting trail, as Finkley now headlines a seven-man group:
- Justice Finkley — 4-star DL
- Jaray Bledsoe — 4-star DL
- J’mond Tapp — 4-star Edge
- Kristopher Ross — 4-star DL
- Derrick Brown — 4-star Edge
- Aaron Bryant — 4-star DL
- Zac Swanson — 4-star DL
Analysis (by Daniel Seahorn):
Texas has been loading up in the trenches on the defensive side of the ball this cycle and they got another good one today in Justice Finkley. Play strength, his ability to play with leverage and a good motor are his calling cards, and on top of that he uses his hands well. Finkley plays up and down the LOS for Hewitt-Trussville and he is taxed with having to take on double teams frequently, and when he holds up well against them. He shows the ability to hold his ground and get his hip into the gap so that he can split the double and at minimum he is stacking up bodies at the LOS making it murky for the backs. Finkley refuses to stay blocked and when he gets 1v1 matchup he is able to overwhelm his opponents with good power and good lateral quickness. On one play he is forklifting an offensive linemen into the backfield and on the next he is shooting across the face of another into the backfield and running down the ball carrier. On top of being a good player, you already know you are getting a high character person off the field and someone who is going to excel as much off the field as on it. Very good get for the Longhorns and I imagine Pete Kwitkowski and Bo Davis are very satisfied with how the class is shaping up.
A 6’2, 255-pound interior force, Finkley now becomes commit No. 21 for Steve Sarkisian as part of his debut class on the Forty Acres, which now ranks No. 3 nationally behind only Notre Dame and Penn State. Finkley is ranked as the nation’s No. 19 defensive lineman and as the No. 112 player overall, per the 247Sports Composite.