Once again, the top running back prospect in the nation is headed to Austin, as Orlando (Fla.) Edgewater product Cedric Baxter has signed his National Letter of Intent with the Texas Longhorns on Early Signing Day.
“The biggest factor is Coach Choice,” Baxter said during his commitment to Texas on Aug. 10. “I’ve been building a relationship with him and that was one of my main focuses.”
That key relationship not only helped the Longhorns land the five-star Florida standout over 52 other options, including Texas A&M, Miami, and Florida, but it helped him remain solid to his pledge as other schools, particularly his childhood favorite Florida State, continued to push through the whistle.
And that, of course, is ideal news for Texas, as they’re now tasked with replacing the reigning Doak Walker Award winner in Bijan Robinson, as well as senior standout and team leader Roschon Johnson. Adding the best running back prospect in the nation certainly helps to that end, and the newly-minted No. 1 running back recruit and No. 21 prospect overall, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking, is well deserving of the ranking after totaling 3,093 yards and 41 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons.
Burnt Orange Nation’s Daniel Seahorn detailed what Texas is getting in Baxter:
“A big back (listed at 6’1, 215) that achieved workhorse status during his junior season. Played defensive back, linebacker, and running as a sophomore before his breakout junior year where he went for over 1,700 yards on the ground and 26 touchdowns. Shows good vision, burst, and change of direction on tape. Once he gets out into the open field you don’t see him getting caught from behind due to very good long speed. Runs through contact at all levels and displays a good stiff arm. Pretty elusive back even at his size and will make defenders miss at the moment of truth. His lateral agility and jump cuts have the potential to put guys on SportsCenter one day. Kid has a nose for the end zone and knows how to finish off his runs. Shows the ability to split out into the slot and be a weapon in the passing game. Even at his size he shows the ability to provide value in the special teams department as a returner. Potential workhouse running back, who can carry the mail at the next level and still has plenty of tread left on the tires.”
An elite running back recruit in nearly every measure, Baxter has the makings of an instant impact talent at Texas, and day one starter potential and many programs in the country, but Texas running back room is the exception to the rule, even with Robinson and Johnson leaving.
Baxter will join a room that’s likely set to see redshirt sophomore Jonathon Brooks step into the starting role, with sophomore Jaydon Blue pushing for that role, too — Blue was once also regarded as a top running back prospect in his class before sitting his senior season. And, not to mention, speedster Keilan Robinson is expected back in what will likely be an increased role. So, playing time won’t come too easily for the incredibly talented true freshman, but make no mistake that Baxter will push everyone in that room, and should even start climbing as the season progresses.