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Commitment 101: Longhorns add potential upside at defensive end with Barryn Sorrell

The Longhorns added another defensive lineman to the 2021 recruiting class Wednesday afternoon when three-star Barryn Sorrell picked Texas over Arizona State, Louisville and a dozen other Power Five offers. Sorrell is a 6-3, 250-pound strong-side defensive end. He’s the 19th commitment for the Longhorns in the 2021 cycle, which ranks second in the Big 12 and 17th nationally. 

Sorrell signed his national letter of intent to play at Texas earlier in the day, so he’s officially a Longhorn. He plays his football at Holy Cross in New Orleans. Sorrell is the second Louisiana native to sign with Texas this cycle, joining three-star wide receiver Casey Cain. Sorrell is the 22nd-ranked prospect from Louisiana in the 2021 class, according to the 247Sports composite ranking. 

Skill set: Sorrell is big and naturally strong, though, he needs a year in the weight room to work on his body. He needs to replace some of his bad weight with muscle before he can be expected to compete with collegiate offensive linemen on an every-down basis. He also hasn’t been able to concentrate solely on the defensive line since he started on both sides of the football for Holy Cross as a junior. He played a variety of different defensive positions as a senior. 

What Sorrell lacks in technique and refinement, he makes up for with effort and toughness. He’s always chasing the football. He’s motor runs hot at all times, which is the hardest thing to teach young defensive linemen. Sorrell can handle double teams better than most prep defensive ends. He’s also capable of getting after the quarterback, but he relies more on power at this stage in his development. 

Immediate impact: Texas will lose a pair of starters along the defensive line with Joseph Ossai and Ta’Quon Graham departing for the NFL. Both of those players opted out of the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft. The depth on campus is solid, however, so it is hard to foresee Sorrell making a real push into the two-deep. He’ll project to defensive end rather than the Jack position, so he’ll need to compete with the likes of Moro Ojomo, Jacoby Jones and Vernon Broughton. 

Fitting into the program: Sorrell is considered a high-upside defensive lineman with positional versatility. He can play defensive end as an oversized run-stuffer like Ojomo. Or, the three-star could grow into a three-technique defensive tackle like Ta’Quon Graham did when the Longhorns transitioned to a four-man front under defensive coordinator Chris Ash. 

Ash does like big defensive ends on the strong-side of the defense. Broughton, who signed in 2020 and is listed as 290 pounds, is on the current depth chart as a defensive end rather than a defensive tackle. Sorrell could reach 270 pounds or more by the end of his true freshman year. 

Recruiting at the position: Sorrell is one of four defensive linemen to sign with Texas on the first day of the early period. He’s joined by fellow defensive ends Jordon Thomas and Derrick Harris Jr. The Longhorns also signed three-star defensive tackle Byron Murphy II. That number could be five if five-star Ja’Tavion Sanders ends up as a defensive end. He’s listed as an athlete.