REPLAY: Texas' 2022 recruiting class adds 26 players, including three notable flips
The first day of the December early signing period has, in effect, replaced the old first Wednesday in October — the traditional national signing day — as the national focus of college football recruiting. If recent history is any sign, Texas' 2022 recruiting class should produce more than 20 signatures today.
The Longhorns had 23 commitments heading into early signing day, a group that started the day ranked No. 6 nationally behind No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Texas A&M, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Penn State but has since bumped the Nittany Lions for that fifth spot.
Texas' class has 26 signees so far:
Quarterbacks (1): Maalik Murphy, Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra
Running backs (1): Jaydon Blue, Klein Cain
Wide receivers (2): Brenen Thompson, Spearman; Savion Red, Grand Prairie
Offensive linemen (6): Kelvin Banks (OT), Humble Summer Creek; Cole Hutson (G), Frisco; Cameron Williams (OT), Duncanville; Neto Umeozulu (G), Galena Park North Shore; Connor Robertson (G), Austin Westlake; Malik Agbo (OT), Federal Way (Wash.) Beamer
Defensive linemen (8): Derrick Brown (edge), Texas High; J'mond Tapp (edge), Donaldsville (La.) Ascension Catholic (edge); Kristopher Ross (tackle), Galena Park North Shore; Justice Finkley (edge), Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt-Trussville; Aaron Bryant (tackle), Southaven, Miss.; Zac Swanson (tackle), Phoenix (Ari.) Brophy College Prep; Ethan Burke (edge), Austin Westlake; Jaray Bledsoe (tackle), Marlin
Linebackers (1): Trevell Johnson, Arlington Martin (ILB)
Cornerbacks (2): Terrance Brooks, Little Elm; Jaylon Gilbeau, Port Arthur Memorial
Safeties (2): Bryan Allen Jr., Allen; Austin Jordan, Denton Ryan
Athletes (1): Xavion Brice, Arlington Seguin
Kickers (1): Will Stone, Austin Regents
Long snappers (1): Lance St. Louis, Gilbert (Ariz.) Williams Field
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On paper, Texas' 24th member of its 2022 class is a three-star wide receiver whose only other real recruiting interest came from SMU and Kansas and whose national position ranking comes in at No. 183. He's outside of 247Sports composite's list of the top 200 overall prospects in the state, too.
But the physical 5-10, 210-pound pass catcher who signed Wednesday afternoon has been an all-around playmaker during his four-year Grand Prairie career and could be a versatile tool for Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian to utilize: Red produced more than 3,523 all-purpose yards throwing, rushing and catching the ball and 39 touchdowns in high school.
He's the third receiver Texas has signed, along with Brenen Thompson and Xavion Brice. The longtime SMU pledge decommitted from the Mustangs around Thanksgiving. He took his official visit to Texas last weekend.
Did you know: Thompson already has a friend on the roster. He's a 7-on-7 teammate of fellow wide receiver signee Xavion Brice.
It's been more than a year since Bledsoe last played in a game, but the highly-rated defensive tackle from Marlin has signed with Texas on Wednesday, the 6-4, 270-pound lineman choosing the Longhorns over more than a dozen other offers.
Bledsoe is a four-star prospect and considered the No. 21 defensive tackle prospect in the country as well as the state's 21st overall recruit.
He was forced to sit out his senior season after the UIL ruled him ineligible this summer following his transfer from Class 2A Bremond, where he had gone relatively under the recruiting radar but put up more than 100 tackles and 17 tackles for loss in 2020.
He was offered mostly by Big 12 and SEC programs, and his final two visits were to Texas and Texas A&M. He committed to the Longhorns on Aug. 30.
Did you know: In addition to starring as a defensive tackle, Bledsoe also was a 1,200-yard rusher at running back at Bremond his junior season.
What would a Texas class be without a quarterback? The Longhorns have added Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers, but now on Wednesday also have signed Murphy, Texas' 22nd player for the 2022 recruiting class.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian already knew Murphy well when he took over the Longhorns in January. And they'll get to know each other even better now.
Murphy, a 6-4, 225-pound four-star prospect from California chose Texas over 30 other schools. He already held a UT offer when Sarkisian was hired, but Sarkisian had been recruiting Murphy heavily while he was still Alabama's offensive coordinator. Sarkisian, who's also a Californian, connected with Murphy, who pledged despite not having visited Texas in an official capacity because of the NCAA travel restrictions during the pandemic.
Murphy is the No. 11 quarterback prospect in the country, No. 11 in the state of California and the No. 166 overall recruit in the country per 247Sports' composite rankings. He led Gardena Junipero Serra to California's Division 1A state championship last weekend.
Murphy exited that game in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury and was seen on crutches after the game.
“I was worried that it (the ankle) was broken,” Serra coach Scott Altenberg told the Torrance Daily Breeze after the win. “He’s such a warrior, he would be out there in a minute. I was just like, don’t break his ankle because I really think he has a chance to go in and play and compete (at Texas) in spring ball and I don’t want anything to stop him from that.”
Did you know: Texas offered Murphy because of former offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, who had offered Murphy a scholarship at Ohio State in 2019 when Yurcich was with the Buckeyes.
The Longhorns' third high-profile flip of the day this time came at Ohio State's expense, as Texas has signed Brooks, a coveted four-star cornerback who's the No. 8-rated corner in the country. He's the 21st member of UT's class, which has bumped Penn State for the No. 5 spot nationally.
Don't feel too bad for the Buckeyes. They're sitting at No. 4 — one spot ahead of the Longhorns — and have already signed two four-star cornerbacks and a five-star safety today.
Brooks is Texas' second highest-rated recruit of this year's class, behind only five-star offensive tackle Kelvin Banks. He had 39 other offers.
Ohio State wasn't even on Brooks' top five list from late April, though Texas was along with Alabama, Florida, Oregon and Texas A&M. He visited the Buckeyes in June — one week after he was in Austin for a UT visit — and committed to Ohio State five days later, on June 30.
Did you know: Before he flipped, Brooks was Ohio State's highest-rated cornerback prospect.
Duncanville's three-star offensive tackle committed to Texas only on Sunday, and on Wednesday became the 20th signee for the 2022 recruiting class. He picked Texas over 32 other offers.
He's one of two tackles in Texas' class; the Longhorns have identified the offensive line as one of the major position units to upgrade on the team. Williams (6-5, 360) is the No. 38 tackle prospect in the country and is No. 63 in the state.
Did you know: Williams named Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas as his top three finalists in late June. He committed to Oregon three days later but decommitted from the Ducks on Dec. 8. He pledged to Texas four days later.
St. Louis, out of Arizona, signed with Texas on Wednesday morning to become the 19th member of the Longhorns' 2022 recruiting class. He's the No. 1-rated long snapper prospect in the country.
The 6-1, 215-pound specialist also is a top-40 recruit in the state of Arizona. He plays for Gilbert (Ariz.) Williams Field. He also played center in high school.
Did you know: St. Louis' father was an NFL long snapper for 10 years.
The Longhorns have added another surprise signee, this time flipping a hometown edge rusher at Jim Harbaugh's expense — flipping Burke, out of Austin Westlake, from his previous Michigan commitment.
Burke becomes the 18th Longhorn to sign today. The 6-7, 225-pound edge rusher is a three-star prospect who's been tabbed as the No. 38 overall edge prospect in the country. He had been committed to the Wolverines since Dec. 1. Texas didn't offer him a scholarship until Tuesday.
Did you know: Burke was once committed to Maryland — to play college lacrosse.
You wanted to see Texas improve on the defensive line? You're getting it today.
Swanson, a four-star defensive lineman from Arizona, became Texas' 17th member of its 2022 recruiting class Wednesday morning. He signed with Texas over 15 other offers after having narrowed his list of final four schools to Texas, Kentucky, USC and Oregon. He's also the sixth defensive lineman to sign with Texas today.
Swanson played defensive end at Phoenix Brophy College Preparatory, but expects to be moved to defensive tackle at Texas. He's the No. 48 defensive tackle prospect in the nation and is the state of Arizona's No. 5 overall recruit.
Did you know: Swanson committed on April 26, the same day that Texas landed Alabama transfer Ben Davis.
Texas didn't go far to find Robertson, who will try to help Austin Westlake to a Class 6A state championship this week. The three-star offensive lineman became Texas' 16th player for the 2022 class when he signed Wednesday morning.
The 6-4, 296-pound lineman plays tackle in high school but projects to an interior line position in college. Robertson told the American-Statesman that he's been told he'll eventually move to center as a Longhorn.
The Longhorns now have signed five defensive linemen and four offensive linemen; beefing up both lines was a recruiting priority this offseason for Texas.
Did you know: Robertson moved to Austin in 2020 from Connecticut.
Oklahoma's loss became Texas' gain this morning when the Longhorns flipped Brice, a three-star athlete from Arlington Seguin. He's the 15th member of the Longhorns' class and the first surprise signing of the day.
Brice picked Texas over 12 other offers. He has made the tour of the Big 12 over the past year, initially committing to Kansas back in November 2020, then backing off that pledge this past June. He had picked up an offer from Oklahoma about one week before, and ended up committing to the Sooners on July 4th. That lasted a few months; Brice was in Austin last weekend for an official visit and the Longhorns flipped him this morning.
He's listed as an athlete by recruiting services, but the 6-1, 175-pounder looks like he'll play receiver for the Longhorns. He's a three-star prospect who put up more than 1,400 all-purpose yards and 16 total touchdowns his senior season.
Did you know: The Sooners were likely going to have Brice play defensive back. Texas wanted him as a receiver.
Hutson — a four-star guard from Frisco — became the 14th player of Texas' 2022 class when he signed with the Longhorns on Wednesday morning. He chose Texas over 13 other schools.
Hutson, a 6-5, 312-pound lineman, is the 16th-rated guard prospect in the country and No. 48 in the state of Texas.
Did you know: Hutson was the first offensive line pledge of the Steve Sarkisian era.
The latest signee also was the last Longhorns commitment before early signing day, Umeozulu — a four-star offensive lineman from Allen — has become the 13th player to sign as part of Texas' 2022 recruiting class. He chose the Longhorns over 32 other schools.
The 6-4, 285-pound guard was the third UT pledge following a string of commitments over this past weekend, starting with tackle Kelvin Banks on Saturday, tackle Cameron Williams on Sunday and then Umeozulu on Monday. He's the No. 7 guard prospect in the country, No. 23 in the state and is the nation's 143rd-overall recruit.
Did you know: Umeozulu is an Under Armour All-American.
Ross, the standout defensive lineman from Texas state power Galena Park North Shore, has become the 12th member of the Longhorns' 2022 recruiting class when he signed Wednesday morning.
The four-star lineman picked Texas over 15 other offers. He committed on March 23 — the first day of UT spring football workouts.
Ross won the Touchdown Club of Houston's defensive player of the year award earlier this month. He's the No. 35 prospect in the country at his position and is the state's 44th-rated overall recruit.
Did you know: North Shore also started him at left tackle in last year's state championship game. It was the first time he'd played the offensive line position. "That's one of the greatest traits that he has. He's not just a defensive lineman; he's a football player," North Shore coach Jon Kay told the American-Statesman. "He understands the game, and he wants to go out there and compete. He'll do whatever the team needs."
Jaylon Gilbeau, who originally committed to Texas when Tom Herman was head coach, then changed his mind, and then changed his mind again, has become the 11th member of the Longhorns' 2022 class by signing on Wednesday. He chose Texas over 24 other schools.
It has been an on-again, off-again relationship between the Port Arthur Memorial cornerback and the Longhorns.
The 5-11, 175-pound four-star defensive back initially committed to Texas on Sept. 19, 2020 when Herman was coaching the Longhorns. He backed away from that pledge this past July and then committed to TCU on Sept. 26. But he was part of the exodus of Horned Frogs recruits who decommitted following the firing of head coach Gary Patterson at the end of October.
Guilbeau flipped from TCU back to Texas on Thanksgiving. He's the No. 20 cornerback prospect in the country and is No. 28 in the state and No. 160 overall in the country.
Did you know: Gilbeau won't have to wait until he arrives on campus to take advantage of NIL opportunities as a Longhorn. He has already started his own brand — JG Merch, which is selling short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, beanies and hoodies for as much as $25.
"It is a great deal for college athletes to make money going into college. I wanted to start it off a little early and get the feel for it," Gilbeau told the Port Arthur News on Dec. 2. "When I get to college, I wanted to have everything mapped out, so when I get there, I just have to sign with someone and get it going fully.”
Bryant, a four-stars defensive lineman from Mississippi, became the 10th Texas signee on Wednesday. He chose the Longhorns over 19 other schools, including Alabama and Texas A&M.
He's the No. 7 overall recruit in Mississippi; six of that state's top eight prospects this cycle are defensive players. The 6-4, 306-pound Bryant is the 45th-rated defensive tackle prospect in the country.
Bryant had a breakout junior season last year that resulted in 68 tackles, 12 for loss, six sacks and four forced fumbles. He committed on Aug. 26.
"I just feel like as far as play style, and all that they were the best fit for me," Bryant told the Memphis Commercial Appeal when he committed. "And the feeling I had when I went there, it just felt right."
Did you know: Bryant played offensive line at Southaven High until his junior season.
Quality, not quantity? Spearman's Thompson has signed with Texas as the Longhorns' lone wide receiver recruit so far. He's the ninth player in UT's 2022 class after signing on Wednesday. He chose the Longhorns over 35 other offers.
That Texas would sign just one receiver goes against the grain; the Longhorns signed five receivers in 2021, two in 2020, five in 2019, four in 2018 and four in 2017.
The 5-10, 165-pound receiver is a top-100 national prospect (No. 82) and is the No. 12 receiver prospect in the country. He's also the No. 15 overall recruit in the state. He listed Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M as finalists on Aug. 20 and then committed on Oct. 6.
Thompson is Texas' second-highest rated state prospect to sign after five-star tackle Kelvin Banks — so far. He doesn't have the size, but his speed and hands could make him a dangerous weapon in the passing game as well as possibly as a kick and punt returner.
Did you know: Thompson figures to become one of Texas' fastest players as soon as he steps on campus; he won the Class 3A 200-meter state title (21.27) and was second in the 100 with a 10.4.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian has registered a recruiting win over Alabama's Nick Saban in landing Finkley, a four-star edge rusher from Trussville (Ala.) Hewitt-Trussville who became the eighth member of the Longhorns' 2022 class on Wednesday.
The 6-2, 255-pound defensive end picked Texas over 29 other offers, including fellow finalists Alabama and Colorado. He committed to Texas on Sept. 9.
Finkley — the No. 7 overall prospect in the state of Alabama — told the Tuscaloosa News when he committed in September that he had felt pressure to pledge to the Crimson Tide. "You can't even walk 10 seconds away from this place without some people having some Alabama stuff on," Finkley said.
He's the No. 11 edge rusher prospect in the country.
Did you know: Finkley plans to enroll early.
The day that Johnson, a three-star inside linebacker from Arlington Martin, committed to Texas, all anyone understandably wanted to talk about instead was the pledge from California prep quarterback Maalik Murphy, who had committed just hours earlier.
That was back on Feb. 13. Ten months later, Johnson has become the seventh member of Texas' class. The 6-1, 200-pound prospect chose the Longhorns over 17 other schools.
Johnson had more than 200 tackles, five sacks and 26 tackles for loss in the 2019 and 2020 seasons at Arlington Martin, but his senior season was marred by a hip injury that he'd tried to play through since the spring. He started Martin's season opener but did not finish it. He ended up needing surgery to repair a hip labral tear that he'd been dealing with for a year.
Did you know: Johnson was the first defensive commitment for Texas after Pete Kwiatkowski became defensive coordinator.
Jordan, a four-star safety prospect from Denton Ryan, has signed with Texas. The 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back is the sixth member of the Longhorns' 2022 class.
Jordan plays cornerback at Ryan but projects to safety in college. He's the No. 20 overall safety prospect in the nation and is the 39th overall rated recruit in the state. Last year, Texas signed five-star athlete Ja'Tavion Sanders out of Denton Ryan as well. They helped lead the school to its first state title since 2002 last season, a Class 5A Division I title.
Jordan chose Texas over 19 other offers. He had named a final three of Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas on March 3. He committed on July 14.
Did you know: Jordan also runs track at Ryan, serving as the anchor for the school's state-qualifying 800-meter relay team.
Texas may sign only one running back for the fifth year in a row. Or at least the Longhorns will finish Wednesday's early signing day with only one — Blue, who chose Texas over 35 other offers.
The Longhorns were the second school on that list to offer the four-star prospect, way back in June 2019. He committed this past February.
The 5-11, 205-pounder was a standout for Klein Cain in 2019 and 2020, amassing nearly 3,800 rushing yards and 46 touchdowns, but he opted out of playing his senior season in order to preserve his body and focus on academics.
"This is an incremental step in hopes of one day fulfilling my NFL dreams," Blue tweeted in May.
He's a national top-200 recruit and is the No. 14 running back prospect in the country. Texas coach Steve Sarkisian had recruited Blue when Sarkisian was Alabama's offensive coordinator. Blue committed to Texas one month after Sarkisian was hired.
Texas signed just one back in 2021 (Jonathon Brooks), in 2020 (Bijan Robinson), in 2019 (Derrian Brown) and in 2018 (Keaontay Ingram). You have to go back to 2017 — Tom Herman's first class — to when Texas last signed more than one running back. There were two that year: Houston Langham Creek's Toneil Carter and Spring Westfield's Daniel Young.
Did you know: Blue ran a sub-11.00 time in the 100-meter dash as a freshman in 2019.
One of two Louisianans committed so far in this year's Texas class, the four-star edge rusher from Donaldsville (La.) Ascension Catholic became the fourth member of the Longhorns' 2022 recruiting class Wednesday morning when he signed, as well as the group's first out-of-state signee.
Tapp picked Texas over 18 other offers, including LSU, which had been pursuing him for more than a year. Why spurn the local team in order to sign with Texas? Because Tapp wanted to play out of state, he told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser.
“That’s where I’ll be for the next three to four years, so it’s more about the environment, the city and the place,” Tapp said. “(Austin) is more of a city that you would think of. You know how like you’re in your own place for so long, that you can only imagine what other places are like? That’s what it’s like.”
The 6-3, 245-pound defensive end/edge rusher is the No. 10 prospect at his position in the country and is Louisiana's No. 11 overall recruit. He's No. 127 overall nationally per 247Sports' composite rankings.
Did you know: Tapp was one of two high-profile edge rushers to commit on Aug. 30, along with Jaray Bledsoe.
Brown, one of three edge rushers who are expected to be part of Texas' class, became the Longhorns' third signee Wednesday when he chose UT over 27 other offers, including Baylor — his only other finalist that he named in late June.
The Texarkana Texas High standout committed on July 31. The 6-3, 210-pound four-star standout was primarily an outside linebacker in high school but also played some defensive end. He even lined up a little at wide receiver.
The Longhorns went to the transfer portal last offseason and brought in Ovie Oghoufo, Ray Thornton and Ben Davis to try to fill that pass-rushing role. Now Brown will be added to the mix.
Brown is a top-50 overall prospect in the state and is the No. 20 edge rusher prospect in the country. He had 88 tackles and 12 sacks this season.
Did you know: Brown was recruited directly by Texas defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski himself.
Bryan Allen Jr.
Allen, considered the 10th best safety prospect in the country and a top-20 recruit in the state, became Texas' highest-rated defensive (and second overall) signee when the Aledo safety signed this morning as part of the Longhorns' 2022 class.
He chose Texas over 27 other offers, including LSU, to whom he originally committed in April 2020. He backed out of that pledge this past January and reopened his recruitment. He committed to Texas on Feb. 28.
The 2020 Class 5A defensive player of the year will enroll early at Texas.
The 6-foot, 185-pound safety is the No. 109 overall prospect in the country, per 247Sports' composite rankings.
He has been known as Bryan Allen Jr. among recruiting services, though Texas this morning announced the signing by calling him BJ Allen.
Did you know: Texas special teams coordinator Blake Gideon, who was a four-time all-conference safety and started 52 career games with the Longhorns from 2008-11, took the lead on Allen's recruitment.
And the first signature that came in to Texas' office today also was the biggest: the prized jewel of Texas' 2022 class is officially on board.
Humble Summer Creek's Kelvin Banks — the No. 2 offensive tackle prospect in the country — became the Longhorns' first signature Wednesday morning when the 6-5, 300-pound lineman chose Texas over 24 other offers.
The Longhorns never gave up on him; the tackle initially committed to Oklahoma State, decommitted in July 2020 but kept the Cowboys on his list of eight finalists this spring.
Banks took visits to some of those schools, including LSU, Oregon, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M, this June and pledged to Oregon on July 4. But he backed out from the Ducks on Dec. 6 when Oregon coach Mario Cristobal left to coach Miami. The Hurricanes offered him two days later, but Banks pledged to Texas last Saturday.
"Staying home!!" he tweeted.
Banks is the No. 15 overall prospect in the country, per 247Sports' composite rankings, and the fourth-best prospect in the state.
Offensive line coach Kyle Flood took the lead in recruiting him.
Did you know: Banks is Texas' first five-star offensive lineman since five-star guard Darius James signed in 2013.