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The Texas Longhorns are in the mix for significant recruits. A handful of those are players Steve Sarkisian can ill afford to lose.
Texas has endured some huge misses in recent years. Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Garrett Wilson come to mind. Both were Texas high school products who for whatever reason slipped from the Longhorns’ grasp.
Although Texas already has an excellent class, there are a few players that would be tough for the Longhorns to stomach if they whiff.
In this list, we won’t name some of the more long-shot recruiting targets. Players like David Hicks and Duce Robinson would vault toward the top of Texas’ 2023 class, but are not players I expect Texas to win.
With Texas included in many high profile competitions, here are eight players whose losses could hurt Texas the most.
Braylan Shelby, EDGE, Friendswood (TX)
The Friendswood product is among the higher priorities for the Texas staff. His interest in Texas is strong, but some believe his interest in USC could send him to California. Texas desperately needs edge players to avoid duplicating the pass rushing woes of late.
Jordan Matthews, CB, Baton Rouge (LA)
Texas has an opportunity to build a lethal secondary, unlike in recent years. Last season, Texas ended its cornerback recruiting woes bringing in elite prospect Terrance Brooks. With Malik Muhammad in the fold, Texas can build a great class at cornerback, rather than simply owning this year’s safety class.
Colton Vasek, EDGE, Austin (TX)
Vasek is a must-get player, but his ties to Austin make him even more essential. Texas has strong competition from Oregon and Oklahoma. Losing out on another great edge prospect would certainly hurt the class.
Jalen Hale, WR, Longview (TX)
Texas currently has a strong receiver class, but many close to Hale’s recruitment continue to believe the Longhorns have a good chance to bring him in. Hale could become the third top 100 talent at receiver for Texas, joining Johntay Cook and Ryan Niblett. Losing out would not be devastating, but for me it would be surprising.
Derion Gullette, EDGE, Marlin (TX)
Sticking with the edge rusher theme, Gullette is another potential program changer. Despite sustaining a knee injury, Texas, Ohio State, and Texas A&M are pushing for the talented football player. Going 0-for-3 on some of their top edge targets would be a nightmare for Pete Kwiatkowski.
Cedric Baxter Jr., RB, Orlando (FL)
If Texas loses out on Baxter, it would likely stun Texas. Tashard Choice already has a very talented back in Tre Wisner, but Texas often brings in two ball carriers. The Orlando native is perhaps the best running back in this class.
Javien Toviano, DB, Arlington (TX)
Toviano presents an opportunity for Texas to return to past success at defensive back. Failing to bring him to Austin would be a colossal whiff. With Malik Muhammad already on board, Toviano is an essential maximizer of Texas’ secondary. You cannot miss on great in-state corners when you’re on good terms with those players.
Anthony Hill Jr, LB, Denton (TX)
It’s not every year that the best linebacker in the country has legitimate interest in Texas. The Denton product might even favor the Longhorns prior to his visit to College Station. Hill and Toviano have a solid relationship with Texas players and commits. If Texas is serious about returning to national contention, Hill is a player Texas cannot miss on.