Steve Sarkisian and his Longhorns coaching staff have secured verbal commitments from nine players in the class of 2023 since Manning — the No. 1 player in the country — said he would be going to Texas on June 23. Manning chose Texas over Georgia and Alabama as he brought an apparent end to one of the most high-profile college football recruitments in years before his senior season of high school football.
Six of the players Texas has gotten commitments from since Manning announced his decision have been on the offensive side of the ball. Four of those players are offensive linemen. Two others, including latest pledge Johntay Cook II, are wide receivers.
— Adam Gorney (@adamgorney) June 29, 2022
Cook is one of the top wideouts in his class and is rated No. 52 in the nation by Rivals. He is the third-highest rated player in the class so far behind Manning and Derek Williams, a defensive back from Louisiana who is the 41st-best player in 2023.
In addition to the new receivers in the fold, the influx of talent on the offensive line seems to be directly correlated to the addition of Manning.
The four offensive line commitments on Sunday reveal that the big men are sold on the vision, too. [Connor] Stroh mentioned to Orangebloods in the late spring that he was attracted to the idea of blocking for Manning in college. It is reasonable to believe that was part of the thinking for [Andre] Cojoe, [Jaydon] Chatman, and [Trevor] Goosby, too.
The allure is certainly there for the linemen that the Longhorns are after.
Boosting the offensive line is a big deal for Texas. The Longhorns have had just two offensive linemen drafted since Tony Hills was taken in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL draft. Connor Williams was taken in the second round of the 2018 draft and Sam Cosmi was drafted in the second round of the 2021 draft. No Texas player was taken at all in the 2022 NFL draft. The 2022 draft was the second draft in the past decade that failed to feature a Longhorn.
The other receiver recently committed to the Longhorns in the wake of Manning’s commitment is four-star wide receiver Jonah Wilson. Wilson is the No. 36 wide receiver in the class of 2023 and the No. 47 player in the state of Texas.
Wilson and Cook are two of seven players from the state of Texas who have verbally committed in the past four days. As you likely know, the state of Texas is loaded with high school football talent. If Texas was able to secure the state’s best recruits every season it would be great without players from anywhere else.
But the Longhorns haven’t been as successful as they’d like to be in the state in recent years. Texas got just two of the state’s top 10 players in the class of 2021 while Texas A&M had five. Overall, the Longhorns have gotten just four of the state’s top 30 players over the previous three recruiting cycles, though 2021 top player Quinn Ewers transferred to Texas in December from Ohio State.
If Texas finishes in the top three in Rivals’ rankings, it’ll be in the top three for the first time since the 2012 recruiting cycle when the Longhorns were behind only Alabama.