Rewind two weeks ago to after the TCU win. Huge games against the Oklahoma schools were on deck, with Texas having the potential to be in a good position in the recruiting world. Even a split would have done wonders.
Now, hit the live button on your remote and you’ll find two consecutive losses and not as much ammo in the storage locker. Just as they were heading into the football season, Steve Sarkisian and his staff find themselves climbing an uphill battle for some of the top prospects left on the board.
Ok, enough with the sky is falling act.
Time to recover is still there with five regular-season games plus a bowl game left on the schedule. Sarkisian has shown the potential of his team during glimpses. The past two losses have stung but a couple of slight adjustments and those are surefire wins.
With 22 commits in the class already, there are still a few holes to fill with little spots remaining. From offensive line to wide receiver, to defensive back and even more offensive line, Texas has to land a couple of big names over the next few months.
In a perfect scenario, a few moves are made to open up space. Plenty of the top targets are still uncommitted.
Here are Texas’ top 10 most needed recruits to turn around the state of the program.
Kelvin Banks - OT, 2022
Oregon is home if there are any rumors that I might flip my commitment it’s not true…….. GO DUCKS !!!!!
— Kelvin Banks Jr🎸 (@Kelvinbanksjr12) October 15, 2021
If Kelvin Banks was not currently committed to Oregon, he would be closer to the No. 1 spot.
Texas will have a lot of work to do to flip the five-star offensive tackle. Their need for outside OL guys is obvious with the play of Christian Jones and the constant revolving door that is right tackle. Banks would be able to come in as a freshman and instantly compete for a starting spot.
As seen in the tweet above, he doubled down on his commitment after rumors of a change swirled around. Unless he comes down for another visit, this one seems unlikely. Nevertheless, fight until the whistle.
Biggest competitor: Oregon, Texas A&M
Anthony Hill - LB, 2023
— Inside Texas (@InsideTexas) October 16, 2021
Texas has a couple of middle linebackers committed in the 2022 class but none come close to the skill set Anthony Hill would bring to Austin. Outside of DeMarvion Overshown’s switch from safety, the position has been a disaster over the past few years.
Hill changes the problem in a heartbeat.
Now, playing on the edge is now out of the equation either. The five-star is considered an elite prospect at both but the linebacker need is too great to not give it consideration.
Denton Ryan has been kind to Texas over the past two cycles, producing Ja’Tavion Sanders and Austin Jordan. Winning there for a third straight year would sure up the middle of Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense heading into the SEC.
Kam Dewberry - OL, 2022
— KAM DEWBERRY ✞ (@KamDewberry) June 15, 2021
Of all the uncommitted outside tackles left on the board, Texas may have the best shot at landing Kam Dewberry. That’s still not saying much, though, considering Ohio State and Oklahoma are still ahead. Getting an official visit in the latter half of the season would help greatly.
As mentioned with Banks, bodies are needed who can serve as elite offensive tackles. The two guards currently committed in Texas’ class are great, but if nobody is there to play either tackle spot at a high level, your offensive line is in trouble.
Dewberry size and frame is your stereotypical Kyle Flood offensive tackle. Texas is going to have to find a way to get him on campus and make a real push before being considered the favorite.
Derrick Brown - Edge, 2022
There WILL be a change at The University Of Texas🤘🏾💯…⏳
— Mr.Dbrown⭐️ (@DbrownOLB10) October 17, 2021
The need for a pass rusher on the outside has been apparent. Nobody has been able to replace Joseph Ossai seven games into the season. Even with the three transfers Sarkisian brought in, the production has not compared.
Derrick Brown could end up being the best of the bunch. Pete Kwiatkowski will have to decide where to line him up, but the jack position seems the most likely at the moment. Some development will be needed as well. Nothing a little spring ball can’t fix, though.
Off the field, he has become the 2022 class’ vocal leader online. Nobody is going to enjoy being a Longhorn as much as he will. Buy-in level can be just as important as talent at times. Brown will provide both on a consistent basis.
Bryce Anderson - DB, 2022
One of Texas’ big losses of the summer, Bryce Anderson decided to commit to Texas A&M over the Longhorns. Those were his final two, with Sarkisian not able to close the door around July 4.
Anderson would have brought options to the table in the secondary. Nickel would have been the main option, with free safety as the backup plan. If really needed because of whiffs, cornerback was never ruled out. Terry Joseph and Blake Gideon would have had time to figure out his best position.
Maybe Texas would have been able to crack the door open a little bit more with a win against Oklahoma. Or if Texas A&M had not beaten Alabama just a few hours later. For now, Anderson remains a long shot to flip allegiances but with how versatile he could be, Gideon must go after it until the end.
Biggest competitors: Texas A&M
Brenen Thompson - WR, 2022
The second of current Texas commitments, one word can be used to describe Brenen Thompson: speed. As we all know, Steve Sarkisian loves that trait within a wide receiver. Nobody in the country may be quicker than the four-star wide receiver.
Beating out Texas A&M in a head-to-head battle was huge for Sarkisian as well. After the Aggies’ recent history of wide receiver developments, it would have been a brutal loss. Oklahoma State was in contention too but a visit during the Rice game was the nail in the coffin.
Thompson will headline the wide receiver class alongside Armani Winfield for the time being. Although he won’t arrive in Austin until the fall, the chance to get on the field right away will be waiting.
Denver Harris - DB, 2022
— Dave Campbell's Texas Football — TexasFootball.com (@dctf) October 15, 2021
No matter how high or lowly rated a prospect is, when Alabama and Nick Saban is your main competitor, your evaluation process is going right. In the case of Denver Harris, everybody knows how special of a talent he is.
His official top four also includes LSU and Texas A&M, but Texas and Bama are thought to be separated. Playing for the hometown school or the greatest producer of defensive backs in college football history will decide. Not exactly encouraging to say the least.
From a burnt orange perspective, the cornerback spots are going to be wide open next season. D’Shawn Jamison and Josh Thompson will be out, hoping to make it to the next level. A full-on spring/fall competition will be in store, something Harris could win out.
Devon Campbell - OL, 2022
Not a single sack or pressure allowed from 5-star Devon Campbell last night against Arlington Martin.
Campbell is still evaluating his options and is trying to finalize plans to get back to Austin and Norman before a decision is made. pic.twitter.com/BPZHkfo2qo
— CJ Vogel (@CJVogel_TFB) October 16, 2021
Offensive line holes are more and more glaring as each game passes by. Even from a numbers perspective, two different sixth-year players have started at guard this season. However, more than just bodies are needed. Elite pass and run blockers are desperately needed.
Devon Campbell fits the mold. Not only is he the best offensive lineman in the state, but only one other prospect is ranked higher on the 247Sports composite. There is not a more important recruitment left on the board for Kyle Flood.
Evan Stewart - WR, 2022
I think it’s safe to say more receivers like Xavier Worthy are needed on the roster. Evan Stewart brings a similar skillset and the combination of he, Thompson, and Worthy alone would change the WR room dynamic instantly.
The former Texas commit was in Austin for the Oklahoma State game. He’s been to the state capital more time than any other school, which should give the Longhorns an upper hand. However, Stewart seems to be such a wild card, this one could go on for months.
Arch Manning - QB, 2023
AP Photo/Ted Jackson
The name and position speak for themselves. Steve Sarkisian is in desperate need of a quarterback who can become the face of the program and turn the ship around. All the eggs are in the Arch Manning basket.
He was in Austin this weekend to see the campus for a second time. While a recruit seeing a loss live is never good, it’s seems far from the most important thing in Manning’s recruitment. Relationships with Sarkisian and QB coach AJ Milwee are far more important.
Archmas, Arch Madness — whatever pun you want to call his recruitment. This is as “must-win” as “must-win” gets. Sarkisian’s tenure at Texas will be defined by where Manning plays college football.