Oct 15, 2022; Austin, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian and players join fans for The Eyes of Texas after a victory over the Iowa State Cyclones at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
The Age of Arch:Texas Football lands top 5 recruiting class
The Texas Longhorns football program and head coach Steve Sarkisian brought in another blockbuster recruiting class on early signing day. The group recruited by Sark and company is rated as high as No. 3 nationally by some services. This marks the second top-five class in a row for the Longhorns.
The biggest name in this year’s recruiting class is quarterback Arch Manning, the consensus No. 1 player in the nation. Manning went to Isidore Newman High School in New Orleans. Although he is known for being the nephew of both Peyton and Eli Manning, he is also a dynamic player in his own right. Arch Manning ended his high school career with almost 10,000 total yards and accounted for 140 total touchdowns. Manning intends to enroll early at Texas to immerse himself in the program, and should be a major factor at Longhorns’ spring practices and beyond. Sarkisian and his staff out-dueled Alabama and Georgia to win Manning’s services, and there is hope in Austin that the quarterback can be a transformational talent in the same vein as former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy or even the immortal Vince Young.
In this class, Texas has accomplished a remarkable feat in signing three players ranked No. 1 at their respective positions nationally. Alongside the highly-touted Manning, the Longhorns inked two more top dogs at their positions nationally in linebacker Anthony Hill from Ryan High School in Denton, Texas and running back Cedric Baxter from Orlando, Florida.
Anthony Hill has starred on both sides of the ball for a Ryan program that has been a dominant force in Texas high school football for the past several years. Hill is the kind of athletic and physical player that can be featured in several ways in defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense. He is talented enough to step in and contribute right away, and the Horns’ DC has proven that he can take advantage of players with Hill’s type of impact ability. Beyond his incredible talent and athleticism, Hill is also a powerful leader who should fit well with the culture that Sarkisian is building in Austin. His talents extend off the field as well, where he is an entrepreneur that is in the process of building a t-shirt empire.
Cedric Baxter played three different positions throughout his high school career and contributed to his team in the backfield on defense as well as offense. He showed versatility that should make him a dynamic weapon in the Longhorns’ offense. In Sark’s scheme, a player with Baxter’s athleticism and toughness is sure to cause nightmares for opposing defenses. His role as a playmaker is even more important given the declared departure of Bijan Robinson for the NFL draft.
Overall, the class consists of 22 players. Manning, Hill, and Baxter were rated as five-star recruits while the Horns were able to land 10 players rated four stars, and nine more that were given three stars. Thirteen of the players that signed with the Longhorns today are native Texans, while commitments from players from New Jersey, Louisiana, California, Hawaii, and Florida exhibit the national draw and reach of the Longhorn program.
Recruiting is the lifeblood of an elite college football program. These young men must still be developed and molded, but the job of coach is made much easier when he is given top-flight talent to work with.
By stacking these types of classes, Sarkisian and his coaching staff are injecting talent into a program that has struggled on the field and has had a drought of NFL draft selections. That trend is obviously changing in Austin – and coming off a much improved season, things are definitely looking up for the Horns.