Junior Day Reaction

Texas's first Junior Day figured to be a day to watch for Longhorn fans. It turns out, a 5-7 record and a new coaching staff does equal a new result.

Last season, the Longhorns grabbed nine commitments over the course of the two-day weekend, forming the backbone of a strong class with elite talents at need positions like Jaxon Shipley and Desmond Jackson, among others.

This year, the Longhorns extended at least 11 known offers on Saturday and Sunday, a substantial portion of what promises to be a smaller (likely around 15 players) recruiting class this season.

But unlike last year, the Longhorns didn't get many takers on their offers, landing just four commitments. And while all four players — offensive guard Curtis Riser, defensive tackle Alex Norman, linebacker Alex De La Torre and cornerback Orlando Thomas — come at need positions, only Riser would appear to have a legitimate case for being one of the state's top-10 players.

Instead, top players from Johnathan Gray to Dominique Wheeler to Cayleb Jones to Javonte Magee and Kennedy Estelle left Austin apparently still open to overtures from other schools. Still, there's a chance that all of the above players could still wind up as Longhorns, and the class did include some nice, if not elite, catches.

De La Torre, the first Junior Day commitment on Saturday, is a hard-nosed, tough linebacker who isn't just a good player, but a strong leader and somebody good to have around the program. Norman committed shortly afterward and gives Texas a pure nose tackle who, when he keeps his pads down and comes off the ball angry, is capable of causing problems for multiple blockers.

Sunday's commitments — Thomas and Riser — were also strong gets at need positions. The Longhorns are desperate for cover corners and appeared to find one of the state's better options in Thomas, an athlete out of Copperas Cove with uncommon change of direction and hip fluidity. Riser is the state's top offensive guard, and one of the state's top couple offensive linemen. He has the versatility to play some at tackle but is a higher level prospect at guard.

So while the weekend might have been slower than expected, it did provide a nice start to what should be another strong class, leaving Texas close to one-third of the way done.

Horns Digest Top Stories