There were some pretty big events that shook up the timeline and the formulation for the 2023 Texas football recruiting class and second-year head coach Steve Sarkisian for the rest of the offseason in the last couple of weeks. And there is no position group where that rings truer than running back for Texas’ 2023 recruiting class.
Two key events this offseason transpired in the last couple of weeks for the Longhorns that will impact the nature of running back recruiting for the 2023 class.
The first is the surprise commitment that came about early this week from the elite five-star El Campo running back and former Texas pledge Rueben Owens. On June 20, the prioritized in-state running back announced his pledge to the Louisville Cardinals, which stunned the college football recruiting landscape.
Throughout much of the offseason thus far, it didn’t look like Louisville would wind up being one of the top two or three schools in the race to land a commitment from Owens. Unless Owens winds up keeping his recruitment open heading into the fall, that narrative will wind up proving false.
And the other key event among running backs for the Longhorns on the recruiting trail in the last couple of weeks is the official visit that Texas hosted for the touted four-star Edgewater (FL) product Cedric Baxter Jr.
Texas football putting all the chips on 4-Star RB Cedric Baxter Jr.
Back on June 10, Texas hosted Baxter on an official visit, which went well by all accounts coming out of that weekend. Baxter reportedly gave the official visit to Texas “a perfect 10” when all the dust settled in the days following his trip to Austin.
The narrative surrounding the recruitment of Baxter for running backs coach Tashard Choice and the Longhorns seems to now be that he is the priority at the position for the 2023 class. It sounds like Texas started to pull back a bit in the recruitment of Owens as they heightened the priority in the pursuit of Baxter since the conclusion of spring ball.
If that is the case that Texas let up a bit in the pursuit of Owens in the last few months, that could help explain some of the shift in the picture of running back recruiting for the Longhorns 2023 class that has come to fruition in the past 24 hours.
With Baxter now coming to the forefront as the clear-cut top running back target for the Longhorns 2023 class this summer, there are some challenges that Choice and Sark will face in the next few months in this recruitment. Texas still has some ground to make up among the top schools for Baxter.
Despite Texas hitting the right buttons with Baxter during his official visit to Austin a couple of weekends ago, it still looks like the Florida Gators are setting the pace in this recruitment. Texas making Baxter a priority should help them in this recruitment, but they will need to continue to make up ground ahead of the start of fall camp.
It’s also worth noting that the importance of the commitment of the four-star DeSoto running back Tre Wisner is now paramount. Prior to Owens committing to Louisville, it looked like Wisner was viewed somewhat as RB2 in this class. But the depth he can bring to the running back room is now that much more valuable.
Texas currently holds commitments from seven recruits in the 2023 class coming out of the huge official visit weekend in the last few days. Wisner is currently the lone running back commit in the Longhorns 2023 class.