3 Auburn commits Texas football should flip after Bryan Harsin firing

Bryan Harsin Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
Bryan Harsin Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ashley Williams, EDGE

Edge rusher recruiting will continue to come into focus for the Longhorns in the 2023 class as we get closer to signing day in a month and a half or so. Texas is clearly pushing hard to flip the commitment of the highly touted four-star Austin Westlake edge rusher Colton Vasek from the Oklahoma Sooners.

Texas also has the four-star Friendswood edge rusher/USC Trojans commit on the board this fall along with four-star Skyridge (UT) edge rusher Tausili Akana.

Yet, one edge rusher that was a fast riser on the big board for the Longhorns in the 2023 class during the spring and summer was the former Nebraska Cornhuskers commit and current Auburn pledge Ashley Williams. This four-star Zachary (LA) product received a Texas offer back in the spring, and it looked like the staff was high on him during the offseason.

But Williams’ wound up keeping his focus on Nebraska and then Auburn during the summer and the contact with Texas seemingly faded in the last four or five months.

This does look like an opportunity, though, for Texas to re-establish contact with the 6-foot-5 and 225-pound blue-chip edge rusher ahead of signing day. Williams reportedly mentioned after the firing of Harsin this week that he is “open and excited to see what the future holds” while also saying that he still really likes Auburn.

What Williams could bring to the table for the Longhorns is a lengthy and quick edge rusher that already has the tools and film of a force to be reckoned with rushing the passer. Williams can play standing up off the edge or in the three-technique along the defensive line.

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Williams has the physical tools and skill set to fit as a buck end or jack player along this defensive front. His current frame and skill set do make him look like a more natural fit as a buck, especially since he can set the edge and already looks like a formidable pass rusher. If he puts on some muscle, though, Williams could be more of a force in run defense, thus making him a more versatile fit in different spots along the front.