Texas Football: 4-Star WR commit Ryan Niblett taking surprise visit to UH

Dana Holgorsen Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Dana Holgorsen Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

It looks like the Houston Cougars and head coach Dana Holgorsen are continuing to try to chip away at some blue-chip commitments in the 2023 Texas football recruiting class ahead of the Early Signing Period.

According to a report from Orangbloods on the morning of Dec. 11 (subscriber content), sources confirmed that the highly touted four-star Aldine Eisenhower (TX) wide receiver commit Ryan Niblett took a visit this weekend to see Houston. This visit was confirmed by other reports this weekend.

It sounds like the Texas staff wasn’t made aware of Niblett’s intentions to visit the Cougars this weekend, which isn’t a good sign for the Longhorns in this recruitment ahead of the Early Signing Period (which begins on Dec. 21).

Given the nature of this visit to Houston, it looks like the Cougars are a real threat to flip the commitment of Niblett from Texas as early signing day approaches in a couple of weeks. Obviously, it’s never a good sign when a long-standing blue-chip commit such as Niblett takes an unannounced visit this close to signing day.

Moreover, this is not the first time that Houston is trying to pry a Texas commit away from Sark and his staff in the 2023 class. Houston already essentially flipped the commitment of another blue-chip wideout from Texas this fall.

Four-star Spring Dekaney wide receiver Jonah Wilson de-committed from Texas on Oct. 1. He then gave his pledge to the Cougars a few weeks later (specifically on Oct. 20).

Texas also saw another blue-chip commit make the trip recently to see Houston. Four-star Houston C.E. King defensive lineman Dylan Spencer took an unofficial visit to see the Cougars this weekend, which was also a surprise to the Texas staff.

Texas football now fighting to retain 4-Star WR commit Ryan Niblett from Houston?

I will say that this news of Niblett’s abrupt and unannounced trip to see Houston this weekend would be the biggest blow to the Longhorns 2023 class if he does wind up flipping in the next couple of weeks. Niblett is the longest-standing wide receiver commitment to the Longhorns 2023 class. He is an important piece to this group along with the elite five-star DeSoto wideout commit Johntay Cook.

It’s worth noting that Houston has a good relationship built with Niblett and his camp that goes back almost a couple of years. Former Texas wide receivers coach Corby Meekins has a connection with Niblett that goes back to before when the Cougars offered him in the summer of 2021.

Houston also cracked the top seven for Niblett back in February 2022. And that was a weird top seven given how Texas wasn’t included in the mix.

Despite missing out on that round of finalist cuts for Niblett, Texas still hauled in his pledge a couple of months later in late April. Niblett also made an official visit to Austin to see Sark and passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach Brennan Marion in June.

And throughout the fall, it looked as if Niblett was about as locked-in as it gets with the Longhorns. He didn’t take any other visits to competing schools on the recruiting trail since he committed to Texas in the spring.

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We will continue to monitor the status of Niblett’s commitment to Texas as it now looks like he’s officially on flip watch a couple of weeks ahead of the early signing day. I would imagine that if there is any skill position recruit on flip watch that Sark and the Longhorns staff will put a ton of work into retaining heading into signing day at the moment, it would be Niblett.