Is Texas football backing off 3-Star WVU DL commit Justin Benton?

Steve Sarkisian, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Steve Sarkisian, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

One week ahead of the start of the Early Signing Period, it looks like the final pieces are starting to come together for the 2023 Texas football recruiting class.

Texas has a few priority targets remaining on the board for the 2023 class. And it also looks like we’re starting to see this staff back off a handful of recruits we thought the Longhorns were going to push harder for heading into the early signing day (Dec. 21).

One of the key targets of the Longhorns 2023 class that the staff could be backing off a bit down the stretch this cycle is the three-star Covington Newton (GA) defensive lineman and West Virginia Mountaineers commit Justin Benton.

The event that sparked this change of thought for us heading into signing day is the fact that head coach Steve Sarkisian wasn’t present for the in-home visit that Texas made with Benton this week.

After making some in-home visits this week with the likes of the elite five-star Isidore Newman quarterback commit Arch Manning and highly touted four-star Aldine Eisenhower (TX) wide receiver commit Ryan Niblett, it didn’t look like Sark made it to the in-home for Benton.

Gerry Hamilton of Inside Texas and On Texas Football (YouTube) reported on Dec. 14 that Sark didn’t make the in-home visit in Georgia this week that the staff held with Benton.

Texas football drawing back the push for 3-Star WVU DL commit Justin Benton?

The school of thought heading into the in-home visit this week was that if Texas really wanted to push for a commitment from Benton that Sark would be present.

But it doesn’t look like that came to fruition, despite Texas seemingly making a big impression with Benton during his official visit to Austin last weekend. Benton was active on social media coming out of his official to Austin on the weekend of Dec. 12.

Since the in-home took place earlier this week between Texas’ staff and Benton, it doesn’t sound like there is much buzz in this recruitment for the Longhorns. That comes as Benton announced via a tweet on the afternoon of Dec. 14 that he’ll be signing his letter of intent at his high school (Newton) on the first day of the Early Signing Period.

Moreover, this makes me wonder if Texas was able to retain the commitment from the touted four-star Houston C.E. King defensive lineman Dylan Spencer after he caused quite the stir over the weekend. Spencer made the unofficial trip to see the Houston Cougars last weekend, leading to some speculation that he might be on flip watch.

We haven’t heard anything in the last couple of days, though, regarding any movement with Spencer and the Cougars. And while that will still be something to watch heading into the early signing day next week, defensive line coach Bo Davis and the Longhorns look to have retained him for now.

I don’t want to rule out any possibilities, but it is worth noting that Hamilton mentioned that the final decision for Benton might come down to West Virginia and the Arkansas Razorbacks on signing day.

Maybe Texas made enough of an impression last weekend to convince Benton to flip his commitment. But if I’m reading the tea leaves here, it doesn’t look like Texas is pushing all that hard for Benton.

Next. Predicting every flip for Texas before early signing day. dark

Texas currently holds commitments from 21 recruits in the 2023 class as of the night of Dec. 14. According to the 247Sports Team Composite Rankings, the 2023 Texas recruiting class ranks at No. 4 in the nation and in the top spot in the Big 12 ahead of the Oklahoma Sooners.