Texas Football: Analyzing 3 most underrated 2023 early signees

Sydir Mitchell, Texas football
Sydir Mitchell, Texas football /
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Sydir Mitchell, Texas football
Sydir Mitchell, Texas football /

We have hit the final stretch run for the 2023 Texas football recruiting class with the Early Signing Period wrapping up on Dec. 23. Texas already has a good idea of what the final picture of the 2023 signing class will look like heading into the holiday weekend as head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff already signed all 23 of the commitments for this cycle.

There could still be one or two high school recruits added to the Longhorns 2023 class heading into the late National Signing Day in February 2023. But the fact of the matter is that the 2023 class is close to complete for essentially every team around the college football landscape upon the conclusion of the Early Signing Period now.

Of the 23 early signees in the Longhorns 2023 class, most are highly touted blue-chips with an abundance of talent. Most of those blue-chip early signees will at least get a shot to contribute early next fall.

But we shouldn’t overlook some of the more underrated non-blue-chip or the lower-rated four-star early signees in the Longhorns 2023 class.

4-Star NT Sydir Mitchell and the uber-underrated early signees in Texas football’s 2023 class

With that in mind, here’s an analysis of the three most underrated early signees in the Longhorns 2023 class.

Billy Walton, EDGE

In terms of stars, the lowest-rated edge rusher signee in the Longhorns 2023 class is three-star South Oak Cliff product Billy Walton. The 6-foot-3 and 230-pound edge player was flipped from the Oklahoma State Cowboys back in late June.

Walton is one of four edge rushers that signed early in the Longhorns 2023 class. And he might be one of the most polished of the bunch. And purely in terms of frame and physical maturity, Walton has the size needed to compete at the Power Five level in the near future.

Texas is getting a high-motor defender that is proven in multiple different roles along the defensive front. Walton can play out of the three-technique along the defensive line. He can also stand up to come off the edge to stop the run or as a pass rusher.

Walton even took an abundance of snaps at South Oak Cliff as an outside backer.

What was really insane about Walton during his senior high school season at SOC was the insane production he put up while playing in so many different roles and packages along the front.

Walton put up some rare stats this fall at SOC, including a whopping 32 tackles for loss, 100 combined tackles, 18 sacks, and two interceptions (one of which was returned for a touchdown).

I think the best long-term fit for Walton with the Texas front seven will be as a stand-up edge rusher that can use his straight-line speed off the line of scrimmage and ability to find the ball carrier to his advantage. That would mean having Walton play off the line at times to cover a bit more range in obvious run situations.

Walton probably will need to put on at least 10 more pounds of muscle mass to have an adequate frame to compete as a buck end along the defensive front. But once he adds that size, Walton already has a lot of the tools in his game to be able to compete in multiple phases for this defense in a number of different packages along the front.

It’s rare that you get a three-star edge rusher with the combination of great hands, above-average speed, and good bend with the level of versatility that Walton brings to the table.