Linebacker recruiting hasn’t been a top priority for Texas football in the 2024 cycle. Co-DC/LB coaches Jeff Choate and Pete Kwiatkowski have only prioritized a handful of linebacker recruits in the 2024 class this fall. Those two linebacker flip targets for Texas this fall were Conroe (TX) Oak Ridge five-star/Georgia Bulldogs commit Justin Williams and Jasper (TX) four-star/Texas A&M Aggies commit Tyanthony Smith.
Texas’s efforts to flip Williams from Georgia were always a bit of a long shot. But he is the type of recruit that head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns staff recruit through the finish line on signing day.
Smith, meanwhile, was more of a realistic shot to flip his commitment from Texas A&M for the Longhorns after the Aggies fired their former head coach, Jimbo Fisher, on Nov. 12. Once Texas A&M fired Fisher a few weeks ago, Smith was considering some other options in his recruitment.
4-Star Texas football flip target and Texas A&M LB commit Tyanthony Smith expected to reaffirm his pledge to Aggies
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Smith was planning to set an official visit date in December to see Austin before signing day on Dec. 20. He just had to wait to figure out when his schedule would open up. Jasper is still in the state playoffs.
But that was before Texas A&M hired its former defensive coordinator and Duke Blue Devils head coach, Mike Elko, to replace Fisher.
Horns247 reported on Nov. 28 (paid content) that they expect Smith to reaffirm his commitment to Texas A&M after the Aggies hired Elko as the next head coach in College Station this week. Obviously, that means Smith is expected to cancel the official visits he was expected to take once Jasper High School is done in the Texas UIL state playoffs.
Smith reportedly likes Elko’s defensive acumen and scheme.
Texas likely to pass on taking an LB commit in the 2024 class from the high school ranks
With the communication dying down a bit between Williams and Texas in the last couple of weeks and the expectation that Smith sticks with his commitment to Texas A&M, the Longhorns probably won’t take a high school linebacker in the 2024 class. Texas could attack the NCAA Transfer Portal this offseason to add depth to the linebacker room.
If the right linebacker fit appeared in the portal this offseason, Texas’ staff could show interest with senior Jaylan Ford expected to head to the NFL Draft in the spring.
Texas had a deep linebacker class for the 2023 cycle, which included multiple promising blue-chip recruits. The combination of the portal possibly offering up an immediate impact linebacker and the Longhorns signing a deep class at the position in the 2023 class means the staff can afford to pass on an LB commit in 2024.