5 key recruits impressed by Texas's historic NFL Draft haul

James Simon
James Simon / Stan Carpenter/ The Times / USA TODAY
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Tashard Choice, Texas football
Tashard Choice, Texas football / Sara Diggins/American-Statesman / USA

James Simon, RB

Texas has emerged as the trendy pick late this spring for the touted four-star Shreveport (LA) Calvary Baptist running back James Simon. Since Ohio State started trending for high-four-star Santa Ana (CA) Mater Dei running back Jordon Davison a few weeks ago, things have heated up on the recruiting trail between Simon and the Longhorns.

Texas really sells itself with its level of recruiting and player development at the running back position in the last few years. Tashard Choice has been masterful with his moves on the recruiting trail and how he's shaped this running back room at Texas in the last couple of years.

Two years in a row, Choice and the Longhorns not only had the first running back selected in the draft, but also had multiple backs drafted in the first five rounds.

Simon said after the draft that the Longhorns RB results "shows Texas coaches develop great players yearly". Specifically regarding Choice and his player development, Simon said that the NFL Draft results "says a lot about his coaching and how good he is".

Elijah Barnes, LB (UT commit)

Recent four-star Texas linebacker commit Elijah Barnes has not only been locked in with his Longhorns pledge, but he is also helping them recruit other top defensive prospects in the 2025 class. Barnes committed to the Longhorns on April 12, paying Sarkisian and the Texas coaches a trip to make the news official and in-person.

The 6-foot-2 and 215-pound Dallas (TX) Skyline linebacker Barnes has been impressed by Texas's development at his position group for the last couple of years.

The Longhorns had two linebackers selected in as many years since the 2023 draft, both in the first five rounds. Last year, DeMarvion Overshown was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round (90th overall).

In the 2024 draft, the New Orleans Saints picked senior Jaylan Ford in the fifth round (175th overall). Barnes reacted to the Saints selecting Ford on Day 3 of the draft, congratulating the two-time All-Big 12 linebacker with a post on his IG story.

The way the Longhorns have recruited and developed talent at the linebacker position in the last few years under Pete Kwiatkowski, more NFL Draft picks are sure to come from this group. Sophomore linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. is a prime candidate to be a future early-round NFL Draft pick.

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