The day has arrived for the College Football Playoff Semifinals game at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA, between No. 3 Texas football and the No. 2 Washington Huskies.
Texas and head coach Steve Sarkisian will battle it out with an undefeated Washington squad, led by head coach Kalen DeBoer. The CFP Semifinals at the Sugar Bowl is a rematch between the Longhorns and Huskies from last postseason in the Alamo Bowl.
Washington defeated Texas by a score of 27-20 in the Alamo Bowl last postseason.
Top Washington players who were recruited by Texas football's coaching staff
Texas and Washington are both improved teams this season that won their respective Power Five conferences. For the Longhorns and Huskies to get here, though, each team had to win various key recruiting battles via high school recruiting and the transfer portal to help shape their current rosters.
Each squad has a good mix of high school recruits that they've developed over the last few years and transfer portal additions that helped upgrade the roster at various positions. The transfer portal also played a key role in the makeup of both offenses, as Texas and Washington's starting quarterbacks were from the portal.
But high school recruiting is just as responsible, if not more, for the success each team has seen on the field this season than building the roster via the transfer portal.
Here's a look at three UW stars who were offered by Texas (and/or the current coaching staff for the Longhorns) as recruits.
Jalen McMillan, WR
When he's healthy, redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen McMillan is among the best and most productive players at his position in the PAC-12. McMillan was a 1,000-yard receiver for the first time in his collegiate career for the Huskies during the 2022 campaign.
McMillan has shown the talent to become one of the nation's top wideouts at the collegiate level since he was first recruited as a high-four-star prospect from Fresno (CA) San Joaquin Memorial High School. He was a top 75-rated recruit nationally and the No. 11 wide receiver prospect in the 2020 class in the 247Sports Composite.
McMillan held offers from many of the nation's top college football programs, including the Alabama Crimson Tide, Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs, LSU Tigers, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, and USC Trojans, among others.
Texas's current head coach and the former Alabama offensive coordinator Sarkisian was even a leading recruiter for McMillan when he was on staff under head coach Nick Saban with the Tide in Tuscaloosa.
McMillan was also a top priority on the recruiting trail in the 2020 class for former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley when he was the bench boss for the Sooners a few years ago. He had this to say about Oklahoma when he included them among his top 10 finalist schools (per the Fresno Bee).
"I like my relationship with (receivers) Coach (Dennis) Simmons. He checks on me. Coach (Lincoln) Riley is a coach I feel I can compete for. He’s a really good guy."
The California native wide receiver eventually committed to former head coach Chris Petersen and the Huskies and signed with them in the 2020 class. Outside of limitations due to injury issues in the last few seasons, McMillan has been among Washington's most productive receivers.
He's registered 152 catches for over 2,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdown catches as a top threat in the receiving corps for the Huskies since the 2021 season.