The momentum continues for Texas football in the 2024 recruiting class on the final day of the Early Signing Period, Dec. 22. Texas landed a commitment on Dec. 22 from the highly touted four-star Calabasas (CA) athlete and former Colorado Buffaloes pledge Aaron Butler.
Butler's decision boiled down to the Arizona Wildcats, Washington Huskies, and Texas among his three finalist schools. He picked Texas over Arizona and Washington after head coach Steve Sarkisian and wide receivers coach Chris Jackson made a late push in this recruitment before he announced on the final day of the Early Signing Period.
Texas football adds another commitment to the 2024 class in 4-Star ATH Aaron Butler
Jackson made an in-home visit with Butler and his family a couple of weeks ago. He also took an official visit earlier this month to Arizona and had an in-home visit with Washington's staff.
Butler is essentially taking the spot in the 2024 class that opened up after four-star Daingerfield (TX) athlete Aeryn Hampton flipped his commitment from Texas to the Alabama Crimson Tide on the first day of the Early Signing Period on Dec. 20.
The ironic part about Butler taking Hampton's spot in this class is that he has also committed to three different schools now. Butler was previously committed to Colorado and the USC Trojans before giving his pledge to Texas on Dec. 22.
Butler gives Texas a dangerous and explosive playmaker with positional versatility
Butler is a flat-out burner and a playmaker, regardless of which side of the ball he plays. Similar to Hampton, the 6-foot and 170-pound Butler can play at defensive back or receiver for the Longhorns.
As a cornerback, Butler is a quick and physical DB who plays with a tenacious mentality in coverage and contesting space. While he does have a smaller frame, at 6 feet, Butler plays with a level of physicality well above his size and muscle mass. He utilizes his long wingspan and underrated strength to latch onto wideouts in press coverage and around the line of scrimmage.
Since Butler has played both sides of the ball, he's got a good understanding of developing route concepts and timing to make plays on the football. He's a flat out playmaker who knows when to jump routes. Butler's reliable hands and ability to quickly break on the football makes him an extremely disruptive force in pass coverage.
Big play threat with outstanding speed and elusiveness at receiver
At receiver, Butler is a big play waiting to happen. He brings track speed as a deep threat in the passing game and when he gets the ball in space. Butler ran a sub-22 second 200-meter dash time as a junior, showing his quickness and long speed.
The same physicality and tenacity Butler plays with on defense shows up when he's blocking as a receiver on offense. He shows non-stop effort as a blocker. Butler loves to dominate physically regardless if he's blocking downfield or for the run on the outside.
This is the type of effort that can set the tone for the Longhorns in the receiving corps from a blocking perspective.
Areas of improvement
Depending on where Butler plays at Texas, he'll need some refinement from a technique perspective. He's a more polished corner than he is at receiver since his skill set and physical profile fits that of a modern DB.
If Butler does play at receiver for the Longhorns, he'll need to work with Jackson to improve technically. He has a pretty limited route tree at the moment. Focusing on receiver full-time with a WR coach with NFL experience such as Jackson could get Butler the development he needs regarding route running and body control.
At corner, Butler can be inconsistent with his tackling approach and discipline in coverage. He can get overaggressive at times in coverage, leading to over pursuit of the route.
Projection and fit at Texas
The big question regarding Butler's commitment in the 2024 class is where he fits positionally at Texas. Jackson recruiting Butler leads me to believe that Texas has offered him at wideout. That would make the most sense given that Texas still is recruiting multiple receivers in the 2024 class at the high school ranks and in the portal.
The numbers are pretty tight for the Longhorns at defensive back in the 2024 class. Texas already has five true defensive backs committed to the 2024 class from high school and one from the portal.
The upside to Butler playing wideout for the Longhorns is the big play threat he poses in Sark's offense. Butler could be a scheme versatile skill weapon in Sark's offense. You can give him the ball in the screen and short passing game to get him out in space and make things happen after the catch. Butler can also take the top off of opposing defenses as a burner in the deep passing game.
Sark can also get creative by motioning Butler around pre-snap to different receiver spots. He also has the type of physicality and elusiveness where he can be lined up in the backfield and get the ball in the ground or passing game.
Andrew Nemec of SI compared Butler's skill set to Deebo Samuel from a playmaking perspective. Samuel was likely more versatile and polished early in his collegiate career at South Carolina than Butler will be coming out of high school next year. But the combination of speed and physical play style as a playmaker at the skill positions is certainly a valid comparison for Butler to Samuel.
In his first year or two on campus, Butler can contribute on special teams as a gunner and/or returner (given his speed and tenacity regardless of whether he's got the ball or chasing down the ball carrier). That also would give him ample time for a couple of years to develop his technique (playing on offense or defense) and push for a spot on the two-deep.