Texas’ biggest strengths and weaknesses heading into 2022

Texas still has many question marks they need to address, but also have the chance to excel in some areas.

Steve Sarkisian and Texas have had as good of an offseason as they could have asked for after a disappointing 5-7 campaign.

Texas signed a top-five recruiting class that focused on adding much-needed talent to the trenches. 13 of the 27 signees are either offensive linemen or on the defensive front seven. Kelvin Banks became the first five-star offensive lineman to sign with Texas since the 2009 cycle.

The Horns also hit big in the transfer portal, bringing four guys who will push for immediate playing time. Former Alabama tight end Jahleel Billingsley and Wyoming wide receiver Isaiah Neyor are proven players ready to contribute. Ohio State transfers Quinn Ewers and Ryan Watts were targeted by many schools after entering the portal.

Texas will continue to look to use the portal this offseason as more players will presumably enter the portal after spring ball.

Looking ahead to the 2022 season, Texas still has many question marks they need to address, but they also have the chance to excel in some areas.

Here are Texas’ biggest strengths and weaknesses heading into 2022:

5 things to know about Alabama’s latest transfer WR Jermaine Burton

Get to know Alabama’s latest transfer, WR Jermain Burton!

Alabama has had plenty of luck out of the NCAA transfer portal in recent seasons. Former Tennessee linebacker Henry To’oTo’o had an immediate impact, former Ohio State wide receiver Jameson Williams lit up college football in his one season with the Crimson Tide.

Those are just two names out of a short list of transfers Alabama has landed over the last three seasons, but they have all thrived in Tuscaloosa.

The latest transfer out of Georgia is wide receiver Jermaine Burton.

Burton will instantly become a veteran presence in a wide receiver room that lacks experience.

Here are five things to now about Alabama’s newest pass-catcher.

4-star CB Jahlil Florence takes last-second visit to Eugene before choosing between Oregon and USC

Jahlil Florence will be picking between Oregon and USC on Monday. The 4-star CB’s late trip to Eugene seems notable.

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4-star CB Jahlil Florence announced earlier in the week that he would be making his final decision between the Oregon Ducks and the USC Trojans next Monday at 2 p.m. PT on CBSSports HQ. It’s been clear for a while now that those two schools were in the driver’s seat to land this elite recruit, but hard to see how either team would get a leg up in the race.

Then, late on Thursday night, a tweet from Florence might have shown that the momentum is with the Ducks. Florence announced that he was in Eugene for a final visit with Oregon before making his decision. There were rumors early in the week that the Lincoln CB, who ranks as the 11th best at his position in the nation, might be coming to Eugene, but nothing confirmed.

The visit to Oregon is huge for the Ducks, simply because it gives them one last chance to sell Florence on the program before he makes his decision. Earlier in the month, Florence announced that he would not be taking any more visits before National Signing Day, spurning schools like Miami in the process. The fact that he now turned around and came to see Oregon one last time is notable, and the fact that it leads right into his announcement coming on Monday is certainly a big deal.

He hasn’t committed just yet, and there is still some time until he makes his decision, but if you are an Oregon fan hoping that Florence ends up as a Duck next week, this is certainly something to celebrate.

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2023 5-star QB Nico Iamaleava Jr. takes visit to see Oregon Ducks

5-star QB Nico Iamaleava Jr. is in Eugene to see the Ducks this weekend. Iamaleava ranks as the No. 4 QB in the 2023 recruiting class. Big visit.

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One of the top national prospects in the 2023 recruiting class is in Eugene for the weekend visiting the Oregon Ducks on a recruiting trip before the dead period comes and shuts things down a week from now.

5-star QB Nico Iamaleava Jr. who ranks as the No. 4 QB in the 2023 class and the No. 17 player overall, according to 247Sports, is a 6-foot-5, 195-pound passer who is among the most coveted players in next year’s recruiting class. He currently has a load of Power 5 offers, including Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, USC, and many others.

Iamaleava Jr. will join a slew of other highly-rated recruits in Eugene this weekend, taking a look around the facilities and hearing the recruiting pitch from head coach Dan Lanning. While we likely won’t hear a commitment from him any time soon, the fact that he is taking a visit to the Ducks is certainly a big deal.

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Swinney responds to those who say he’s opposed to NIL

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was a guest this week on The Players Club Podcast, which is hosted by former Tigers running back Darien Rencher. Among the topics that Rencher and Swinney discussed is name, image and likeness. Swinney made it clear …

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was a guest this week on The Players Club Podcast, which is hosted by former Tigers running back Darien Rencher.

Among the topics that Rencher and Swinney discussed is name, image and likeness.

Swinney made it clear again that he is not opposed to NIL, in spite of what some believe about his stance on it.

“Despite what you may hear or read, or what people like to create all these narratives, as y’all know, just like the old social media stuff,” Swinney said. “Every August, they’d write this terrible article about how I banned y’all from social media. I never banned anybody, that was always a player-led thing.

“It’s the same thing with the NIL. I think the NIL is great. I think it’s common sense. To me, why should a guy not be able to go do an autograph session and work and make money? Why should somebody not be able to go home and do a camp? There’s some commonsense things.”

Swinney, however, doesn’t like the “unintended consequences” of NIL and reiterated that while he’s not against NIL, he is opposed to the professionalization of college athletics.

“I do think there are, like anything, some unintended consequences going on with it where it’s being used in a way that it’s not intended, and I don’t think that’s good,” Swinney said.

“People say, ‘Oh, Coach Swinney…’ I’m not against NIL at all. What I am against is anything that devalues education. That’s what I’m against. I’m against the professionalization of college athletics. And what does that mean? That means OK, now we’re paying you guys salaries and 18-year-olds have to pay taxes. I don’t think that’s good. I think we should keep the focus on graduation, incentivize graduation and do everything we can to modernize and improve the scholarship in addition to these NIL opportunities. I think it’s great.”

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Gators to bring uncommitted edge rusher in for official visit after late push

After a change of plans, Jacksonville three-star Jack Pyburn will visit Gainesville this weekend.

With national signing day on Wednesday, Florida doesn’t have much time left to forge new relationships with prospects in the 2022 class. But with that being said, it’s making a late push for uncommitted Jacksonville (Florida) Bolles three-star edge rusher Jack Pyburn.

Pyburn is set to announce his decision on Tuesday, and he was originally planning to pick between Auburn and Miami. But things have changed, and he will now visit Florida this weekend, he told 247Sports’ Andrew Ivins.

“A change of plans,” Pyburn said. “I’m going to take a visit to Florida. They started reaching out last week and then this week they started to get pretty serious with the D-line coach and DC getting hired. They sent someone to get eyes on me Wednesday and then (Thursday) they called and asked if we would go on an official. So, I talked to Coach (Billy) Napier and this is where we are at.”

According to 247Sports, UF offered Pyburn on Friday. The No. 437 player in the country and No. 36 edge rusher, Pyburn committed to Minnesota on June 20 following an official visit, but he chose not to sign during the early signing period. Shortly after receiving an offer from the Hurricanes, he decommitted from the Golden Gophers. He was also offered by Auburn the following day.

Coach Billy Napier doesn’t have a lot of time to sell the 6-foot-3-inch, 265-pound player on Gainesville, but the staff will hope to make up some ground by getting him on campus for his final official visit.

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Georgia hires former UGA QB, OC Mike Bobo as offensive analyst

Mike Bobo is back in Athens…

Coach Kirby Smart and the Georgia football staff has hired former UGA quarterback and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to an offensive analyst role, per a report from Dawgs 247.

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This is Bobo’s third stint with Georgia, last serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Mark Richt from 2007 to 2014.

Bobo spent five seasons as head coach at Colorado State before taking the offensive coordinator position at South Carolina, where he spent one season before serving in the same role for Auburn for the 2021 season.

Bobo made a name for himself grooming quarterbacks like David Greene, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray under Richt and is widely considered as one of college football’s most experienced play callers.

Smart has made a habit of hiring former head coaches with ties to the Georgia program. UGA alumnus Will Muschamp joined the Bulldogs last season in an analyst role and served as special teams coach and eventually co-defensive coordinator in Georgia’s championship season.

 

Florida coaches to meet with 4-star safety before his trip to LSU

Co-defensive coordinator Patrick Toney and cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond visited Jacoby Mathews on Friday morning before his trip to Baton Rouge.

The Gators continue to make four-star Ponchatoula (Louisiana) safety Jacoby Mathews a top priority. He was on campus this past weekend for an official visit, his first trip to Florida, and the coaching staff wanted to get one more pitch in before he heads to Baton Rouge to take his final official visit before national signing day.

0According to 247Sports’ Blake Alderman, co-defensive coordinator Patrick Toney and cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond went to visit Mathews on Friday morning before he leaves for LSU later in the day.

Mathews, the No. 38 player in the 2022 recruiting class and No. 2 safety per the 247Sports Composite, had positive things to say about his trip to UF this past weekend. He said that the coaches, many of whom previously coached in Louisiana, made a good impression on him and he could get behind the way the staff wants to use him.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 193-pound prospect is set to announce his decision on national signing day, when he will choose between Florida, LSU and Texas A&M. However, he took his official visit to College Station back in June, and the Gators and Tigers are widely considered to have the best shot at him.

UF will hope the impression made with the two visits will be enough to fend off a push from LSU to keep Mathews in-state.

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Top 2023 DL names Georgia football among final schools

5-star DE Jayden Wayne has the Dawgs in his top-11…

2023 five-star defensive lineman Jayden Wayne has named Georgia football among his top-11 schools.

Wayne (6-foot-5, 245 pounds) named Georgia, Auburn, Michigan State, Texas, USC, Washington, Alabama, Miami, Florida, LSU and Oregon as his final 11 programs.

Out of Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wa., Wayne is rated as the No. 1 player in Washington, the No. 5 defensive lineman in the nation and the No. 31 overall recruit in the 2023 class, according to 247Sports Composite. 

Wayne also shows his athleticism on offense.

The Bulldogs currently hold the No. 1 ranked class in the 2023 cycle.

4-star DL Gracen Halton includes Oregon in top-3, announces decision date

Though he just de-committed from Oregon earlier this week, 4-star DL Gracen Halton included the Ducks in his final-3 when announcing his decision date.

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Just a couple of days after announcing that he would be de-committing from the Oregon Ducks and opening up his recruitment, 4-star DL Gracen Halton has set a date and time for him to announce his final decision on National Signing Day.

Halton, who is considering the Ducks, Oklahoma Sooners, and Miami Hurricanes, will announce where he is signing on Wednesday. A time has not yet been set for the announcement.

Though the Ducks were listed in the final three for Halton, it feels a bit wreckless to believe that Oregon has a real shot at landing the DL who ranks No. 33 in the nation. After taking a visit to Oklahoma earlier in the month, Halton, who was committed to the Ducks for the majority of 2021, decided to open up his recruitment and look elsewhere. The belief is that he will likely sign with the Sooners, though Mario Cristobal surely has a chance at bringing him with his new team down in Coral Gabels.

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