Every player Steve Sarkisian has mentioned during Texas' spring practices

Joe Cookby:Joe Cook04/13/24


Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian has been available a handful of times during the Longhorns spring practices.

[Sign up for Inside Texas and get ONE MONTH for $1 using our March Madness special!]

He’s mentioned a few specific players by name during the course of those press conferences. Here are all the times he’s talked about individual Longhorns during those opportunities with the media.

Steve Sarkisian on Sydir Mitchell, Kendrick Blackshire, Savion Red – 3/19/24: “Probably all three of them, a little heavier than we would like. We’re in March. We’re not playing a game until August 31st this year. One thing I know is some of that weight will naturally come off through spring practice. The other thing I know is when we start running in June and July in DKR at about 3:30, 4 o’clock in the afternoon, that weight comes off a little easier then, too. I’m not overly concerned. I would like that weight to get down for all three of those guys. I think they’ll be better players when that weight’s down a little bit.”

Steve Sarkisian on Alfred Collins and Vernon Broughton – 3/19/24: “We have probably a little more experience than people would want to give us credit for. Alfred is a very talented player who has matured from one year to the next to the next. If he continues on the progression that he’s on, he’s poised to have a great year. Vernon Broughton, another one of those guys. They gave us a lot of quality reps the last two seasons. I think now, more than ever, they’re poised to step into that role.”

Steve Sarkisian on Tiaoalii Savea – 3/19/24: “He’s played a lot of football, played a lot of football at Arizona.”

Steve Sarkisian on Jaray Bledsoe, Aaron Bryant, Alex January – 3/19/24: “I think Jaray Bledsoe is an extremely talented young player who is going into year three now. I think Aaron Bryant is another guy who is now going to start to give us some of those reps that Alfred and Vernon gave us the last couple of years that they can give us. I think at first glance, Alex January is a guy who has been impressive early on in offseason workouts, conditioning, and things.”

Steve Sarkisian – 3/19/24: “When we go through flex lines or stretch lines, I like to tap into those leaders and make sure our energy is right, our intent is right, what we’re trying to get done for the day. I noticed it today, I was having to talk to a lot of guys. That’s a really good thing. The fact we’re returning so many offensive linemen. We are returning Quinn (Ewers). I think Gunnar Helm, as a guy who has been in the program, really understands. Jaydon Blue is a guy who has really grown up and is in year three in the program. Defensively, you talk about Alfred and Vernon. You look at Ethan Burke and his time here. You look at David Gbenda. Anthony Hill already, young in his career. Michael Taaffe. Jahdae Barron. Jaylon Guilbeau. A lot of guys. I’m leaving some guys out. Not intentionally, but it’s just a different team that way.”

Steve Sarkisian – 3/19/24: “So far, a couple months into this thing with these guys being here, it seems really good. Andrew Mukuba is awesome. He’s wired really well. He’s a great team guy. Amari Niblack. Isaiah Bond. Some of these guys have been really, really good. Trey Moore has been unbelievable with what he’s brought.”

Isaiah Bond
Isaiah Bond (Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)

Steve Sarkisian on Isaiah Bond – 3/19/24: “I was talking to Isaiah Bond today halfway through practice about how much he enjoys now practicing in the morning and waking up every day in the morning. He’s like ‘I almost feel more fresh, I feel better.’ You never know. What a guy was at one place, maybe we can get an even better version of him here.”

Steve Sarkisian on Matthew Golden – 3/19/24: “Matthew Golden, I was very confident and very comfortable with because we had recruited him at length the first time around. He had been on campus. We’d been around him. We’d been around his mom. That process was really easy.”

Steve Sarkisian on Isaiah Bond – 3/19/24: “Isaiah’s was a little bit different just because we had recruited him, but he had never really been here. We still knew him.”

Steve Sarkisian on Kendrick Blackshire – 3/19/24:(Jeff) Banks had recruited him so hard in high school that we had a very good understanding of him coming out.”

Steve Sarkisian on Quinn Ewers – 3/19/24: “I think Quinn looks good. His body, we went from where he was a couple of years ago, to slimming himself all the way down last season, to, if you look him, he looks a little broader now this year. I’m hopeful we can get maybe 3-5 more pounds of strengthening him up that way. I thought Quinn played really confident today and had good command. A little different for us for Quinn and I this year is my ability to talk to him through the mic. We started practicing that today. I think having two years of experience of working together, and now having that dialogue through the headset, I think is going to be beneficial for us.”

Steve Sarkisian on Johntay Cook – 3/19/24: “I think player development is something we take a lot of pride in in our program on and off the field. One of the challenges is when we first got here is (Ja’Tavion Sanders) might have been the only 5-star in that class, a top 20-25 player in the country according to you guys. Hopefully, we’re recruiting more high quality players over time and there’s going to be more guys in that developmental process early in their career. He had an opportunity last year to play behind possibly two first-round draft picks and another guy who is going to play in the NFL. How much do you attack that year to try to improve your game? I thought Johntay had a really good practice today from the naked eye without looking at the tape. Doing what was asked of him. Made plays when the ball came his way. Had really positive energy out there on the field. There are a lot of guys in that fold that hopefully they can continue to grow in the program as the years move forward.”

Steve Sarkisian – 3/24524: “I think Alfred Collins looked really good today. Was very intentional with his approach. Barryn Sorrell, Ethan Burke always bring it that way. I think Trey Moore brings it. That guy, he’s wired right up front. I thought Cedric Baxter and Jaydon Blue again just kind of continue to assert themselves. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tre Wisner. He’s had a good four days for us to start this day off. It’s hard to pinpoint everybody, but there’s been some guys who have brought it for four straight days and it’s been impressive. Hopefully, everybody can fall in line with that so they know what it looks like.

Steve Sarkisian on Trey Moore – 3/25/24: “What I like about Trey first of all is his work ethic. You can tell (Trey is) a guy who comes into the program and has a chip on his shoulder. Trey has got something to prove, and I think there’s some value to that in the portal when you can recruit a guy that’s maybe is not coming from an SEC school or a Big 10 school. Now they get here, they’ve got something to prove. He’s a really talented player. We saw firsthand when we played against him. The way he worked all winter conditioning, and now the way he practices, he practices with real intent. He’s an extremely effective pass-rusher. He’s really good in his awareness in the game of football and the things that we’re doing beyond just rushing the passer. He has a sense of physicality in the way that he plays. I think it starts with his approach. He maximizes every day. He tries to squeeze every drop out of the day. It shows in the way he works in practice.”

Steve Sarkisian – 3/25/24: “We’ve got great depth right now at runner. They’re healthy. They look good. Obviously, with what CJ (Baxter) and (Jaydon) Blue are doing, with what Tre (Wisner) is doing, the influx of the two young players in Jerrick (Gibson) and Christian (Clark), and then Savion (Red) and what he’s doing. We’re fortunate that way, but it always feels good until all of a sudden a couple of them go down. Then you’re like ‘oh my gosh, we don’t have any.’ We’re fortunate that way. Obviously, (Tashard) Choice does a great job of coaching those guys and coaching them hard. We try to give them a lot of reps.”

Steve Sarkisian on CJ Baxter, Jaydon Blue, Tre Wisner – 3/25/24: “I think for CJ, obviously a very gifted player. He’s got the size, the speed. He’s got great hands out of the backfield. The evolution for the runner is two things. One, playing to your strengths. The size and speed that CJ has, I think his understanding and his ability to consistently run violent is a strength of his. When he does, he is tough to get on the ground. We’ve seen that first-hand. Two, naturally as the runner as you grow in our system, is the pass protection stuff. It’s one thing to know what to do. It’s another to know how to do it. It’s a third thing to apply it all in the moment. His growth there, we’ve seen it, but we’re always striving for more on that front. Just who he is on a daily basis and what he brings, it’s been fun to watch those guys mature. Jaydon Blue, CJ Baxter, Tre Wisner, they have really matured and they’ve grown into a leadership role quickly. Proud of them that way, and that’s because they paid attention when they were younger. Blue had a chance to be behind Jonathon Brooks, Bijan Robinson, and Roschon Johnson. That made sense to him. He’s grown up. CJ got a chance to be with Jonathon Brooks and Keilan Robinson a year ago. Allowed him to see what it looks like to grow up. We ask a lot of those guys that way as well.”

Steve Sarkisian on Cameron Williams – 3/25/24: “Cam’s done a great job. His weight has really come down. I referenced it to him today on the field. He’s moving really well. That’s always the challenge. We want big humans but we want them to be able to move. I think Cam has really matured that way, in the value of keeping his weight manageable to where he can play to the best of his ability. I think it was good for him a year ago to get that start and to play an entire game, and what that felt like from a conditioning standpoint. Now in spring practice, what it feels like getting those extensive reps that way and getting himself into football shape. We can train him all winter long and they can be in great shape. When football comes, that’s a different shape you have to get your mind and body into. I think he’s improving on that but I think there’s still room to grow.”

Steve Sarkisian on Anthony Hill – 3/25/24: “I think the one thing Anthony provides is versatility. Even as a true freshman, we moved him around a fair amount last year with what he was doing at off the ball linebacker, what he was doing coming off the edge rushing, what he was able to do for us on special teams. He’s wired right for sure. He’s the greatest kid in the world off the field. He’s a good student. I can talk to him. He can relay messages. He’s a really good leader. When he gets between the white lines, he’s tough. He plays hard. You want him with that edge. I do value that from him. I think that’s going to serve us well as a guy who is going to be one of the leaders of our defense, that that’s his style of play. Where he finds his home, we’ll see. I just know that he can do multiple things. I’d hate to pigeon-hole him into one thing. It’s probably safe to say if we were playing tomorrow, he’d play middle linebacker for us. We’re not playing tomorrow. We’re going to try to put the best 11 guys out there and make sure we’re putting him in position to make the plays that he can make.”

Anthony Hill (Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)

Steve Sarkisian on Andrew Mukuba – 3/25/24: “A guy who I just talked to after practice, I love the way he’s practicing right now, is Andrew Mukuba. I think you feel his experience as a player. You feel him having the ability to play multiple positions. I love the intent with which he practices with. He’s aggressive. He’s tough. He knows how to practice. He doesn’t go to the ground. He knows how to do those things. I hope he serves as a really good bench mark for some of the guys on how to do it. He’s definitely shown up that way and I’ve been impressed with that.”

Steve Sarkisian on Juan Davis – 3/25/24: “Juan Davis has been a pleasant surprise. This has definitely been his best spring so far since we’ve been here. Proud of him and the work he’s put in.”

Steve Sarkisian on defensive back – 3/25/24: “We have some pretty good versatility in the back end. I know we probably label Jahdae (Barron), Jaylon Guilbeau, and Austin Jordan as Stars. But we’re rolling those guys at multiple positions. We’re rolling safeties at Star. We’ve got really good depth. Obviously with (Terrance) Brooks and (Gavin) Holmes coming back with Manny (Muhammad), it’s been helpful. There’s an influx of some young players that are getting some good opportunities right now. Seeing some growth in them and what they can be. Wardell Mack, Kobe Black, those guys. I feel really good about the depth.”

Steve Sarkisian on Trey Owens – 3/25/24: “Trey is a natural passer. It definitely shows in practice. He has the ability to pass the football. He can make all the throws. There’s a lot coming at him four practices in. You have all the offense we put in. You have all of the defense the defense has put in and sometimes trying to put those two things together sometimes gets him. But man, you see plays out of him where he’s definitely got a chance. He does not get rattled that way. If anything, he gets a little hard on himself. My job is to get hard on you. Your job is to keep pumping yourself up. He’s done a nice job through the first four days. He had a really good offseason of changing his body. I think the future’s bright for him.”

Steve Sarkisian – 3/25/24: “The three guys on offense to me that I’m excited as they continue to grow is Isaiah Bond, Matthew Golden, and Amari Niblack. All three of those guys I think are going to be fantastic players for us. Their transition may not have been as quick as a Trey Moore or an Andrew Mukuba. But I’m starting to see it more and more and I’m starting to feel their personality more and more and the way that they play. And, their ability to recognize when a young guy needs help or a young guy is not right on something. They have enough confidence now to step in and help the situation.”

Steve Sarkisian on Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning – 3/25/24: “Both guys are doing really well. I think you can feel year three Quinn. You can feel year two Arch. The operation of it. The anxiety lessens year to year of what are we doing next, what does this feel like, what does this look like. I think naturally, this year, probably as much or more than ever, their command is going to be really important. It’s not just what they know. It’s not just their ability to function. It’s making sure the guys around them are in the right frame of mind and have the right knowledge to perform with them. Because you can’t rely on some of the experience that we had a year ago. That’s the challenge right. How far can we push a Johntay Cook, a DeAndre Moore, these new faces, Ryan Niblett, new faces, to be elite players? The better they are around the quarterback, the better the quarterback is. How can the quarterback help those guys play to the best of their abilities? I think that’s the challenge for Quinn and Arch. How do make sure those guys are on point to do what they need to do to play to the best of their ability. They’re both doing a really nice job. They’re both in a phase where you can see their progressions systematically, but also maturity.”

Arch Manning, Quinn Ewers
Arch Manning, Quinn Ewers (Will Gallagher/Inside Texas)

Steve Sarkisian on Ryan Wingo – 4/2/24: “I would say the one guy that has probably shown up the most in my eyes would be Ryan Wingo. I feel like the last week, he’s really started to make some plays and you’re really starting to see the size, speed, and athleticism.”

Steve Sarkisian on Tre Wisner – 4/2/24: “I think that’s fair. Tre has been really impressive this spring. I think that started for him the second half of last season. His role on special teams really grew and improved, and he made plays. He had a couple of really big tackles as the year went on for us on teams. I think he got some confidence. The one thing about Tre, he is right there at the top of hardest workers on our team. He goes for it every day, every rep, and it’s paying dividends for him. He’s been a really good runner. He’s catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s been great on teams. I think his understanding schematically of what we’re doing is growing. I do foresee him having a role with us in the fall.”

Steve Sarkisian on Quinn Ewers – 4/2/24: “I think Quinn’s really enjoying his time right now. That’s how you should be in year three. I referenced this about Xavier (Worthy) a year ago, that it looked like he was having the most fun he had had in his three years of being here. Year one, just hard charging and trying to get on the field. Year two for Xavier, a little up and down. He had the broken hand and was dropping some balls. Felt a little of that. Year three, came in with a renewed joy for the game and his teammates. I really feel that with Quinn. He really enjoys his teammates. I think he really enjoys the challenge of getting that rapport with the receivers. I think he’s got great rapport with his offensive linemen and those runners. But now, what’s that rapport like with those wideouts? With the new tight end, working with Gunnar and Amari and that group? I think he’s enjoying it. The fun part for me is I get to keep coaching him hard. I get to keep coaching him hard on stuff that maybe I wasn’t as hard on him with in the past. But that’s how you keep pushing a guy to be the best that he can be. He’s taking the coaching. He’s playing at a really high level for us right now.”

Steve Sarkisian – 4/9/24: “I’d say the guy that has probably shown the most progress up to this point and continues to improve is Aaron Bryant. Been really proud of him. We see the flashes out of Jaray Bledsoe. Now, we’re fighting for that consistency. I think we’re starting to see the flashes out of Sydir. Again, it’s fighting for that consistency. I referenced this guy a lot because I remember getting asked about him early on. I’d get asked about Alfred Collins a lot early on. That was one of the common themes. We’d see the flash, now we need the consistency. It took a little bit of time, but I can tell you today we’re getting the consistency out of Alfred Collins. We’re getting the flash and the consistency. That’s really important.

Steve Sarkisian on Alex January – 4/9/24: “He’s flashed some here as well as a young player.”

Steve Sarkisian on Malik Muhammad – 4/9/24: “Manny Muhammad’s had a very good spring ball. He’s been a guy that plays very confidently right now. He’s really got a much better understanding schematically. I think he’s trusting what he’s being taught to do. One thing Manny has is playmaking ability. When he sees things unfolding, he goes for it. That allows for him to stay sticky in coverage. It allows for him to get his hands on the ball. He had a great interception today in a team period.”

Steve Sarkisian on Jelani McDonald – 4/9/24: “Jelani McDonald has made some tremendous strides at safety. He’s very rangy. He’s very physical. He’s a good tackler. I think the instincts, thinking about in high school he basically played quarterback the majority of the time. That football IQ has translated to the defensive side of the ball. He’s seeing things unfold that’s enabled him to react well. We got a glimpse of that from him last year on teams. Now it’s carrying over to defense.”

Steve Sarkisian on Jaylon Guilbeau – 4/9/24: “At the star position, I would say Jaylon Guilbeau has had a tremendous spring. He’s back, as I joked with him the other day. He’s playing fast. He’s physical. He’s understanding his angles better. Star is a difficult position in any defense, but most notably ours. You really have to be one of our better players because we ask so much of that guy at that position. He’s got to be able to play zone coverage. He’s got to be able to play man coverage. He’s got to blitz. He’s got to sometimes fit the run and play in the box predicated off of formations. He’s got to be a great communicator.”

Steve Sarkisian on defensive back – 4/9/24: “Now, how do we get our best five? Clearly, Jahdae and Jaylon both have versatility, position flex. Last year, Jahdae played nickel but also played a fair amount of corner, as well as played some safety for us. Guilbeau, naturally, we are playing him some at corner and at nickel, that position flex. Mukuba is another guy I’d hate to leave out. He’s had a great spring so far. He gives us that ability to play safety and nickel.”

Steve Sarkisian on Isaiah Bond – 4/9/24: “Isaiah, you definitely see the flashes. You see the big play ability. He had another couple of big plays today. You see the speed element that he provides. There’s still nuances schematically that sometimes can jam him up a little bit, but he’s a little bit more familiar just because of that time at Alabama and some of that carryover systematically. But you see it there.”

Steve Sarkisian on Matthew Golden – 4/9/24: “Was a little bit slowed early on because of a previous injury that he came to us with from Houston, so we had to kind of pace him back into play. I thought the last couple of days, we’re starting to get the real version of Matt Golden. He’s got very strong hands. He’s a smart player. He’s sudden. We see the return ability. We feel very comfortable with those two.”

Steve Sarkisian on Ryan Wingo – 4/9/24: “I would say at the receiver spot, the one guy that really jumps out is Ryan Wingo. From a true freshman perspective, when he’s out there it doesn’t feel like a true freshman. He plays fast. He makes plays on the ball. He’s not right all the time. I don’t expect him to be right all the time. But he’s making some full speed mistakes and he looks very comfortable right now as a guy who should still be in high school playing with all our guys.”

Steve Sarkisian on the O-line – 4/9/24:Hayden (Conner) has played a ton of left guard for us, but we’re also using him some at center. Neto (Umeozulu) has been in there playing left guard. We’ve actually even swung him over a little bit at right guard to get him some reps there. Cole Hutson has been in there. Then obviously, DJ (Campbell) at right guard. There’s kind of four guys working a ton right now. Like anything, kind of like those young defensive linemen we were talking about with Neto. I see the flash plays. I see some of the physical blocks from Neto. It’s finding that level of consistency. When he does it — and we’re feeling it. He’s coming. He’s making strides that way to where he’d have in the first practice of spring ball, he might have four, five, six missed assignments. That number is down to one or two. That’s a positive there. He’s definitely a talented player, an explosive player. He plays the game. He’s a nasty player. We saw that last year. When he was in the Tech game, I had to almost calm him down. He was truly playing through the echo of the whistle. We’re trying to keep him within the confines of the game.”

Steve Sarkisian – 4/9/24: “I thought Tre Wisner and Jaydon Blue both had very good scrimmages. Played hard. Played well. Offensive line, Kelvin (Banks), Jake Majors I thought had really good scrimmages. Defensively, Anthony Hill played really well in the scrimmage. I already touched on Jelani McDonald. Jaylon Guilbeau. Colin Simmons definitely showed up in the scrimmage Saturday.”

Steve Sarkisian on Gunnar Helm – 4/9/24: “Gunnar, a year ago, had a really good season for us. There was about a months’ span in there where JT was really nicked up with the ankle sprain, he was limited. We put more on Gunnar’s plate, and he really responded at a high level. You could feel his confidence this spring. He’s got a great understanding of our offense. He’s extremely smart. He’s tough. He made more player last year in the passing game. I think we’re seeing that more this spring.”

Steve Sarkisian on Amari Niblack – 4/9/24: “As Amari is working himself in, you start to see the flash stuff from him. Now we’ve got to strive for the consistency from him.”

Steve Sarkisian on Juan Davis – 4/9/24: “The other guy at that position that’s been a real pleasant surprise for me is Juan Davis. He’s far and away had his best spring with us. Everybody’s path and journey is different than others. He came in with JT and Gunanr. Now, here he is in this spring. He’s playing at a high level. He’s playing phsycial. He’s playing fast. He’s making plays in the passing game. That’s definitely really encouraging.”

[Subscribe to the brand new Inside Texas YouTube channel!]

Steve Sarkisian – 4/9/24: “I would be remiss if I didn’t say Spencer Shannon has improved. He’s really improved. You’ve seen the flash out of Jordan Washington.”

You may also like