Jaylon Braxton couldn’t wait a second longer to give his mom her birthday present Saturday.
The four-star cornerback out of Lone Star High in Frisco, Texas, announced his commitment to Arkansas as soon as the clock struck midnight on Friday night.
A former Michigan State commit, Braxton chose the Razorbacks over the Spartans, Miami (Fla.) and Baylor. He also had offers from the likes of LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Stanford and many others.
“For one, it’s the best situation for me and my family,” Braxton said about his decision. “I love all the coaches, especially my DB Coach (Dominique) Bowman. I think he’s the best DB coach in the country. He will be the best for me and my development, getting ready to go to the NFL.”
The public announcement comes just three weeks after Braxton was in Fayetteville for his official visit. That trip alone was a positive sign, as he had committed to Michigan State just three days prior.
He must have liked what he saw and heard on the trip, as his commitment tweet disappeared and he later told reporters at Miami that he was no longer committed before making it official with a tweet last week.
Listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds, Braxton — whose older brother, Braylon Braxton, is a redshirt freshman quarterback at Tulsa — fits the bill of an SEC defensive back.
As a junior, he was clocked at 10.83 and 21.92 seconds in the 100- and 200-meter dash, respectively — marks even faster than recent four-star commit Micah Tease. On the gridiron, he excelled on both sides of the ball, earning Texas District 5-5A D-1 Two-Way Player of the Year honors last season.
Defensively, Braxton racked up 50 tackles, 15 pass breakups and three interceptions while leading the Rangers to a 9-3 record and second-place finish in their district. He also caught 38 passes for 467 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver.
With his pledge, the Razorbacks are up to 21 total commitments in the 2023 class — a group that is currently still inside the top 10 nationally on 247Sports and Rivals.
Braxton is considered a four-star prospect by three of the main recruiting services — 247Sports, Rivals and On3 — and a high three-star by ESPN. He’s ranked as high as No. 157 overall by On3, while both the 247Sports Composite and On3 Consensus rankings have him inside the top 300.
Braxton Adds to Barrage of 4-stars for Arkansas Football
The addition of Jaylong Braxton gives the Razorbacks a whopping 12 commitments who are considered four-star recruits by at least one of the four major services. That means less than half of Arkansas’ 2023 class consists of three-star (or worse) prospects.
It’s a significant step in the right direction for Arkansas football coach Sam Pittman and his staff and likely the result of the success they had last year, going 9-4 and winning the Outback Bowl to finish No. 21 in the final AP Poll — their first postseason ranking in a decade.
With several spots still to fill and plenty of time left for some of the high three-star commits to get bumped up, the Razorbacks already have more four-star commits than they’ve ever had during Pittman’s tenure.
That number has actually steadily increased over that time, from seven in the 2020 class, to eight in the 2021 class and finally to 10 in the most recently signed class.
Depending on how things shake out, the Razorbacks’ 2023 group could end up pushing the 2019 class for their best in the past decade or so. That group featured 15 players — out of 25 total — with a four-star rating by at least one major service. At 60 percent, that’s slightly ahead of this year’s current four-star rate of 57.1 percent (12 of 21).
How important is that? While that stellar 2019 class went 2-10 as true freshmen, they played key roles in the program’s reemergence the last two years. Included among those four-star recruits was Treylon Burks, KJ Jefferson, Jalen Catalon, Ricky Stromberg, Trey Knox, Greg Brooks Jr. and Eric Gregory — all of whom played significant snaps last year.
Razorbacks Building Strong Secondary
The secondary is now one of the stronger positions in Arkansas’ current class, as Braxton becomes the sixth defensive back commitment for 2023.
He is the first consensus four-star of the bunch, as Dallas Young is a four-star prospect only on ESPN and the others are all three-stars or lower. However, it’s still a solid group because almost all of them are at least a high three-star on every service and on the verge of picking up that extra star.
Young and RJ Johnson are classified as cornerbacks like Braxton, while Christian Ford, TJ Metcalf and Dylan Hasz are safeties. Of that group, only Hasz is a low three-star or two-star prospect, and he’s the twin brother of four-star tight end commit Luke Hasz.
Not even in this conversation is recent four-star commit Micah Tease, a two-way star from Tulsa who could play on either side of the ball, but is being recruited by the Razorbacks as a wide receiver.
Outside of Hasz, the other five defensive backs had a slew of offers from multiple Power Five conferences — including several within the SEC.
Signing such a large group in the secondary is not particularly surprising for the Razorbacks. They have four senior defensive backs on the roster and even though three of them could technically return as super seniors, it wouldn’t be shocking if none did because they are all fifth-year guys. That doesn’t include safety Jalen Catalon, who is almost a lock to leave early for the NFL Draft after this season.
Including normal attrition, there will be plenty of spots in the secondary to fill in 2023, plus Arkansas frequently uses a dime package in which six defensive backs are on the field at the same time, so playing time is readily available.
See Jaylon Braxton’s latest highlights here:
Upcoming Arkansas Football Recruit Decisions
With 11 commitments in the past four and a half weeks, things are finally starting to cool off a bit on the recruiting trail for Arkansas.
Although the Razorbacks are technically allowed to sign an unlimited number of players in this class because the NCAA recently eliminated annual signing limits, they are still bound by the overall 85-man scholarship limit and will likely want to have room to bring in transfers following the season.
That said, they aren’t done going after high school prospects. Here are a couple more to keep an eye on in the coming month…
Davion Dozier is a high three-star wide receiver from Moody, Ala., who plans to reveal his decision next Wednesday. He’ll be choosing from a top five that features Arkansas, Duke, Maryland, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Brad Spence is a high three-star edge rusher/outside linebacker out of Klein Forest High in Texas. He recently announced a top three that included Arkansas, Texas and Cal, but hasn’t set a commitment date other than telling Rivals he plans to announce “during fall camp.”
Arkansas Recruiting Class of 2023
- TE Shamar Easter — Ashdown (Ark.)
- TE Jaden Hamm — Eudora (Kan.)
- OL Joey Su’a — Bentonville (Ark.)
- CB Dallas Young — Gardendale (Ala.)
- DE Kaleb James — Mansfield (Texas)
- TE Luke Hasz — Bixby (Okla.)
- DE Quincy Rhodes — North Little Rock (Ark.)
- LB Carson Dean — Carrollton (Texas) Hebron
- OL Luke Brown — Paris (Tenn.) Henry County
- QB Malachi Singleton — Kennesaw (Ga.) North Cobb
- RB Isaiah Augustave — Naples (Fla.)
- S Christian Ford — McKinney (Texas)
- DT Ian Geffrard — Mableton (Ga.) Whitefield Academy
- CB RJ Johnson — McDonough (Ga.) Eagle’s Landing Christian
- LB Alex Sanford — Oxford (Miss.)
- DT Stephen Johnson — Fayetteville (Ga.) Whitewater
- S TJ Metcalf — Pinson (Ala.) Valley
- ATH Dylan Hasz — Bixby (Okla.)
- OL Paris Patterson — East St. Louis (Ill.)
- ATH Micah Tease — Tulsa (Okla.) Booker T. Washington
- CB Jaylon Braxton — Frisco (Texas) Lone Star
See my full breakdown of Braxton here:
More coverage of Arkansas recruiting from BoAS…