Holton Hill

Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

Junior cornerback Holton Hill has been suspended for the remainder of the 2017 season for a violation of team rules, Texas announced Tuesday.

“Hill will be permitted to continue working out with the Longhorns and remain a member of the team, but will not be permitted to participate in any games,” the Longhorns said.

The news of Hill’s suspension breaks in the midst of what was a breakout season for the junior cornerback. Hill is responsible for three of Texas’ six non-offensive touchdowns in 2017 and is currently second on the team with 51 tackles. Hill returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the Longhorns’ first two matchups against Maryland and San Jose State.

Hill’s other non-offensive touchdown also came in Texas’ season opener against Maryland when he returned a blocked field goal 65 yards for a touchdown. Hill is just the second player in school history (Brandon Foster, 2007) to score three non-offensive touchdowns in the same season and the only player in school history to do so in a two-game span. Hill also recorded six pass breakups and one forced fumble.

Texas’ secondary is now left without two prominent presences in the backfield: Holton Hill and junior nickelback PJ Locke III who sustained an ankle injury in Texas’ victory over Baylor two weeks ago.

The Longhorn secondary now relies primarily on juniors in safety DeShon Elliott and cornerback Kris Boyd. Texas (4–5 overall, 3–3 Big 12)  is set to host 1–8 Kansas at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Texas was able to land three big recruits as National Signing Day approaches. The Longhorns gained commitments from Kris Boyd, Holton Hill and Kai Locksley.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

In a winter filled with recruiting victories, head coach Charlie Strong had another reason to celebrate after receiving commitments from three four-star athletes in the past three days.  

Defensive backs Holton Hill and Kris Boyd announced their pledges to Texas on Friday, and four-star quarterback Kai Locksley flipped his commitment to Texas Monday night. 

Hill, who played at Lamar High School in Houston, ranks as the nation’s No. 7 cornerback after totaling 11 interceptions and two special teams touchdowns in his senior year. At 6 feet 2 inches, he possesses the size to cover taller wide receivers and is a likely candidate to be an immediate contributor on defense and special teams.

Boyd, who played in Gilmer, Texas, ranks closely behind Hill as a prospect as the nation’s No. 11 cornerback. At almost six feet, Boyd also has good size for his position and proved himself as a playmaker with two interceptions and four passes broken up his senior year. His younger brother Demarco Boyd is committed to join the Longhorns in 2016.

The duo adds to an already strong defensive back class that features four-star defensive backs Davante Davis and DeShon Elliot. With the Big 12 producing five top-20 passing offenses in 2014, the Longhorns will need to develop a strong secondary, especially with cornerback Quandre Diggs departing this offseason. The Longhorns now have two of the top-three ranked cornerbacks in the state, according to 247Sports. They are looking to maintain their stout pass defense, which ranked in the top 15 in passing yards allowed in 2014.

Locksley, who was previously committed to Florida State, will give Texas a much needed boost at quarterback. Locksley, a ESPN 300 quarterback out of Gilman High School in Baltimore, is the No. 25 ranked quarterback in the nation. At 6 feet 4 inches and 190 pounds, he adds another option in Texas’ quarterback battle next season, as Texas works to improve upon a weak point this past year. 

This weekend, Texas also made the radars of other top prospects who have yet to make their final commitment. Damarkus Lodge, Cedar Hill’s four-star wide receiver, included the Longhorns in his top-three choices Friday. Daylon Mack, Gladewater’s five-star defensive tackle, said Saturday he made his decision after receiving in-home visits from Strong and competing coaching staffs this past week. Both Lodge and Mack will announce their final decisions on National Signing Day on Wednesday.

However, Texas also received some bad news.  

Five-star quarterback Kyler Murray announced Thursday he is staying with Texas A&M after taking an unofficial visit to Texas the previous weekend. The Longhorns tried to flip Murray’s commitment from the Aggies, which would have been a huge boost to Texas’ recruiting class.

The Longhorns took another potential hit Sunday when three-star safety commit Jamile Johnson re-opened his recruitment for the third time after decommitting from Texas.

247Sports currently ranks Texas’ 2015 class at No. 9, and Texas still has several top prospects considering coming to Austin. The recruiting class has the potential to be ranked as a top-five class come National Signing Day, and if momentum keeps trending in Texas’ favor, the Longhorns will have a lot to be excited about next fall.

Four-star cornerbacks Kris Boyd and Holton Hill commit to Texas

After head coach Charlie Strong saw QB recruit Kyler Murray stick with the Aggies, he needed some good news and fast. And that’s exactly what he got as four-star cornerbacks Holton Hill and Kris Boyd committed to the Longhorns on Friday afternoon.

“Officially Committed To The University Of Texas #Hookem #Noflyzone #DBU #LetsRide,” Hill tweeted.

Hill, who played in Houston at Lamar High School, is ranked as a top-10 cornerback in the nation by 247sports. Kris Boyd, who played at Gilmer, is also a possibility to play running back while a top-flight cornerback prospect.

“I Have Officially Committed To The University Of Texas! #HookEm #LetsRide #NoFlyZone #DBU,” Boyd tweeted.

With national signing day just around the corner on Wednesday, Strong hopes the commitments gets the momentum flowing in the right direction.