Ashton Cozart’s recruiting had already gotten moving this spring.
But now that Texas has offered the big, fast, electrifying 2023 wide receiver from North Richland Hills, TX, expect things to really pick up speed.
Cozart actually received two major offers this week: one from the Longhorns on Tuesday, and another from the Florida Gators on Thursday. That brings his total of Division I offers to 14.
“With Texas, I was actually on the phone with them probably like a month ago,” Cozart told SI Sooners. “They told me they had a lot of interest. They liked what they saw.”
Like most schools — including Oklahoma — the new coaching staff in Austin had a good first impression of Cozart, but couldn’t quite commit to offering a scholarship just yet.
“They told me they just weren’t really ready to pull the trigger yet,” Cozart said, “because they wanted to see my speed. So I’m guessing after they saw my track times and how big I am and how fast I can move, I guess they decided to pull the trigger.”
Cozart — currently winding down his sophomore year — said he ran an electronically-timed 10.74 at a recent meet, and Steve Sarkisian’s staff came along a few days later with an offer.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Cozart said Dan Mullen’s staff at Florida came along just two days later with a scholarship offer that was completely unexpected.
“I’ve never really had contact with Florida before,” Cozart said. “It’s kind of just like, ‘Hey, we’re interested.’ You know what I mean? Like, they just kind of popped up.”
Cozart is a DFW native but only recently returned after growing up near Seattle. He played varsity his first two years at Kennedy Catholic High School — one of the top teams in the state of Washington.
As a freshman, he stood out enough to earn a spot on the Youth 1 Freshman 450. But that upward trajectory got sidetracked his sophomore year.
“I had a tough year for the season,” Cozart said. “I had two injuries. Only played a couple games. Had like six catches for like 90 yards. That’s about it.”
Still, when September began, Cozart received his first Division I offer — from Arizona State. Kansas soon followed. In January, Miami offered, then Mississippi State. In February, Maryland and Virginia offered, and in March, Pittsburgh, TCU, Tennessee and Oregon all offered within a week. Then came offers from Connecticut and Utah. Last week, Texas and Florida jumped on board.
“At first, I was kind of in awe,” Cozart said.
Cozart lived in Washington for eight years. He’s still hoping the Huskies come through with an offer. But, he said, once he moved back to North Richland Hills, just north of Fort Worth, recruiting really got going.
“Coming from Washington, you kind of only imagine the Pac-12 schools like Washington or Oregon or UCLA or schools like that,” Cozart said, “but moving down here is definitely different. I have a lot more schools looking at me.
“As soon as I moved here — it’s a new place, new people, I don’t have as many connections as I do in Washington. But I came, I showed out. I started training with Margin Hooks.”
Hooks hails from Waco, starred as a wideout at BYU and now trains young receivers. Among his pupils: Charleston Rambo, Trejan Bridges and Marvin Mims, who all landed at Oklahoma.
“He’s been teaching me a lot of good things,” Cozart said.
Enough good things that schools like Oklahoma are interested, although it’s been a while since he talked to any Sooner coaches. Cozart said on March 20, during the Pylon 7 on 7 event in Prosper, TX, that he had recently been on a FaceTime call with OU coaches, but then said Friday that he hadn’t spoken with them since.
“We talked about the season,” he said in March. “We talked about them coming to watch me when they’re allowed to. They wanted me to come check out the facility. They want to get to know me more and see how I do during the season.”
The Sooners don’t have any verbal commitments yet in the 2023 class, but are loading up at receiver in the 2022 class (three of ESPN's top five wideout prospects — Luther Burden, Jordan Hudson and Talyn Shettron — are already committed to OU). They also reportedly have offers out to seven 2023 receivers and are considered among the leaders for class of 2023 5-stars Brandon Inniss and Jalen Hale and 4-stars Makai Lemon, Jaquaize Pettaway and Johntay Cook. (Cook and Cozart are 7-on-7 teammates this spring for Texas Flex.)
TCU has shown the most interest, Cozart said — and that’s been just fine with him. His family has a photo of him as a youngster sitting in the seats at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium, and he’s been a fan ever since.
“TCU’s definitely a dream school,” he said. “Being born (here) in North Richland Hills, the Fort Worth area, I just always dreamed of going there because it’s my hometown.
“TCU’s shown a lot of interest. Our recruiting process is definitely going up higher, I guess. We’ve been in contact like, every day, texting, talking about visiting. Just questions they had. They talked to my parents.”
Cozart said he expects to get serious about narrowing down his offer list after he can put out more film — meaning, after his junior season. That’s also when he hopes more schools, like OU, will join the crowd with an official offer.