Last week the DeSoto (Texas) High School reclaimed bragging rights in the Battle of the Beltline, defeating nearby rival Cedar Hill for their first victory in four years. The Eagles took care of business in dominant fashion, pounding the rock on the ground and suffocating the Longhorns' offense en route to a 45-0 win, fueled by three touchdowns from running back Chris Henley Jr.
When quarterback Matt Allen dropped back to pass, wide receiver Johntay Cook II was one of his go-to targets. Cook is one of the top juniors in the country, already boasting more than 30 scholarship offers to his name.
The highly-coveted prospect was in Austin over the weekend for a visit following the win and has been impressed by what Steve Sarkisian has done in year one at Texas.
"Believe in Sark. All gas no brakes," Cook said of what he likes about the program. "The play-calling is second to none. It’s unbelievable how Coach Sark draws up those plays and how he gets those dudes open."
Cook sounds like he's already envisioning the explosive offense he could join if he plays in the burnt orange as Sarkisian continues to light up the recruiting trail and land elite talent. UT had the nation's No. 6 recruiting class to kick off the month of October.
"Sometimes, maybe you not as open as you thought you would be so you really don't have the play-making ability to make the play as needed. So I feel like once Coach Sark gets the playmakers that he wants, like he had at Alabama, Texas is gonna be on top."
The 6', 175-pound Cook has kept his recent trips relatively close to home since the recruiting trail reopened this summer.
"I went to Texas twice," he said. "Texas A&M twice. Went to Alabama, went to Baylor, went to Oklahoma and I believe TCU."
As the class of 2023 recruit makes the rounds and takes in some of the nation's top programs, two programs could be separating themselves from the pack.
"Texas A&M was pretty fun. I liked it down there," Cook said of his trip to College Station. "And the big one Alabama, that was big, you know Alabama is Alabama regardless of what happens."
Looking at the big picture in his recruitment, Cook released a top 12 last month. A couple of programs out west made the cut, including the defending Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks, the future home of his current teammate and fellow wide receiver, Stephon Johnson Jr.
Although the two are close, Cook says Johnson isn't making a strong push for the pair to reunite at the next level.
"He is here and there, but it's not like no strong recruiting push," he said. "They playing good this year. Putting the ball in the air. Coach B (Bryan McClendon), we got a pretty good relationship and maybe I could someday be an Oregon Duck.
"My recruiting is nowhere near over."
McClendon has coached his fair share of NFL wide receivers and helped Oregon reel in two SI99 wide receivers in Dont'e Thornton (27) and Troy Franklin (63) in the recruiting class of 2021.
"He pretty cool he a real cool dude. He’s like a young soul, it’s almost like he could be one of my friends," Cook said of Oregon's wide receivers coach. "I really like that for him to be my coach because he very understanding and he can relate to us. He knows what he’s talking about when it comes to football too so that’s good."
Despite honing his focus in on 12 schools last month, a select group has prioritized communicating with him.
"Texas, USC, Texas A&M, Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Florida and LSU," he said of schools he's hearing from the most.
Looking down the line, Cook doesn't plan to slow his tour of potential suitors.
"I was gonna go to Ole Miss on the 23rd (of October). I was gonna go to Texas A&M vs. Auburn on November 6. I was gonna try to catch a night game at LSU."
DeSoto travels to Waco (Texas) Midway for its next contest on Friday evening.