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Saraland quarterback K.J. Lacey commits to Texas

Saraland quarterback K.J. Lacey fires a pass under pressure in the spring game against Enterprise. Lacey committed to Texas on Saturday. (John O’Dell/Call News)



Saraland junior quarterback K.J. Lacey committed to Texas during a visit to the school Saturday, choosing the Longhorns over Auburn and Alabama.

“Hook ’em 1000% committed,” Lacey said on Twitter. “They asked me, ‘Why Texas?’ I say, ‘Why not Texas?’”

Earlier this weekend, the national four-star prospect, who turned 16 in January, announced he had winnowed his list to Auburn, Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Oregon and Oklahoma.

Lacey (6-1, 175) — who completed 64% of his passes for 3,177 yards, 40 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions to lead all of Class 6A last season — is ranked No. 47 nationally in the ESPN Junior 300 for the class of 2025 and the No. 5 quarterback by the 247Sports Composite. He became Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian’s first commitment for the 2025 recruiting class and gives Texas another highly rated quarterback along with All-American Arch Manning, who signed last December.

Spartans coach Jeff Kelly said he wasn’t surprised by the decision, saying Longhorns quarterbacks coach A.J. Milwee had built a strong relationship with Lacey, who was also attracted by the offensive-minded Sarkisian.

“I think the University of Texas and specifically coach Milwee did an amazing job of recruiting him and making him a priority,” Kelly said. “He came down and spent some time with K.J. in the spring and watched him practice. He did an outstanding job of building a relationship with him.

“Also, coach Sarkisian, with his reputation of recruiting and developing quarterbacks and putting them in a great situation to be successful, was a draw for K.J. … I’m excited for K.J. He’s a thoughtful and methodical guy and I’m proud of him.”

Lacey’s recruiting profile was elevated nationally in the aftermath of Saraland winning the state championship last December.

“You could see it coming when you look at his ability and what he did last year,” Kelly said at the time. “The guys who make those decisions understand his potential. … K.J. at his best has got one of the quickest releases I’ve ever seen. Between the time he makes the decision to throw the ball to it leaving his hand, it’s next-level fast.”

QB Country founder David Morris, who works with Lacey, said last December Lacey has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks to come from the state.

“He can throw it as good as a lot of guys in college right now,” Morris said. “His arm is NFL (caliber) right now in terms of pure arm strength. He is 100 percent can’t miss. He’s as good as this state has ever seen and he’s not done developing. He’s ahead of his years from an anticipation and a pure arm standpoint. … “He’s not even a once-in-a-decade player. I’ve been doing this since 2004 and, at this age, there’s never been one like him.”

Whether or not Manning is in Austin when Lacey arrives in January 2025 was likely not a factor in Lacey’s decision, Kelly said.

“When you go to a place like Texas, there are good players there every year and you have to compete with all of them,” Kelly said. “I don’t think (Manning) enters into the equation a whole lot. K.J. is confident in who he is as a player and regardless of who is out there, he’s going to go out and do his thing.”

Lacey’s decision eliminated many other Power 5 programs which offered him, including Notre Dame, Miami, Florida State, Pitt, Mississippi State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, TCU, Colorado, West Virginia and Michigan State.

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