BEVO BEAT

From Sunday’s Statesman: A complete look at the Longhorns’ roster

Posted March 18th, 2014

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In Sunday’s American-Statesman, University of Texas beat reporter Brian Davis outlined what the Texas coaching staff will be looking for on Tuesday, the first day of spring practice. As part of that coverage, Davis examined the Longhorns’ roster. That feature is being rerun again here on Bevo Beat.

QUARTERBACKS (3)

Player;Yr.;Comment

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David Ash;Sr.;An easy pick for who’ll be the most scrutinized player on the field by coaches.

Tyrone Swoopes;So.;Having lost his redshirt, needs to make hay now before Jerrod Heard gets here.

Miles Onyegbule;Sr.;Working both at TE and QB to give coaches an extra body at the position.

Davis’ overview: Ash and Swoopes won’t have a better chance to impress the new coaches than they will over this next month; Heard, and possibly another transfer quarterback, will arrive in August.

RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (5)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Malcolm Brown;Sr.;If he’s not a 1,000-yard rusher this fall, something’s wrong. Has all the tools.

Joe Bergeron;Sr.;Openly talked about wanting to be the feature back. Now’s his chance to show it.

Johnathan Gray;Jr.;RBs coach Tommie Robinson has praised his rehab work after Achilles injury.

Jalen Overstreet;So.;Is he an RB or a QB? Given backfield time, he could blossom into a solid contributor.

Alex De La Torre;Jr.;With the new focus on physical football, UT’s starting FB should be a hit — literally.

Davis’ overview: Lots to work with here. Brown and Bergeron should have a healthy, competitive spirit going against each other to see who becomes the No. 1 guy. Fans are holding a vigil for Gray, who has 1,481 career yards.

TIGHT ENDS (5)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Greg Daniels;Sr.;Solid blocking TE who stays on top of classwork, just what Charlie Strong’s wanting.

M.J. McFarland;Jr.;There must be FBS-level talent trapped somewhere in that 6-6 frame. Right?

Geoff Swaim;Sr.;Will be interesting to see how coaches use the veteran in blocking schemes.

John Harris;Sr.;Had 2 TD catches last fall. Why it’s taken so long for the stars to align is a mystery.

Blake Whiteley;So.;Early enrollee was ranked as the No. 1 junior college TE in the country.

Davis’ overview: This has been Texas’ least productive unit the past few years. Strong wants more tight ends, though. That’s how much he believes in the position’s role within a pro-style offense.

WIDE RECEIVERS (8)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Jaxon Shipley;Sr.;Need a clutch catch? He’s your guy. One of the top possession receivers around.

Marcus Johnson;Jr.;Had some good moments last year but needs to be more consistent.

Kendall Sanders;Jr.;Might be a prime candidate for kickoff return chores under the new staff.

Daje Johnson;Jr.;An immensely talented enigma. Desire’s a question. Does he want it badly enough?

John Harris;Sr.;Also will work at TE. Had 2 TDs last fall — will things finally break his way?

Jacorey Warrick;So.;At this point, he’s still an unknown. Played in four games last season.

Jake Oliver;Fr.;Redshirted last season after catching 93 passes his final year of high school.

Montrel Meander;Fr.;Redshirted last fall after a strong prep career. Has a lengthy track background.

Davis’ overview: This coaching staff should take it as a personal challenge to go find a superstar receiver. Think Dez Bryant, Kenny Stills or even a Mike Evans. If there’s one among this group, he should show himself posthaste.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (12)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Dominic Espinosa;Sr.;With 39 straight starts at center, he’s an easy piece to build around.

Kennedy Estelle;Jr.;Was academically ineligible for the bowl. He must prove himself to Strong.

Kent Perkins;So.;Prep All-American played in six games last year. More playing time coming?

Desmond Harrison;Sr.;Was a backup last year who’ll likely move into a more prominent role.

Darius James;Fr.;Redshirted last fall. Played five positions in high school, which Joe Wickline loves.

Jake Raulerson;Fr.;Redshirted last fall. Was rated the nation’s No. 5 tackle in high school.

Sedrick Flowers;Jr.;Labeled a backup. Very interested to watch his body change under Pat Moorer.

Rami Hammad;Fr.;Redshirted last fall. Was rated the nation’s No. 9 guard as a high school senior.

Curtis Riser;So.;Didn’t play much last fall. Given his DeSoto background, there’s something here.

Camrhon Hughes;So.;Didn’t play at all last season, but coaches love his size. Is that all there is?

Taylor Doyle;Jr.;Big body but didn’t play much under the previous staff. A fresh start is good.

Alex Anderson;Fr.;Early enrollee gets his first experience of major college football this spring.

Davis’ overview: At this point, it doesn’t matter whether a player was a center, guard or tackle. Joe Wickline is looking at a blank canvas. Quick tip to players: If you learn other positions than your own, you’ll get on the field faster.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (10)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Cedric Reed;Sr.;Arguably the most important player on the entire roster. All-America capability at end.

Malcom Brown;Jr.;Started all 13 games last year at tackle. Loved for his tenacity. Should only get better.

Desmond Jackson;Sr.;Solid contributor last year at tackle. Was a one-man wrecking crew vs. West Virginia.

Caleb Bluiett;So.;Got pulled over to the defensive side last year to provide depth at DE.

Shiro Davis;Jr.;Played as a backup end last season. Has a good motor but needs to crank it up even more.

Hassan Ridgeway;So.;Intriguing athlete. Had five QB pressures in 2013. Shows basketball-like athleticism.

Bryce Cottrell;So.;Was part of the tackle rotation last year but mostly played special teams.

Alex Norman;So.;Will get a fresh look with the new coaching staff. Does everything right off the field.

Paul Boyette;So.;Drifted through last season. The previous coaching staff thought of him as a project.

Marcus Hutchins;Jr.;Not sure what to make of his talent. Spent the past two years on the scout team.

Davis’ overview: Reed and Brown probably will get some preseason hype this summer, as they should. The rest of this group needs to develop depth and consistency. When Chris Whaley went down last year, the staff cringed at what was left.

LINEBACKERS (10)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Steve Edmond;Sr.;Known for two great plays vs. West Virginia, one lacerated liver vs. Texas Tech.

Jordan Hicks;Sr.;Suffered a crippling Achilles injury last midseason. Fans eagerly awaiting his return.

Dalton Santos;Jr.;Brings his lunch pail every day. Fourth on the team in tackles, tied for third in pass breakups.

Tevin Jackson;Sr.;Was going to be a season-long contributor until a torn ACL cut his season five games short.

Peter Jinkens;Jr.;Started six games last year. Did a lot of grunt work, quietly flying around, making tackles.

Kendall Thompson;Sr.;Spent most of last year on special teams. Suffered a head injury vs. Texas Tech.

Timothy Cole;So.;Earned himself some minor playing time last year with scout team work.

Naashon Hughes;Fr.;Redshirted last fall, spend the year on the scout team. His brother Camrhon plays OT.

Deoundrei Davis;Fr.;Spent 2013 redshirting while recovering from a high school knee injury.

Andrew Beck;Fr.;Early enrollee was considered one of the nation’s top 50 outside ’backer recruits.

Davis’ overview: This group, as Strong pointed out in late January, is “beat to hell.” Coaches will consider both a 4-3 and a 3-4 base defense this spring. It’ll be hard to figure out which works better if this group can’t give a solid look.

CORNERBACKS (6)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Quandre Diggs;Sr.;Has 36 career starts. He must be a vocal, spiritual leader in the secondary.

Duke Thomas;Jr.;A solid contributor. Had 3 INTs. Also might handle kickoff return duties.

Sheroid Evans;Sr.;Played as a backup last year before tearing his ACL midseason vs. Iowa State.

Bryson Echols;So.;Played in every game last fall and had a team-high 10 tackles on special teams.

Antwuan Davis;Fr.;Redshirted last season. Spent two years as a volunteer with Special Olympics.

Chevoski Collins;Fr.;Redshirted last season. Was rated No. 34 on the Statesman’s 2013 Fabulous 55.

Davis’ overview: Defensive coaches Vance Bedford and Chris Vaughn have a long road ahead in the secondary. Diggs, Thomas and Echols give the coaches something to work with. But there isn’t a single player here you’d label a “shut-down corner.”

SAFETIES (5)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Mykkele Thompson;Sr.;Started 12 games last year. Always seemed to have 5-6 tackles but no game-changing plays.

Josh Turner;Sr.;Saw extensive time against pass-happy offenses as an extra safety on the field.

Adrian Colbert;So.;Played a lot last year in a backup role. Might excel if given more playing time.

Erik Huhn;Fr.;Redshirted last season. Spent most of the year trying to get past an offseason shoulder injury.

Kevin Vaccaro;Jr.;Missed the first nine games with an injury and didn’t play the rest of the season.

Davis’ overview: If there’s one area where Strong’s tough, physical brand of football could show itself immediately, it’s here. The Longhorns could use some safeties who step up and hammer guys who dare go over the middle.

SPECIAL TEAMS (5)

Player;Yr.;Comment

Nick Jordan;Jr.;Sat back and watched Anthony Fera last season. Was 7-of-10 on FG tries as a freshman.

Nick Rose;Jr.;Walk-on earned a scholarship last year. Kickoff specialist had 32 of his 75 kickoffs go for touchbacks.

William Russ;Sr.;Didn’t play last season but can handle kickoff duties.

Nate Boyer;Sr.;Well-known story of how a former Green Beret became the team’s No. 1 deep snapper.

Kyle Ashby;Jr.;Was the team’s backup deep snapper last season and did not play.

Davis’ overview: Say this about Mack Brown — he always found a pretty good kicker. Strong should make it a priority, too. A Fera won’t fall into Strong’s lap as he did Brown’s. The special teams duties will be divided up among the coaching staff.

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