WHAT’S FITZGERALD STEPPING INTO?
Where Andrew Fitzgerald ends up on the line — maybe the strong-side rusher spot, maybe the fox position on the other end, or perhaps even defensive tackle if he puts on weight — isn’t known yet. Shiro Davis is gone, but Naashon Hughes and Charles Omenihu should figure into the DE picture. Derick Roberson and Bryce Cottrell also return.
RECENT HISTORY: DEFENSIVE ENDS
Texas’ top ends
The Longhorns’ top-performing defensive ends and freshmen DEs over the past three years:
2015: Naashon Hughes, 57 tackles, 9 TFL, 5.5 sacks; freshman — Charles Omenihu, 17 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble
2014: Cedric Reed, 73 tackles, 10 TFL, 5.5 sacks, 8 hurries; freshman — Hughes, 28 tackles, 5 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 2 hurries
2013: Jackson Jeffcoat, 86 tackles, 22 TFL, 13 sacks, 19 hurries; freshman — Bryce Cottrell, 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 hurry
Freshmen on the field
The Longhorns played 16 freshman in 2015, which led the nation. That included true freshman Charles Omenihu who played in 11 games and finished with 17 tackles and one fumble recovery.
RECENT SIGNINGS: DEFENSIVE ENDS
The last 10 defensive ends Texas has signed. Numbers in parenthesis reflect that player’s star rating from 247Sports’ composite rankings:
2016: Andrew Fitzgerald, Flower Mound Marcus (4). Charlie Strong called him the dark horse of Texas’ class — if you can consider a four-star recruit a dark horse, that is.
2016: Malcolm Roach, Baton Rouge Madison Prep Academy (3). A four-time all-state pick who also was named Baton Rouge’s metro defensive player of the year.
2015: Charles Omenihu, Rowlett (3). Saw some action as a true freshman.
2015: Quincy Vasser, Navarro College (3). Had minimal impact in his first season — seven tackles.
2015: Breckyn Hager, Austin Westlake (3). Finished with 18 tackles, but had a nose for the ball, made an impact on special teams and even picked off a pass. Played primarily outside linebacker.
2014: Derick Roberson, San Antonio Brennan (4). Was rated right at the top of Texas’ 2014 class along with Jerrod Heard and Armanti Foreman. Still, he made bigger offseason news — a fall camp fight in practice with Tristan Nickelson last August, then a car accident this January — than anything he’s done on the field. So far.
2014: Jake McMillon, Abilene (3). Saw action in 12 games last fall, with no starts and three tackles.
2012: Hassan Ridgeway, Mansfield (4). The NFL-bound junior started eight games, had 36 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.
2012: Caleb Bluiett, Beaumont West Brook (3). Has played in 33 games, switching back and forth between defensive end and tight end, with five starts (3 as a DE, 2 as a TE). Has 41 career tackles, with 4.5 sacks.
2011: Cedric Reed, Cleveland (4). Went undrafted after two strong seasons to finish his UT career. Now on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad.
For our full profile on Andrew Fitzgerald as part of our Longhorns Class of 2016 series, click here.
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