Today’s question, which will be handled by columnists Kirk Bohls and Cedric Golden and beat writer Brian Davis:
No. 6: Who should be returning kicks and punts?
Last year, it was a revolving door for Texas on the return game.
For kick returns, Texas used seven players, but three primarily – Daje Johnson (14 returns, 19.1 yard average), Kendall Sanders (10-23.8) and Marcus Johnson (7-20.6).
For punts, three Longhorns were used – Johnson (16-10.8, 1 TD), Jaxon Shipley (10-13.5) and Quandre Diggs (5-9.6).
Texas ranked ninth in the Big 12 in kickoff returns and fifth in punt returns.
BOHLS: DAJE JOHNSON.
“Daje Johnson should be the guy because he can turn over a field quicker than anyone. But he’s not always reliable. Otherwise, if Armanti Foreman can handle it as a freshman, he could be the guy. He’s already separated himself as one of the more game-ready wide receivers, and he has tremendous versatility, perhaps even as the No. 3 wide receiver. Quandre Diggs will always be the safe choice, but maybe not a game-breaker.”
GOLDEN: DAJE, NATURALLY (BUT NOT FOR THE OPENER).
“I’m not certain Charlie Strong trusts Daje Johnson back there on punt returns, but Johnson presents the team’s best chance to make a big play in the department. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a healthy Quandre Diggs returning punts in the opener. As for kickoffs, Johnson is a no-brainer and could be joined by someone like Diggs or Mykkele Thompson or Duke Thomas.”
DAVIS: HIGH RISK/HIGH REWARD.
“This one’s easy. I’ll take the risk/reward associated with Daje Johnson, one of the team’s best playmakers. He averaged 10.8 yards per punt return last season and 19.1 yards per kick return. Now, granted, he might fumble a time or two. Even back in the spring, Charlie Strong joked that the ball could be going one way or the other. Either Johnson is going to run it for a touchdown, he said with a laugh, or Johnson will lay it on the turf and opponents will go score. As a backup, I’d want the stability that Quandre Diggs brings to the field. Those two are my top two choices.”
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