SPRINGING FORWARD: A PLAYER-BY-PLAYER LOOK AT TEXAS’ ROSTER
What kind of hand has Tom Herman been dealt? Here’s a breakdown of the roster as the Longhorns begin their spring practice workouts on Tuesday. Jersey numbers in parenthesis. Players listed by order of classification this spring.
(7) Shane Buechele, Fr. Threw for 21 TDs and a UT freshman-record 2,958 yards, but will 161 rush yards work in Herman’s offense?
(—) Sam Ehlinger, Fr. The four-star recruit enrolled early after setting records at Austin Westlake, the home of NFL’s Drew Brees and Nick Foles.
(19) Matthew Merrick, Fr.* Merrick provides depth, but he last threw an in-season pass in 2014 while he was at Irving’s Cistercian Prep.
Overview: There shouldn’t be a quarterback controversy … but this is Texas. Can Ehlinger, who’s already enrolled and will battle Buechele this spring, show enough for a freshman to unseat a returning starter?
RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (6)
(27) Roderick Bernard, Jr. A kick returner who was once recruited as a wide receiver. Missed the 2016 season with a knee injury.
(25) Chris Warren III, Soph. A knee injury cost him eight games in 2016, but Warren is averaging 6.3 yards per carry so far in his career.
(28) Kirk Johnson, Soph. Was sidelined in 2016 by a knee injury. Appeared in six games on special teams and offense as a freshman.
(41) Tristian Houston, Fr.* Has played in only two games thus far. His three career carries were logged against UTEP.
(21) Kyle Porter, Fr. The ex-Katy standout got some play as D’Onta Foreman’s backup in 2016, rushing 46 times for 205 yards.
(—) Toneil Carter, Fr. An early enrollee. A recruiting snafu over Carter led to Georgia’s loss and Texas’ gain. The four-star recruit rushed for 55 touchdowns in his high school career.
Overview: Once a sidekick, Warren appears to be Foreman’s successor. Texas needs health and depth in the backfield, something it didn’t have in 2016.
TIGHT ENDS (3)
(47) Andrew Beck, Jr. Primarily a blocker, but had four catches, two touchdowns in 2016. A foot injury will delay his return this spring.
(87) Garrett Gray, Soph. Is the ex-Marble Falls star a tight end or a wide receiver? He’s been listed as both so far at Texas, but has only played on special teams.
(88) Peyton Aucoin, Fr. He redshirted last fall; was 247Sports’ 59th-rated tight end in the 2016 recruiting cycle.
Overview: All eyes on Aucoin. With Beck out with an injury and 2017 signee Reese Leitao’s future in jeopardy, this may be the redshirt’s time to shine.
WIDE RECEIVERS (10)
(3) Armanti Foreman, Jr. Was overshadowed in 2016 by twin brother D’Onta, but still led Texas in catches (34) and receiving yards (420).
(8) Dorian Leonard, Jr. Made seven starts in 2016, including a seven-catch, 125-yard game against nationally-ranked West Virginia.
(5) Lorenzo Joe, Jr. A shoulder injury limited him to an eight-catch season. But there was that 61-yard grab vs. Baylor.
(1) John Burt, Soph. Burned Notre Dame, but then his 2016 went south (drops, injury). Has put track on hold this spring.
(13) Jerrod Heard, Soph. The ex-quarterback smoothly transitioned to his new position last fall — 24 catches for 266 yards, with 3 touchdowns.
(2) Devin Duvernay Fr. When UT got him the ball, the speedster delivered — he had only 20 catches, but averaged 20.6 yards per reception.
(9) Collin Johnson, Fr. Had 28 catches and showcased his playmaking skills with two acrobatic TDs against Texas Tech.
(4) Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Fr. Mostly appeared on special teams in his first year at UT as coaches decided if he was a wide receiver or a running back.
(82) Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, Fr. Redshirted in 2016, but was a Fab 55er who averaged 18 yards per catch his senior year at Manvel.
(84) Davion Curtis, Fr. He also redshirted last fall; Curtis was a two-time all-district selection at Class 5A Temple.
Overview: Jacorey Warrick has graduated and Jake Oliver left football a year early, but this still may be Texas’ deepest unit. In various games last fall, Burt (Notre Dame), Duvernay (Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas State and TCU), Foreman (Baylor), Johnson (Texas Tech) and Leonard (West Virginia) all were UT’s top receiver.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (16)
(58) Brandon Hodges (OT), Jr. The ex-JUCO recruit started at RT for all but three games last fall (Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor).
(75) Tristan Nickelson (OT), Jr. Made three starts and played in eight games.
(55) Connor Williams (OT), Soph. An All-American LT and Outland Trophy semifinalist; he’s made 23 starts in his brief college career.
(79) Garrett Thomas (OT), Fr. The 293-pound Louisianan wasn’t on the Horns’ depth chart at the end of the 2016 season.
(70) Buck Major (OT);Fr.* The former three-star recruit has yet to play in a game because of a 2015 redshirt and a 2016 injury.
(74) Jean Delance (OT), Fr. Appeared in two games his first year. Texas ranked 17th nationally in rushing, at 239.3 yards/game.
(71) J.P. Urquidez (OT), Fr. Another redshirt. The four-star recruit was one of four Baylor defectors who signed with Texas.
(77) Patrick Vahe (OG), Soph. The Euless Trinity product has 19 career starts at LG; was honorable mention All-Big 12 in 2015.
(63) Alex Anderson (OG), Soph. After staying idle in 2014 and 2015, Anderson played in six games last fall with one start (UTEP).
(64) Jake McMillon (OG), Soph. He’s versatile; last year he made two starts at center and three starts at two different guard spots.
(72) Elijah Rodriguez (OG), Soph. Like McMillon, Rodriguez also started at three different line spots in 2016 — at LT, LG and C.
(78) Denzel Okafor (OG), Fr. Found playing time in 2016 on special teams and as part of Tyrone Swoopes’ 18-Wheeler package.
(73) Patrick Hudson (OG), Fr. Redshirted last fall. The former Baylor recruit was an Under Armour All-American his senior year.
(67) Tope Imade (OG), Fr. He also redshirted last season; he was a two-time all-district selection at Arlington Bowie.
(51) Terrell Cuney (C), Soph. Redshirted in 2014 and has appeared in only three games over the past two seasons.
(56) Zach Shackelford (C), Fr. Does enrolling early help? Shackelford did just that in 2016 and then started nine games at center.
Overview: New offensive line coach Derek Warehime inherits plenty of depth and talent. But who replaces Kent Perkins over at right guard?
* redshirt freshman
Coming next: Breaking down Texas’ defensive roster.