New rule changes strategy in use of true freshman
This will be the first season coaches can utilize a new NCAA rule allowing players to compete in four games without losing a redshirt. That means more young players will get a shot to impress during in-game action. The coaches can see if players sink or swim with the lights on, and that doesn’t always correlate to what is seen on the practice field.
Texas is excited to utilize the rule because the Longhorns signed the third-best class in the nation during the 2018 recruiting cycle.
Plenty of young Longhorns will get a chance to dazzle the coaching staff early. Nine of the players who signed with Texas in 2018 enrolled early and have already impressed the coaching staff and the elder statesmen on the team. Tom Herman and his staff want to redshirt each offensive lineman who committed, plus defensive linemen like Keondre Coburn and Daniel Carson because big guys need more time in the weight room to transform their bodies.
Here are five players I’m looking forward to watching develop during the 2018 season.
B.J. Foster, safety, Angleton
FYI: 6-2/210; 5 stars; No. 1 on the Fab 55
Foster ended the cycle ranked as the top player on the Fabulous 55. He spent most of his time at Angleton at running back. He’s a full-time safety now and is a sure-bet to see playing time as a true freshman if he can avoid injury. Injuries were the only concern for Foster as a prep star. He stayed healthy for most of his senior season, but missed extensive time as a sophomore and a junior. Foster previewed his talent at safety during the Under Armour All-America Game and has drawn rave reviews from the upperclassmen since arriving on campus. There is a hole in the secondary with the early departure of DeShon Elliott. Defensive back will see a youth movement with Foster, Anthony Cook, Jalen Green and Caden Sterns expected to compete for spots on the two-deep all season.
Keaontay Ingram, running back, Carthage
FYI: 6-0/205; 4 stars; No. 13 on the Fab 55
The need for instant-impact from Ingram was lessened when the Longhorns landed grad transfer Tre Watson from Cal. Watson will provide Texas with the depth Ingram was supposed to provide when he signed with Texas in February. Toneil Carter and Daniel Young showed flashes in 2017, but failed to take the position when given opportunities as freshmen. Ingram will get his chance to flash his potential, and it will be hard for the staff to take him off the field if he shows game-breaking flashes early in the season. Texas needs a No. 1 option in the backfield and no one on campus has the complete set of tools that Ingram possesses.
D’Shawn Jamison, wide receiver, Houston Lamar
FYI: 5-10/180; 4 stars; No. 12 on the Fab 55
Jamison was a lockdown cornerback at Houston Lamar. He was one of three prospects from Houston Lamar to sign with the Longhorns in 2018, joining Cook and Al’Vonte Woodard. Cook will play at cornerback as a true freshman after enrolling early and impressing in the spring and summer. It’ll be interesting to see how, or if, Jamison is used on offense after a position change on the roster. Jamison was the best return man in high school football as a senior and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Texas needs those type of playmakers at the slot position and in the return game. Jamison might not play a ton, but he could make an impact with limited touches. Brennan Eagles, who enrolled early, is the wide receiver most likely to make a big impact in 2018.
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Ayodele Adeoye, inside linebacker, IMG Academy (Fla.)
FYI: 6-1/250; 4 stars; No. 6-ranked middle linebacker
The 2018 class was Texas-centric, but one of the most impressive players in the group was the big middle linebacker from IMG Academy. Originally from St. Louis, Adeoye decided to finish his prep career at IMG Academy as a senior and credited Todd Orlando for his commitment to Texas. Adeoye enrolled-early and is already physically ready to play college football. The departure of Malik Jefferson means snaps are available.
Cameron Dicker, kicker, Lake Travis
FYI: 6-1/205; 3 stars; No. 4-ranked place kicker
It’s possible that Dicker never makes an impact for Texas as a true freshman. If that’s the case, it means Joshua Rowland recovered from his struggles from last season and keeps Dicker waiting in the wings for one more season. If Rowland repeats his lack of success from 2017, Dicker will be the place kicker for the Longhorns as a true freshman. The former Lake Travis star possesses a big leg. In fact, the longest made field goal at Royal-Memorial Stadium last season was a 48-yarder made by Dicker in a playoff game. Rowland’s longest make was 40 yards against Texas Tech.
2018 Texas Longhorns signing classHere's a look at the recruits who signed with Texas for the 2018 recruiting cycle. Star rankings from 247Sports composite.
|Byron Hobbs||LB||Ft. Worth Eastern Hills||3||Signed|
|Casey Thompson||QB||Southmoore (Okla.)||4||Signed|
|Cameron Rising||QB||Newbury Park (Calif.)||4||Signed|
|Cameron Dicker||K||Lake Travis||3||Signed|
|Caden Sterns||S||Cibolo Steele||4||Signed|
|Ayodele Adeoye||LB||IMG Academy (Fla.)||4||Signed|
|Al'Vonte Woodard||WR||Houston Lamar||4||Signed|
|Jalen Green||CB||Houston Heights||4||Signed|
|Brennan Eagles||WR||Alief Taylor||4||Signed|
|Anthony Cook||CB||Houston Lamar||4||Signed|
|D'Shawn Jamison||CB||Houston Lamar||4||Signed|
|Malcolm Epps||TE||Spring Dekaney||4||Signed|
|Junior Angilau||OT||Salt Lake East (Utah)||4||Signed|
|Mikey Grandy||OT||College of San Mateo (Calif.)||3||Signed|
|Ryan Bujcevski||P||ProKick Austrailia||N/A||Signed|
|Keondre Coburn||DT||Spring Westfield||4||Signed|
|Daniel Carson||DE||William Chrisman (Mo.)||3||Signed|
|Michael Williams||DE||Dunham School (La.)||3||Signed|
|Christian Jones||OT||Cy Woods||3||Signed|
|Joseph Ossai||DE||Conroe Oak Ridge||4||Signed|
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