The Longhorns open their season on Saturday at Maryland. The eyes of Texas will be upon …
Sam Ehlinger, Texas quarterback
Ehlinger enters his sophomore season as UT’s unquestioned starter, having beaten out junior Shane Buechele for the job they split last year. Ehlinger threw for 1,915 yards and 11 touchdowns in his debut season while notching 100-yard rushing performances against Kansas State and Oklahoma. He also had several costly turnovers, a recurring issue he has attempted to address in the offseason.
Taivon Jacobs, Maryland receiver
Texas was introduced to Maryland’s running game last year, but the Terrapins did produce a first-round receiver in DJ Moore (Carolina). Jacobs is Maryland’s top target this year in the passing game. The sixth-year senior is coming off a 47-catch, 553-yard, five-touchdown season. No other Maryland returnee had more than 15 catches last year.
Ty Johnson, Maryland running back
Johnson has led Maryland in rushing in each of the past two seasons, and last year’s 1,592 all-purpose yards were the seventh-most in school history. (Johnson scored one of his seven touchdowns on a 100-yard kickoff return against Ohio State). Texas already has Johnson on its radar; he ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on only 12 carries in last year’s 51-41 Terrapins win in Austin.
Chris Nelson, Texas defensive tackle
Texas is asking Nelson to plug the 305-pound hole that Poona Ford — last year’s Big 12 defensive lineman of the year — left when he departed for the NFL. The Longhorns clearly believe in Nelson, a senior who has started 15 times in various positions on the line. Head coach Tom Herman said this week that Nelson was the leading vote-getter when the players selected their captains.