The Longhorns host 20th-ranked Kansas State on Saturday (2:30 p.m., ESPN). The eyes of Texas will be upon …
Da’Quan Patton, Kansas State linebacker
Patton’s name may sound familiar to Austin-area football fans since he was an all-state honoree at Vista Ridge High in 2014. After graduating high school, Patton attended Trinity Valley Community College before signing with the Wildcats. Last year, he was the team’s leading tackler. During his senior year, Patton has recorded 32 tackles and an interception. Patton’s defense ranks second among Big 12 teams in scoring defense (20.4 points per game).
Dalton Schoen, Kansas State receiver
Once a walk-on, Schoen has made a name for himself in Manhattan. Schoen leads Kansas State in receptions (25), receiving yards (389) and touchdown catches (three) this season. One of 32 1,000-yard receivers in school history, Schoen’s career average of 17.2 yards per catch ranks seventh among the all-time Wildcats. Schoen burst onto the scene during Kansas State’s last trip to Austin as he hauled in 12- and 82-yard touchdown passes in a 40-34 loss.
Zach Shackelford, Texas offensive lineman
Once upon a time, Shackelford was a Kansas State commit. He flipped to Texas just before he enrolled for the 2016 spring semester and 35 starts later, he is the most-veteran presence on UT’s roster. Shackelford is a team captain this season. The offensive line he anchors from his center position has also blocked for three 100-yard rushers but the 2.88 sacks that the Longhorns are allowing per game ranks 110th among the 130 FBS-level teams.
Caden Sterns, Texas defensive back
After missing the last four games with a knee injury, Sterns could return to the Texas secondary this weekend. In Sterns’ absence, the Longhorns have surrendered two 300-yard passing performances and 12 touchdown tosses. The sophomore safety had accumulated 29 tackles before he went down. And even though he has missed half the season, only Brandon Jones (55) and Joseph Ossai (55) have recorded more stops than Sterns.