Seven of the 17 current Texas commits are expected to enroll early and participate in spring football, which includes offseason workouts and spring practices. It’s a definite advantage for incoming freshmen, and it helps programs build depth with the growing presence of the transfer portal and early departures for the NFL.
Who is enrolling early and how quickly can those players make an impact in Austin?
Hudson Card, quarterback, Lake Travis
FYI: 6-2.5/179; 4 stars; No. 3-ranked dual-threat QB
2020 projection: Quarterbacks started the trend of enrolling early. Card is unlikely to see the field as a freshman with Sam Ehlinger entering his senior season and Casey Thompson entrenched as an experienced reserve. The Longhorns will have a new offensive coordinator by the time Card enrolls, and it can’t hurt the young four-star to get a head start on the new playbook and terminology.
Vernon Broughton, defensive tackle, Houston Cypress Ridge
FYI: 6-5/286/ 4 stars; No. 8-ranked defensive tackle
2020 projection: Broughton can find snaps as a freshman. He’s the top-rated defensive player in Texas’ class and the Longhorns are likely to run a four-man front in 2020, requiring more depth along the line. Broughton wasn’t recruited to sit on the bench. He’s already big enough to handle the college game. A full spring gives the coaching staff extra time to work on his technique and find the best spot to deploy the big-bodied athlete.
Xavion Alford, safety, Alvin Shadow Creek
FYI: 6-0/182; 4 stars; No. 9-ranked safety
2020 projection: Alford was a huge commitment for Texas when he picked the Longhorns over programs like Texas A&M and Alabama. He’s a boundary safety in the mold of departing senior Brandon Jones. He’s also capable of playing nickel. Alford missed most of his senior season following knee surgery, but the four-star says he’s expected to be fully cleared by the time he arrives in Austin. There’s a real possibility that Alford starts the 2020 season in the two-deep at safety. He could be a starter by the end of his freshman season.
Jake Majors, offensive line, Prosper
FYI: 6-3.5/283; 4 stars; No. 5-ranked center
2020 projection: Offensive linemen are rarely tasked with playing as freshmen. That should be the case with Majors since the Longhorns possess plenty of depth inside. Enrolling early allows him a shot at cracking the two-deep as a freshman with a strong performance in the spring. He’s a big, powerful player who starts at left tackle in high school. Majors expects to cross-train at guard and center once he arrives in January.
Troy Omeire, wide receiver, Fort bend Austin
FYI: 6-3.5/206; 4 stars; No. 33-ranked wide receiver
2020 projection: Texas heads into the 2020 season without a proven star at either of the outside wide receiver positions. Wide receiver isn’t an easy position to perfect as a freshman because of the responsibilities as a blocker and the option-routes required in high-level offenses. A spring inside a room coached by a new coach and in an offense run by a new coordinator gives every player a fresh slate. Omeire’s goal is to carve out a small role behind Brennan Eagles, Malcolm Epps and Marcus Washington.
Jerrin Thompson, safety, Lufkin
FYI: 6-0.5/183; 4 stars; No. 16-ranked safety
2020 projection: Don’t bet against Thompson finding the field as a freshman, at least on special teams. He’s a hard hitting, aggressive safety who loves the game. Interim defensive coordinator and safeties coach Craig Naivar loves his upside and attitude. Thompson enters a crowded and talented safety room this spring, but it’s also one that went through several injuries in 2019.
Logan Parr, offensive line, San Antonio O’Connor
FYI: 6-3.5/280; 4 stars; No. 10-ranked guard
2020 projection: Parr is in the same position as Majors. It’s rarely a good thing if a program needs a freshman to start. Still, it’s good for the depth inside for Majors and Parr to enroll early and get used to the physicality of the college game in the spring. That gives Texas two more big bodies for the scout team and potential two-deep in 2020. Parr plays tackle in high school but is expected to slide inside to guard or center at Texas.