Matthew McConaughey laughs with Texas Jerrod Heard at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Friday November 25, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

BEVO BEAT Football

50 in 50: 5 returning Longhorns who could rush, catch and return in 2017

Posted March 4th, 2017

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Texas football is one day closer to its Spring Game, and we’ll find out then which players could be the focal point of the 2017 Texas Longhorns’ scoring onslaught.

But with the leading rusher (and all-purpose yards leader going to the NFL), and the team’s leading kick returner gone, Texas is in need finding playmakers.

Which returning players can dab a little in all phases, think Daje Johnson? Let’s go to the numbers.

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Kyle Porter, sophomore running back

UT running back Kyle Porter(21) is tackled by Texas Tech defensive back Jah'Shawn Johnson(7) in the second quarter at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock Saturday November 5, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
UT running back Kyle Porter (21) is tackled by Texas Tech defensive back Jah’Shawn Johnson (7) in the second quarter at AT&T Jones Stadium in Lubbock Saturday November 5, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

As a freshman, Porter rushed for 205 yards, had 10 yards of receiving and 29 kick return yards for the Longhorns. Likely vying for the No. 2 running back position (Chris Warren probably expected to start the season at the top of the depth chart), Porter could see all his numbers increase.

Armanti Foreman, senior receiver

Kansas State Wildcats D.J. Reed knocks down the touch down catch late in the fourth quarter against Texas Longhorns 3 Armanti Foreman during the second half of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Kansas State Wildcats D.J. Reed knocks down the touch down catch late in the fourth quarter against Texas Longhorns 3 Armanti Foreman during the second half of a NCAA college football game, Saturday, October 22, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kansas. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Foreman’s brother D’Onta rushed for more than 2,000 yards and led the Longhorns in all-purpose yards in 2016. Armanti won’t get many carries, but he was the leading receiver last season with 420 yards. He also had 110 kick return yards and 69 punt return yards.

Devin Duvernay, sophomore receiver

Texas #2 Devin Duvernay falls to the ground in the first half of their game against TCU at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Friday November 25, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas #2 Devin Duvernay falls to the ground in the first half of their game against TCU at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Friday November 25, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Duvernay had 412 reception yards and 257 kick return yards. He didn’t return punts or run the ball out of the backfield, but he could be the best deep threat the Longhorns have on the roster.

Dorian Leonard, senior receiver

September 10, 2016 - Texas's Dorian Leonard scores against UTEP during the second half of action held at Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
September 10, 2016 – Texas’s Dorian Leonard scores against UTEP during the second half of action held at Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Leonard had 397 receiving yards and 12 negative rushing yards for the Longhorns. The super athlete from Longview could be in for more touches all around the field, much like former Southlake Carroll standout Lil’Jordan Humphrey, who had just 15 receiving yards last season, had no yards on his one punt return and didn’t return a kick.

Jerrod Heard, junior receiver

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 10: Jerrod Heard #13 of the Texas Longhorns catches a 29 yard touchdown pass against the UTEP Miners during the first half on September 10, 2016 at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Jerrod Heard #13 of the Texas Longhorns catches a 29-yard touchdown pass against the UTEP Miners during the first half on September 10, 2016 at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

If this isn’t the most obvious, then we’re not doing this blog right. Heard’s experience of playing quarterback opens him up to any number of coach Tom Herman tricks. Plus he’s a great athlete who had 266 yards receiving in his first year at the position.

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