Best Texas Offensive Player
WR Collin Johnson, Jr.
There’s a chance Calvin Anderson becomes the big star at left tackle, and it would be fantastic if one of the quarterbacks turned into a top player. But the 6-6, 215-pound Johnson is the one to worry about, with fantastic size and enough deep speed to hit the home run.
He led the way with 54 catches for 765 yards and two scores, ripping up USC for 191 yards and Maryland for 125. He’s consistent, but he needs to be more dangerous. That will come if the quarterback play is a bit better.
2. OT Calvin Anderson, Sr.
3. C Zach Shackelford, Sr.
4. OG Patrick Vahe, Sr.
5. RB Tre Watson, Sr.
Best Texas Defensive Player
LB Breckyn Hager, Sr.
The 6-3, 255-pounder has the long locks, the exact size, and a little bit of the game of Clay Matthews. Now he needs to crank up the pass rush just a little bit more.
Or, a lot more.
He broke out in 2016 with 63 tackles, six sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss, but the production dropped off – especially against the run. The four sacks were nice, and he hung around in the backfield, but the talent is there to flirt with double-digit quarterback pops. At the very least, he’ll be the one up front the offenses will worry about.
2. S Brandon Jones, Jr.
3. CB Kris Boyd, Sr.
4. LB Gary Johnson, Sr.
5. S Caden Sterns, Fr.
Key Player To A Successful Season
RB Tre Watson, Sr.
D’Onta Foreman ran for 2,028 yards and 15 touchdowns in just 11 games in 2016. As a team, the Longhorns averaged 4.8 yards per carry and 2,871 yards on the year.
Last season? In 13 games, Texas ran for 1,815 yards and averaged just 3.58 yards per pop. Worse yet, the running backs did next to nothing.
Watson won’t be another Foreman coming in from Cal, but he’s a do-it-all option who should be the lead back early on, can grow into a third down option, and should be the leading back if he gets enough carries.
This is Texas. It can’t average under 140 rushing yards per game again.
Key Game To The Texas Season
USC, Sept. 15
It’s a season full of key games.
Texas has to beat Maryland at Maryland to not only make up for last year’s loss, but to prove that it can. That’s not a given.
Beating TCU is big. Getting revenge over Texas Tech is big. Screwing up West Virginia is big. And beating Oklahoma for just the second time in five years would be really, really big.
But the USC game is the early measuring stick for where the Tom Herman program is at. Last year, the Longhorns pushed a better Trojan team 27-24 in Los Angeles.
This year it’s in Austin, and with TCU, at Kansas State, and Oklahoma to follow, the potential is there to go on a really big run, or a painfully rough one if the team really isn’t good enough to handle the defending Pac-12 champs.
2017 Texas Fun Stats
– Average Yards Per Carry: Texas 3.6 – Opponents 3.0
– 2nd Quarter Scoring: 135 – 3rd Quarter Scoring: 62
– Red Zone TDs: Texas 29-of-47 (62%) – Opponents 21-of-43 (49%)