We saw flashes of the old Texas in 2018, as the Longhorns secured their first ten-win year since 2009, the year they lost in the BCS title game. After starting 2018 with a loss to Maryland, the Longhorns fired off wins against USC, TCU, and Oklahoma in the span of a month, ultimately improving to 6-1 before dropping a couple of heartbreakers to Oklahoma State and West Virginia. After a loss in the return game vs OU in the Big 12 title showdown, Texas pulled an upset as a 12 point underdog against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to finish the year 10-4. Can Tom Herman keep up the momentum, or was the ten-win year just a blip?
The big 235-pounder at QB, Sam Ehlinger, didn’t feel like a sexy pick coming into the year, but he was great for the Longhorns, totaling 41 touchdowns (rushing + passing combined), completing 65% of his passes and throwing just five interceptions in 425 attempts. Ehlingher could make plays with his feet too.
His go-to target, Lil’ Jordan Humphrey, is gone, but senior wideouts Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay are back after combining for 11 touchdowns and over 1,500 yards in 2018. The Longhorns also add five-star WR Bru McCoy.
RB Keaontay Ingram (5.0 yards per carry) returns, and with a pair of starters back on the line along with 1st Team All-ACC Georgia Tech transfer Parker Braun, the offense should be great.
Todd Orlando is back as DC, and with just three starters return on defense, a lot of underclassmen are going to be filling into starting roles for the Longhorns. Given the level they recruit at, the talent is there, Orlando just needs to find a way to put the pieces together.
Nickelback BJ Foster, who had 2.5 sacks, 6.5 TFL, and five PBUs last year, is the leading returner in all three categories. Another guy who was a freshman last year, Caden Sterns, returns at safety after four PBUs and four INTs.
With well over half of the defense’s projected starters being underclassmen, I think the group slips a little despite all the highly touted recruits that come in.
The lack of leadership on defense stops me from calling this a national title contender but beat LSU week two and you may be on that path heading into the Red River Showdown on October 12th in Dallas.
|Date||Opponent||OPp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|14-Sep||vs. rice (houston, tx)||127||26.0|
|5-Oct||at west virginia||42||3.9|
|12-Oct||vs. oklahoma (Dallas, tx)||6||-7.3|
|16-Nov||at iowa state||31||2.4|
Average Projected Record: 8.1 wins, 3.9 losses (6.0 wins, 3.0 losses)