Tom Herman enters his second season as the Longhorns head coach after a 7-6 season in 2017 and a bowl victory against Missouri. The team returns a number of starters from last season and the same can’t be said for its Big 12 counterparts, which should make them a candidate to improve in the conference standings. Texas did lose five starters on defense but return three seniors on the defensive line and three seniors in the secondary. At the second level, the Longhorns also have two NFL-caliber linebackers in seniors Breckyn Hager (6’4, 245) and Gary Johnson (6’0, 230). Offensively, the Longhorns are in need of playmakers around junior wide receiver Collin Johnson (6’6, 220). Last season, Johnson caught 54 passes for 765 yards and two touchdowns. If Texas wants to improve their fortunes offensively, then they will have to settle on the running back position. In 2017, sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger led the team in rushing with 385 yards. Defensively, they should be able to compete with anyone, but the team enters the season with question marks offensively.
Troy’s player to watch
2 Kris Boyd 6’0 200 DB-Senior
Boyd’s performance against West Virginia’s leading receiver, David Sills V, was exceptional in 2017. Sills V, who finished the season with 980 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns, caught just two balls for 47 yards against Boyd and the Longhorns. For the season, Boyd had two interceptions and 15 pass deflections en route to being named second team All-Big 12. The senior defensive back will have another year to acclimate himself to second year defensive coordinator’s Todd Orlando’s scheme and has already been named to the Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski watch lists.
Game of the season
September 15th against USC
What better way to announce the Texas Longhorns are back than with a win against the USC Trojans? The rematch of the 2006 Rose Bowl will take place in Austin during Week 3 of the season. Both the Longhorns and Trojans are coming off solid seasons after what has largely been a decade of underwhelming results from each team. Last year, the Trojans defeated the Longhorns by a field goal and expect this year’s matchup to be just as competitive.
DraftNasty’s Prospect Watch
90 Charles Omenihu 6’6 275 DL-Senior
Omenihu has put together a combined 20 starts over the course of the last two seasons. In 2017, he began to put his talent on display more consistently. Despite requisite length, he hasn’t affected the three-step passing game up to this point in his career. His hand usage is a work in progress as a pass rusher. The former Rowlett High School (Tex.) star has a feel for slicing gaps and he can create inside penetration quickly off the snap. For him to become a more dominant defender, he needs to improve at creating separation from offensive linemen. Standing over 6-foot-5 inches, he has some upside as a 30-front defensive end prospect if he can put on an additional 10-to-15 pounds.
Draftnasty’s Troy Jefferson is predicting the Longhorns will fall to USC and West Virginia at home and on the road against Oklahoma State. However, Texas will win two more games than they did a year ago and, most importantly, defeat rival Oklahoma.