Texas Team Preview
Despite not living up to preseason predictions in recent years, coach Steve Sarkisian’s Texas Longhorns are expected to dominate the Big 12 in 2023. Texas brings back 15 starters from last season’s roster, including quarterback Quinn Ewers and a top-tier receiving corps and offensive line. The defense made strides in ’22, and those should continue into the upcoming season. This squad will be put through a test early on as they face up against Alabama.
Texas returns nine starters on offense, but the loss of Doak Walker Award–winning running back Bijan Robinson leaves a large void. Possible replacements for Robinson include: sophomore receiver-turned-tailback Savion Red, junior quarterback Jaydon Blue, senior quarterback Keilan Robinson, true freshman quarterback CJ Baxter, and sophomore quarterback Jonathon Brooks.
Sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers is being challenged by redshirt freshman Maalik Murphy and five-star freshman Arch Manning, so head coach Steve Sarkisian wanted to improve the passing game this offseason.
The team’s top two wideouts, sophomore Xavier Worthy, and senior Jordan Whittington, will be joined by a quality group of freshmen in Johntay Cook II, DeAndre Moore Jr., and Ryan Niblett this season. Isaiah Neyor is also returning after he tore his ACL last August after transferring to Texas from Wyoming, where he caught 12 touchdown passes in 2021.
The Longhorns’ defensive line returns a solid cast this season, led by tackles T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II and defensive end Barryn Sorrell, who led the nation in quarterback pressures in 2022.
Middle linebacker Jaylan Ford, nickel back Jahdae Barron, safety Jerrit Thompson, and All-Conference cornerback Ryan Watts, who had a breakout year in 2022, are all seniors and will be back for the team. The additions of transfer safety Jalen Catalon from Arkansas and transfer cornerback Gavin Holmes from Wake Forest give Texas some much-needed potential depth.
After starting slowly under Sarkisian in 2021 with a 5-7 record, the program has gained steam, especially in terms of recruiting. The Longhorns will be the preseason favorites to win the Big 12 with so much returning experience. By winning the Big 12 Championship in the Horns’ final season there, Sarkisian may be able to propel his program into the SEC.
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