(Photo: Texas Baseball)
Momentum can change quickly in baseball, as evidenced by the performance of Texas over the last week. The Longhorns cruised to a 3-game sweep against West Virginia last weekend to get hopes up that postseason baseball could be coming to Disch Falk-Field. Those hopes were quickly dashed in Arlington as Texas quickly exited the Big 12 Tournament with an 0-2 record. After getting beat by 8-seed Kansas on Wednesday, the Longhorns could only muster 2 hits in a 6-0 loss to 5-seed Kansas State.
The early exit likely means the Longhorns will hit the road for regional play next week. The selection show is set for Monday morning when the full field of 64 will be announced. The latest projections from d1baseball.com had Texas as a 2-seed in the Palo Alto Regional with top seed Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and San Jose State.
The last time Texas played a regional on the road was 2017, when the Longhorns made it to the regional final of the Long Beach State regional before falling to the Dirtbags.
Photo: Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
The top-seeded Texas Longhorns opened Big 12 Baseball Tournament play against the No. 8 seed Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday with a 6-3 loss at Globe Life Field in Arlington.
Starting pitcher Lucas Gordon pitched a full five innings and gave up seven hits and two runs which came in the third inning. Jack O'Dowd's home run in the bottom of the frame cut the Jayhawk lead to 2-1 and held until Gordon was replaced by Travis Stehly. Stehly pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the Top 6th and the Longhorns tied it up in their at-bat, with Dylan Campbell scoring on a single up the middle by Porter Brown. Campbell's hit extended his hitting-streak to 34 games, which is just one short of the Big 12 record.
With two outs in the Top 7th, Stehly loaded the bases after intentionally walking Kodey Shojinaga. Jansen Reeder then emptied the bases with a grand slam over the right-center field fence to give the Jayhawks a 6-2 lead.
The Longhorns added one more run on Jack O'Dowd's two-out homer in the 9th (his second of the day), before Rylan Galvan struck out to end the game.
Travis Stehly took the loss on the day for Texas and Collin Baumgartner improved to 6-1 with the win for the Jayhawks.
Texas will head to an elimination game tomorrow morning at 9:00 am against the Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats were run-ruled by TCU 16-3 in the tournament's first game on Wednesday.
Lebarron Johnson Jr. will get the start for the Longhorns on Thursday.
Texas Longhorns infielder Jalin Flores (1) lines up to bat against West Virginia during the game at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Saturday, May 20, 2023 in Austin. Photo: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK.
Texas was able to sweep the West Virginia Mountaineers last weekend and with help from their rivals North of the Red River, win their 80th conference title in baseball. The Longhorns had their most complete performance of the year at just the right time.
Starting Pitching Continued Success
Over the course of the three game series, Texas outscored West Virginia 29-9. The Longhorns dominated with hitting and starting pitching. Staff ace and Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Lucas Gordon had arguably his best start of the year, going 7 innings with 8 strikeouts and just a single walk. Rising starter Lebarron Johnson threw a gem on Friday as well, with 11 strikeouts over 5.1 innings to help secure the series win.
Tanner Witt had his best start since returning from Tommy John Surgery last year. Witt threw a season-high 44 pitches over three innings with three strikeouts and just one walk. That is a great sign he is starting to get his control and command back. David Pierce said prior to Saturday’s game Witt was in the 40-60 pitch limit which has been on a steady increase since his first start vs TCU. It will be interesting to see how Witt looks in the Big 12 Tournament and moving forward. He can be the ultimate X-factor for the Longhorns in the post season.
Offense Firepower Not Slowing Down
Dylan Campbell is currently on a school record 33-game hit streak. Campbell delivered against the Mountaineers, going 7-13 with 2 HR and 4 RBI. It didn’t stop with Campbell. Freshman Jared Thomas continued on his tear as well. Thomas is the perfect leadoff man for David Pierce and company. Against the Mountaineers, Thomas went 7-13 with 1 HR and 2 RBI. Those stats may not sound earth-shattering but he has proven to be a tough out and the series vs West Virginia was no different.
Freshman shortstop Jalin Flores got the start all weekend over veteran Mitchell Daly. That was an eye-opening move for Pierce to make, as it takes guts to bench your veteran for a freshman at the end of the year. We all know the potential Flores has in the field and at the plate. The move paid off, especially on Saturday where Flores hit a home run and came through with 3 RBIs. Flores provides real power and makes one less hole in the lineup which was there with Daly. If Flores can be a real threat, this lineup is not one opposing pitchers will be look forward to seeing. Those early season offensive woes for Texas appear to in the rear view mirror.
What Texas Needs Out of the Big 12 Tournament
Texas opens the Big 12 tournament Wednesday at 12:30 PM CST against Kansas. The Longhorns are in good shape to host a regional following a Big 12 championship. A regional hosting opportunity may not be locked in, therefore a few wins in Arlington will help cement the Longhorns' resume. This will be the last time to see which pitchers can provide good innings in the postseason beyond Johnson and Gordon and it will be worth watching what Witt’s role is in the this week. The bullpen has been rocky at best but hopefully they will get some much-needed confidence as the team heads into regionals.
BIG 12 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT
What: #1 Seed Texas Longhorns vs. #8 Seed Kansas Jayhawks
Date: Wednesday, May 24, 2023
Venue: Globe Life Field - Arlington, TX
Time: 12:30 p.m.
(Photo: Texas Baseball)
A sweep was required for the Longhorns to have any chance at sharing the Big 12 title, and a sweep is exactly what Texas delivered in front of a packed house at Disch-Falk Field over the course of 3 days. The Longhorns polished off the Mountaineers 7-3 on Saturday afternoon, completing the sweep and giving Texas a share of the conference title and the #1 seed in the Big 12 tournament.
Texas struck early in game 3, scoring 6 runs in the first 3 innings and knocking out West Virginia ace Ben Hampton with 1 out in the first inning. The Longhorns got 3 scoreless innings from Tanner Witt before turning things over the bullpen. David Shaw allowed 1 run in 2 innings of work and was followed by Travis Sthele, who allowed a 2-run homer in the 7th to cut the Texas lead to 6-3. Zane Morehouse kept things at bay for 1.2 innings and the Longhorns tacked on an insurance run in the 9th to make it 7-3. David Pierce called on Kobe Minchey to close things out, but quickly pivoted to Charlie Hurley following a 4-pitch walk to open the frame. Hurley hit the first batter he faced, but quickly responded with back to back groundballs to end the game, the last of which was a 5-4-3 double play.
The Longhorns will open the Big 12 tournament on Wednesday against 8-seed Kansas. The Longhorns won the season series in Lawrence earlier this month. In 2022, Texas advanced to the Big 12 tournament championship game before falling to Oklahoma.
Texas Longhorns gather around outfielder Eric Kennedy (30) to celebrate a bases loaded home run against San Jos State at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday, May 12, 2023 in Austin. Photo: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
In what has been a roller coaster of a season, Texas still has a chance to win the Big 12. If the Longhorns sweep West Virginia and Oklahoma takes one game against Oklahoma State, they will be conference champions. No matter how high your expectations are or were for Texas Baseball, we can all agree that a Big 12 title would be an impressive feat in a rebuilding year.
Winning the Big 12 would do wonders in the case for Texas to be a Top-16 seed and host a Regional. Texas likely needs to sweep the Mountaineers and make a deep run in the Big 12 tournament next week to have a good case at a national seed. Here is what the Longhorns need to do in order to get that sweep or at the very least a series win at Disch-Falk this weekend.
Keep Producing Runs
Texas scored a whopping 46 runs last weekend against San Jose State. That includes a game 3 in which only 7 innings were played. Texas’ pitching has been inconsistent throughout the year, especially for those not named Lucas Gordon. A great way to combat pitching that struggles, especially in a bullpen like Texas’, is to score in bunches. The 'Horns have shown the ability to put up runs especially at home and that needs to be no different this weekend. West Virginia has scored 10 or more runs six times in Big 12 play. If Texas is going to take care of business this weekend, the offense must deliver.
Lebarron Johnson's Continued Success
Since David Pierce inserted Johnson as the Saturday starter vs TCU the last weekend in April, Texas is 3-0 in his starts. Johnson has gone a total of 18.1 innings in those starts, surrendering just 4 earned runs with 23 strikeouts and 2 walks. That is ace-level stuff and if you’ve watched Johnson during his mid-week starts this year, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Johnson possibly has the best stuff on the pitching staff when he puts it all together. LBJ provides a 1-2 punch with Gordon that the Longhorns have been searching for all year and may have found it at just the right time.
Finding a Reliable Closer
The Texas closer position has been a not-so-fun roller coaster ride all season for David Pierce and company. Zane Morehouse has been the closer much of the year with several highs and lows along the way. He blew another save Friday against San Jose State and Pierce looks like he’s trying other options. In Game 3 against the Spartans, former weekend starter Travis Sthele was given the opportunity to close and earned his first save of the year. Look for Sthele to get another save opportunity this weekend should Texas be in position to close a game. This is a spot Pierce must figure out and figure it out quickly. Having a questionable closer is not a recipe for postseason success.
Thursday at 6:30 p.m. - Texas LHP Lucas Gordon (5-1, 2.71) vs. WVU LHP Carson Estridge (3-0, 3.75)
Friday at 6:30 p.m. - Texas RHP Lebarron Johnson Jr. (6-2, 2.76) vs. WVU RHP Blaine Traxel (7-4, 3.23)
Saturday at 2:30 p.m. - Texas RHP Tanner Witt (1-1, 13.50) vs. WVU TBA
*All games will be televised on Longhorn Network
Texas Longhorns outfielder Dylan Campbell (8) steps up to bat during the game against San Jos State at UFCU Disch-Falk Field on Friday, May 12, 2023 in Austin. Photo credit: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
Texas Baseball Outfielder Dylan Campbell has gone on an historic hitting streak that is stretching over several months now. Campbell currently has a hit in 30 straight games, setting the Texas all-time record for the Men’s Baseball Team that was previously held at 25 games (Michael Torres, 2008). It all started back on March 25th, as the 'Horns took on the Texas Tech Red Raiders in Austin and defeated them by a final score of 6-5. Campbell went 3-4 in that game with 2 RBI’s and 2 runs to go along with it. Campbell set the record (which at the time was 26 games) on May 7th against Kansas with a first inning double. Since March 25th and during this hit streak, the junior from Houston has 11 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs and accumulated 47 total hits. During this streak the team has a 19-11 record, and only has one series left (West Virginia) until the Big 12 Tournament begins on May 24th in Arlington.
Before the season, Campbell was called by Head Coach David Pierce “the leader of our [Texas’] position players” and mentioned as one of the team’s best hitters. Both of these appear to be very true, as Campbell is now currently hitting .330 on the year with a 1.011 OPS and has started every game for the Longhorns.
Campbell gave Texas fans flashes of promise and production last season as he hit a respectable .267 with 20 home runs and 29 RBI’s, but has taken a huge leap this season in a much-needed time as Texas lost several offensive starters to the MLB draft this past off-season.
Let’s see if Campbell can keep the streak going, and whether or not Texas will make a run in the upcoming Big 12 Tournament.
(Photo: Texas Baseball)
It was another weekend filled with mixed emotions for Texas baseball. The Longhorns took 2 of 3 from San Jose State at UFCU Disch-Falk Field, but another bullpen meltdown in game 1 on Friday prevented a sweep and cost Texas dearly from an RPI standpoint. Nursing a 4-2 lead in the 8th inning of game 1, Texas asked Zane Morehouse to complete a third full inning of work out of the bullpen. Morehouse walked and hit two of the first 3 batters he faced in the inning. The junior almost worked out of trouble, but a 2-out double chased him from the game and cut the lead to one. The runners then came around to score on a wild pitch by Andre Duplantier coupled with an error on Garret Guillemette on a throw back to Duplantier covering the plate. The Spartans would go on to win 6-4. The Longhorns ended up cruising in the final two games, 24-3 and 18-6, respectively.
Texas will now turn their attention back to conference play as they prepare to welcome West Virginia to Austin for the final Big 12 series of the season. The Mountaineers currently sit in first place in the conference, 2 games up on Oklahoma State and 3 games up on the Longhorns.
As for the postseason, the Longhorns’ hosting dreams took a massive hit with the loss on Friday. Texas finished the weekend with an RPI ranked 31st, down 6 spots from where they began the week. Typically, a top 20 RPI is required to host a regional. The Longhorns could make up some ground quickly this week against a highly ranked West Virginia squad, but the margin for error is razor thin.
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas running back Bijan Robinson with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Atlanta Falcons eighth overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The 2023 NFL Draft has concluded, and 5 University of Texas players were drafted: RB Bijan Robinson, RB Roschon Johnson, LB DeMarvion Overshown, DT Keondre Coburn, and DL Moro Ojomo. Let’s take a look at the teams they went to, how well they might fit there and what opportunities they have moving forward on their respective rosters.
Let’s start with Bijan Robinson. Robinson was the 8th overall pick in the draft, being selected by the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons’ run game last year was respectable as they had over 2,700 yards on the ground along with 17 TDs. The group was led by rookie RB Tyler Allgeier, who had just over 1,000 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns to go along with it, and RB Cordarrelle Patterson as well, who had over 600 yards and a hefty 8 TDs. This 1-2 punch just got a whole lot better with Robinson joining the mix. Robinson will be the day 1 starter and is their immediate RB1, but he definitely has some guys behind him to help with the Atlanta passing game and to give them different offensive looks. In 2022, Pro Football Network ranked the Falcons as the 10th best offensive line unit and it appears that much of the starting unit will be on the Falcons roster again this coming season. The QB position is still somewhat up in the air for Atlanta, though, as their projected starter is second-year QB Desmond Ridder, which may lead to Robinson getting more touches due to lack of confidence at the helm of the offense. He’s got the spot, the offensive line, and will see plenty of opportunities… so don’t be surprised if he shines and is in the running for offensive rookie of the year.
Let’s now look at the other RB who allowed Texas to have their own 1-2 punch this past season: Roschon Johnson. Johnson was selected as the 115th pick in the draft (4th round) to the Chicago Bears, and looks to have some potential opportunities for carries as the Bears saw 2022 starting RB David Montgomery hit free agency and sign with the Detroit Lions on a 3-year, $18 million deal. Chicago does also have running backs D’Onta Foreman, who signed a deal this offseason for one-year and $3 million after leaving the Panthers, and Khalil Herbert, who is now entering his 3rd year with the team and continues to show strong progression in his running. Regardless, Johnson should be involved with the passing game from the get-go and be given more opportunities if one of the backs ahead of him gets dinged up. The Bears offensive line in 2022 was a major problem, as they gave up a whopping 58 sacks on the season but rushed for over 3,000 yards as a team. Lots of those yards did not come from a RB though, as QB Justin Fields ran for over 1,100 of them. So, while Johnson should see the field a slight amount in his first year, don’t expect too much quite yet as the backfield is somewhat crowded and their starting QB is a big-time runner. Regardless, he’s a great pick for the Bears and a true leader on and off the field.
Shifting over to the defensive side of the ball, LB DeMarvion Overshown was drafted 90th overall (3rd round) to none other than “America's Team”, the Dallas Cowboys. DeMarvion will be able to keep wearing his cowboy hats with pride as he only has a short move to his new home, and the move will come with a big-time opportunity as well. Overshown is not projected to be a starter as it stands now, as the Cowboys have Jabril Cox, Leighton Vander Esch and Micah Parsons as their starting LB’s. But, Overshown will see the field as he’s listed as the immediate backup for the weak-side linebacker (WLB) position. Dallas’ defense is led by Micah Parsons, who had 13.5 sacks last season with 3 forced fumbles, and they also have playmakers such as newly added CB Stephon Gilmore, DeMarcus Lawrence, and their first round draft pick Mazi Smith. Overshown will be a nice addition to this squad, which gave up a respectable 320.2 YPG last year. He should have opportunities to showcase his talent in his hometown state immediately this coming season.
Sticking with defense, DL Keondre Coburn was drafted 194th overall (6th round) by the Kansas City Chiefs. Keondre will be joining the reigning Super Bowl champions and MVP QB Patrick Mahomes, but what will his role look like on this very talented roster? It’s obviously impossible to tell completely, but as it stands, he is 3rd on the depth chart for the left defensive tackle position behind Danny Shelton and Derrick Nnadi. This Chiefs defense has some big-time names on it such as Chris Jones, former Longhorn Charles Omenihu, Justin Reid and others that can all ball out, so Coburn should be surrounded by talent that can help him grow as a first-year player. That being said, I don’t expect Coburn to see too many opportunities in his first year with the team, but I like the spot for him as the Chiefs can use some more defensive fire power. Let’s see how he develops.
The last Longhorn to be drafted this year was DL Moro Ojomo, who went at pick #249 overall to the Super Bowl runner-up Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles defensive line, especially after this draft, is absolutely loaded with talent as they have Brandon Graham, Jordan Davis, Fletcher Cox, Josh Sweat and now first-round pick Jalen Carter as well. Ojomo is currently listed as the 4th-string left defensive tackle and will definitely need to prove himself worthy of a roster spot come training camp. Ojomo had 32 tackles and 3 sacks last season (both college career highs) and played in all 12 games for the 'Horns last season. He won’t have an immediate opportunity to play, but he has the potential to make the roster and provide some solid depth for the Eagles.
Lastly, DB D’Shawn Jamison was not drafted but did sign with the San Francisco 49ers after the draft concluded. He has a lot of upside as he is an all-around athlete and can be used on special teams as well.
Best of luck to all of the Longhorns now in the NFL!
Running Back Roschon Johnson (2) listens to a coaches advice before participating in the Texas Longhorns' annual pro timing day at Denius Fields on the Universiy of Texas at Austin Campus on Thursday March 9, 2023. Photo: Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK
Texas running back Roschon Johnson was selected in the 4th round of the NFL Draft with the 115th overall pick by the Chicago Bears. Johnson was the second running back taken in this year's draft, following Bijan Robinson who was taken in the first round with the 8th overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons.
Johnson, from Port Neches (TX), was recruited by the Longhorns to play quarterback. He selflessly converted to running back in order to help the team when they were thin at the position due to injury. He went on to play in 47 games and started in five during his tenure in the backfield. Johnson finished his career at Texas ranking 18th on the all-time rushing list tallying 2,190 yards on 392 carries. He also contributed 26 total touchdowns in his time wearing burnt orange.
He was a team captain and was considered the team's leader on and off the field. He was a semifinalist for the Paul Hornung Award, a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team member and was an honorable mention All-Big 12 Conference selection last season.
“Ro was the leader of our football team and was a guy that held himself and his teammates accountable each and every day,” said Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian. “He’s highly competitive, very mature, and has an unbelievable work ethic. He’s an awesome team guy that beyond all of his speed, power and explosiveness, is extremely tough. He can play all three downs at running back, is excellent on special teams, and he’ll bring a great deal on and off the field to the Chicago Bears.”
Johnson has switched positions, had multiple coaches and even thought about possibly transferring at one point, but stuck it out and gave his all to the Longhorns in a backup role.
“It feels great to kind of reflect on everything seeing how far I’ve come. It’s a special moment to see myself in this position. With all the coaching, and people I’ve gotten to learn from, I feel like I’m more than prepared to go in and make an impact immediately. My time there (Texas) really helped me grow as a person, in all aspects of my character. I’m going to bring that with me whether it’s on the field or off the field, I’m going to take that with me as I go to Chicago.”
With Johnson being drafted, it marks the first time the Longhorns have had two running backs drafted in the same year since 1982 (Rodney Tate - Bengals, Round 4 & A.J. Jones - Rams, Round 8). He is the 28th player in Texas history drafted by the Chicago Bears, with DE Henry Melton be the latest (2009 - 4th Round).
Photo: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown heard his name called in the NFL Draft on Friday night, as the Dallas Cowboys selected the Arp (Texas) native with the 90th overall pick in the third round. Overshown, a converted safety to linebacker, played five seasons at Texas and started in 33 games. In his time on the Forty Acres he amassed 249 tackles (136 solo), nine sacks, 30.5 tackles for loss and three interceptions. Last season he was an All-Big 12 First Team selection and a Butkus Award Semifinalist.
Overshown became the 12th Texas player drafted by the Dallas Cowboys all-time. Prior to Demarvion's selection, offensive lineman Connor Williams was the last Longhorn drafted by Jerry Jones and the Cowboys (2018).
Paxton Anderson who is Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones' grandson and is a walk-on receiver at Texas, spoke highly of Overshown's on and off-field talent to his grandfather. When Overshown got the call he said Jones mentioned it.
"At first it just started off, ‘Hey DeMarvion, how are you doing? It’s Jerry with the Cowboys.’ Then he was saying how (Longhorn teammate and Jerry Jones’s grandson) Paxton (Anderson) talked really good about me. Even when I went on my visit, the first thing he said was, ‘You’re an A+ before we even talk about football because of how my grandson talked about you and the type of person you are.’
Overshown becomes the second Texas Longhorn to be drafted this year, following running back Bijan Robinson who was the 8th pick overall by the Atlanta Falcons.
(Photo: USA Today)
The drought is over. For the first time since the 2006 NFL Draft, Texas had an offensive player taken in the first round. Bijan Robinson heard his named called Thursday evening as the 8th overall selection in the draft by the Atlanta Falcons.
Robinson rushed for 3410 yards and 33 touchdowns in 3 seasons at Texas. The Arizona native won the Doak Walker Award in 2022 as the top running back in the country. Robinson is not the only Longhorn hoping to hear his name called over the coming days. Fellow RB Roschon Johnson, LB DeMarvion Overshown, DT Keondre Coburn and DL Moro Ojomo have all had their names appear in mock drafts over the last several months.
Texas outfielder Eric Kennedy (30) high fives Texas infielder Tanner Carlson (5) after Carlson scored a run as the Longhorns play Texas Southern at home Tuesday, April 25, 2023. Photo: Mikala Compton / USA TODAY NETWORK
Last weekend Oklahoma swept Texas in baseball for the first time in 25 years. The Longhorns rode a wave of momentum for weeks but that came to a quick ending last weekend. Texas went from a Top-12 nationally ranked team that was in first place in the Big 12 to unranked and fourth place in the Big 12 following the sweep by the Sooners. This weekend the Longhorns head to Fort Worth in search of lost momentum - something they need to find relatively quickly if they intend on returning to Omaha for a third straight year under David Pierce.
Taking Two of Three is a Must
In order to make up for the tough series against Oklahoma, Texas needs to take at least two of the three games this weekend vs TCU. Losing another series could put the Longhorns in a downward spiral that becomes difficult to recover from. The Big 12 is still winnable and after this series, the Longhorns need to win every remaining conference series. TCU was regarded as the best team in the Big 12 to start the year, and despite some losses, the Horned Frogs are still a very solid team. Beating TCU would give Texas a confidence boost that is much-needed. Many people forget how inexperienced this Texas team is despite their solid overall record.
Clean Up the Walks
Walks have been a major issue for Texas pitching for a few weeks now. They were able to avoid disaster against Baylor with all the walks but it caught up to them last weekend against Oklahoma. If you can’t throw strikes, it’s going to make for a long day on the mound. The scouting report is out to make Longhorn pitchers throw strikes. Until they prove they can, opposing hitters will be patient. This TCU offense can score in bunches which means it’s even more pivotal to throw strikes.
Get Tanner Witt Home Healthy
Head Coach David Pierce announced Thursday that star pitcher Tanner Witt will make his season debut on Monday. Witt had a breakout freshman year before suffering an elbow injury forcing him to miss most of the 2022 season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Pierce announced that Witt will only throw one inning, but it’s promising nonetheless. It has been discussed that Witt will increase his workload with each start as long as his elbow responds well. By the end of the year Pierce has said Witt could possibly throw 60 pitches or more. That would be a big help for the Longhorns pitching staff.
(Photo: Twitter @1trillcarter)
Spring practice is over, and the Texas coaching staff has wasted no time diving straight into portal recruiting to try to bolster the roster headed into the 2023 season. The Longhorns landed a key piece on Monday afternoon, as Minnesota transfer DT Trill Carter selected Texas over Arkansas and Ohio State.
Carter started 24 games for the Gophers over the past two seasons. In 2022, he totaled 19 tackles and 1.5 sacks. The Georgia native figures to factor into the interior defensive line rotation that already includes T'Vondre Sweat, Byron Murphy, Alfred Collins and Vernon Broughton.
(Photo: USA Today)
The Orange-White spring game featured a lot of interesting storylines. The debut of Arch Manning, Maalik Murphy getting his first live action with fans in the stands and a revamped WR room featuring AD Mitchell. Let's take a look at some of the biggest takeaways in a game that saw the White team come out with a 21-10 win.
Obviously all eyes were on the quarterbacks, and all 3 of Quinn Ewers, Maalik Murphy and Arch Manning saw significant snaps. Ewers finished the afternoon 16 of 23 for 195 yards and a TD. His brightest moment was a deep ball connection to Xavier Worthy, something that did not happen far too often last year. Murphy was first out to navigate the second team offense and was 9 of 13 for 165 yards and a long TD to Johntay Cook. He likely cemented himself as the clear #2 behind Ewers headed into the offseason. Manning finished 5 of 13 for 30 yards. The early enrollee freshman did not receive much help from his offensive line or receivers, but did have a few nice throws. As expected, the same moved at a different speed than what he was used to in high school. He will be fine.
Jaydon Blue stole the show at running back. The sophomore averaged over 5 yards per carry and had a dazzling rushing TD where he displayed elusiveness and accelerated in the open field. Freshman Cedric Baxter punched in a 1-yard TD on 4th down and didn't look out of place. Sophomore Savion Red, fresh off the move from WR to RB, ran hard and finished with 45 yards on 9 carries.
Texas appears to have a really good problem at WR. AD Mitchell did not disappoint in his first action in front of fans, grabbing 6 catches for 58 yards and a one-handed TD in the endzone. The Georgia transfer was as advertised and will play a big role on the 2023 team. Jordan Whittington was his usual self (5 catches for 59 yards) and Worthy had a team leading 83 receiving yards. Freshman Johntay Cook and DeAndre Moore both had freshman moments, but played well and should find themselves in the WR rotation come the fall.
It is tough to evaluate the OL in a spring game setting, but the most interesting note was Neto Umeozulu running with the first team at LG, allowing Hayden Center to play center for Orange team.
On defense, the first team unit played well. Terrance Brooks, Ryan Watts and Gavin Holmes all flashed in the secondary. T'Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy made their presence felt up front. Former walk-on Jett Bush also had several nice plays on the afternoon.
You don't want to take too much away from a glorified scrimmage, but Texas looks to be in such a better place at so many positions on the field compared to a year or two ago. The Longhorns still have some questions marks (interior OL, LB opposite of Jaylan Ford, pass rush from the edge spots) but it pales in comparison to the question marks Texas has had entering the past two seasons.
This is far and away the most talented roster Steve Sarkisian has had in his 3 years at Texas. It is now time for that to translate to the win column.
The second portal window of the offseason is set to open April 15th and movement has begun on the Texas roster.
WR Brenen Thompson, LB Trevell Johnson and LB Derrick Brown will all reportedly enter the transfer portal (per Nick Harris of Rivals)
Johnson and Brown did not appear in any games their freshman season, while Thompson had 1 catch for 32 yards. All 3 were members of the 2022 recruiting class.