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Notes from Steve Sarkisian's Alabama Game Week Press Conference

On Labor Day, Longhorns head football coach Steve Sarkisian spoke with the media ahead of this weekend's game against top-ranked Alabama. Below, you can find some of our notes from this week's press conference.
Notes:
Sarkisian was pleased with how Texas performed in week one but states that the performance was not perfect. Sarkisian was happy that 76 Longhorns were able to play in the team's season-opener. He expects some of the special team's unit's struggles to be corrected swiftly. He noted the importance of the team's practices for this week. Sarkisian highlighted several members of the Crimson Tide's front seven, such as: Dallas Turner, Will Anderson and Chris Braswell  
 

Ja'Tavion Sanders & balanced attack lead Longhorns to dominant 52-10 victory over ULM

On Saturday, the Longhorns opened the season at home against Louisiana-Monroe, and quickly sent the Warhawks packing with a dominant 52-10 victory. After suffering an early first quarter interception to the Warhawks, redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers settled in quickly and let his playmaking teammates do what they do best - make plays. 
Following the game, Sarkisian noted that it was important for him to remove the "training wheels" from Quinn Ewers and thought that the early adversity that the young quarterback faced might have actually been beneficial. Furthermore, he noted that Ewers is "astute enough to know that he has some really talented people around him," and was happy about the way that he bounced back from his first-drive struggles.
From early on in Saturday's game, it became evident that Ewers has already developed a connection with sophomore tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders, who finished the game with 85 receiving yards (leading the team) and a touchdown reception. In fact, Ja'Tavion's game-high 85 receiving yards might very well be the first time in over a decade that a Longhorns tight end led the team in receiving yards at the end of a contest.
Despite the lopsided scoreboard to end the game, the Longhorns stat sheet was relatively balanced across the board as the team made an impact in all three facets of the game. For example, D'Shawn Jamison had himself a night with a blocked punt on special teams which, was returned for a touchdown by Keilan Robinson, and a third quarter pick-six interception on defense. However, Texas's running back room was not left out of the scoring action as Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson, Jonathon Brooks and Keilan Robinson all found the end zone at one point or another, with Keilan's score being the result of Jamison's blocked punt.
Additionally, along with Jamison, Longhorns defenders DeMarvion Overshown and Barryn Sorrell were flying to the ball and made several drive-stopping efforts. To finish the night, Overshown led the team with a game-high eight tackles and Sorrell accounted for a game-high 1.5 sacks.
Following the game, Sarkisian noted that the coaching staff noticed that Sorrell had "potential," and that the sophomore edge rusher has "worked on his craft and cut it loose tonight."
Overall, the Longhorns had a successful season-opening game at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium but, now, the team must look ahead to the Alabama Crimson Tide, led by Nick Saban and co., who are looming. The Longhorns will host Alabama next Saturday with the kickoff set for 11 A.M. (CT). The matchup will be aired on FOX with ESPN's College Gameday also set to be in town.
Game Stats:
QB Quinn Ewers: 16/24, 225 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT RB Bijan Robinson: 10 rushes, 71 rushing yards and 2 total TDs TE Ja'Tavion Sanders: 6 receptions, 85 receiving yards and 1 TD LB DeMarvion Overshown: 8 tackles CB D'Shawn Jamison: 2 tackles, 1 INT and 1 TD

GAME DAY: Texas Longhorns vs. UL-Monroe Warhawks

The Texas Longhorns (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) host the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium in the season opener for both programs.  Texas' Steve Sarkisian and ULM's Terry Bowden are both in their second year as head coaches of their respective programs.  Both teams had losing records last season, with the Longhorns ending their season with a win over Kansas State after losing their previous six games.   Like Texas, the Warhawks did not go bowling after losing their final five games and finishing the season with a 4-8 record.
Both teams look to improve on last season's efforts, with the Longhorns replacing former star quarterback Sam Ehlinger with Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers.  The Warhawks will give the starting nod to sophmore Chandler Rogers who played in all 12 games for ULM last season.
The Longhorns are 110-16-3 (.863) all-time in home openers, with wins in their last four.
What: Texas Longhorns (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) vs ULM Warhawks (0-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Venue: Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, Texas
When: Saturday, September 3rd, 2022
Time: 7:00 p.m. (CST)
TV: Longhorn Network
All-Time Series: Texas leads ULM 1-0
Last Meeting: Texas defeated ULM 59-20 (9/5/2009 - Austin, TX)
Relevant Information:
Scouting Report: ULM Warhawks Staff Predictions: Texas vs. ULM Discuss the Texas Longhorns vs. ULM Warhawks Game

Longhorns Recruiting Road Trip: Week 1

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to cover two of the biggest high school football games in the Central Texas area. Today, I will remark on some of my takeaways from the season-opening week in Texas high school football.
New Braunfels vs Denton Ryan
 
On Thursday, the Denton Ryan Raiders travelled to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to take on the New Braunfels Unicorns. In the season-opening contest, two things were apparent: 2023 five-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. and 2023 four-star running back Kalib Hicks are good at football. Unfortunately for the Longhorns, Hill, a Texas target, elected to commit to Texas A&M in July while Hicks is currently.
At the end of the night, Hill had tallied 13 tackles and a forced fumble, to go along with 70 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Furthermore, a continuing trend that I have seen in every Denton Ryan game that I have covered with Hill is that he provides the team with a bit of a necessary mean streak from the linebacker position. Thankfully for Texas, National Signing Day is still a ways away from today, however Hill appears to be the type of player that Texas can not be missing out on - especially at a much-needed linebacker position.
Along with Hill on defense, 2025 cornerback Trae Williams was able to show off his playmaking ability with an interception on defense. Moreover, Williams is certainly a prospect to keep an eye on, especially with Denton Ryan having proven to be a Division 1 talent factory over the years.
On the offensive side of the ball, Kalib Hicks was having an offensive field day for the Raiders, particularly in the first half when he hurdling defenders on his way to picking up chunk yardage. Ultimately, Hicks finished the game with 129 rushing yards and a touchdown.
With all of this being said, the New Braunfels Unicorns came into Thursday's contest looking for a fight and they certainly got one. But, in the end, the Unicorns were the last team standing despite trailing 33-14 at one point in the third quarter.
 
Lake Belton vs #8 Leander Rouse
 
In my second game of the weekend, I made the short trip over to Leander to cover Lake Belton's matchup against the Rouse Raiders. On Friday, I was looking forward to seeing 2024 five-star wide receiver Micah Hudson in action, but was impressed by the team as a whole. But, with that said, Hudson got the scoring action started off with a bang as he exposed the Rouse defense on its first play as he accounted for an explosive touchdown rush immediately.
Later in the game, Hudson made several more explosive plays, including a lengthy touchdown reception in which he made the entire defense look silly as he traversed the field and showed off his ability to go 0-60 mph a few times. Afterwards, his final performing act of the night was a heavily contested touchdown catch in which he skied over two defenders to make the grab. Additionally, one should also credit Lake Belton senior quarterback Connor Crews who was setting up his receivers for success all night. Hudson finished the contest with 7 receptions, 143 receiving yards, 2 TD receptions, 92 rushing yards, and 1 rushing TD.
On defense, one athlete that automatically stood out for Lake Belton was 2024 cornerback Selman Bridges, who is an intimidating presence in the secondary at 6'4". Bridges made an impact on the game through a pick-six interception in which he snatched the ball away from the offense. Currently, Bridges has 6 scholarship offers from schools such as Baylor and TCU.
Also in the secondary, Bruce Onchweri also was making plays in the secondary, capitalized with an interception of his own.
Ultimately, Rouse did not have the firepower to match the Broncos and Lake Belton came away with an impressive 47-21 upset victory.
 
Extra Point:
The main takeaway from week one is that Micah Hudson is a top-tier wide receiver in the state of Texas and ranks up there with former high school stars Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
 
Miles Logged: 
152 miles (total)

Staff Predictions: Texas Longhorns vs. University of Louisiana-Monroe

Photo: USA TODAY Sports
The Texas Longhorns, led by second year head coach Steve Sarkisian, will take the field at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday night as they host the University of Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks.  Terry Bowden's team went 4-8 last season and lost five straight to end the season, but they aren't without talent.  Senior wideout Boogie Knight led ULM with 588 receiving yards and three touchdowns last season and Texas fans should expect to hear his name called often on Saturday.
Heralded Ohio State quarterback transfer Quinn Ewers will orchestrate a Texas offense that looks to shake off a dismal 5-7 season in Steve Sarkisian's first year in Austin.  Texas returns a strong running back corps which includes Bijan Robinson, Roschon Johnson, Keilan Robinson and Johnathan Brooks.  All eyes will be on the offensive line, which struggled last year, but returns starters and will likely include one or more true freshmen.
Texas has been stung in season openers over the last five seasons, losing to Maryland at home and on the road in consecutive years.  Sarkisian feels that his team has bonded even closer in the off-season and through camp, which should contribute to team confidence.
It's a new season and Alabama looms next week, but the Longhorns need to get past the Warhawks first.  Do they get caught looking ahead and suffer an upset?  Or do they stay focused and play for each other and send Bowden's team back to Louisiana with a loss?
The HornSports staff gives their predictions on the outcome of Saturday's game at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium.
Jameson McCausland (0-0)
The offseason is finally over and football is back. Last year, Texas had to open the season against a pesky Louisiana squad who ended up only losing one game all year. This year, Louisiana-Monroe comes to Austin and no one will be confusing the Warhawks with the Ragin' Cajuns. ULM went 0-10 two seasons ago before improving to 4-8 in Terry Bowden's first year. Despite the record improvement, this is still a huge mismatch on paper.
The biggest weakness for Louisiana-Monroe is their secondary, so it should be a good opportunity for Quinn Ewers to knock off any rust he has after not starting a game for almost two years. It is certainly possible that Texas sleepwalks their way through part of the game while looking ahead to Alabama, but the Longhorns should be able to score almost at will and put the game out of reach relatively early.
Score Prediction:  Texas 48, ULM 10
Aaron Carrara (0-0)
If Texas came out and laid an egg in the opener I would be very, very surprised.  I think we will see a Texas offense that dominates, particularly in the running game, with Quin Ewers notching a strong outing through the air in a tune-up for the Tide next week.  Both the Texas defense and offensive line need improvement this season, and this game gives ample opportunity to start things off on the right foot.  ULM just isn't that good of a football team and the Longhorns should have no problem stacking the points up in front of a home crowd.  Look for a defensive touchdown and possibly one one special teams to compliment a solid performance by the 'Horns in Week 1.
Score Prediction:  Texas 51, ULM 10
Mitch Lovell (0-0)
Texas shines ahead of their massive test in week 2 when they host the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Score Prediction:  Texas 52, ULM 14
TFloss32 (0-0)
It may sound dramatic, but Saturday feels like the beginning of a new era for the Texas Longhorns. This is the starting point for Steve Sarkisian to make his mark and entrench himself in Austin as the unquestioned leader of the program after a successful offseason recruiting and adding key pieces from the transfer portal. Thankfully that journey begins with Louisiana-Monroe as a 37.5-point favorite. This match-up isn’t one where you wonder if the good guys will come out with the W, but if they can put together a mostly clean, dominant performance against a lesser opponent and we aren’t left debating if the previous season’s issues are still lingering. What we do know for certain is the front end of Texas’ schedule gives little room for error after this weekend.
Score Prediction:  Texas 48, ULM 17
Devon Messinger (0-0)
On Saturday, the Longhorns will kick off the 2022 season at home against the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. Last season, ULM had a 4-8 record and was certainly not proficient on offense - with no one eclipsing 500 rushing yards or 1,500 passing yards on the season.
Despite ULM's struggles from last year, the Longhorns were no angel on the football field either. Of course, a lot has changed since last season, including the addition of new starting quarterback Quinn Ewers. While Saturday presents Steve Sarkisian with an opportunity to test Quinn's arm, also expect the team to lean on the running game with Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson. However, the real position group to watch on Saturday will be the offensive line, as it is quite possible that the unit will be needing to start four underclassmen. As a result, the season opener will prove to be a prominent opportunity for the line to get some reps in before the Crimson Tide rolls into town in week two.
Score Prediction:  Texas 34, ULM 10

Scouting Report: Louisiana-Monroe

(Photo: USA Today)
Texas will kickoff the 2022 season Saturday night when they welcome Louisiana-Monroe to Austin. The Warhawks, who are under second year coach Terry Bowden, are coming off a 2021 season where they started 4-3 but went winless in their final 5 games to miss bowl eligibility. 
Bowden has had to replace both coordinators this offseason and turnover a good portion of his roster. Let's take a look at what to expect from ULM on Saturday night.
Offense
The majority of the returning experience for ULM comes on the offensive side of the ball. The bad news for the Warhawks is the offense was not very good in 2021 and lost several key pieces this offseason, including offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez. Replacing Rodriguez is Matt Kubik, who actually previously served as the offensive coordinator at ULM from 2016 to 2019. Kubik will have to his work cut out for him, as ULM rushed for a measly 3.2 yards per carry a season ago. ULM does return their top two leading rushers in Malik Jackson (451 yards in 2021) and Andrew Henry (485 yards in 2021).
At quarterback, Bowden named sophomore Chandler Rogers the starter. Rogers started a handful of games in 2021 and appeared in all 12. He finished the season completing 63% of his passes for 1311 yards and 9 touchdowns to go along with 3 interceptions. Rogers also uses his legs fairly well (367 rushing yards in 2021). His favorite target will be senior Boogie Knight, who had a team high 588 receiving yards in 2021 with 3 touchdowns.
A big unknown for the Warhawks is the offensive line. Projected starting LT Willie Tyler, who started his career at Texas, transferred to Rutgers this offseason and the offense will also have to replace C Garrett Hirsch. Bowden has previously mentioned depth along the OL as a concern and ULM will be breaking in several young starters.
Defense
Former West Virginia defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was hired by Bowden this offseason to take over the ULM defense. The Warhawks were abysmal against the pass in 2021, allowing over 290 yards per game through the air. Things were not much better on the ground, as ULM ranked 91st in the country in rush defense allowing 175 yards per game. 
Nose tackle Caleb Thomas is a multi-year starter who does a good job in the run game, but the rest of the defensive line is a major question mark. ULM is replacing both starting defensive ends from the 2021 squad.
If there is a strength of the defense, it is at linebacker. Middle linebacker Zack Woodard is an all-conference player who is extremely active. Tristan Driggers figures to see a lot of snaps at the other primary LB spot and is undersized at 6'0 200 pounds.
ULM is replacing 5 players in the secondary who had starting experience. The Warhawks hit the portal and junior college ranks in an attempt to fill some holes in the backend of their defense. It will be hard for the unit to be as bad as they were a season ago, but the number of new faces makes this unit an unknown.
Overall Thoughts
Terry Bowden took over a program that went 0-10 in 2021 and improved their win total to 4 in his first year, which is impressive. The Warhawks could very likely be an improved team from a season ago, but it tough to see a scenario where they are able to hang with Texas. ULM has too many holes defensively and the Longhorns should be able to move the ball without much resistance. It is possible that ULM lands a few punches on offense early in the game to make things interesting, but the question marks on the OL will make life difficult for Chandler Rogers.

Notes from Steve Sarkisian's Louisiana-Monroe Game Week Press Conference

On Monday, Longhorns head football coach Steve Sarkisian addressed the media ahead of Saturday's season-opening game against Louisiana-Monroe. Below, we have listed several notes from Sarkisian's press conference with the media.
Notes:
Noted that redshirt freshman punter Isaac Pearson has looked good, while freshman Will Stone and sophomore Bert Auburn continue to compete for the starting placekicker job. Commented that he feels that this year's roster has playmakers on all three aspects of the game, particularly noting special teams play and the defense's ability to create turnovers. Stated that he believes that much of last year's struggles can be attributed to a lack of confidence. Notes the importance of a team's bond and believes that this year's roster is closer than it was in the past - giving examples of position groups hanging out off the field. Stated that the tight end position is quicker than it was a year ago.  
 

Bijan Robinson, Xavier Worthy given AP Preseason All-American honors

Photo credit: BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK
In advance of the upcoming college football season, the Associated Press released its list of preseason All-Americans on Monday.  Included on the list were junior running back Bijan Robinson and sophmore wide receiver Xavier Worthy.
Robinson was a first team selection by the AP, coming off a sophmore campaign that saw him rush for 1,127 yards on 195 carries for 11 touchdowns.  He also had 295 receiving yards with four touchdowns.
Worthy, a second team selection, made his mark on the 40 Acres last season by leading the Big 12 in receiving touchdowns and receiving yards per game (81.1).  Additionally he broke freshman records at the University of Texas for receiving yards (981), receptions (62) and receiving touchdowns (12).  
Both Robinson and Worthy were named to the Preseason All-Big 12 Team and are on an array of preseason award watch lists.
Full AP Preseason All-Americans
FIRST TEAM - OFFENSE
Quarterback - Bryce Young, junior, Alabama
Running Backs - Bijan Robinson, junior, Texas; TreVeyon Henderson, sophomore, Ohio State
Tackles - Peter Skoronski, junior, Northwestern; Paris Johnson Jr., junior, Ohio State
Guards - Andrew Vorhees, sixth-year, Southern California; Caleb Chandler, sixth-year, Louisville
Center - Jarrett Patterson, senior, Notre Dame
Tight End - Brock Bowers, sophomore, Georgia
Wide Receivers - Jordan Addison, junior, Southern California; Jaxon Smith-Njigba, junior, Ohio State; Kayshon Boutte, junior, LSU
All-Purpose Player - Deuce Vaughn, junior, Kansas State
Kicker - Jake Moody, senior, Michigan
FIRST TEAM - DEFENSE
Edge - Will McDonald IV, senior, Iowa State; Isaiah Foskey, senior, Notre Dame
Linemen - Bryan Bresee, junior, Clemson; Jalen Carter, junior, Georgia
Linebackers - Will Anderson Jr., junior, Alabama; Noah Sewell, junior, Oregon; Jack Campbell, senior, Iowa
Cornerbacks - Kelee Ringo, sophomore, Georgia; Eli Ricks, junior, Alabama
Safeties - Jordan Battle, junior, Alabama; Antonio Johnson, junior, Texas A&M
Defensive Back - Riley Moss, senior, Iowa
Punter - Adam Korsak, senior, Rutgers
SECOND TEAM - OFFENSE
Quarterback – C.J. Stroud, junior, Ohio State
Running Backs - Braelon Allen, sophomore, Wisconsin; Sean Tucker, junior, Syracuse
Tackles - Connor Galvin, senior, Baylor; Dawand Jones, senior, Ohio State
Guards - O’Cyrus Torrence, senior, Florida; Emil Ekiyor, senior, Alabama
Center - John Michael Schmitz, sixth-year, Minnesota
Tight End - Michael Mayer, junior, Notre Dame
Wide Receivers - Xavier Worthy, sophomore, Texas; Josh Downs, junior, North Carolina; A.T. Perry, senior, Wake Forest
All-Purpose Player - Jahmyr Gibbs, junior, Alabama
Kicker - Harrison Mevis, junior, Missouri
SECOND TEAM - DEFENSE
Edge - Myles Murphy, junior, Clemson; Nolan Smith, senior, Georgia
Linemen - Calijah Kancey, junior, Pittsburgh; Siaki Ika, junior, Baylor
Linebackers - Nick Herbig, junior, Wisconsin; Andre Carter II, senior, Army; Edefuan Ulofoshio, senior, Washington
Cornerbacks - Cam Smith, junior, South Carolina; Clark Phillips III, junior, Utah
Safeties - Brandon Joseph, junior, Notre Dame; Jalen Catalon, junior, Arkansas
Defensive Back - Jammie Robinson, senior, Florida State
Punter - Kyle Ostendorp, junior, Arizona

Quinn Ewers named starting QB

The QB competition between Quinn Ewers and Hudson Card has come to an end, with Steve Sarkisian announcing through a UT spokesperson on Friday that Ewers would open the season as the starting quarterback.
Ewers transferred to Texas after spending his first season at Ohio State. The Texas native was ranked the #1 overall recruit in the country coming out of Southlake Carroll before deciding to skip his senior season to head to Columbus a year early. Ewers redshirted during the 2021 season and did not attempt a pass.
The Longhorns are set to open the 2022 season against Louisiana-Monroe in 15 days.

Steve Sarkisian provides injury updates

With the season opener 18 days away, injuries were the biggest topic of discussion for Texas as they exited their first scrimmage this past Saturday.
Steve Sarkisian confirmed on Monday evening that WR Isaiah Neyor and OL Junior Angilau would miss the 2022 season with knee injuries. RB Roschon Johnson, DB Jahdae Barron and OL Cole Hutson were also banged up and would miss some time. Sarkisian said the hope is all 3 would be available for the season opener.
In addition to the injury news, Sarkisian also provided an update on the status of WR Agiye Hall, who was suspended indefinitely last week following an arrest. Sarkisian said the program is currently working with Hall and his family to make sure that when the returns to the team, he will be in a good spot.

Report: Isaiah Neyor, Junior Angilau suffer season-ending injuries

(Photo: USA Today)
The injury bug was something Texas battled throughout the 2021 season, and it unfortunately struck again on Saturday afternoon as WR Isaiah Neyor and OL Junior Angilau reportedly suffered season-ending knee injuries during the first scrimmage of fall camp, according to Orangebloods.com.
Neyor, who transferred to Texas from Wyoming this off-season, was set to open the season as the #2 receiver for the Longhorns after having a breakout season for the Cowboys in 2021 (44 catches, 878 yards and 12 touchdowns).
Angilau entered 2022 with 34 career starts at guard and was set to help anchor a Texas offensive line that would be breaking in several new starters.
In addition to the injuries suffered by Neyor and Angilau, RB Roschon Johnson was also banged up and will reportedly miss some time.
The Longhorns are 20 days away from opening the season against Louisiana-Monroe.

Analyzing the Texas Football Schedule: What Qualifies as a "Successful" Season for the Longhorns in 2022?

It has been a wild ride for Texas fans over the last decade, with many ups and equally as many downs on the gridiron.  At a team level, preseason goals typically involve a conference championship and a hope for more, but the curtain of truth will not be unveiled on this team until several games into the season and maybe longer. Steve Sarkisian has reeled in an impressive recruiting class in his first full cycle, but as you know it takes time to acclimate and develop high school talent.  Let’s take a realistic look at what it would take to call this season "successful" for Texas.
This year the Longhorns open by hosting Louisiana Monroe and then Alabama before wrapping up non-conference play with UT-San Antonio. The Warhawks are a decent opponent to begin the season with, but Texas should take care of business easily and have a boost of confidence as they await the arrival of Nick Saban's team the following week. Alabama will by far be the best team the Longhorns face in 2022, plain and simple. This game will serve as a good measuring stick for the 2022 Longhorns. While nobody expects them to win, if the Longhorns can keep it competitive with the preseason favorite to win the national title, it could help Sarkisian and Texas in the confidence department, which leads to more potential wins in close games.  It certainly would not hurt recruiting efforts either. Game three serves an intriguing matchup vs. UTSA, led by longtime Texas High School Football coach and former Texas Assistant Jeff Traylor. In 2021 Traylor led UTSA to 12 wins and a Conference USA Championship. This could be a game that may not turn out to be the cupcake it would have been in the past, but Texas should win this one handily.
Texas running back Gabriel Watson (33) runs ball. Texas Tech took on the University of Texas at Austin at Darrell K. Royal stadium in Austin, Texas on Sept. 25, 2021. Photo: Aaron E. Martinez / American-Statesman via Imagn Content Services, LLC
 The Longhorns then open conference play against Texas Tech on September 24th in Lubbock. Lubbock is always a rowdy environment when Texas comes to town, but this is definitely a winnable game for the 'Horns. Last year the Longhorns hung 70 on the Red Raiders in Austin, and that will certainly will be on Tech’s mind entering the game. Following that Texas welcomes West Virginia before heading into the Cotton Bowl to face rival Oklahoma. After losing Lincoln Riley, Caleb Williams and many others, it is 10-year rarity in which Texas enters the Cotton Bowl as the favorite. Following last year’s collapse against the Sooners, this will be a game that Steve Sarkisian and company will be looking to get the bad taste out of their mouths. It will be interesting to see who gets the best of the other between Sark and Brent Venables in their first matchup as head coaches in the Red River Rivalry.

Texas' Bijan Robinson (5) runs past Oklahoma's Billy Bowman (5) during the Red River Showdown college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Texas (UT) Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Ou Vs Texas.  Photo: © BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK
Next, Texas welcomes Iowa State to Austin before travelling to Stillwater to face Oklahoma State. The outcome of the Oklahoma State game will be a critical factor in Texas' bid to make it to Arlington to play in the Big 12 Championship Game. At this point in the season, the young Longhorns' roster will have some big boy experience and we should know a lot about this team's capacity. Following the matchup with the Pokes, Texas enjoys a bye before going on the road on November 5th to battle Kansas State in Manhattan. This is a place that has been hard for Texas to win historically but the Longhorns have won the last two in the Little Apple and hope to make it more. Chris Klieman’s team led the Big 12 in preseason all-conference selections with five, and it will be worthwhile that Texas has an extra week to prepare for the 'Kats. On November 12th Texas hosts a rebuilding TCU program which will surely not be short on storylines, as longtime TCU coach Gary Patterson is now in Austin as a defensive analyst. In his first year at the helm in Fort Worth, Sonny Dykes will have the Frogs ready to play, and Patterson and Sarkisian will make sure this team doesn't overlook them.  Texas closes out their road matchups in Lawrence against the Jayhawks after losing to them in a shocking upset in Austin last November. This is a game that every Texas player certainly has circled on the calendar and look for Texas to run up the score. The Longhorns wrap up their regular season with a key home battle against 2021 Big 12 Champion Baylor. This will likely be the second toughest conference matchup behind the game in Stillwater.
Now what are realistic expectations for Texas in the 2022 season? Going 2-1 in non-conference play is a must, no questions asked. Any result worse than that will be a massive disappointment. The next must is beating Oklahoma in Dallas, as this is the most underwhelming Oklahoma team in over a decade.  Factoring in a loss to Alabama, anything more than two conference losses would be viewed as a disappointment in many Texas fans eyes.  And understandably so.  Get to 9-3 and a likely conference title appearance will follow. This may seem like lofty expectations following a 5-7 season and 40% of the roster being new, however this season's Big 12 has no clear juggernaut for the first time in many years. The conference is there for the taking and there is no reason that Texas can’t be the team to go and grab it.

4-star RB Cedric Baxter commits to Texas

Texas continues to build an impressive 2023 class and added a key piece Wednesday evening by picking up a commitment from RB Cedric Baxter.
Baxter, who is widely considered one of the best running back prospects in the country, chose Texas over Miami, Florida and Texas A&M. 
The Orlando native rushed for over 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2021. Baxter's commitment gives Texas 22 verbal pledges for the 2023 cycle as the Longhorns look to secure another top 5 class.

Texas lands 4-star LB Derion Gullette

Steve Sarkisian and the Texas coaching staff picked up another key victory on the recruiting trail Friday afternoon as 4-star LB Derion Gullette pledged to the Longhorns.
Gullette is the 21st commit of the 2023 class and chose Texas over Texas A&M, Ohio State and Oklahoma. He starred on both sides of the ball last year for Marlin high school, totaling 125 tackles while also recording over 1400 yards receiving and 14 touchdowns. Gullette will reportedly miss his senior season due to a knee injury, but he brings a lot of upside at a position of big need for the Longhorns.

Texas Target Highlights: 2023 4-Star CB Javien Toviano [Arlington Martin]

Prior to the start of the 2022 football season, 2023 four-star cornerback Javien Toviano remains to be one of the most sought-after recruits in the country. In fact, the Arlington Martin product currently holds 34 college offers from powerhouse programs such as Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.
The 6'0" cornerback is one of the few true lockdown cornerbacks in Texas high school football, and is not afraid to face off against some of the state's best wide receiver and quarterback duos. In addition to his work on the defensive side of the ball, Toviano showcases his athleticism on special teams and occasionally on offense, as a wildcat quarterback. Last season, Toviano tallied 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 1 kick return touchdown and 8 rushing touchdowns.
As of today, Toviano is ranked as the fifth highest-rated recruit in the state of Texas during the 2023 recruiting cycle according to the 247Sports Composite. If Texas were to land Toviano, he would become their highest-rated class of 2023 pledge from the state of Texas, surpassing wide receiver Johntay Cook, who is just one spot below Toviano.

News and notes from Steve Sarkisian's press conference to open fall camp

(Photo: USA Today)
Steve Sarkisian opened up fall camp Tuesday afternoon by meeting with the media to discuss the offseason and goals for the Longhorns as they prepare to open up the 2022 season.  Here were the hot takeaways from the first of many press conferences from the head coach this season.
Sarkisian was asked about what he asked himself this offseason coming off the 5-7 2021 campaign. He responded by saying one of the biggest things he focused on when doing a self-reflection was culture. Sarkisian said he did not feel like his team responded well to adversity last season. One of the hottest topics of the day was about quarterbacks. Sarkisian said both Quinn Ewers and Hudson Card have certain things they need to work on before potentially being named the start. For Card, Sarkisian mentioned the comfort level he has with the playbook, something Ewers is still learning to master. In terms of a timeline for naming a starter, Sarkisian said he has an idea of when he wants to do it but would not be sharing that timeline with the media. Defensively, Sarkisian talked about finding consistency. He referenced several games in 2021 where the Texas defense played well in the first half but fell apart after halftime. He also mentioned they made some adjustments scheme wise as they to turn the corner in year 2 under Pete Kwiatkowski. Sarkisian was specifically asked about LB Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey, who he said is solid against the run, slippery against blocks and also possesses the ability to drop back into coverage. On the injury front, Sarkisian said there were no new injuries suffered over the summer. There will likely be a few guys who are limited from previous injuries to open camp, but no one will be completely held out of action. The Longhorns are set to open fall camp on Wednesday, with the season opener against Louisiana Monroe just 31 days away.

Texas Target Highlights: 2023 4-Star DE Colton Vasek

Late last season, 2023 four-star defensive end Colton Vasek, out of Westlake, emerged as one of the premier defensive lineman in the country following a string of impressive playoff performances - ultimately being capped with a state title. Since then, Vasek's recruitment has become a national battle as he has received 38 college offers to date, and is considering programs such as Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas. Vasek's teammate from Westlake, 2022 four-star defensive end Ethan Burke, starred alongside Vasek during their championship run, and has since joined the Longhorns football program. Now, time will tell whether Burke and Vasek will be reunited at the college level.
Similar to Burke, Vasek's sizable frame, being listed at 6'5.5" on 247Sports, is attractive to college programs throughout the country as Vasek couples it with an innate pass rushing ability. Vasek showcased his ability to rush the quarterback in last year's championship game against Denton Guyer, a game in which he tallied three sacks in Westlake's dominant 40-21 victory.

Who Will be the #1 Running Back Next Season?

Photo: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Running back is one of the most important roles on an NFL team. There are three key aspects to the position, and they are catching passes from out of the backfield, receiving handoffs from the quarterback, and blocking. In terms of physical characteristics, a running back can be small, agile, and fast or big and strong, with both having their benefits on the field. With that in mind, let us look at who will be the leading running back in the NFL next season.
Jonathan Taylor
Having burst onto the scene for the Indianapolis Colts in 2020, Jonathan Taylor started all 17 of their games last season. Taylor accumulated a total of 2,171 yards during the season, which is the fourth most by any running back over the past decade. In the NFL last season, Taylor led the way in rushing yards, attempts, and rushing touchdowns (18), the latter of which was 3 clear of James Connor and Damien Harris, who tied for second. At 23 years of age, the 2022 season is going to be huge for Taylor, who plays the game with the perfect blend of speed and power. Taylor is an explosive player and is the top tip to be the number one running back next season.
For those who enjoying having a wager on NFL, you could back Taylor to win the AP Offensive Player of the Year award next season. Before you bet, we recommend using mobileusbetting.com, where you will find the latest bonuses plus reviews of the top US mobile betting apps ahead of the new NFL season.
Nick Chubb
For those who love to watch an elusive runner, Nick Chubb of the Cleveland Browns is your man. Since he was drafted in 2018, there has not been a better natural runner with the ball in the NFL. From 2019 onwards Chubb has reached the 1,000-yard mark, including a total of 1,259 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground last season. It is worth noting Chubb has missed several games over the past two seasons but when fit, he will be the focal point for Cleveland Browns next season, especially when Jacoby Brissett is playing quarterback. The Browns have plenty of depth in the running back position, but Chubb is the pick of the group and is definitely one to watch in 2022.
Derrick Henry
The Tennessee Titans have asked a lot of Derrick Henry over the years and the workload proved too much last season. Henry missed the second half of the regular season for the Titans having suffered a broken foot. Henry returned for the Divisional Round defeat at the hands of Cincinnati Bengals and that means he will be back and eager to go for the 2022 NFL season. Having played 8 games in 2021, Henry had amassed 237 touches and but for injury, could easily have totalled more than 470 touches last season. Due to the absence of A.J. Brown, Henry is likely to be the focal point of the Titans offense next season, making him a contender to finish as the leading running back.
Dalvin Cook
There is no doubting the ability of Dalvin Cook and he has been exceptional when fit. Throughout his career, Cook has averaged 4.5 yards per carry but has always struggled with injury. In fact, Cook has yet to complete a season and that is something Minnesota Vikings hope will change in 2022. Despite only scoring 6 times last season, Cook totalled more than 1,000 yards having missed three games due to injury. Cook is expected to play a more varied role in the Vikings offense this season and it will be interesting to see how he performs under new head coach Kevin O’Connell.
Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers, Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals, and Alvin Kamara of the New Orleans Saints are three additional running backs who could compete to be number one in that position next season in the NFL. However, the favorite to finish the season as the #1 running back must be Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts.

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