College Football Preview: The 2015 Texas Longhorns
Texas Longhorns Preview
2014 Record: 6-7 (78th of 128) Lost Texas Bowl 31-7 vs. Arkansas
Odds to Win National Championship: +8000 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The Texas Longhorns had bright spots and letdowns in Charlie Strong’s first season, and the fanbase would love to see more consistency in his second year. It was the first time Texas was not ranked in the AP Poll at least once. Still, Texas has reached four straight bowl games and remains a threat in the highly competitive Big 12.
Offense: Texas finished with an offense that ranked 113th in the country and if there’s any signs of improving as a team that much change. Tyrone Swoopes returns at quarterback after completing 58 percent of his passes for 2,400 yards and 13 touchdowns. Swoopes showed flashes of promise but needs to be far more consistent and take better care of the football. Johnathan Gray returns at running back after racking up 11 rushing touchdowns his last two seasons and Donald Catalon is a freshman who is sure to get a lot of carries. Texas lost a lot at wide receiver, but Marcus Johnson and Armanti Foreman have playmaking ability and are extremely fast. Texas also returns all five starting offensive linemen, which should help everybody improve last year’s numbers.
USA TODAY Sports
Defense: Texas returns five starters from a defense that finished 26th in the country. Hassan Ridgeway will now lead the defensive line after picking up 9.5 tackles for loss while Caleb Bluiett and Desmond Jackson add enough depth to make the Longhorns defensive front one of the best in the Big 12. Duke Thomas has proven to be a shutdown cornerback and Jason Hall is due for a breakout season after shining as a freshman. Dylan Haines also returns after leading Texas with five picks last season. Oh, and watch out for freshmen Malik Jefferson and Edwin Freeman, guys who will become household names before it’s all said and done. A lot of pressure was put on this defense last season and even with a lot of key guys leaving, there’s still enough in place for this D to still be one of the better units in the country.
Special Teams: Nick Rose returns at kicker after making 66.7 percent of 21 field goal attempts. Mitchell Becker will replace William Russ and Michael Davidson at punter.
Overall: It still feels like Texas is a year or two away from really taking that next step and getting back to competing for national titles. The offense still has some question marks, especially at the quarterback position. Still, Texas should never be taken lightly and with a team that’s still ridiculously talented, the Longhorns should have no problem clinching yet another bowl game. However, competing for a conference title in the Big 12 in year 2 is a stretch.