Mid-Spring Look: Defensive Tackles

One of the Longhorns' two tackle spots appears to be filled. Who will factor in at the other position?

The Candidates: Kheeston Randall, senior; Ashton Dorsey, sophomore; Calvin Howell, sophomore; Taylor Bible, redshirt freshman; De'Aires Cotton, redshirt freshman; Greg Daniels, redshirt freshman.

Returning Starters: Randall

What It Looks Like: With Alex Okafor moving back outside to defensive end, the Longhorns are short on potential at the position. Randall is a good starting spot. He led the Big 12 in tackles for loss by a defensive tackle last season. What's more impressive is that he did it from the nose tackle spot. With Randall's length and explosiveness, he's a natural three technique. But he'll likely start at the nose again by necessity. Originally a 250-pound defensive end, Daniels has impressed the coaching staff with his quickness after putting on 25-30 pounds. Howell and Dorsey have also earned praise and will likely be somewhere in the mix. Cotton has made decent development, but may be behind the others, while Bible earned the ire of the staff by reporting overweight last year. He was the most highly touted recruit of the six currently in camp.

Ideal Situation: Bible would get his act together, becoming the nose tackle that Texas needs to shut down the run and allowing Randall to terrify offenses by shooting gaps from the three technique spot. That would also allow the Longhorns to back Randall up with the explosive Daniels, with Dorsey and Howell splitting minutes behind Bible. Texas could then redshirt both members of its talented recruiting class in Quincy Russell and Desmond Jackson. Both have the potential to play early on.

What We Would Like To See: Realistically, Randall will stick at the nose spot, and Daniels penetrates and attacks opposing backfields. Dorsey's continued development would go a long way toward helping the Longhorns feel better about nose tackle in the future, while Howell could help provide Daniels with a strong backup until Jackson and Russell are ready to take over.

What Will Probably Happen: Randall and Daniel will likely emerge as the starters, with some combination of Howell, Dorsey and the true freshmen emerging as the backups. Ironically, both Jackson and Russell's early potential relates to their weight. Jackson is undersized at 6-foot-1 and 270 pounds, while Russell must lose some weight he acquired while recovering from injury.

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