Most Important Texas Players

We're counting down the most important players to the Longhorns' 2011 success. Sitting at No. 4 is versatile lineman Trey Hopkins.

4) Trey Hopkins, offensive line

Why is Hopkins the most important man on the Longhorns' offensive line? Because simply put, he's one of the few players who can play every position, and play each of them at a high level.

An All-Big 12 candidate at guard because of his athleticism and intelligence, Hopkins might be forced to fill in at tackle on a team that's so short of them that they're using Tray Allen and Mason Walters, two more natural guards, at those tackle spots in the starting lineup.

Hopkins was good enough a year ago to fight his way onto the two deep and earn a starting spot when Michael Huey went out with an injury. And he blocked well enough that running back Cody Johnson was able to twice top the 100-yard rushing mark during that four-game span. That Hopkins had a major impact on Johnson's performance shouldn't come as a surprise, as Johnson serves as a between-the-tackles runner.

His performance was so strong that former offensive coordinator Greg Davis compared him to former Longhorn standout Justin Blalock, and said he didn't necessarily like talking to Hopkins because he was smarter than the coaches.

Now, with the switch to the Harsinwhite offense, Hopkins will get to display his mobility by getting out and pulling, using his quickness to lock onto defenders at the second level and spring big plays. And if he's needed at tackle, he can hold down the fort there too, as he did during the spring.

Offensive line coach Stacy Searels has spent the fall moving each of the players around in an attempt to find the best fit. So it stands to reason that the most vital cog in that line is the player who can play the most spots well. If Hopkins has a big season, and begins to approach his massive potential, the Longhorn offense should be able to move the ball.

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