No surprises at quarterback
The quarterback battle shaped out largely like most people expected it to, with Garrett Gilbert winning out over the three less experienced options. If there was any upset at all, it might have come that Case McCoy was able to hold off true freshman David Ash for the No. 2 spot behind Gilbert. Texas coach Mack Brown said the staff still has to have the redshirt discussion with Ash and his family, and if Ash says he'd like to have a chance to play, you would think that they might prepare him for the No. 2 spot.
Youth will be served
Out of the 13 spots listed on offense, seven will be freshmen or sophomores. The defense is a little bit more experienced, with five of the 12 positions manned by freshmen or sophomores. But even more than that, the key depth is also largely consumed by players in their first few years on campus.
Consider this: Out of the 21 Class of 2011 signees who made it to campus — this year's freshman class — 17 are on the two-deep listed Monday (that goes to 18 of 22 if you include true freshman Tevin Jackson, who arrived a year late from the Class of 2010). And they're spread out … Texas has true freshmen on the two-deep at quarterback, running back, wide receiver, offensive line, defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, cornerback and safety.
In fact, it would be easier to list the four who didn't make it — offensive linemen Garrett Greenlea, Marcus Hutchins and Taylor Doyle and recently converted fullback Chet Moss — than it would be to list those who did. And Moss and Greenlea seem somewhat exempt, as Moss was on the two-deep after the spring at middle linebacker, but made a selfless move to fullback in the fall, and Greenlea might have landed a spot on the two-deep if he wasn't battling mono.
Most of those 17 are supplying key depth at this point. Only Jaxon Shipley at the H wide receiver spot and Quandre Diggs at cornerback are listed as starters. Not coincidentally perhaps, both are also listed as starting return men, with Diggs serving as one of the two starting kickoff returners and Shipley as the starting punt returner.
Wide receiver the youngest position?
Speaking of both Shipley and Diggs, they make up part of the two youngest position groups on the team. And as much press as the young cornerback group has gotten about being a potential weak spot on the defense, wide receiver is actually looked at as a potential strength.
Three players are listed as starting cornerbacks (we're not counting the hybrid safety/nickel spot): Adrian Phillips (sophomore), Carrington Bydnom (sophomore) and Diggs (freshman).
Wide receiver lists four starting players, with two of those serving their first years on the playing field: Mike Davis (sophomore), Darius White (sophomore), John Harris (redshirt freshman) and Shipley (freshman). So the wide receiver spot might actually be a tad less experienced as a starting group, though once you get into the backups, the wide receivers have junior DeSean Hales while the cornerbacks don't have any player who has played more than one year on the field.
Either way, it's worth noting that both positions will be filled largely by players without multiple years of experience.
It's worth stating that the depth chart is "fluid" according to Mack Brown, and could change all the way up until game time. Still, without further ado, here's the depth chart handed out Monday for the Rice game.
H-WR: 8 Jaxon Shipley (FR); 81 Miles Onyegbule (FR)
Z-WR: 9 John Harris (rFR) -OR- 4 Darius White (SO)
WR-X: 1 Mike Davis (SO); 3 DeSean Hales (JR) -OR- 16 Bryant Jackson (rFR)
QB: 7 Garrett Gilbert (JR); 6 Case McCoy (SO); 14 David Ash (FR) -OR- 5 Connor Wood (rFR)
SS: 21 Blake Gideon (SR); 7 Nolan Brewster (JR)
NB: 4 Vaccaro; 17 Phillips
P: 19 Tucker (SR); 14 William Russ (rFR) -OR- 14 Ash
KR: 26 Monroe -AND- 28 Diggs; 28 Brown -AND- 8 Shipley; 4 White -AND- 2 Whittaker
PR: 8 Shipley; 28 Diggs; 1 Davis
KOS: 19 Tucker; 14 Russ; 31 Pruitt
H: 86 McCrary; 14 Russ; 8 Shipley
LS (PUNTS): 48 Zumberge; 49 Wier; 21 Gideon
GUNNERS: 26 Thompson -AND- 16 Jackson