Texas Top-Five Newcomers: Offense

Which new Longhorns have the best chance to play this season? Come inside to find out.

1) Nicholas Jordan, kicker

What's that you say? Too high for a kicker? In the spring, there was one thing apparent: quarterback isn't this team's biggest weakness. Kicker is. And so Jordan will be counted on immediately upon enrolling. He's capable of doing the job, boasting both a big leg and a talent for booting through field goals in the clutch. And his steadiness will be needed as the Longhorns attempt to replace Justin Tucker.


2) Donald Hawkins, offensive tackle

Did the Longhorns NEED a starting left tackle? Well, they returned Josh Cochran, who had a stellar true freshman season. But the only JUCO signee on the offensive side looked like a stellar player in the spring, showing great athleticism for his size and the quick feet to shadow the Big 12's top pass rushers, while also providing a presence in the run game. And here's the best part: Hawkins allowed Cochran to move to the right, which pushed Trey Hopkins to his more natural guard spot, thus improving the line considerably.


3) Johnathan Gray, running back

The Longhorns are loaded at running back with Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown, but that duo is missing just a little something: the guy with the speed and shiftiness to create a big play. And Gray has a lot of similarities to Fozzy Whittaker, in that he has Whittaker's natural running feel and his ability to see the cutback. So it probably isn't a stretch to think that Gray could make a play for Whittaker's touches, as well as Whittaker's spot in the Wild formation. Whittaker averaged right around 10 touches per game, and asking Gray to do that probably isn't too much of an overload.


4) Kendall Sanders, wide receiver

Sanders is an elite athlete with nice size for the slot position, and somebody who could certainly factor in when the Longhorns go to a four-wide set. Sanders has experience touching the ball in a variety of ways, from reverses to jet sweeps to bubble screens and the usual assortment of slot receiver routes. He could make an ideal pairing with Jaxon Shipley, giving the Longhorns two speedy six-foot-plus slot receivers for the future.


5) Cayleb Jones, wide receiver

At the same time, the Longhorns are in need of a bigger wide receiver who can play at the Z spot and generate first downs. John Harris will probably get first crack at it, but Jones's ability in the air, his body control and route-running ability means that he'll certainly be in that mix. In fact, instead of the above scenario where Sanders is the fourth receiver, the Longhorns could at times shift Goodwin inside opposite Shipley in the slot and have Jones come in as an outside receiver opposite Davis. At 6-3 200, Jones is certainly physically capable of contributing immediately.


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