Texas Offensive Players to Watch

Texas holds the first of two open practices on Friday. Which offensive players should you keep an eye on?

1) David Ash, quarterback

We've been over how underrated Ash's sophomore season was. But now it's time for Ash to take that next step forward from underrated to bonafide star. Last spring, it was obvious that Ash had taken a major step forward from the previous season, and it will be interesting to see the kind of leap forward that he has taken this year. One area where he should show out is as a leader — this is now unquestionably Ash's team, for the first spring during his time at Texas. With the quarterbacks returning (or not returning) around the league, there isn't any reason that Ash can't develop into an all-conference type guy. Does he have it in him?

2) Kendall Sanders, wide receiver

This was a tough one for two reasons. First, Cayleb Jones will be battling with Sanders to get many of the reps at wide receiver. And second, one of the most interesting players on the roster is Daje Johnson. But I didn't list Johnson here because we aren't going to be able to find out his role in the new offense from a collection of spring practices. And I think, as good as Jones may wind up being, Sanders's speed is a major asset to an offense that lost a field-stretching (both vertically and horizontally) threat in Marquise Goodwin. The question will be how much Sanders has developed as an all-around receiver. Is he just a long, fast guy, or has he taken serious steps forward as a wideout? As of right now, most feel Sanders is the front-runner to replace Mike Davis at the 'X' in a year, so that's important to see. However, early word back is that both Sanders and Jones have been impressive.

3) Curtis Riser, offensive guard

With two starting offensive linemen out this spring (and a likely starter in Desmond Harrison not in yet), it gives a rare chance to get a look at how the young bodies on the offensive line are developing. It's a bit unfortunate that Camrhon Hughes is out, and Kennedy Estelle is likely still a couple of years away with Harrison and Josh Cochran still due back in 2014. But Mason Walters and Trey Hopkins both graduate after this year, meaning that somebody like Riser might be counted on in the near future. Texas wants to continue to develop its physicality up front. Does Riser have what it takes there?

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