Moving Forward: STs

With a new coaching staff headed to Austin, looks at the position-by-position talent on campus. We finish up with the special teams.

Special teams is the hardest unit to ration scholarships for. Some teams get great kickers and punters from walk-ons. Others offer scholarships to long-snappers. And it's always important to make sure there's a full complement of athletes capable of making big plays in the return game.

Let's start with the latter part of that equation. Texas has some speed to utilize in the game's different phases, including some of the Big 12's fastest players in Sheroid Evans, Antwuan Davis and Adrian Colbert, all of whom are likely among the Big 12's 10 or so fastest on a track. And that doesn't count Daje Johnson, he of the 4.3-second electronic 40 time. The point is that Texas should have no shortage of players to fill those positions.

At kicker, the Longhorns have taken advantage of both the walk-on and the scholarship route. Nick Rose has proven to be an outstanding kickoff artist for the Longhorns, and an excellent use of a walk-on spot. Nick Jordan on the other hand, was rewarded with a scholarship and made 9-of-15 field goals with a long of 40, while making 31-of-32 extra points in 2012. In 2013, with a healthy Anthony Fera earning All-America honors, Jordan slid back into the background. It would be impossible to ask Jordan to match Fera's production (he was 20-of-22 on field goals, and one of his two misses, a 44-yarder, was blocked), though it's worth noting that Jordan had a reputation as an outstanding clutch kicker in high school.

At punter, William Russ is significantly less proven. Like Jordan, he's on scholarship, but Russ was beaten out by graduate transfer Alex King two years ago, then was defeated by Fera this year. With one-time Texas commitment Corbin Daly now looking elsewhere, it appears (barring transfers or unforeseen walk-ons) that Russ will now have the job to himself.

Mack Brown's teams were known for getting outstanding production out of the kicking units, and the new coach will have a couple scholarship players — and a scholarship-worthy one in Rose — to try and keep that reputation going.

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