Spring Game Question

Each day this week LonghornDigest's William Wilkerson and Kevin Flaherty will each give their take on a question leading up to Texas' spring game on April 19.

Today's question: What position battle are you most interested in watching?

Wilkerson

I'm going to have to go with the offensive line here simply because Texas only returns one starter and has so much talent, albeit largely unproven, to fill these voids.

Charlie Strong has raved about Dominic Espinosa this spring and the leadership he's shown. So you can pencil him in as the starter at center, his fourth season as the starter for UT. But that's where the sure beats really end as far as sure-fire starters are concerned.

You've got a feeling that Sedrick Flowers will end up being the guy at left guard. So I'll go ahead and anoint him the starter for the purpose of this article.

That leaves both tackle positions and right guard up for grabs, and there are plenty of players vying for those positions.

Will Desmond Harrison finally live up to his billing as one of the top junior college transfers from a season ago at left tackle? Can Kennedy Estelle lock down the right tackle spot with Kent Perkins out due to injury?

Which redshirt freshmen will take the reigns of the right tackle spot: Darius James or Rami Hammad? Or will someone like three-time All-State champion Taylor Doyle, who has only played in two games in two seasons, or former high school All-American Curtis Riser steal the show?

The questions are endless and so are the possibilities. That should excite and scare the you know what out of offensive line coach Joe Wickline.

My other choices would be the battle between Bryson Echols and Antwuan Davis, who will take over for Anthony Fera, and who will step up in the absence of Jackson Jeffcoat.

Flaherty

It won't get a ton of love in the media, but the position battle I'm most interested in watching is at offensive guard. There's a simple reason behind it: Texas has an absolute logjam of talent at the position.

Consider this: three of the candidates, Sedrick Flowers (No. 4), Curtis Riser (No. 2) and Rami Hammad (No. 10) were ranked among the top 10 guards in their class, and all were ranked at least four stars. The other? Darius James, who was the No. 1 center prospect in 2013.

In large part thanks to his experience — he's been a rotational guy the past few years — Flowers is expected to nail down one spot. That means you have Riser, Hammad and James battling for one opening. And Kent Perkins might even join in that battle in the fall, if Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle can win out at tackle. Perkins was himself a five-star prospect and the No. 2 offensive tackle in 2013.

Personally, I believe that the line has the most upside with James operating at guard and Perkins winning the right tackle job opposite Harrison, if Harrison can stay healthy. But Texas has so much talent at guard that no matter who the Longhorns pick, they should be in pretty good hands. And if you remember last year, Texas had to deal with multiple offensive line injuries, so the fact that guys like Perkins and James are capable of playing multiple spots, and that there are several guards waiting in the wings can only help make the Longhorns more injury-proof.


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