Top 22 Countdown: No. 12

We continue our countdown of the top 22 most important players to Texas’ success in 2014. We’ll run these every Tuesday and Thursday.

Here is a look at our previous selections:

No. 22.

No. 21.

No. 20.

No. 19.

No. 18.

No. 17.

No. 16.

No. 15.

No. 13.

Chip’s Pick

WR/RB Daje Johnson


5-10, 180

Right now, the coaches don't have Johnson as a starter. He would currently be Jaxon Shipley's backup at inside receiver.

If he was a guy you could set your watch by because he was so accountable, he might be in the Top 5 in these rankings. But because Johnson is a guy who tests his coaches' and teammates' patience, he slides to No. 12.

Johnson has repeatedly shown he can change a game in one play - whether it's a handoff on a speed sweep, breaking open a screen pass or on a kick or on a special teams return. Heck, he even went up and grabbed a Tyrone Swoopes' Hail Mary for a TD in the spring game.

A motivated, focused Johnson is a lethal weapon. A disinterested Johnson like we seemed to be seeing at the end of last year (dropping passes, running poor routes) severely hurt his team.

During the spring, the entire team had to run for Johnson because he didn't take care of the details. He was also part of Charlie Strong's "Breakfast Club" (6 am study hall).

Johnson is eligible for the fall, though, he faces suspension for a violation of team rules and is down to his last strike, sources told We'll see if he's motivated and focused. If so the Texas offense has one of the most dangerous players in the Big 12.

William’s Pick

QB Jerrod Heard


6-3, 190

Some days I wake up and think Heard will play a major roll for the Longhorns this season. Other days, I think his roll will be minimal, if anything, in 2014.

What I do know if Heard will make it hard as hell for Shawn Watson, Joe Wickline, Charlie Strong and Co. to keep him on the sidelines.

From what we are told Heard has already made quite the impression on his teammates. He’s mature beyond his years, confident in his abilities, and wants to win badly.

He told me numerous times that he’d like to make the type of impact as a young player that his friend Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston have made. Ash is probably Texas’ best option at the moment, but Heard will do what he can to get on the field.

Nothing he does this season will surprise me.

We’ve heard rumblings that the staff is working on a special package of plays for the heralded freshman.

If noting else, Heard’s presence alone will keep Ash on his toes.

Horns Digest Top Stories