Top 22 Countdown: No. 6

We continue our countdown of the top 22 most important players to Texas’ success in 2014.


Chip’s Pick

WR Marcus Johnson

Junior

6-1, 193

Johnson emerged as a star last year with a memorable TD catch vs. Oklahoma (59-yarder from Case McCoy) in a 36-20 win over the Sooners. That TD reception midway through the second quarter helped break open the game, giving UT a 17-3 lead.

Against TCU, Johnson delivered the long ball again, amassing 120 yards on just three catches, including a 65-yard TD strike that came midway through the second quarter, putting Texas up 17-7, helping break open a 30-7 win (almost a carbon-copy of the deep strike impact Johnson's TD had vs the Sooners).

When the season was done, Johnson had just 22 catches for 350 yards - in part because the offense turned into a run-first, play-action pass attack with Case McCoy at QB. But Johnson led the team in yards per catch (15.9) and comes into the 2014 season as the team's best deep threat.

Charlie Strong and his staff were so impressed with Johnson's work ethic and production in the spring, they told him to carry himself with more confidence, because he has the talent to back it up. Johnson is also projected as a starting kick returner with Duke Thomas.

When the ball is in Johnson's hands, good things happen. Expect it in his hands a lot.





William’s Pick

DE Cedric Reed

Senior

6-5, 272

Soon after Charlie Strong took over the program he was approached by Reed who told him he was highly considering entering the NFL Draft.

Strong had him get in touch with Louisville DE/LB Marcus Smith, who had all All-American season as a senior under Strong and Vance Bedford. Smith, who later became Philadelphia’s first-round selection, told him how much he’d learn under this staff and thought it might be in his best interest to stay.

Reed listened and has come to the realization that he made the right decision.

He had a breakout season opposite Jackson Jeffcoat in 2013 when he registered 79 tackles (36 solo), 19 tackles-for-loss, 10 sacks, 14 QB pressures, 4 pass breakups, 5 forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

If he can match those numbers he’ll put himself in great position to follow Smith’s lead and get selected in the first round in the 2015 NFL Draft.

For as much as he’s grown on the field, his maturation off the field as one of the team’s best leaders might be his biggest offseason gain.

He’s grown comfortable in that roll and Texas couldn’t be happier about that.





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