Texas' Top 22 Difference Makers: Nos. 8-5

Texas needs a lot of things to go right in 2015 to have a chance to improve on a 6-7 record in a Big 12 that should have TCU and Baylor in the Top 10 to start the season.

Here's my Top 22 players by order of importance to the success of Texas' 2015 season and why beginning with Nos. 8-5.

  Nos. 22-19.


  Nos. 12-9.

No. 8. Armanti Foreman, WR, sophomore/Jacorey Warrick, WR, junior

The coaches trust Warrick more, because he's shown more maturity in taking a leadership role at the WR position. But Foreman is the better playmaker, in my opinion. If Foreman will push himself to stop being the quirky kid who likes to be different, hanging out in the back of the line at his position, and become THE guy, Texas will finally have a "wow" playmaker at WR again. If not, it will be Warrick, because he has the speed and ability to help the offense as well. But both should get plenty of work from the slot position and both will get a chance to improve UT's anemic kick and punt returns.

No. 7. Shiro Davis, DE/OLB, senior/Bryce Cottrell, DE/OLB, junior

Coaches have already said Davis and Cottrell are like to split snaps at the left defensive end position because of all the pass-rushing required against up-tempo opponents. Davis was one of the most improved players in the spring, and coaches called Cottrell the biggest surprise of the spring on defense. This tandem has to make a huge impact for this defense in 2015 if Texas is going to improve (and to take some of the pressure off the youth and inexperience in the back seven).

No. 6. Patrick Vahe, C/OG, true freshman

Some will say this is too high for a true freshman offensive lineman, because the closer you are to the ball, the harder it is to play as a young player. But I think Vahe is special. Obviously. I think the coaches will see what Vahe can handle in terms of playing center before determining if he plays there or at guard. Either way, I don't think you can keep this mauler off the field. If he's recovered from the torn labrum in his shoulder, I expect him to help redefine the attitude and toughness of the offensive line immediately. Vahe is arguably the most important recruit in the 2015 class - a class loaded with important recruits. That's because the OL has been so bad for so long, and Vahe is the kind of warrior who will not let it stay that way. I think he's in the mold of Kasey Studdard and Lyle Sendlein, which is saying a lot.

No. 5. Johnathan Gray, RB, senior

Gray's time at Texas has been a picture of frustration as he's been a key piece of of an offense that has been lost at QB and on the offensive line his first three years. The hope is the OL and QB position will improve this season as it transitions to more of a spread attack that should help open holes in the running game and utilize Gray's abilities as a receiver. Gray is talented, and he's fully recovered from the Achilles injury. This needs to be a big year for Texas' all-time schoolboy rushing TD record-holder.


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