READY (FOR ND) OR NOT: UT FRESHMEN EVERYWHERE

Texas could play more than 15 freshmen in Saturday's opener at Notre Dame. For better or worse, here comes the Longhorns' youth movement.

On the offensive side of the ball, here's a look at the freshmen who are likely to take the field for the Longhorns at Notre Dame:

QB Jerrod Heard - Charlie Strong has maintained all summer long that both Tyrone Swoopes and Heard, a redshirt freshman, will play in the season opener. Strong said he jokingly told Heard if he throws an interception or turns it over against the Irish to walk right past Strong and into the locker room, because Heard's playing time would be done. Strong said Heard responded, "I'm gonna show you I'm ready coach."

RB Chris Warren - RB coach Tommie Robinson likes to use multiple backs. And with Johnathan Gray missing time in camp with ankle and elbow injuries before returning as well as D'Onta Foreman missing all of last week with a hamstring injury, Warren could be getting some work in South Bend.

WR John Burt - The true freshman from Tallahassee, Fla., who wears No. 1 has drawn strong praise from coaches for his work ethic and play-making. Look for Burt to be on the field a lot.

OT Connor Williams - The early enrollee true freshman from Coppell had a starting spot at right tackle in the spring game. Now, he's worked his way into the starting role at left tackle. Huge upside for the 6-foot-5, 295-pounder.

OG Patrick Vahe - Vahe's only been on campus since June, but his work ethic, toughness and mauling style have already gotten him a ton of reps at right guard with the first-team offense and a likely spot in the starting lineup.

WR DeAndre McNeal - At 6-foot-1 and 236 pounds, McNeal proved to be a little light as a blocker at TE, so he started working with the receiver group a week ago. But McNeal's got good hands and should remind some physically of former Baylor WR Antwan Goodley.

WR Ryan Newsome - Newsome is key example of how Texas has upgraded its speed as a team. Lightning quick, Newsome could have an impact on the offense and special teams immediately.

DEFENSE

LB Malik Jefferson - Jefferson has worked at middle linebacker since arriving at Texas in January as an early enrollee. Coaches love his size (6-3, 240) and speed and instinctive play - not to mention his ability to blitz from the middle. Jefferson is expected to start against Notre Dame.

LB Edwin Freeman - The redshirt freshman has worked as a starting outside linebacker since the spring, when he had a scoop-and-score fumble return for a TD in the spring game. He missed a week of training camp with an ankle injury. But Freeman is back from the injury and is expected to have a big impact starting Saturday at South Bend.

LB Breckyn Hager - The true freshman son of Texas' all-time leading tackler Britt Hager has already been tabbed as a starter on special teams and has shown strong instincts as an inside linebacker when Texas goes to a 3-4. He suffered a knee injury last week in practice. Even though it's not considered serious, it could impact his playing time at Notre Dame.

LB Anthony Wheeler - May not be in the starting lineup, but look for him on special teams and to rotate into the defense at linebacker. Huge upside.

Fox DE/OLB Charles Omenihu - Omenihu grabbed everyone's attention during an early scrimmage in fall camp by getting pressure on the QB and dropping into coverage well enough that coaches put him at Fox DE behind Naashon Hughes and Derick Roberson and moved Caleb Bluiett to TE. Could work his way into the rotation sooner rather than later.

CB John Bonney - The redshirt freshman has worked at cornerback and as the nickel back and could very well play both at Notre Dame. He's 6-feet tall, but he's got long arms and plays with a football IQ beyond his years.

CB Davante Davis - At 6-2, 191 pounds, Davis got a lot of work with the first and second team defense in fall camp and will likely get playing time as a rotation player and on special teams.

CB Holton Hill - Sidelined for more than a week to start fall camp with a knee injury, the 6-foot-3, 197-pound freshman, who had 12 INTs last season at Houston Lamar, has worked his way into the two-deep at corner. It seems only a matter of time before Hill starts contributing in a big way on defense.

CB Kris Boyd - The freshman defensive back everyone credits with providing the most energy from a highly energetic 2015 class. Boyd loves the game, loves to hit and loves to fire up his teammates. Look for him to have an immediate impact on special teams and ultimately on defense.

S P.J. Locke - Most probably thought the impact freshman safety would be 4-star freshman DeShon Elliott. But Elliott has been sidelined since the first day of camp in pads with a toe injury suffered during a bull-in-the-ring matchup with DeAndre McNeal. Instead, it's been Locke learning both safety and nickel corner and should have an immediate impact on special teams.


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