USA Today

Check out William Wilkerson's HD Player Power Rankings after two weeks of games.

Here is my second edition of HD Player Power Rankings listing Texas players in order from 1 to 11 on how they performed from the previous week’s game.

I’ll update this weekly and rankings will be a running tally on how players perform throughout the season, not just for the previous game.

 

Without further ado I present to you my HD Player Power Rankings:

 

1. Malik Jefferson, freshman linebacker

William Wilkerson, Scout.com

Ranking last week: No. 1

He was oh-so-close to corralling Rice quarterback Driphus Jackson in the backfield on numerous occasions but couldn’t quite get the elusive QB down. However, he did finish with nine tackles, including one tackle for loss, and scooped up a fumble for a 26-yard touchdown. You know that saying about good players create their own luck… He has 18 tackles, 3.5 TFL, and a touchdown in two games. This shouldn’t surprise you.

 

2. Daje Johnson, senior wide receiver

William Wilkerson, Scout.com

Ranking last week: No. 2

The reigning Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week was absolutely electrifying against Rice, twisting his way to a highlight-reel worthy 85-yard punt return for a touchdown. He also had another long return that set up an easy Texas touchdown, and had a kickoff return of 35 yards. He didn’t factor into the passing game at all, but his contributions on special teams were more than enough. He’s put together back-to-back impressive games. The more he has the ball in his hands, the better.

 

3. Jerrod Heard, redshirt freshman quarterback

Getty Images

Ranking last week: Not ranked

Is this the beginning of something Longhorns fans have been waiting for at the QB position, a dual threat that can pump some excitement into this program? It’s too early to give a definitive answer but his first start as a Longhorn was impressive. He rushed 10 times for 101 yards and completed 4-of-7 passes for 120 yards and two well-timed deep balls to John Burt [69 yards] and Armanti Foreman [32 yards]. There was just a different vibe in DKR with Heard on the field as opposed to Swoopes. Let’s see if that continues this week.

 

4. John Burt, freshman wide receiver

USA Today

Ranking last week: No. 6

Sure, you’d like to see the number of catches go up but that will come with time. For now, the ones [or two, if we’re being more specific] he has caught have been really impressive.  First it was the 48-yarder against Notre Dame and then it was the 69-yard touchdown against Rice where he simply outran his man in 1-on-1 coverage.  Burt is a savage. If you didn’t already know, you’ll figure it out soon enough.

 

5. Armanti Foreman, sophomore wide receiver

William Wilkerson, Scout.com

Ranking last week: Not ranked

Again, you’d like to see the number of receptions go up for Foreman based on the small sample size we have to go off of. He made a nice adjustment on a Jerrod Heard deep ball to score from 32 yards out early in the first quarter against Rice. If he shows pure fight and effort on every play he’ll endear himself to this coaching staff, his teammates, and subsequently move up on this list. Talent is not the issue with him.

 

6. Kris Boyd, freshman cornerback

William Wilkerson, Scout.com

Ranking last week: No. 3

Boyd got more of an opportunity to factor into the defensive game plan against Rice and made the most of it. Case in point was when he snuffed out an option and caused a fumble that Jefferson was able to scoop up and return for a touchdown. The guy just has that uncanny ability to make big-time plays. In two games, he’s already caused two fumbles.

 

7. D'Onta Foreman, sophomore running back

William Wilkerson, Scout.com

Ranking last week: Not ranked

Look, whether you like it or not, the case can be made that Foreman is Texas’ better option at running back at the moment. Yes, over senior Johnathan Gray. He’s running extremely hard behind his pads right now and is 100 percent effort all the time, which Charlie Strong loves. He only had six carries for 23 net yards against Rice, but that was better than the nine carries for 17 yards Gray finished with. Both are needed, but I’ll give the edge to Foreman right now.

 

8. Poona Ford, sophomore defensive tackle

William Wilkerson, Scout.com

Ranking last week: Not ranked

It’s getting to that part in the list where you struggle to find names this early on in the season on a team that hasn’t necessarily shown you all that much. I’ll go with Ford here, though, because he did make a few really nice individual plays on a night that was otherwise forgettable for UT’s defensive front. He finished second on the team with eight tackles, and beat his man once for a crucial tackle-for-loss on a third down.

 

9. Duke Thomas, senior cornerback

USA Today

Ranking last week: No. 11

He had a really nifty 56-yard punt return that set Texas up with short field possession in the first half, which led to a touchdown. He also had seven tackles from his nickel position. Some might think he’s playing out of position and would be better served at CB. You might be right – I think you are. But he had a better game against Rice than he did against Notre Dame [even though he did have two TFL in that one].

 

10. Edwin Freeman, redshirt freshman linebacker

William Wilkerson, Scout.com

Ranking last week: Not ranked

He’s been Texas’ best linebacker not named “Malik Jefferson.” It’s as simple as that. Yes, Peter Jinkens might have better numbers right now but Freeman probably would if he were on the field as much as Jinkens was. He made two several nice plays against Rice, one coming on a big hit where he also managed to strip the ball away that Texas recovered. The other was a tackle-for-loss. He was sneaky good against Notre Dame, so chalk it up to two better-than-average games for Freeman.

 

11. Johnathan Gray, senior running back

USA Today

Ranking last week: No. 7

It’s hard for me to picture a list like this without Gray not being on it, so here he is. Him being this low isn’t necessarily his fault either. He hasn’t gotten nearly the amount of carries that he should be getting (17 carries) but hasn’t done much with them either (57 yards). Granted he is playing behind an offensive line that hasn’t opened many holes, but the coaching staff needs more out of him. For as much as ball control will be key for Texas against Cal, look for Gray to have his best game yet.

***** 

Players Ranked Last Week That Aren’t Ranked This Week:

Naashon Hughes, sophomore Fox End [No. 4]; Connor Williams, freshman offensive tackle [No. 5]; Nick Rose, senior kicker [No. 8]; Peter Jinkens, senior linebacker [No. 9]; Michael Dickson, freshman punter [No. 10]


Horns Digest Top Stories