The Longhorns were clearly focused on filling the cupboard with defensive tackles in 2016, as well as offensive linemen and wide receivers.
But what about 2017? Which positions will the staff really focus in on and make a priority?
Here are my top four positions of need for Charlie Strong’s program:
Weakside defensive end [Fox End]
The Longhorns are going to have to start breaking in some new blood at this position, which has been held down by Naashon Hughes for several seasons. He’ll be a junior in 2016.
Big things are expected from Charles Omenihu, who will be a sophomore, and there is still hope for Derick Roberson. In addition, there is still some question as to where 2016 four-star signee Erick Fowler will play [WDE or OLB].
But UT definitely needs to get at least sure thing at WDE in 2017.
Texas will have more options at tight end in 2016 than it has had in several seasons, but that’s not to say that this position isn’t one of top priority in 2017. I certainly think it is.
This will be Caleb Bluiett’s last season and, while Andrew Beck and Blake Whiteley are serviceable candidates [assuming they stay healthy], they aren’t game-changers.
Peyton Aucoin, Texas’ lone tight end signee in 2016, has the chance to be really, really good. And Jeff Traylor has already secured the commitment of Major Tennison.
Getting one more in this class would be huge though.
The Longhorns actually have some pretty nice numbers at ILB. However, Anthony Hines is out there for the taking, which means that this position will be one of Texas’ most important. The staff is already very familiar with Hines and his father. He might be considered the top overall target in 2017 for UT. He’s that good.
The future of this position is in great hands with Holton Hill, Davante Davis, Kris Boyd and Eric Cuffee. John Bonney and Antwuan Davis still have at least two years of eligibility left as well. And, last I heard, Sheroid Evans was going to give it a go after coming back from yet another injury.
That said, Texas only took one true corner in 2016 [Cuffee]. UT will want to get more than that in 2017.