As the Texas Longhorns prepare for the 2013 football season, it's worth assessing the entire scholarship chart to take a deeper look into the immediate and distant future for the program at each position.
(Italics indicate a player who is committed but not yet signed.)
|1||Malcom Brown||Malcom Brown||Malcom Brown||Hassan Ridgeway|
|2||Chris Whaley||Desmond Jackson||Hassan Ridgeway||Alex Norman|
|3||Desmond Jackson||Hassan Ridgeway||Alex Norman||Paul Boyette|
|4||Hassan Ridgeway||Alex Norman||Paul Boyette||Trey Lealaimatafao|
|5||Alex Norman||Paul Boyette||Trey Lealaimatafao||Courtney Garnett|
|6||Paul Boyette||Trey Lealaimatafao||Courtney Garnett||Bryce English|
|7||Courtney Garnett||Bryce English|
This season, the emergence of Ridgeway as a possible contributor after he flashed briefly in the New Mexico State game and played well in more extended action against BYU could take care of depth at the position following the abrupt transfer of senior Ashton Dorsey.
Fellow redshirt freshman Alex Norman has also had a solid start to his career and looks like a future contributor, which was hardly a given for a player from a private school who needed to reshape his body to make himself a high BCS-level recruit.
And as with the defensive end position, two takes in the 2014 class, with the possibility of adding former TCU commit Zaycoven Henderson, helps alleviate future depth problems, as did redshirting Ridgeway, Norman, and Boyette. If there's an attrition candidate on the list, it's Boyette, who has fallen behind his two classmates and just isn't an especially dynamic player.
For guys like Malcom Brown, getting them on the field quickly is paramount, but defensive tackles are much like offensive linemen in that they benefit tremendously from having a redshirt season to adjust to the speed of the game and add strength.
Ridgeway needs to be a difference-maker in the latter parts of his career, to complement Brown in the next several years and then fill his shoes in 2016. With Gladewater's Daylon Mack still probably headed to the SEC unless Texas has an outstanding season this year, the Horns could have some problems finding an All-Conference type of player in the middle, unless Miller proves that he's less Desmond Jackson and more Roy Miller. It's possible, but not entirely likely. And in 2015, Mack is the guy and everyone else is way behind him.
If Texas can't land Mack, they better hope that a star emerges in 2016 they can land.