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True Freshmen Report: Texas finally utilized Collin Johnson’s athleticism in the red zone

The tall wide receiver has the athleticism and build to be a monster where it matters.

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

A whopping 13 true freshmen got on the field against the Texas Tech Red Raiders for the first Texas Longhorns road win of the season.

Of those 13, Shane Buechele, Zach Shackelford, and Devin Duvernay started on offense, and Malcolm Roach started on defense.

Freshmen who played against Texas Tech (13)

  • QB Shane Buechele — 20/40 (50%), 244 yards, 2 TD
  • RB Kyle Porter — 6 car, 51 yds, 8.5 YPC
  • WR Collin Johnson — 4 rec, 47 yds, 2 TD
  • WR Devin Duvernay — 2 rec, 25 YDS
  • RB/WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey — 1 punt return, 0 yds
  • C Zach Shackelford — starting center
  • OL Denzel Okafor — reserve offensive lineman
  • Fox Malcolm Roach — 1 tackle
  • LB Jeffrey McCulloch — 3 tackles, 1 fumble recovery
  • DE/LB Erick Fowler — no stats (though I though he could have been credited with a half sack)
  • DL Gerald Wilbon — no stats
  • DL D’Andre Christmas — 1 tackle, 1 sack
  • DB Brandon Jones — 2 tackles

Freshmen who’ve played through seven games (16)

(If they have recorded stats, I’ve listed those next to their names as well)

  • QB Shane Buechele — 172/278 (61.87%, -2% decrease since the previous game), 2257 yards, 19 TD’s, 6 INT (plus 1 rushing TD), 148.31 RTG — 29th nationally (-13 spots from previous week), 5th in B12 (-1)
  • RB Kyle Porter — 39 car, 135 yds, 4.8 YPC, 2 rec, 10 yds
  • WR Devin Duvernay — 13 rec, 300 yds, 3 TD
  • WR Collin Johnson — 17 rec, 196 yds, 2 TD
  • WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey — 2 rec, 15 yds, 1 punt return, 0 yds
  • C Zach Shackelford — starting center
  • OL Jean Delance — reserve offensive lineman
  • OL Denzel Okafor — reserve offensive lineman
  • DE Malcolm Roach — 21 TT, 3 TFL, 2 sacks
  • DT D’Andre Christmas — 3 TT, 1 sack, 1 fumble rec
  • DT Gerald Wilbon — 1 TT
  • DL Jordan Elliott — 6 TT, 1.5 TFL, 1 sack (currently injured)
  • LB Jeffery McCulloch — 16 TT, 2 TFL, 1 sack
  • S Brandon Jones — 14 TT, 2 blocked punts (got a piece of another), 1 safety, 2 PR for 33 yards, 2 KR for 44 total yards
  • DB Donovan Duvernay — no stats recorded
  • DE/OLB Erick Fowler — 1 TT, 1 TFL

— It only took until the ninth game, but Texas finally was able to take advantage of freshman wide receiver Collin Johnson’s height and athleticism in the end zone by connecting with him for two touchdowns.

Johnson has a rare blend of athleticism to go along with his 6’6 frame.

— Though he connected on just 50% of his passes, Buechele didn’t commit a turnover and he did what he needed to do to help this offense score enough points for Texas to come out on top.

Aside from his 196-yard day against Cal, Buechele has yet to throw for less than 200 yards in any game this season. He’s also thrown at least one touchdown pass in every game this season while never throwing more than one interception in any contest.

— It was another relatively quiet day for Devin Duvernay, but I can only imagine what this offense could look like on days down the road when both Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay are used to their max potential.

— In rushing for 51 yards on six carries, Saturday was Kyle Porter’s most productive day as a Longhorn. Though he ran well, it should be noted Texas Tech’s run defense is one of the worst in the country.

Porter may never posses the athleticism, top-end speed, or power to be a special running back like D’Onta Foreman, Jamaal Charles, Cedric Benson, etc., but with more time and practice, he’ll have a shot to become a more consistent contributor.

Texas will absolutely need him to step up and improve if D’Onta Foreman leaves for the NFL after this season.

— Defensively, Jeffery McCulloch had another solid game and was active on defense. His versatility has been a pleasant surprise.

— D’Andre Christmas was credited with the sack, but both he and Fowler got in on the pressure. He’s number 41 that comes in on the left side of the clip.

It may be taking longer to get Fowler going than many had hoped, but he has the type of build and body that could make him a dangerous pass rusher off the edge in the future.

— It does not appear any new names got in on the action, nor does it look like any need to with three games remaining. At this point, unless there’s a serious injury, it’d be a major waste to burn a redshirt.

Freshmen still on track to redshirt (12)

  • WR Davion Curtis
  • WR Reggie Hemphill-Mapps
  • TE Peyton Aucoin
  • OL Tope Imade
  • OL J.P. Uriquidez
  • OL Patrick Hudson
  • DL Marcel Southall
  • DL Chris Daniels
  • DE Andrew Fitzgerald
  • LB Demarco Boyd
  • DB Chris Brown
  • DB Eric Cuffee

We’ll circle the wagons here once again next week after Texas hosts West Virginia in Austin.