One of the annual rites of spring is the release of the updated roster, and the Texas Longhorns obliged on Sunday, providing a look at the numbers and new heights and weights for the four early enrollees, as well as some insight into the physical development of older players.
Since there isn't any news regarding any roster changes, the early enrollees deserve top billing here. Quarterback Shane Buechele will wear No. 16 for Texas and checks in at 6'1 and 191 pounds. Wide receiver Collin Johnson will wear No. 85 at 6'6 and 212 pounds. Demarco Boyd will start out at linebacker wearing No. 36. He's now carrying 240 pounds at 5'11, up eight pounds from the National Signing Day release from the 'Horns. Finally, prospective center Zach Shackelford will wear No. 56 at 6'3 and 296 pounds.
Some notes from the rest of the roster:
- Sophomore wide receiver DeAndrew McNeal is now listed at 227 pounds after playing at 236 last year. When he arrived, McNeal was a guy head coach Charlie Strong said ate everything, so the hope is clearly that losing that weight will help him show off the explosiveness and lateral movement that made him such an appealing prospect out of high school.
- In looking at the quarterback competition, the ability of sophomore Jerrod Heard to remain healthy is hugely important. Now up to 203 pounds from 195 pounds, the extra muscle mass may help Heard and the coaching staff feel more comfortable with him taking a few more hits in 2016.
- Remaining with the quarterbacks, senior Tyrone Swoopes could be even more difficult for opponents to tackle this year -- he's up to 254 pounds from 244 last year. Since speed has never been his game, the added bulk won't detract from the greatest strength that he showed in 2015 as a short-yardage specialist.
- Speaking off added bulk, sophomore running back Chris Warren is now a 255-pound monster after playing last year at 232 pounds. It's probably a natural progression for him, but the question is whether he can maintain the 10.53 100m speed that made him so special coming out of high school.
- Junior safety Jason Hall is up 12 pounds to 219. Given his limitations in coverage and the increasing depth at safety, it might make sense to look at him as a linebacker. Still, depth at that position is strong, too, so Hall may simply be a player who will see less time on the field moving forward.
- Formerly undersized linebacker Cameron Townsend is now at 222 pounds from his enrollment weight of 204. He redshirted last season. In news that could have a bigger impact on the depth chart, freshman contributor Anthony Wheeler is now 232 pounds after enrolling at 209.
- At defensive end, there has been some significant physical development, too -- sophomore Charles Omenihu probably isn't a Fox end any more at 262 pounds and Derick Roberson is up to 248 pounds from 238, though he had a serious car accident in late January that could impact his spring availability a year after he missed spring workouts due to offseason shoulder surgery. Even senior Bryce Cottrell is beefed up, now at 266 pounds from 253 pounds last year.
- With junior college transfer Brandon Hodges up 10 pounds to 318 now, he's probably going to play inside after his redshirt season. Whether he can contribute could impact the offensive line's upside in a significant way.
- Sophomore Garrett Gray is listed as a tight end, but at 214 pounds, he seems more likely to play at wide receiver this year, assuming he can crack the rotation. There are a lot of scholarship players at the position, so it's possible that some attrition could happen there after spring practices end.