The Texas Longhorns are set to feature some of the top talent in all of college football during the 2019 campaign. Sports Illustrated recently released its annual top 100 list, which ranks the top 100 players across the entire country, and three Longhorns were named to the list.
Sophomore safety Caden Sterns served as the first Longhorn listed, coming in at No. 63.
“Assuming he’s healthy by Week 1—he underwent a procedure on his patellar tendon requiring an eight-week recovery this spring—he should take on a leadership role for a defense that lost almost every other key contributor on the back end.”
The reigning Big 12 Freshman of the Year tallied 62 total tackles during his debut campaign, and even more impressively, led an experienced Texas secondary with four interceptions. He’s now entering his second season on the Forty Acres as a Preseason All-Big 12 First Team selection.
The next Longhorn named was senior receiver Collin Johnson, who comes in at no. 44 on SI’s list.
“At 6’6”, Johnson a monster on jump balls and a weapon in the red zone. He’ll have to prove himself as a No. 1 receiver with Lil’Jordan Humphrey gone, but he already has a strong established rapport with quarterback Sam Ehlinger, which bodes well. Johnson should take another big leap in 2019.”
Even while sharing the spotlight with Lil’Jordan Humphrey in 2018, Johnson fell just shy of a 1,000-yard showing, hauling in 65 receptions for 945 yards and seven scores.
To nobody’s surprise, the last name noted and the highest-ranked Longhorn on the list is junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who sits at No. 41.
“Ehlinger took the reigns as the Texas starter last season and didn’t look back. He threw for 25 touchdowns and rushed for 16, becoming just the eighth player in college football history to total 25 touchdowns passing and 15 rushing (joining a group that includes Marcus Mariota, Tim Tebow, Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton and Johnny Manziel). After beating Georgia in last season’s Sugar Bowl, Ehlinger and the Longhorns have mammoth expectations heading into 2019.”
Throughout a breakout campaign that saw Ehlinger catapult himself into the conversation of one of the greatest quarterbacks in Longhorns history, he completed 64.3 percent of his attempts for 3,123 yards and added another 418 yards on the ground. And, as SI noted, he collectively compiled 41 touchdowns, which finished as the second-most in school history.
Ehlinger is now expected to build upon that showing, entering 2019 as the Preseason Offensive Big 12 Player of the Year and a legitimate Heisman candidate.
Of Big 12 talents, only Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb (33) and Jalen Hurts (28), and Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace (27) rank higher.