The injury bug hasn’t been kind to the Texas Longhorns to begin the 2019 season, but Tom Herman and his staff now appear set to add another healthy body to a room in dire need of one.
After missing the first two weeks of the season with a high-ankle sprain, junior running back Daniel Young has progressed well and “there is a good chance he might play” on Saturday against Rice, per a report from Orangebloods’ Anwar Richardson.
Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman has since confirmed the news, noting that Young “has been cleared to play.”
At Herman’s Thursday media availability, he said that Young is “probably going to play” this weekend after beginning to practice again on Wednesday.
Prior to suffering the high-ankle sprain, Young was receiving reps as the team’s third-team running back, behind starter Keaontay Ingram and true freshman Jordan Whittington.
Whittington, of course, went down during Texas’ season opener against Louisiana Tech with a groin injury that his since required surgery and sidelined him for several weeks, which, in turn, prompted Texas to turn to true freshman quarterback Roschon Johnson, and ultimately, true freshman linebacker David Gbenda for emergency depth at the position.
So, Young’s potential return — should Texas elect to use him — is not only welcomed news from a depth and experience standpoint, but given that the junior is a short-yardage specialist and the best blocker among Texas’ running backs, he may prove especially valuable in goal line situations such as the ones Texas failed to score on against LSU.
“He’s very serviceable on every down for us, as well, but Danny would sit there and tell you that when we’re in a throwing type of situation, when we’re empty and our backs are out there running wheel routes, he’s probably not as valuable there, but as far as protection on third down, absolutely,” Texas running backs coach Stan Drayton said of Young prior to the season. “So he can be an every-down back in every situation, but he really does have a role with short yardage and goal line when we’re in quarterback run mode.”