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fUTure19 Recap and Participation Tracker: Week 1 - Louisiana Tech

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Nearly half of Texas’ freshman class touched the field on Saturday.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Many members of the Texas Longhorns’ #fUTure19 class made their college debuts on Saturday night as part of a 45-14 win over Louisiana Tech. In fact, nearly half of the freshmen class got some run in this one.

The NCAA redshirt rule, which made its debut last season, allows scholarship players to play up to four games without burning their redshirt. To keep track of how many games each freshman has appeared in throughout the season, I’ll list the number of games next to their names.

The 12 freshman participants from week one included: WR Jake Smith, TE Jared Wiley, CB Chris Adimora, WR Marcus Washington, CB Kenyatta Watson, RB Jordan Whittington, QB/RB Roschon Johnson, LB David Gbenda, S Tyler Owens, DE T’Vondre Sweat, LB Marcus Tillman, OL Javonne Sheperd

fUTure19 Game Notes and Highlights

  • Running back Jordan Whittington tore his abductor muscle and will be sidelined for at least a month.
  • The team’s third-string quarterback, Roschon Johnson, filled-in nicely for Whittington in his backup running back role on Saturday. The 6’2, 220-pound athlete looked just as comfortable at running back out there as he does a quarterback. Johnson looked quite prepared for the position that he was thrown into, as he gained 40 yards on nine touches. It isn’t easy to transition to a new position midway through August practice, but the freshman managed to make it look easy out there. He looked like a true running back while carrying the ball and tacking on tacklers. Now, without Whittington and as the backup to Keaontay Ingram, Johnson’s expanded role as a running back becomes extremely vital towards this team’s success.
  • Linebacker David Gbenda, who played on Saturday, is now the team’s third-string running back behind Johnson.
  • Plano product Tyler Owens had a standout game on kickoff coverage. On the opening kickoff, Owens notched his first career tackle on a striking hit that knocked the returner back. His early impact on the special teams unit speaks for the late rise in his recruiting rating. He impressed on high school football’s biggest stage at the All-American Game back in January.
  • T’Vondre Sweat led the charge on the defensive line from this freshman group with an assisted tackle. As the backup end, Sweat got some early run in the first half and took over with the second-team defense in the fourth quarter. At 6’4 and 320-pounds, Sweat looks ready as a defensive lineman for the collegiate level already.
  • Jake Smith saw a lot of action at the slot receiver position. He developed an early connection with Ehlinger on some quick-hit routes and earned multiple yards after the catch. While he only had four receptions for 31 yards, Smith would have had a bigger night had Ehlinger not overthrown him for a possible touchdown. On that play, Texas ran a designed RPO with Smith running a short post route towards the middle of the field. Smith got excellent inside separation around La Tech’s best cornerback, but Ehlinger was a bit high with the delivery.

It’s early, but Texas’ ability to utilize its slot receivers Duvernay and Smith in game one was quite impressive. While having two big-bodied 6’6 receivers like Malcolm Epps and Collin Johnson present on the outside, Texas now has a variety of ways to attack defenses through the air given their ability to block undersized corners. Bubble screens and quick hitch routes to the outside were highly effective all game long against Louisiana Tech.

  • Cornerbacks Kenyatta Watson and Chris Adimora got their reps on special teams and on defense late during the fourth quarter.
  • Javonne Shepherd was in at left tackle late in the fourth quarter.
  • Marcus Washington saw reps at receiver late in the fourth quarter.