With no spring football for the Texas Longhorns, forecasting how the depth chart will look when players are finally allowed to return to campus — or arrive for the first time, in the case of the summer enrollees — there’s a lot of missing information that would normally influence those projections. Unusual times, indeed.
However, now that it’s official that spring football won’t happen in its normal format, and with head coach Tom Herman providing some insight for the first time on position changes along the defensive line, it’s worth looking at where the summer enrollees will fit and how Herman anticipates the defensive line will look.
Texas depth chart
|QB||Sam Ehlinger||11||Casey Thompson||8||Hudson Card||*||Ja'Quinden Jackson||*|
|RB||Keaontay Ingram||26||Roschon Johnson||8||Bijan Robinson||*||Daniel Young||*|
|XWR||Brennan Eagles||13||Marcus Washington||15||Al'Vonte Woodard||83||Troy Omeire||*|
|HWR||Jake Smith||16||Jordan Whittington||21||Dajon Harrison||*|
|ZWR||Josh Moore||14||Kennedy Lewis||84||Kelvontay Dixon||*|
|YTE||Cade Brewer||80||Malcolm Epps||85||Jared Wiley||18||Brayden Liebrock||89||Jaden Hullaby||*|
|LT||Sam Cosmi||52||Reese Moore||76||Isaiah Hookfin||65||Andrej Karic||*|
|LG||Tyler Johnson||72||Tope Imade||73|
|C||Derek Kerstetter||68||Rafiti Ghirmai||74||Jake Majors||*|
|RG||Junior Angilau||75||Willie Tyler||55||Logan Parr||*|
|RT||Denzel Okafor||78||Christian Jones||70||Jaylen Garth||*|
|DE||Moro Ojomo||98||Marqez Bimage||42||Jacoby Jones||36||Vernon Broughton||*||Aflred Collins||*|
|NT||Keondre Coburn||99||T'Vondre Sweat||93|
|DT||Ta'Quon Graham||49||Daniel Carson||88||Myron Warren||92||Sawyer Goram-Welch||*|
|JACK||Joseph Ossai||46||Byron Vaughns||50||Reese Leitao||81||Prince Dorbah||*|
|MLB||Juwan Mitchell||6||Ayodele Adeoye||40||Cort Jaquess||57||Jaylan Ford||*|
|WILL||DeMarvion Overshown||31||David Gbenda||33||Marcus Tillman, Jr.||13|
|CB||D'Shawn Jamison||5||Josh Thompson||29||Kobe Boyce||38|
|S||Caden Sterns||7||Montrell Estell||39||Xavion Alford||*|
|S||BJ Foster||25||Chris Brown||15||Tyler Owens||44||Jerrin Thompson||*|
|CB||Jalen Green||3||Kenyatta Watson II||2||Marques Caldwell||24||Kitan Crawford||*|
|SPUR||Anthony Cook||4||Chris Adimora||11|
|P||Ryan Bucjevski||8||Cameron Dicker||17|
|H||Ryan Bucjevski||8||Zach Edwards||43|
|DS||Justin Mader||54||Zach Edwards||43|
|KR||D'Shawn Jamison||5||Jake Smith||16||Montrell Estell||39||Jordan Whittington||21|
|PR||D'Shawn Jamison||5||Jake Smith||16|
Entering season four of the Herman era, Texas is now increasingly in a position where true freshmen aren’t likely to see playing time. That’s not the case for at least one summer enrollee, however — the nation’s top running back, Bijan Robinson.
Robinson should immediately take reps in front of senior Daniel Young, but since this projection is a forecast for how things might look when practice starts for preseason camp, it’s hard to move Robinson past sophomore Roschon Johnson, who was a revelation as a freshman. Is it possible that Robinson acclimates quickly enough to take over the backup role or even become the starter during the season? It’s possible, but it’s almost certainly going to take some time.
Otherwise, all the summer enrollees have slotted at the back of the depth chart and most of them should redshirt unless they earn spots on special teams.
During a Thursday chat on Facebook with Orangebloods, Herman provided the most in-depth information yet about where everyone will play in defensive coordinator Chris Ash’s new four-man line, the part of the depth chart that was most difficult to determine.
Herman revealed that summer enrollee Prince Dorbah will play the Jack position with junior Joseph Ossai and redshirt sophomore Byron Vaughns. When Ash was hired, it wasn’t clear whether Dorbah would remain on the edge, where he played in high school, or if he would move to inside linebacker, where he played in the Under Armour All-American game. Now there’s some clarity about where he will start this Texas career. Junior Reese Leitao may or may not also play that position after moving from tight end, but for now he’s slated there, too.
More pertinent to the top of the rotation is that senior Ta’Quon Graham will move inside and play three technique defensive tackle next to sophomores Keondre Coburn and T’Vondre Sweat. No surprise on the latter two, but Graham was so excited about playing on the edge after the Alamo Bowl that it’s a little bit surprising he’ll start out inside.
With Graham at defensive tackle, sophomore Moro Ojomo will move outside to defensive end, where he’s currently slotted as the starter over senior Marqez Bimage in this version of the depth chart. However, Bimage will benefit from the schematic change as much as anyone on the defensive line, so it’s possible that he earns the starting role or at least plays significant snaps during his final season on the Forty Acres.
The rest of the defensive line is still mostly guess work, but Herman did say that he thinks the scheme change will help 2020 signees like Vernon Broughton and Alfred Collins play more on the edges, so Broughton is now listed at defensive end ahead of Collins since he was able to go through winter conditioning as an early enrollee.