As expected, offseason attrition has gradually impacted the Texas Longhorns throughout Tom Herman’s first seven months on the Forty Acres. It’s life in college football, especially following a coaching change.
Of course, it isn’t always ideal on the surface, especially when attrition leaves depth concerns in its wake, but on the other hand, bearing in mind the 2018 recruiting haul Herman’s staff is putting together, it can prove beneficial down the road.
That said, following seven offseason departures to date, here’s a look at the Longhorns current scholarship chart as we inch nearer towards the 2017 season.
|Shane Buechele||Sam Ehlinger|
Its’s quite clear Tom Herman and Tim Beck are tasked with making due with a less than ideal quarterback room. Sophomore Shane Buechele is the only gunslinger on the roster with game experience and any form of injury would mean burning what’s expected to be a redshirt year for early enrollee Sam Ehlinger.
The graduate transfer market hasn’t proved fruitful for the Longhorns this offseason, but if Texas can survive until next spring with limited options, the depth chart will double with Cameron Rising and Casey Thompson coming in, giving the ‘Horns an abundance of quality talent and potential under center for years to come.
|Roderick Bernard||Chris Warren III||Kyle Porter||Toneil Carter|
|Kirk Johnson||Daniel Young|
Despite being seven deep, Texas’ backfield has a lot of concerns going forward. After D’Onta Foreman shouldered the load to the tune of 323 carries and 2,028 yards in 2016, the ‘Horns return only 111 carries from last season between Chris Warren III (62), Kyle Porter (46) and Tristian Houston (3).
Warren looks the part of a future star, but health has been a major concern, just as it has been with Kirk Johnson. It’s unlikely that Roderick Bernard ever plays another snap of football due to injuries and beyond that, Porter and Houston have combined for 49 career carries while Toneil Carter and Daniel Young are completely unproven.
There’s no question that Stan Drayton has some quality talent to work with in the backfield, but until proven otherwise, health and inexperience are a concern entering 2017. With good health, the running back corps should be fairly formidable and much more experienced by next season when Keaontay Ingram, the top running back in the state, joins the mix.
|Armanti Foreman||Jerrod Heard*||Collin Johnson||Reggie Hemphill-Mapps*|
|Dorian Leonard||John Burt||Devin Duvernay||Davion Curtis*|
|Lorenzo Joe||Lil'Jordan Humphrey||Damion Miller|
Buechele enjoyed a bevy of options in 2016, completing passes to 14 different receivers with nine totaling at least 100 yards. The vasty majority of 2016’s pass catching returns, only more experienced and likely improved entering 2017 with Reggie Hemphill-Mapps and Davion Curtis also coming off of redshirt seasons.
Texas will lose a trio of contributors to graduation after next season, but the cupboards are well-stocked for the future. To that end, along with potential All-Conference talents in Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay having three seasons of eligibility remaining, the Texas is in a great position to add some of the premier wide receiver recruits to the mix once Armanti Foreman, Dorian Leonard and Lorenzo Joe depart. To date, Texas already holds a out-of-state pledge from Rondale Moore, while Brennan Eagles and Al’vonte Woodard seem likely to join.
|Andrew Beck||Garrett Gray*||Reese Leitao|
|Kendall Moore||Cade Brewer|
There’s good news and bad news when discussing Texas’ current situation at tight end. The bad news is for the immediate future, Corby Meekins will have to overcome considerable inexperience and a lack of quality options. Senior Andrew Beck and Syracuse graduate transfer Kendall Moore are the only two tight ends on the roster that have caught a collegiate pass with the two combining for just 26 receptions and 279 career yards. Redshirt junior Garrett Gray has at least stood on the sidelines during games, but he’s yet to catch his first career pass and Tom Herman said earlier in the spring that Gray is still at least a year away from being physically ready for his transition from wide receiver.
After dealing with legal trouble, true freshman Reese Leitao may very well be Texas’ best option.
The good news, on the other hand, is Texas is in a great position to land one, if not both of elite Spring Dekaney product Malcolm Epps and Dominick Wood-Anderson, the nation’s top-ranked JUCO tight end prospect. Texas may not see much production from the tight end position next season, but the talent should be in place by next offseason.
|Tristan Nickelson||Alex Anderson*||Jean Delance||Patrick Hudson*|
|Terrell Cuney*||Ronnie Major||Tope Imade*|
|Jake McMillon*||Denzel Okafor||J.P. Urquidez*|
|Elijah Rodriguez*||Zach Shackelford||Samuel Cosmi|
|Patrick Vahe||Garrett Thomas||Derek Kerstetter|
Offensive line coach Derek Warehime has an interesting mix of experience, talent and potential to work with for the next couple of seasons. Following Brandon Hodges recent departure from the program, Tristan Nickelson serves as the lone senior on the roster, although it’s almost a given that junior Connor Williams is playing on Sunday beginning in 2018.
Beyond any further attrition, this offseason, Warehime’s current 16-man army in the offensive trenches includes 10 players with at least three years of eligibility remaining and Texas is still in the mix with a few 2018 recruits to pair with Reese Moore.
|Poona Ford||Chris Nelson*||Malcolm Roach||Chris Daniels*|
|Charles Omenihu||D'Andre Christmas-Giles||Andrew Fitzgerald*|
|Jamari Chisholm||Gerald Wilbon||Taquon Graham|
Attrition has hit the Longhorns defensive line the hardest this offseason with Jordan Elliott and Marcel Southall exiting the program almost simultaneously in mid-May. As it now stands, nearly half of the Longhorns talent in the trenches has never seen a collegiate snap with Poona Ford, Chris Nelson and Malcolm Roach as the only three with legitimate Power 5 experience.
There’s certainly some long-term upside in the mix such Chris Daniels, Taquon Graham and Marquez Bimage, but depth an experience is going to be an issue next season unless a reserve or two mature quickly, just as Roach did last season.
To make matters a bit worse, it seems quite possible that the only defensive line addition Texas will see in the 2018 class after Ron Tatum’s flip to Oklahoma is Keondre Coburn.
|Naashon Hughes*||Edwin Freeman*||Jeffrey McCulloch||DeMarco Boyd*|
|Malik Jefferson||Cameron Townsend|
Texas’ linebacking corps is arguably its more talented position and one that, barring unforeseen attrition or NFL departures, will be returning in full in 2018 with the exception of Naashon Hughes. The nine-man group featuring just a single senior appears to be abundant in quality depth in the two-deep, as whoever falls into a reserve roll is still essentially just a slight step behind the starters.
This unit will be joined by Ayodele Adeoye and Byron Hobbs next offseason, and likely DeMarvion Overshown, who projects as an outside linebacker at the next level. Adeoye and Overshown are both ranked within the top 10 at their position nationally and Hobbs is among the more versatile defensive prospects in the state, so Texas linebacking corps looks to be in good shape for the next handful of years.
|Antwuan Davis*||John Bonney*||Eric Cuffee*|
|Kris Boyd||Donovan Duvernay*|
|Holton Hill||Kobe Boyce|
|Davante Davis||Josh Thompson|
After suffering from the misfortunes of having youth on an island in the pass-happy Big 12 for the last two seasons, Texas should enjoy an battle-tested and talented crop of cornerbacks for the next couple of seasons, with each of the key pieces — John Bonney, Kris Boyd, Holton Hill, P.J. Locke and Davante Davis — all having two seasons of eligibility remaining.
Meanwhile, Eric Coffee and Donovan Duvernay are coming off of redshirt seasons and likely won’t become impact contributors for another season or two, while Kobe Boyce and Josh Thompson appear to be headed for redshirt seasons of their own. By next season, the cornerback position could be one abundant with talent if the 2018 class shakes out as expected with Texas is still heavily in the mix with Anthony Cook, Jalen Green and D’shawn Jamison.
|Jason Hall||DeShon Elliott||Brandon Jones||Chris Brown*|
After struggling mightily in 2016, the Longhorns secondary seems to be in store for a facelift in 2017. Former walk-on Dylan Haines is now graduated and a significant hamstring injury sidelined Jason Hall for virtually the entire spring, opening the door for a duo of DeShon Elliott and Brandon Jones.
Between Hall and redshirt freshman Chris Brown, Texas should enjoy a pair of quality reserves behind an improved starting product, and more notably, along with Montrell Estell likely headed for a redshirt year, the 2018 class will bring in BJ Foster and Caden Sterns, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 4 safety prospects, respectively. DeMarvion Overshown is another 2018 pledge that's drawn raving reviews, although his tenacious style appears more suited for a linebacker role.
It hasn't been pretty the last few seasons, but Texas fans should like what the future at safety holds.
The kicking game has plagued Texas the last couple of seasons, but there’s reason to believe that may not be the case much longer. Joining Ray Guy Award finalists Michael Dickson is JUCO transfer kicker Joshua Rowland, who earned second-team NJCAA All-American honors while at Mississippi Gulf Coach C.C.
Along with what’s expected to be a reliable special teams duo of Dickson and Rowland punting and kicking, respectively, Texas has picked up a pledge from the nation’s top-ranked kicker prospect, Cameron Dicker.
Collectively, the Longhorns current roster is made up of 81 total scholarship players, with the class breakdown as follows:
- Senior — 9
- Redshirt Senior — 2
- Junior — 17
- Redshirt Junior — 9
- Sophomore — 18
- Freshmen — 15
- Redshirt Freshmen — 11
If what’s currently a 12-man 2018 class concludes as expected, Texas could benefit from some further attrition between now and National Signing Day in order to complete a class greater than just 15 members.