10 of the 28 enrollees from the 2018 Texas Longhorns recruiting class, trademarked as the RevolUTion18, made their career debuts against the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday. Despite the disappointing 34-29 loss, the young group of freshman provided us with some positive moments.
A recruiting class that ranked No. 3 nationally — behind Georgia and Ohio State — is considered to be one of the best recruiting hauls in Texas recruiting history and could possibly be the program changing class that puts Texas back on the map.
With the new NCAA redshirt rule, which allows players to play up to four games without burning a redshirt, expect the Longhorns to utilize different freshman for each game. This new rule is a major advantage for both coaches and players. While it may be limited playing time, players are able to experience the college game as a redshirt rather than having to sit out a full season. Coaches can wisely put their freshman to use and save a full season of eligibility at the same time.
Most of the ten players that saw action against Maryland are likely to be every week guys as the season continues. To keep track of the new redshirt rule — the number of games that each player has played in will be listed next to their position. This will be updated game-by-game.
Freshman linebackers Ayodele Adeoye and DeMarvion Overshown were held out of the season opener with knee injuries sustained in practice.
Keaontay Ingram (RB-1): Trailing 24-7 halfway through the second quarter, the Longhorns needed a serious spark. After quickly marching down inside Maryland’s 25-yard line, it was Ingram’s time to shine. The freshman back rattled off an 18-yard run and skipped into the endzone on the next play for his first career touchdown. Ingram finished with six carries for 37 yards (6.2 YPC) and added a three-yard catch.
Despite providing a lift at the running back position, Ingram didn’t touch the ball once in the second half. Instead, the staff questionably decided to play Kyle Porter in late-game situations. Overall, it was a very encouraging debut from the Carthage product. Expect Ingram’s workload to increase moving forward.
1st career td for Keaontay Ingram ✅ pic.twitter.com/nJe1Tietqa— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 1, 2018
Brennan Eagles (XWR-1): Due to some bizarre issue with Collin Johnson’s jersey, Eagles was in for the first offensive play of the season, which resulted in a delay of game. On the next play, there was a miscommunication between Ehlinger and Eagles, as it looked like the freshman ran the wrong route. Just a tough, unexpected situation to be put into right away. That was his only target of the game.
D’Shawn Jamison (HWR/KR-1): As the main kick returner, Jamison had three returns for a total of 73 yards, which was good for 24.3 yards per return. He was probably a missed tackle away from breaking one of those returns to the house. It’s been a while since Texas has had a serious threat in the kick return game like Jamison.
On the offensive side of the ball, his only two touches came on jet sweeps that were blown up (two carries for negative six yards).
Joshua Moore (HWR-1): Moore got the nod over Jamison as the backup H-WR on most of the passing situations. He was targeted twice but Ehlinger airmailed both of those passes. Moore was inches away from making a spectacular catch on a 10-15 yard route.
Joseph Ossai (BLB-1): Despite not cracking the stat sheet, Ossai filled in at linebacker for guys that needed a breather after Gary Johnson was ejected.
Anthony Cook (CB-1): Cook saw limited action but with an injury to Davante Davis (neck) and Kobe Boyce’s struggles on Saturday, the opportunity to emerge as the No. 2 cornerback is there.
B.J. Foster (S-1): Outside of starting free safety Caden Sterns, Foster received more playing time than any other of freshman. Todd Orlando mostly utilized the missile-seeking safety in run-stops and different blitz packages. Foster displayed his hard-hitting ability and was flying around the field at times. He totaled a loud two solo tackles.
In a crucial moment with Maryland driving up 29-24, Foster was called for a ticky-tack roughing the passer penalty. Coming off the edge on a blitz, he was in the right position and forced Kasim Hill to throw the ball away. But, he slightly clipped Hill’s helmet on his follow-through attempt to deflect the pass. Can’t blame the kid for being in the right position and making a play on the ball.
At Big 12 media days Breckyn Hager called freshman safety, BJ Foster a “missile”— TFB Texas (@TFB_Texas) September 1, 2018
Missile engaged. #HookEm pic.twitter.com/nn7pg3NiPg
Caden Sterns (S-1): Sterns was the lone true freshman starter at a non-special teams position, earning the start at free safety. He showed some serious range and played well in coverage facing a tall task in replacing DeShon Elliott. Sterns finished with four total tackles.
On a pass to the endzone early in the fourth quarter, Sterns showed nice body control, avoiding a pass interference penalty and making a play on the ball to force an incompletion. He also delivered a booming hit on a pass to the sideline, yet the receiver somehow managed to hang on for the catch.
One area of his game that Sterns can noticeably improve on, is taking better tackling angles. Twice he was out of position and both plays resulted in big runs.
A catch but still love to see #HookEm freshman, Caden Sterns (@lil_STERNS2) wreck a receiver like this! ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/5oFAAg7aRE— TFB Texas (@TFB_Texas) September 1, 2018
Cameron Dicker (K-1): The Lake Travis product netted all three extra point attempts in his debut. Handling the kickoff duties, Dicker showed superb placement and distance on his kicks. Three of his five kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.
Ryan Bujcevski (P-1): It was a rollercoaster of a debut for the Australian, similar to his cousin Michael’s debut at Texas. Bujcevski boomed his first punt for 56 yards. Standing inside his own endzone, he shanked a punt that went 15 yards. This led to a Maryland touchdown on the next play to put the Terps up 24-7. Bujcevski responded well on his next punt attempt, putting it inside-the-5. Three plays later, the Horns defense caught a break and were gifted with two points from a safety.
Overall, the Aussie averaged 37.7 yards on nine punts, with two of those downed inside-the-10. By no means should a true freshman punter be tasked with nine punts in his debut. The more Bujcevski gets accustomed to the game of football, the better he will get.