#21 Texas 2018 Football Preview

Texas Longhorns
Overall Rank: #21
#3 Big 12
 Texas Logo
Reaching a bowl game was a good first step for Coach Tom Herman in his debut season with Texas. The Longhorns got a decent win in the bowl game too, defeating Missouri 33-16. More importantly, this program is starting to develop a new identity and Coach Herman’s first full recruiting class is a good one. For now though, Texas will look to remain strong on defense and hope the offense can improve after an up and down 2017 season.
2017 Record: 7-6, 4-5
2017 Bowl: Texas Bowl vs. Missouri (W 33-16)
Coach: Tom Herman (7-6 at Texas, 7-6 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tom Beck, Herb Hand
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Orlando
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Sam Ehlinger, QB, 385 yards
Passing: Sam Ehlinger, QB, 1,915 yards
Receiving: Collin Johnson, WR, 765 yards
Tackles: Brandon Jones, S, 61
Sacks: Breckyn Hager, DE, 4.0
Interceptions: Khris Boyd, CB, 2; CB Davante Davis, CB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Daniel Young, QB Shane Buechele, WR Lil’Jordan Humphrey, LB Gary Johnson, LB Anthony Wheeler, S PJ Locke
Key Losses: WR Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, DT Noona Ford, LB Malik Jefferson, CB Horton Hill, S DeShon Elliott, P Michael Dickson
The Texas offense never really clicked last year. Nor was there much consistency when it came to playing time. That could continue at quarterback where both Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele return. Ehlinger figures to start this season under center after throwing for 1,915 yards and 11 touchdowns and adding a team high 385 yards on the ground. Buechele added 1,405 yards through the air, but is not as much of a threat on the ground. Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey were the team’s top two receivers last season and will likely be again in 2018. The Longhorns do need to find a way to get their top receivers into the end zone though. Despite combining for 91 receptions, Johnson and Humphrey tallied just three receiving touchdowns. If those two can be consistent, it will open up some much needed space for a struggling ground game. Getting some new faces on the offensive line will help too.
Texas had a great defense under coordinator Todd Orlando, but now there are some big holes to fill. Up front the Longhorns are in good shape with Breckyn Hager and Charles Omenihu on the ends and Chris Nelson in the middle. At linebacker, Anthony Wheeler, Gary Johnson and Malcolm Roach are a solid trio to build around. The secondary is absolutely loaded with talent. Kris Boyd, PJ Locke and Brandon Jones are all returning starters, but there is also a massive amount of freshmen talent coming into the program. For now they will at least provide depth, but do not be surprised if the key playmakers in the secondary end up being freshmen.
The Bottom Line:
Texas kicks off the 2018 campaign just like they did the 2017 season…against Maryland. Last season the Longhorns lost 51-41. This time around they hope for a better start to the campaign. With Tulsa and USC also on the non-conference slate, Texas does not have a really easy game to get things rolling. If the offense can take a step forward, Texas will be a tough team to beat. Of course, they need to keep it up on defense too and that may not be easy without players like Noona Ford and Malik Jefferson.
Projected Bowl: Camping World Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 139.6 (95th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 258.8 (41, 7)
Total Offense: 398.5 (66, 7)
Scoring Offense: 29.5 (53, 7)
Rushing Defense: 106.8 (8, 2)
Pass Defense: 258.8 (108, 5)
Total Defense: 365.6 (41, 2)
Scoring Defense: 21.2 (29, 3)
Turnover Margin: 0.62 (22, 4)
Sacks: 2.38 (38, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.62 (103, 9)
Madness 2019 NFL Draft Rankings:
#50 Collin Johnson
Madness 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#22 Caden Sterns
#26 B.J, Foster
#53 Anthony Cook
#62 DeMarvion Overshown
#64 Brennan Eagles
#64 Jalen Green
#79 Al'vonte Woodard
#83 Joshua Moore
#102 Ayodele Adeoye
#105 Keondre Coburn
#124 D'Shawn Jamison
#155 Junior, Angilau
#197 Joseph Ossai
#207 Malcolm Epps
#211 Cameron Rising