Texas Football: 3 Freshmen Who Will Start in 2012

Cole Dolan@@ColeDolanCorrespondent IIIMay 16, 2012

Texas Football: 3 Freshmen Who Will Start in 2012

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    The Texas Longhorns are on the up and up.

    After two consecutive years of falling well short of expectations, Mack Brown's squad appears to finally be ready to step back into the spotlight.

    Even Mack Brown himself thinks so: "We’re back to where we feel like we can win every game. That attitude is starting to get there." he said during a Big XII conference call.

    Much of this attitude that Brown is referring to is coming from the new faces on the block.  Texas reeled in the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation, and it will be paying dividends immediately.

    While some freshman will make more of an impact than others, these three newcomers are sure to be game-changers.

Malcom Brown

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    No, Longhorn fans, this isn't your projected starting running back in 2012.  It's Malcom, not Malcolm.

    More importantly, this is a 300 pound behemoth of a freshman that will be anchoring the defensive line for years to come.

    His career may very well get off to an early start.

    Brown already has the size, speed and strength to compete at the next level.  It also helps that he is coming into a position of need in the Longhorns organization.

    He is the perfect size to plug up any leaky holes in the run defense and should make the starting rotation before the season starts in September.

Johnathan Gray

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    Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown return as the two-headed rushing monster from 2011, but both players were in-and-out of duty with injuries.

    Johnathan Gray comes in after shattering almost every high school record imaginable for a running back.  Perhaps the most decorated high school player ever, Mack Brown will likely get his feet wet with the wildcat formation while Bergeron and Brown maintain the primary running back roles.

    However, Gray exploding onto the scene is not a far-fetched thought.  Offensive coordinator loves to use multiple running backs in his schemes and an explosive player like Gray fits right in.

    If Bergeron or Brown go down with an injury, Gray could step in and take over; and after what fans see from him, he may very well be the premier running back going forward.

Tim Cole

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    Tim Cole is perhaps the most underrated player of the 2012 recruiting class. 

    With four linebackers in the recruiting class, it will be the hardest working player that emerges and gets playing time.

    Tim Cole is that player, his motor simply never ends.

    Malcom Brown played with Cole in high school and is still amazed at how hard he works.

    "Tim will surprise a lot of people. People don't know how hard Tim plays. I watched that every day. Sometimes I didn't feel like working out, but he motivates me because I look out on that field and see Tim just out there running by himself sometimes"  Brown said in an interview with HornsNation.

    Cole is just one of those guys.  He gets to practice early, stays after and makes absolutely sure nobody works harder.

    Not only is that the kind of player that will see playing time, it's the kind of player that makes the whole team better.