Texas Football: 5 Recruits Most Likely to Start as Freshmen
The Texas Longhorns still claim a firm grasp on recruiting in the Lone Star State, and although that grip is under fire with Texas A&M on the rise, the Horns are very capable of securing talented hauls of recruits season after season.
The 2013 class for the Longhorns is considerably smaller than in recent seasons, but there exists a core of talent that could grow into the right pieces to bring the Horns back to prominence.
Freshman impact players are the starter kits to BCS runs, and Texas has some candidates who can earn that early opportunity.
Beginning with the most likely to least likely, here are five 2013 recruits that could earn the early start as freshmen.
CB Antwuan Davis
Defensive backs coach Duane Akina has not hesitated in playing his young guys as long as the efforts in practice warrant place on the field.
Incoming Bastrop cornerback Antwuan Davis could be high up on the shortlist of players who could make impacts as a first-year player.
Quandre Diggs started at cornerback as a freshman and experienced success early and often in a pass-heavy Big 12. Davis has the athleticism to compete, but how quickly he adapts to the college level looks to be the primary determinant to whether he sees the field early.
After a season where the defensive backfield struggled at times, the two-deep in the Texas secondary has many vacancies up for grabs in the spring.
DT A'Shawn Robinson
Defensive tackle has been a position littered with bodies, but inadequately supported with the experience to anchor the defense.
The pieces are carefully getting put together, but the group still lacks a warhorse that constantly commands attention from the opposing offensive line.
That could change with the young players the Longhorns have coming through the ranks, and it does not stop with A'Shawn Robinson, one of the most sought-after defensive tackle prospects in the country.
The numbers are stacked against Robinson to earn starter's minutes from the get-go, but given the recent inconsistencies at the position, playing time is definitely up for grabs.
S Erik Huhn
At first glance, it appears like a long shot for a quietly recruited Erik Huhn to break into the starting mix in the Texas secondary.
But in a similar fashion to defensive tackle, the two safety positions are up in the air with Kenny Vaccaro's departure and the general play from the group. Quandre Diggs looks set to make a switch to the back end, but do not be surprised to see a rotation of bodies otherwise until someone emerges as the best option.
Adrian Phillips, Mykkele Thompson and Josh Turner all made some plays last season at safety, but they all had their shortcomings. Huhn definitely has an opportunity to pry his way into the two-deep, but he will have to bring a mental edge that could have him more prepared for the college level.
C Darius James
One of the bigger long shots to earn starter's minutes will be center Darius James.
With the incumbent Dom Espinosa at the top of the depth chart, only an injury or serious setback on the performance end could open the door for James to begin his career, but that is pure conjecture at this point.
James has the big body that the Longhorns have wanted along the offensive line, but it will be his adjustment to the college game that can determine just how early he can make his presence felt.
LB Deoundrei Davis
Deoundrei Davis was named to the Under Armour All-American Game and is one of the top recruits coming out of the state of Texas.
His recent injury setback definitely hurts his chances to earn an early impact for the Longhorns, but at a position that really struggled without a proven leader, the vacancies will be there.
Youth dominated the position last season, as did inexperience. And with the development of the current players on campus determining just how successful the linebackers can be, the opportunity is definitely available to make a home in the two-deep.
Davis has great athleticism and speed across the field, and in a conference that requires those kinds of players at linebacker, Davis could make his impact sooner rather than later.