Texas Football: 4 Potential Impact Freshmen for the Longhorns
College football is forever a revolving door of high school talent, perpetually keeping the sport young, wild and unpredictable.
The Texas Longhorns will officially welcome 15 new players as part of their 2013 recruiting class in just a few weeks, although several from the group enrolled early and have already been through a semester on campus.
With new players comes fresh talent, perspective and possibility, and the Longhorns will be looking in every corner for the difference-maker who can contribute to a potentially special season.
The Longhorns return 19 starters next season, ultimately leaving few vacancies for the newcomers to find wiggle room, but there are always the surprises. Texas has a select few who could make contributions at some point this season, small or large.
Whitewright, Texas, product Tyrone Swoopes is built in the Vince Young mold, a form that tends to be a spectacle around Austin, and for good reason.
Swoopes enrolled early and took part in spring football, allowing him ample time to acclimate to the college atmosphere as well as the Texas program. In fact, the young quarterback was impressive enough to land the No. 3 slot on the depth chart behind Case McCoy and starter David Ash.
Now, in a perfect world, Swoopes could entertain a redshirt and be ready to go for the 2014 or 2015 season, whichever opportunity presented itself first. But alas, this is no perfect world, and for the Longhorns, they may find themselves in a situation where Ash misses some time, forcing them to look at their quarterback options.
If Texas wants to look long term, Swoopes is the guy to play if Ash gets hurt, a scenario that makes Swoopes a huge impact player, good or bad.
Swoopes may be a long while from being comfortable enough to strap up so early in his career, but with his dual-threat ability and open-field athleticism that generated huge praise over the course of his recruitment, the chance to play early provides quite the kick-start to his college career.
The 6'0", 180-pound Antwuan Davis enters the fold as another promising cornerback recruit to come to Texas, an engagement that could add another to the long list of talented DBs to move onto the NFL via Austin and defensive backs coach Duane Akina.
Blessed with blazing speed and good size, Davis looks the part and plays it even better. For him to crack the two-deep at Texas, with the kind of quality and depth it has in its defensive backfield, would be impressive, to say the least. Akina has never shied away from plugging in his best players, but if Davis can turn enough heads this summer and early this fall, he could lay himself a nice foundation behind Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs.
Do not discount the possibility of Davis getting some looks on special teams, either.
It has become a broken record by now, but the Longhorns needed all the help they could get at linebacker last season, and Davis is one of two new backers (Naashon Hughes is the other) in the Texas program as part of the 2013 class.
Going into the 2013 season, the ‘Horns know exactly what they are getting at linebacker, but they still lack some depth. If injuries or similar struggles take hold of the group like they did a year ago, look for changes from defensive coordinator Manny Diaz in his make-or-break season in Austin.
Listed at 6’3”, 215 pounds, Davis is a rangy athlete who fits to defend the quicker offenses in the Big 12.
The Longhorns have no shortage of young linebackers on their roster, and Davis adds to that equation. His youth is a fit, but can he develop enough to fit from a performance standpoint?
Montrel Meander was the last to commit to the 2013 class, joining Jacorey Warrick and Jake Oliver at receiver when they report in a few weeks.
Meander played two-way football in high school but will remain on the offensive side of the ball for the Longhorns. Even at a position of need, Meander is still behind the eight-ball.
Behind Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley, the Longhorns have few reliable options at their disposal, but it is unlikely that Meander will be able to chisel through the mess of a depth chart to see many looks at receiver this season.
Instead, look for Meander possibly to make a nice home on special teams. The 6’3”, 180-pounder ran track in high school and could fit the bill nicely to take over where Marquise Goodwin left off.