Texas Football: 2013 Preseason Awards for the Longhorns

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Texas Football: 2013 Preseason Awards for the Longhorns
texassports.com

With the media recently announcing the preseason All-Big 12 selections, what better opportunity to project Texas' individual performers.

The Longhorns sported four selections, along with TCU and Texas Tech, while Kansas State boasted five players to top the league.

Texas offensive lineman Trey Hopkins, defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, linebacker Jordan Hicks and defensive back Quandre Diggs earned all-conference honors and will look to set the tone for a Longhorns team looking to make a big splash in 2013.

So without further ado, let us dive into the preseason giveaways for the 'Horns. 

 

Preseason Offensive Most Valuable Player

Candidates: QB David Ash, RB Johnathan Gray, OL Trey Hopkins, WR Mike Davis, OL Donald Hawkins

And the award goes to...

Senior wide receiver Mike Davis chose to return for his final season at Texas, and that decision may become the most important one for the Longhorns' 2013 offensive campaign.

Sure, David Ash should have every reason to claim this award, but it will be Davis' ability to get behind defenders that truly will open up the rest of the Texas offense.

Davis upped his numbers from 45 receptions, 609 yards and one touchdown in 2011 to 57 receptions, 939 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012.

In 2013, a 1,000-yard season for Davis is hardly out of the question.

 

Preseason Defensive Most Valuable Player

Candidates: DE Jackson Jeffcoat, LB Jordan Hicks, CB Quandre Diggs, CB Carrington Byndom

And the award goes to...

mackbrown-texasfootball.com

Junior linebacker Jordan Hicks will be coming off of a hip injury that forced him out of 10 games in 2012, but his return is one of the most significant on the defensive side of the football.

The mere presence of Hicks at linebacker makes the group look that much more potent, especially a year after the group suffered with inexperience. Guys like Jinkens, Steve Edmond, Kendall Thompson and Tevin Jackson were seeing their first significant moments.

Hicks' return puts a talented and veteran presence at every level of the defense.

No knock on Jeffcoat, but if Hicks turns in a solid season, that performance will have been more influential on the defense as a whole.

 

Preseason Offensive Most Improved Player

Candidates: QB David Ash, RB Malcolm Brown, WR Kendall Sanders, OL Dom Espinosa, TE M.J. McFarland

And the award goes to...

Sophomore receiver Kendall Sanders had been making headlines for the wrong reasons during the offseason. But since getting slapped with a one-game suspension for the season opener, Sanders seemingly has his sights set forward.

Sanders appears to be the heavy favorite to win the No. 3 receiver position behind Davis and Jaxon Shipley, and Sanders' open-field potential is a huge key to that battle.

With Davis working the deep ball and Shipley operating underneath, Sanders has an opportunity to see plenty of action over the rest of the field. His speed and shiftiness will look to complement his teammates well as Sanders could fill into former receiver Marquise Goodwin's role.

 

Preseason Defensive Most Improved Player

Candidates: S Adrian Phillips, LB Peter Jinkens, DE Cedric Reed, DT Malcolm Brown, LB Steve Edmond

And the award goes to...

Adrian Phillips shook off a very poor first half to his 2012 season to put in a respectable second half to the year, but it still was not up to par with the standards that Kenny Vaccaro left behind.

In a year where the Longhorns appear weak at the back end, Phillips' experience will play a crucial role in aligning the pieces correctly.

There is little doubt that a guy like Peter Jinkens deserves the recognition, but with Hicks' return at linebacker, the need for a solid number in the defensive backfield is of paramount importance for a defense that got shredded week after week last season.

 

Preseason Assistant Coach of the Year

Candidates: Co-OC/QBs Major Applewhite, DC/LBs Manny Diaz, DBs Duane Akina, WRs Darrell Wyatt

And the award goes to...

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite is getting a huge share of the spotlight in 2013 after rummaging behind the scenes in 2012 with Bryan Harsin running the show.

But now that Applewhite has the keys to the castle, all of the glory can go to the former Texas quarterback should the Longhorns see their goals through to the end of the season.

There is plenty riding on Applewhite's plate, though. Ash's progression will have a ton to do with it, and if the junior quarterback delivers a Big 12 title and beyond, Applewhite will have done his job well.

 

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