Texas Football: How Long Until Texas Is a National Title Contender Again?

Jonathan Woo@woo_jonathanwooCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2013

AUSTIN, TX - JANUARY 8:  Quarterback Vince Young of the Texas Longhorns announces his decision to leave the University of Texas and enter the NFL draft on January 8, 2006 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Greatness is achieved with transcendent players.

At Texas, those associated with greatness helped the Longhorns to achieve the status they have today. In recent memory, we think of Colt McCoy and Vince Young.

Greatness has been desperately thin on the 40 Acres, and the fans can only wonder when their beloved 'Horns will be title contenders again. When will Texas reclaim a reputation like the Alabamas and Oregons of today?

When Mack Brown first initiated his rebuild of the Texas program following the 2010 season, he pointed to the 2013 season as the target season to re-establish the Longhorns as a perennial power.

In the words of Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend!"

Halfway through the 2013 season, the Longhorns are a wobbly 4-2. They dropped games to Ole Miss and BYU in embarrassing fashion, but the 'Horns are coming off of three straight Big 12 victories, their latest being a 36-20 whip-job of Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl.

Although the recent taste of triumph has most of the fan base on a high, the truth of the matter is that Texas may be good enough to win five of its last six games, but it is definitely bad enough to lose five of those six as well.

Texas and mediocrity do not sit well with the fans, and with Brown still on the hot seat, there are changes on the horizon in Austin.

So when? When will Texas be a national title contender again? When will the Longhorns be a feared program?

Time will tell all, but the wheels are already in motion for Texas to return to its glory within three seasons. Let's just say 2014-2016.


Setting the Board

There is one thing that will never change at Texas: the talent will be there.

The state of Texas produces some of the best football athletes in the country, and the Longhorns will get their crop every season. It is up to the coaches to instill the right attitudes, push the right buttons and, most importantly, develop the talent.

In the opinion of many fans, Brown already has one foot out the door, which means the Texas athletic department needs a sure-thing as its next hire. Texas cannot miss on its guy.

With the right head coach driving the ship, the pieces will obviously have to fall in place. But it is the confidence of the fans that, with the deepest pockets in all of college football, Texas will bring in that sure-thing.


Dominate Under Center

McCoy and Young are two stars of college football at quarterback, and their legendary stuff often precedes them.

For Texas to return to the top, surprise surprise, it will need to find a star under center.

Quite possibly, the Longhorns already have future stars in their books.

Oct 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns wide receiver Kendall Sanders (2) and quarterback Tyrone Swoopes (18) celebrate with fans after beating Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry at Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Texas Longhorns beat the Oklahoma
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

True freshman Tyrone Swoopes has made headlines of his own going into the season. Halfway into the year, rumors continue to stir about Texas burning his redshirt. And for a guy who has not played a single snap this season, that is plenty of expectation already.

Swoopes is of the dual-threat quality, but his arm will still need work in the offense before he is truly ready to shine.

Also in the mix, though not even on campus yet, is high school senior Jerrod Heard, who is rated by 247sports.com as the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 class. Heard has had high praise for his open-field capabilities, but his arm has surprised plenty during this past summer's round of camps.

Does Texas have gold buried at quarterback?


The Sophomore Class

Mark it down now.

This year's sophomore class will be juniors in 2014 and seniors in 2015, but more importantly, they will be huge pieces on either side of the ball.

On offense, running back Johnathan Gray will be a fixture next season, though he could very well jump to the NFL after his junior year. Wide receivers Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson probably do not project as strongly right now, but they are already showing signs of big-time playmaking ability. Throw in Texas' most dynamic weapon in Daje Johnson and Texas has its skill pieces in place. Quarterback?

Defensively, five sophomores play huge minutes for Texas right now, which brings a little more comfort in knowing that this year's defense has plenty of pieces for the future.

Twelve sophomores are playing significant roles on either side of the ball, and it will only help the transition into a new regime at Texas.


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