Texas Football: Projecting Post-Spring 2-Deep Depth Chart
The Texas Longhorns are done with spring practice, and first-year head coach Charlie Strong is putting together the two-deep depth chart. Although it is unlikely Strong will publicly release any depth chart, he said he planned on telling the players where they stand following spring practice.
"They are going to have the chance to just sit one-on-one and have the coaches tell them exactly where they are," Strong said. "I want the coaches to let them know 'If you are a starter, then you are a starter, and if you are a backup, you are a backup.' Each player will understand the role he has on this football team."
Here's a look at the projected two-deep for the Texas Longhorns heading into summer workouts.
Starter: David Ash
Backup(s): Tyrone Swoopes, Jerrod Heard
The Unknown: Max Wittek
The Longhorns quarterback situation is once again unknown following spring practice. Ash started to get into his groove, but he was sidelined with a Jones fracture of his left foot, which required surgery. His injury left Swoopes as the No. 1 guy during the spring game.
Swoopes' performance in the game was very inconsistent, which should be expected considering the limited amount of playing time during his debut season in 2013. And most of his game-time experience came during garbage time.
Heard is a very talented player, but not being at Texas for spring makes it difficult to assume that he will compete for the starting role immediately.
Even with Ash's injury history, one could assume he is still the guy heading into summer because of his experience.
The unknown factor is Wittek. Will the USC transfer continue his career in Austin? Nobody knows. But even if he does, is he a better option than Ash? Again, nobody knows. However, his decision will be an interesting one to follow in the coming weeks.
Starter: Malcolm Brown
Backup: Jalen Overstreet
The Unknown: Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron
Texas has a three-headed monster at running backs with Brown, Bergeron and Gray, but two of those three are technically unknown factors leading into summer workouts. Bergeron missed the majority of spring practice due to a personal issue, and Gray is still recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered last season.
Strong said Bergeron could potentially rejoin the team during summer workouts, as long as he does what Strong has told him to do.
"If he does what I asked of him, then he has an opportunity to be back in the summer," Strong said. "He needed to work on some things, so if he gets that done then he will be back."
Bergeron and Gray's unknown status leaves Brown as the guy, backed up by Overstreet. Brown had a nice showing in the spring game when he rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass from Swoopes. Even if the unknown remains that this spring, he has enough talent to lead the ground attack.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Starters: Jaxon Shipley, Marcus Johnson, Kendall Sanders
Backups: Daje Johnson, Jacorey Warrick, Montrel Meander, John Harris
The Unknown: Jake Oliver, incoming freshman group
Texas has a handful of wide receiver options currently on campus and has a handful of options arriving in Austin following the spring semester. The starters are pretty much set with Jaxon Shipley, Marcus Johnson and Kendall Sanders, but this position has enough talent to have a lot of rotation between the group.
The unknown factors include Jake Oliver, who apparently suffered an elbow injury, according to Strong, and the incoming group of freshman. The freshmen include 4-star prospects Armanti Foreman and Lorenzo Joe and 3-star prospects Roderick Bernard, Garrett Gray and Dorian Leonard.
Starter: Geoff Swaim
Backups: M.J. McFarland, Blake Whiteley
Tight end has been a position to forget for the Longhorns for many years. Texas has not really had a prototypically great tight end since Jermichael Finley. But Strong mentioned that his staff plans on utilizing its group of tight ends.
"It's a position we have to get better at," Strong said. "You look at the guys that we have that are playing right now, and they are going to be a big part of our offense. They understand and know that they need to get better because they're going to catch a lot of balls, and are going to be really heavily involved."
Starters (Tackles/Guards): Kent Perkins, Kennedy Estelle, Sedrick Flowers, Taylor Doyle
Starting Center: Dominic Espinosa
Backups: Desmond Harrison, Darius James, Camrhon Hughes, Rami Hammad, Jake Raulerson, Curtis Riser
The Unknown: Every position besides center
The Longhorns entered the 2013 season with one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country. The story for 2014 is entirely different.
Aside from Espinosa, the offensive line is lacking seasoned veterans—and it was apparent in the spring game. The line gave up eight total sacks against the quarterbacks and allowed 13 total tackles for loss for a loss of 68 yards.
Saying the offensive line is a work in progress is a massive understatement. The line has a lot of ground to make up and not a lot of time in which to do so.
Offensive line coach Joe Wickline likes to shift around the tackles and guards and has enough depth to continue constant competition throughout the season, but the main focus right now should be just finding four young men who could be starters.
Starting Defensive Ends: Cedric Reed, Shiro Davis*
Starting Defensive Tackles: Desmond Jackson, Malcom Brown
Backup Defensive Ends: Caleb Bluiett, Bryce Cottrell
Backup Defensive Tackles: Hassan Ridgeway, Alex Norman
The defensive line could be one of the strongest areas for the Longhorns this season. The line helped the defense pick up 13 tackles for a loss of 68 yards on the offense in the annual Orange-White spring game.
Reed, Jackson and Brown are the apparent leaders on the line, but one could argue the position opposite of Reed could still be up in the air.
The reason there is an asterisk next to Davis' name is because even though he ran with the first-team defense in the spring game, he did not have the showing many Texas fans would have expected. In fact, of the 100 total tackles the defensive players gained on the Longhorns offense, Davis was credited with just one tackle, which was an assist.
Davis has a shot of holding onto the starting role if he plays up to his potential. But if not, it would not be a surprise if Caleb Bluiett got the nod to play opposite Reed.
Starters: Steve Edmond, Peter Jinkens, Jordan Hicks
Backups: Dalton Santos, Naashon Hughes, Timothy Cole, Demarco Cobbs
There is a little uncertainty from the linebacker unit heading into summer workouts. Hicks, who has been nursing an Achilles injury, did not participate in spring practice but is expected to return for summer workouts. If all goes well, he has the opportunity to make up for lost time after missing the majority of the 2013 season.
But 2013 was not the only time Hicks missed the majority of a season. He suffered a hip/groin injury in the third game of the 2012 season and was sidelined for the rest of the year.
Hicks' injury-prone past could put extra pressure on the linebackers. But the unit has a lot of experience between Edmond, Jinkens and Santos.
Starting Cornerbacks: Quandre Diggs, Duke Thomas
Starting Safeties: Mykkele Thompson, Josh Turner
Backup Cornerbacks: Bryson Echols, Sheroid Evans, Antwuan Davis
Backup Safeties: Chevoski Collins, Adrian Colbert
The defensive back group is one that seems to be set heading into summer workouts. Diggs and Thomas appear to have the cornerback role locked in, and Thompson and Turner proved they could handle the safety position, even though the two have not always been consistent during their time at Texas.
One area to keep an eye on will be with the incoming group of defensive backs from the 2014 recruiting class. There's potential the incoming freshmen could see some playing time during the season.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
Taylor Gaspar is Bleacher Report's featured columnist covering the Texas Longhorns. You can follow her on Twitter: @Taylor_Gaspar.