Texas Football: Week 3 Fall Camp Stock Report for the Longhorns

Zach Shelton@@zachisagingerFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2015

Where does Tyrone Swoopes stand now that we've reached the end of fall camp?
Where does Tyrone Swoopes stand now that we've reached the end of fall camp?Chris Covatta/Getty Images

Fall camp has come to an end for the Texas Longhorns, who have made changes at just about every position other than the one everyone's been watching.

That's right. If the season were to start today, Tyrone Swoopes would be the starting quarterback. That might be disappointing for some, but the junior has taken a big step as a leader and earned one more chance.

However, the rest of the team is going to look much different.

Freshmen are going to be everywhere on the two-deep for the Notre Dame game. John Burt will start at receiver, Connor Williams and Patrick Vahe look like they'll start along the offensive line, every one of the freshman defensive backs looks ready and, of course, Malik Jefferson is worth noting.

After the final week of camp, we can enjoy the performances of guys who made big impressions over the final week, including a surprising senior.

Stock Up: WR Daje Johnson

Daje Johnson started hot at fall camp, and he sustained his effort level to close strong. Now he looks ready for the big year he's owed the Horns since his freshman year.

William Wilkerson @Wilkerson_FWST

Daje had two touchdowns inscrimmage. One was a reverse. Celebrated one TD with a double backflip. @HornsDigest

It's been all downhill for Johnson since his explosive freshman season. Since averaging over 10 yards per touch in 2012, he's been suspended for five games and hasn't scored an offensive touchdown since the first game of 2013.

At one point, it was fair to assume Johnson's best football was well behind him. Even worse, head coach Charlie Strong could have easily cut him when he was purging the program of its distractions last summer.

Instead, Strong's kept the maligned playmaker in his sights, and it seems to have paid off. As Johnson told ESPN's Max Olson, he realizes what a great opportunity he still has.

"I feel like there's a lot of people pulling for me, I just want to prove them right," he said. "I don't want to be going out trying to be all 'What if?,' 'He could've done this.' I ain't trying to do all that. I'm trying to be remembered. I am worth the investment."

Sporting improved hands and route running, Johnson has enormous potential for the Horns. The last time he was an every-down weapon, he turned nine touches into 129 yards and two touchdowns.

As a regular in the slot, similar usage will give Texas a truly game-changing weapon, which the team could never find in 2014.

As long as he stays healthy, Johnson's due for a big year.

Stock Down: QB Jerrod Heard

Tyrone Swoopes has seemingly run away with the starting quarterback job. The way things have gone, Jerrod Heard never made it a real competition.

Strong continues to assert that Heard's in the running, but even he conceded to reporters that Swoopes would get the first snap against Notre Dame. The junior has dominated first-team reps since the beginning of camp, and everyone around the program has been raving about his development.

Heard's the type of player who's at his best in game situations, but you'd have expected the two-time state champion to make this more of a fight. The reality is it's never been close.

Anwar Richardson @AnwarRichardson

#Longhorns coach Charlie Strong said the thing Tyrone Swoopes has done will this offseason is win the team

On the other hand, this is a great development for Swoopes. He has obvious talent that was held back by his lack of confidence. As we saw against Oklahoma and Iowa State, he can really light it up when he's feeling it.

Swoopes won't be on the longest of leashes, but he's put Heard in the rear-view mirror for now.

Stock Up: RB Chris Warren

Texas' running game was always going to the team's strength this season. Johnathan Gray's healthy, D'Onta Foreman's ready to fill in for Malcolm Brown and the offensive line is much improved.

Having stud recruit Chris Warren ready to mix it up is just an awesome bonus.

According to Horns Digest's William Wilkerson, Warren took full advantage of Gray and Foreman's absence in Saturday's scrimmage. The big freshman saw plenty of action with the ones, ripping off a 20-yard touchdown against the first-team defense.

Mike Finger @mikefinger

Charlie Strong, in naming offensive standouts from Saturday's scrimmage, mentions D Foreman, Warren, Burt, Swoopes and, hey, Daje Johnson.

Warren should still be viewed as the third option in this attack, but that won't leave him a forgotten man. Even at 6'2", 232 pounds, he's got good long speed to blow by the guys who don't feel like tackling him. The coaches will find a way to work him in.

Texas' young power back should see around five carries per game to begin the season, and his role will expand as the year wears on. His athleticism gives him an outrageous ceiling.

He's been good, but Cottrell hasn't taken over the defensive end position as expected after the spring.
He's been good, but Cottrell hasn't taken over the defensive end position as expected after the spring.Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Stock Down: DE Bryce Cottrell

After he tore up the spring game, Bryce Cottrell seemed like a lock to crack the starting lineup. But an ill-timed injury and the resilience of senior Shiro Davis might keep him with the twos.

Michael H. Pelech @michaelpelech10

Bryce Cottrell seems to get in the backfield more than any other DL on the roster.

According to Wilkerson, reports have been glowing about Cottrell, but Davis continues to hang in there. Given what's being said about Cottrell, that's probably a good thing. Davis has been a disappointment in his time on campus, recording just 4.5 sacks for his career.

Per Wilkerson, Cottrell's now dealing with a leg injury that kept him out of Saturday's scrimmage. It doesn't seem serious, but it certainly won't help the junior define his role as we build toward the season opener.

The bottom line is Cottrell was expected to really tear up camp after what he did in the spring. The hope is he's not just a spring star, because his pass-rushing would be a valuable asset for this defense.

Stock Up: TE DeAndre McNeal

Blake Whiteley's injury is a tough blow for the Longhorns, but it puts freshman DeAndre McNeal closer than ever to a Week 1 role.

Slated for Geoff Swaim's blocking role, Whiteley going down shortens Texas' already-thin rotation at the position. Every other tight end on the roster was recruited to play another position before making the switch, so just filling that role will be difficult.

What Texas does have is the well-rounded Andrew Beck and the multitalented McNeal. Beck will certainly get reps because of his experience on the roster, but McNeal will demand time as well.

A do-it-all offensive weapon in high school, he can make up for his lack of blocking prowess with his ability to frustrate opposing defenses.

Sean Adams @thatsean

Charlie Strong - "With everything that has happened at TE Beck and McNeal are the guys getting the reps."

Strong seems pretty excited about the ways he can deploy the multitalented freshman:

We just know this, that he can create a mismatch problem for a lot of [defenses] because you can take him—he's a big receiver is what he is and you can take him and move him outside and he can be a guy that can float for you. The thing about it is a lot of times when you move a guy at a position, a lot of them don't want to accept that move. But he came to me, he said, "Hey, Coach, I've gained a lot of weight. I don't know if I can go outside and play but I know I can be a move guy for you."

McNeal's been working with the first team, and his role should grow as the season wears on.

Unless otherwise noted, all stats and information courtesy of TexasSports.com.


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