Comparing the 2018 Longhorns to this year’s squad

Comparing the 2018 Longhorns to this year’s squad


Texas has made a strong statement in the transfer portal and the 2022 recruiting class.

Following a 5-7 season, Texas fans could not have drawn up a better 2022 roster overhaul. As a result many expect nine wins for Texas this upcoming season. While a nine-win season is doable, head coach Steve Sarkisian will have his work cut out for him.

The last decade has been forgotten for Texas fans. In fact, the 2018 season is perhaps the only season worth remembering. Texas went 10-4 that year, defeating two top five teams from the final College Football Playoff ranking, Oklahoma and Georgia.

While Tom Herman inherited great defensive players and brought in solid transfers prior to the 2018 season, the depth he handed Sarkisian left much to be desired.

For an idea of ​​how far the Texas team needs to progress, let’s compare this year’s squad to the last Texas team to win nine games.

Quarterbacks

Comparing the 2018 Longhorns to this year’s squad

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The safe bet here is Sam Ehlinger. For what he lacked as a passer, he made up for with 16 rushing touchdowns that season. Considering the effort Texas made to sign Quinn Ewers, they certainly believe he can elevate the team. Ewers figures to make the 2022 offense much more explosive, but Ehler’s 2018 season will be difficult to beat.

Running back

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Tre Watson was a very good back for the Longhorns in 2018. Keaontay Ingram’s freshman season was so impressive he could never live up to the expectations that were logically placed on him going forward. That being said, Bijan Robinson is the best Texas Longhorns running back of all time. All due respect to Ricky Williams, Earl Campbell, Cedric Benson, and Jamaal Charles, who are all legendary in their own right. We have never seen anyone like Bijan. Add to that three running backs that could be above average starters in the Big 12, and the 2022 squad wins by a mile.

Receivers

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This battle really comes down to taste. Both receiving corps are dominant in different ways. Texas’ twin towers, Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey, could not be defended within ten yards. Men among boys. Add Devin Duvernay to that group and you’ve got a lethal trio. This years squad can beat that group in depth and explosiveness. Xavier Worthy is on his way to becoming one of the great Texas receivers. Jordan Whittington is a proven possession receiver, though not yet at dominant as Humphrey. However, Isaiah Neyor, Agiye Hall, Tarique Milton, and Brenen Thompson raise the ceiling for the 2022 Longhorns. Jahleel Billingsley and JaTavion Sanders bring a vertical tight end threat Texas hasn’t seen since Jermichael Finley.

Offensive Line

AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

The 2018 offensive line had no weak link. They had two NFL left tackles in Calvin Anderson and Sam Cosmi. Patrick Vahe and Zack Shackleford were solid up front. If the 2022 line is to surpass that group, they can do so with tenacity. The two legitimate criticisms of the 2018 line were lack of size and lack of intensity. The 2018 group did not bury defenses into the ground. Between freshman additions and more playing time for Andrej Karic, we might finally see an offensive line that blocks with nastiness.

Defensive Line

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The 2018 defensive line was special for Texas. There was noticeable drop off the moment Charles Omenihu, Chris Nelson, or Breckyn Hager left a game. Texas was able to generate somewhat of a pass rush with that group. Current Texas defensive linemen have not yet lived up to that standard. Alfred Collins and Byron Murphy have shown glimpses of that level of play but have yet to duplicate it consistently.

Linebackers

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Gary Johnson may never get enough credit for his role in the 2018 defense. Johnson was a dominant force for that Texas team. Alongside Anthony Wheeler and freshman linebacker Joseph Ossai, the trio excelled at damage control that the position demands. The current group possesses talent but is still a work in progress.

Defensive backs

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The 2018 defensive backfield was one of the most complete in the nation. Caden Sterns benefitted the most from that talented group. Sterns won all-conference honors as a freshman that season. Sterns was joined by excellent defensive backs, PJ Locke and Brandon Jones. Sticking with the theme of the 2018 roster, the corners were certainly men amongst boys. Kris Boyd and Davante Davis blew up bubble screens for negative plays. The tandem punished opposing receivers. The 2022 squad can be very good but likely won’t match what the 2018 team brought on a consistent basis.

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