- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
No. 50 Paul Boyette Jr.
Sophomore defensive tackle
Recruitment rewind: The four-star prospect from Humble, Texas, had a handful of big-time offers -- Alabama, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Tennessee -- coming out of his junior year, but he elected to shut it down and commit to Texas in February of 2011. He teamed with Malcom Brown, Brandon Moore and Alex Norman to give the Longhorns one of the nation's top defensive tackle classes of 2012.
Career so far: Boyette redshirted as a freshman and then appeared in five games last season. Most of his opportunities in 2013 came in mop-up duty. He played snaps with Texas' defense in three games, recording two tackles in a blowout loss to Oklahoma State, and got some special teams work in two more. Boyette did not record a tackle in this year's spring game.
Best-case scenario for 2014: New defensive line coach Chris Rumph brings out the best in Boyette, who can help fill a potentially significant need on the Longhorn line. Behind Malcom Brown and Desmond Jackson, Texas is still searching for answers with its defensive tackle depth. If Boyette can give Texas 13 games of solid contributions as a backup, an already nasty line will be even better.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: Boyette's career got off to a disappointing start, and some members of the previous staff thought he might leave the program this offseason. He stayed on board, which is promising, and a new staff does mean a fresh start in a lot of ways. But if Boyette can't crack the two-deep this season, perhaps he'd seek a better opportunity for playing time elsewhere.
Future expectations: It's entirely possible that, if Brown shines as a junior and goes pro early, Texas will have to replace both of its starting defensive tackles in 2015. Texas has had a few too many misses at the defensive tackle spot in recent years, making the development of Boyette, Alex Norman and Hassan Ridgeway absolutely critical over the next 12 months. It's now-or-never time for Boyette to start making an impact.