- 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. 62 Curtis Riser
Sophomore offensive lineman
Recruitment rewind: Riser had a bunch of big-time offers and was expected to go through a full recruiting process into his senior year. Then he sat down with the Texas staff and committed on the spot in February 2011, to the surprise of even his high school coach. The DeSoto (Texas) product came from a popular UT pipeline and emerged as an elite line prospect, an Under Armour All-American who ranked 78th in his class' ESPN 150.
Career so far: Riser redshirted in 2012 and made his debut last season, appearing in four games as a reserve offensive guard. He finished out the season listed as the top backup to Trey Hopkins at left guard on the depth chart.
Best-case scenario for 2014: There was some speculation Riser might leave the program this offseason, but he's staying on board with the hopes of competing for the open guard spots now that Hopkins and Mason Walters have graduated. Best case, he can work his way up to being the No. 3 or No. 4 guard and one of the first guys off the bench. Even when the opening-day starters are decided, Joe Wickline has vowed the competition for jobs will continue on a weekly basis.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: Exiting spring ball, Riser was probably Texas' No. 6 guard behind (in some order) Sedrick Flowers, Kent Perkins, Taylor Doyle, Rami Hammad and Alex Anderson. So the numbers aren't really in his favor at the moment. Between injuries and fall camp, there's still plenty of time for that hierarchy to change, but Riser has a lot to prove to the new regime.
Future expectations: A year ago, you might've tabbed Flowers and Riser as the presumptive favorites to take over the open guard spots. Riser hasn't done anything wrong to change that -- he just has more competition now. It's hard to know what to expect from him in 2014. He could rise up and become a starter at some point in the season, or he could be a reserve lineman who struggles to get on the field. It's not up to Wickline; it's up to Riser and what he shows his new coach in practice.