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The Texas 10: Preseason edition

8/24/2012
Robert Seale/Getty Images

This year’s Texas squad is loaded with high-impact contributors. But who’s No. 1?

Introducing the Texas Ten, HornsNation’s power rankings of the Longhorns’ top contributors.

Every week, we’ll update these rankings to reflect which Texas players are raising their game.

This isn’t just a season-long debate about which guy is UT’s MVP. These rankings recognize breakthrough performances and which players -- anyone from stars to special-teamers -- are becoming difference-makers.

For this week’s preseason rankings, the criteria is a tad different: Which players are irreplaceable? Who can Texas not afford to lose due to their pure talent, critical role, leadership or even the depth behind them?

Here’s this week’s Texas Ten:

1. S Kenny Vaccaro

We’re giving Vaccaro the No. 1 spot entering the year because, quite frankly, he could be the heart and soul of this team. The free safety is one of Texas’ few true senior leaders, and he developed into a guy capable of making game-changing plays in 2011. He passed up entering the NFL draft to raise his stock and should be in for a special final season.

2. DE Alex Okafor

Manny Diaz calls rushing the passer in the Big 12 a “strenuous exercise,” but Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat sure it made it look easier and easier late last season. Okafor, the preseason Big 12 defensive player of the year is the unquestioned leader of the conference’s best defensive line.