Thursday, February 21, 2013
Big shoes to fill: Texas Longhorns
By David Ubben
We're moving on with a new series today looking at the players across the Big 12 who have to replace program legends. We might as well call this the Nick Florence Memorial team, but let's talk Texas Longhorns.
Big shoes to fill: Texas' defensive ends
Texas isn't replacing much next season; the Longhorns bring back 19 starters to lead the Big 12 and tie for the national lead. That's got to bring a smile to Mack Brown's face, but the departing Alex Okafor leaves behind a big hole at defensive end following a season with 16.5 tackles for loss and a Big 12-leading 12.5 sacks. Jackson Jeffcoat has the opposite end spot locked down, of course, but filling Okafor's role will get really interesting this spring. Senior Reggie Wilson contributed each of the past three seasons, made a start in 2012 and may step into that role, but junior Cedric Reed started the last six games of the year without Jeffcoat and had 4.5 tackles for loss in the final five games of the season. It seems like he might be the safer bet, but sophomore Torshiro Davis could be a dark horse after burning his redshirt year following Jeffcoat's injury. The Longhorns need production opposite Jeffcoat and have a few solid options to do it, so even with Okafor's absence, Texas has reason to feel solid about this spot heading into the 2013 season.