Texas Longhorns: 2014 Burnt Orange Breakdown

Burnt Orange Breakdown: D. Jackson

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
10:00
AM ET
Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we took a deep dive this summer into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series offered a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We went down the entire roster, starting with No. 1 Shiro Davis, and today we complete the series with our final player, No. 99 Desmond Jackson.

No. 99 Desmond Jackson
Senior defensive tackle


Recruitment rewind: The state's top defensive line prospect in 2011 considered two schools: Texas and Alabama. But once Jackson got his Texas offer at a 2010 junior day, he committed on the spot and never wavered. The Houston Westfield standout ranked 31st in the final ESPN 150 for his class, was the state's No. 4 overall recruit and played in the Under Armour All-America Game.

Career so far: Jackson showed flashes as a true freshman, with 10 tackles and two sacks in 12 games, and joined the starting lineup as a sophomore. He started 11 of 13 games and recorded 33 tackles, seven TFLs and two more sacks. He backed up Chris Whaley as a junior until Whaley went down with a torn ACL at West Virginia. Jackson was credited with starts in two of Texas' final four games but was thrust back into a major role to end the year. He worked with the No. 1 defense again in spring ball.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Jackson becomes a consistent problem up the middle for interior linemen, teaming with Malcom Brown to give the Longhorns one of the nation's best defensive tackle duos. He's always been a good run-stuffer at 6-foot-1 and 305 pounds, a weight-room warrior and one of the Longhorns' strongest players. He might even be one of Texas' most underrated assets on defense. But Jackson has yet to prove he can play like an all-conference performer week in and week out.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: You know Brown, being the behemoth he is, will draw extra attention from opponents this season and probably more than a few double teams. Jackson will have to capitalize on those prime opportunities and help this defensive line get the push it needs against the run and the pass. He's been good for two sacks a year, and it'd be disappointing if Jackson isn't in the backfield wreaking havoc more often as a senior.

Future expectations: The senior came to Texas as a top-five defensive tackle prospect nationally and seems like a sure bet to end up playing in the NFL. His on-field resume to this point, while solid, probably wouldn't be enough to ensure a selection in the draft next spring. But there's no reason to think Jackson has peaked, and working with a new defensive line coach with new ideas could bring out the best in him. If the new staff can coax bigger, better things out of its veteran players like Jackson, that might make the difference between Texas being a good team and a great one.

Burnt Orange Breakdown: Alex Norman

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
10:00
AM ET
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. 94 Alex Norman
Sophomore defensive tackle

Recruitment rewind: The Texas Longhorns plucked Norman from the private-school ranks -- Dallas Bishop Dunne -- when he walked into his 2011 junior day visit, got his offer and committed immediately. Oklahoma and TCU showed interest, but no other school offered Norman, an ESPN 150 recruit who earned Under Armour All-America honors and ranked No. 7 at his position nationally.

Career so far: Norman redshirted in 2012. He was used sparingly during his redshirt freshman season, playing in six games and recording one tackle. Norman did earn Scout Team Player of the Week honors once in 2013, and in the spring he worked with the No. 2 defense.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Texas needs to get something out of Norman in his third year in the program, and ideally he could become an asset off the bench behind Malcom Brown and Desmond Jackson. If one of those two starters were to go down, a lot would get asked of Norman from a playing-time standpoint. The 6-foot-4, 292-pound lineman hasn't put it all together yet, but if he does, he could play a significant role to fortify depth up front.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Norman is relegated to reserve duties again and makes more of an impact on the scout team than on a Big 12 field. If he can't rise to the occasion, the Longhorns only had five other scholarship DTs on the roster this spring. A true freshman like Poona Ford would face unfair pressure to be game-ready by the end of August if Norman can't prove he can handle the expectations.

Future expectations: Is it now-or-never time for Norman? That doesn't seem fair considering he's still just a sophomore, but still, this season is an important one for Norman's future with the program and his potential for stepping into a major role next year. Remember, if Brown goes pro, Norman would presumably be right in the mix to start in 2015. If he has a big season, he might even be in that mix to replace Jackson. There's real opportunity waiting for Norman if he can make serious progress soon.
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. 91 Bryce Cottrell
Sophomore defensive end


Recruitment rewind: A rare two-star recruit for Texas, Cottrell initially chose Oregon over Arkansas during his senior season. The linebacker/end from Plano (Texas) West didn't get an offer from Texas until late January, just weeks before signing day, but that offer was enough to sway Cottrell to make an official visit and, soon after, a commitment. Mack Brown admitted on signing day that Jackson Jeffcoat (a fellow Plano West alum) played a role in helping the Horns find Cottrell late.

Career so far: Cottrell redshirted in 2012 as a freshman and is now 6-foot-3 and 241 pounds after gaining a good 10 pounds. In his first season on the field, Cottrell appeared in 11 games though primarily on special teams. He saw action with the defense in blowout wins over TCU and Texas Tech and finished the season with five stops, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.

Best-case scenario for 2014: If Texas had released a post-spring depth chart, you probably would've seen Cottrell listed as Shiro Davis' backup at defensive end. If the third-year defender can keep improving he'll have an opportunity to spell the first-time starter and play a significant number of snaps off the bench. That could even lead to a few starts if Cottrell makes the most of the playing time he does receive.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Caleb Bluiett does seem like he'll be the first end off the bench this season, at least based on his performance in spring ball, and it's entirely possible explosive freshman Derick Roberson will slide into a role as a pass-rushing specialist. Still, there's not really enough depth on paper to suggest Cottrell won't play a good amount in 2014 assuming he's ready.

Future expectations: Chris Rumph did not inherit the deepest position group on the team by any means. Once Cedric Reed graduates, you're looking at a defensive end unit that has Davis, Bluiett, Cottrell, Roberson, Jake McMillon (a potential DT) and committed DE Charles Omenihu. Unless Rumph lands some juco help in this class, the third-year trio of Davis, Cottrell and Bluiett will have to be ready to start and shine. Texas has had an impressive run of NFL defensive ends lately, and it's going to be up to that trio to keep it going.
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. 90 Malcom Brown
Junior defensive tackle


Recruitment rewind: The No. 12 overall recruit in the 2012 ESPN 150 and an Under Armour All-American, Brown took visits to Texas A&M, Oklahoma and TCU but was ready to shut down his recruitment at Texas' 2011 spring game. He and linebacker Timothy Cole, his best friend and teammate at Brenham (Texas) High, committed on the same day. Brown was ranked as the No. 3 recruit in the state and No. 2 among all defensive tackles nationally.

Career so far: In 2012, Brown appeared in all 13 games and notched 25 tackles as a true freshman backup behind Desmond Jackson at nose tackle, and his playing time increased as the season progressed. He broke into the starting lineup last season, starting every game and racking up 68 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, two sacks, six QB pressures and five pass breakups. Brown enters his junior season as one of Texas' most promising players and perhaps its most talented defender.

Best-case scenario for 2014: A dominant season in which Brown is a consensus All-Big 12 defensive lineman, a borderline All-American and gets a first-round evaluation for the upcoming NFL draft. If that's the case, if Brown is truly that good, he could consider going pro early. Then again, from Texas' standpoint, the best-case scenario would be Brown having that all-conference-caliber season and then returning for his senior year.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Unless he gets injured, which has yet to happen in his first two years in the program, what is Brown's floor? That he's just above average and has a hard time with the double-teams he'll now face? It's hard to envision him regressing at this point, especially under the tutelage of former Alabama assistant Chris Rumph.

Future expectations: Brown had all the makings of a future NFL player out of Brenham, and he's done nothing in two years to suggest that won't be the case. At 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds, he has everything you'd want from a size and power standpoint. He's going to get more consistent and the next step is becoming a game-changing force up the middle week after week, which we saw flashes of in 2013. This is a mean, hard-nosed dude who's just starting to tap into his All-America potential.
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. 88 Montrel Meander
Redshirt freshman wide receiver


Recruitment rewind: Meander was about as last-second a find as it gets, a relatively unknown three-star recruit from up north in the Panhandle. He committed in January 2013 to play safety at Washington State with a teammate from Amarillo Palo Duro High, and then Texas entered the picture a week before signing day. Darrell Wyatt convinced him to fly down to Austin for an official visit, and Meander committed during his trip.

Career so far: Meander redshirted in 2013 along with most of Texas' true freshmen. He had arguably the best catch of the spring game, a 30-yard snag early in the first quarter for the second-team offense.

Best-case scenario for 2014: He's going to see the field on special teams, but no doubt Meander wants a shot at making some plays for the Texas offense. Best-case, he's looking at maybe 10-20 catches as the Longhorns' No. 4 receiver if he can work his way up the depth chart. He got stronger and faster in his first year in the program, and the lowest-rated member of Texas' 2013 class could end up being a surprise standout.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Meander is a big 6-foot-3 target with a lot of raw talent, but don't be surprised if he needs more seasoning and plays a limited role this fall. Fellow second-year receivers Jacorey Warrick and Jake Oliver are probably ahead of him on the depth chart behind the three returning starters, and at least one newcomer -- likely Armanti Foreman and/or Lorenzo Joe -- could sneak up into the two-deep. Still, Meander will help on special teams regardless of his receiving duties.

Future expectations: Texas' depth chart at wide receiver is going to be wide open entering the 2016 season after Kendall Sanders and Marcus Johnson graduate, so that year is probably Meander's best bet for winning a starting job. He's going to push his way onto the field before then, especially if he has that knack for making tough catch he demonstrated in the spring game, but Meander's best years are most likely at least a year away.

Burnt Orange Breakdown: Cedric Reed

July, 11, 2014
Jul 11
10:00
AM ET
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. 88 Cedric Reed
Senior defensive end


Recruitment rewind: Reed, a four-star defensive end from Cleveland, Texas, came down to a final four of Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma and LSU. After taking several spring visits to UT and A&M, Reed settled on the Longhorns in April 2010. He racked up 344 tackles and 40 sacks in his three years of starting at Cleveland High and earned all-state honors as a senior.

Career so far: Reed played in seven games in his freshman year as a reserve end. As a sophomore, he was thrust into the starting lineup at midseason when Jackson Jeffcoat went down and recorded 2.5 sacks and 13 QB pressures in his six starts. Alex Okafor graduating opened up a spot for Reed to start across from Jeffcoat, and he thrived as a junior: 10 sacks, 19 TFLs, five forced fumbles and four pass breakups. For that, he earned first-team All-Big 12 honors from the AP and second-team honors from the league's coaches.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Reed's game is a step better in every area -- as a pass-rusher, run-stopper and locker room leader -- and he goes on to win Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors and earn a few All-America nods. The guy came back with unfinished business on his mind and will benefit greatly from Chris Rumph's instruction. The end Jeffcoat used to call "Too Tall" leverages his killer size and power into some big-time numbers and fills up his trophy case the way Jeffcoat did in 2013.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Beyond a season-ending injury, which would be a devastating blow for Texas' defense and the team in general, there isn't a whole lot to fear with Reed. If he's drawing double teams and is less effective than a year ago, that's just going to create big opportunities for Malcom Brown and Desmond Jackson rushing up the middle. Texas was dreadful at defending the read option last season, and that's one area where Reed and Texas' ends will get exploited again if they aren't better coached-up to handle the pressure.

Future expectations: Reed is not a surefire first-round NFL draft pick, at least not yet. He needs to continue developing his pass rushing moves and his strength/physicality this fall. But Reed absolutely passes the eye test and, at 6-foot-6 and 258 pounds, should become a coveted draft prospect if he matches or improves upon last year's production. But, again, draft stock isn't the only reason Reed decided to come back. This is a man on a mission to get Texas back on the right track before he goes off to the pros, and that's his sole focus for now.
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. 86 Jake Oliver
Redshirt freshman wide receiver


Recruitment rewind: The record-setting ESPN 300 receiver from Dallas Jesuit was the second member of Texas' 2013 class after Jake Raulerson and chose UT over Oklahoma and more than 50 other offers (no, really, check that list). He caught a whopping 93 passes for 1,354 yards and 18 TDs as a senior and broke Jordan Shipley's Texas high school state record with 308 career receptions, which ranked second all time nationally.

Career so far: Oliver redshirted as a freshman in 2013, and an injury prevented him from making his debut this spring. He suffered a minor elbow injury that did not require surgery but was held out of the Orange-White game and should be fully recovered by now.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Oliver could push his way up to the No. 4 receiver spot behind Jaxon Shipley, Marcus Johnson and Kendall Sanders. He's a big 6-foot-4, 216-pound target who can be an impact blocker immediately in the run game, and Oliver should see a decent amount of targets. He has some of the best hands on the team and could team with Jacorey Warrick to give Texas some exciting options beyond the starting trio.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: To get that kind of playing time, Oliver will have to hold off the new freshmen -- namely Armanti Foreman and Lorenzo Joe -- and he'll also get some strong competition from fellow second-year receiver Montrel Meander. As we've acknowledge throughout this series, Texas has so many options at receiver and it's going to be a wide-open battle until the end of August.

Future expectations: Oliver has four years left in the program, and there's really no telling what that position group will look like a couple years from now. Texas inked nine wideouts in its last two classes (now eight, because Chevoski Collins moved to DB) and you figure the best of the bunch will rise up. Oliver can develop into a multi-year starter and a nice red-zone target if he plays his cards right and shows the new staff what he's capable of this fall.
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. 85 M.J. McFarland
Junior tight end


Recruitment rewind: A four-star tight end from El Dorado High out in El Paso, McFarland's decision was supposed to come down to Texas and Texas Tech. But he took a junior day visit to UT in 2010, locked in his commitment and never looked back. McFarland put up 2,604 receiving yards and 39 TDs at El Dorado and was able to enroll early at Texas in the spring of 2011.

Career so far: McFarland redshirted in 2011 and walked into some big expectations as a redshirt freshman. He hauled in eight passes for 125 yards and one touchdown in 12 games (four starts) that year, but he suffered a concussion late in the season. McFarland was relegated to a more limited role last fall and did not record a catch in the 11 games he played.

Best-case scenario for 2014: For years, McFarland has been trying to live up to the hype that he could be the Longhorns' next great tight end, its next Jermichael Finley. He hasn't come close to that bar yet, but there's still time for McFarland to become a weapon over the middle. He can be Texas' best pass-catcher at tight end and could get a lot more looks if he breaks back into the starting lineup. After all, Louisville's top tight end last year (Gerald Christian) did get 36 targets and finished with 426 yards and four TDs.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Geoff Swaim and Greg Daniels have a leg up on McFarland in the tight end room, even with Daniels missing spring ball, and it's entirely possible juco transfer Blake Whiteley rises up and becomes the superior receiver of the group. Simply put, McFarland has to put in a lot of work this summer and has fall camp to prove he deserves to be on the field ahead of that trio.

Future expectations: Swaim and Daniels are both seniors, and Texas does not have a tight end committed for next year. Unless another juco transfer or a game-changer like ESPN 300 TE Will Gragg comes on board, that's going to mean a McFarland-Whiteley tandem in 2015. There's plenty of untapped, unrefined potential in McFarland. If the new staff is able to coax it out of him this fall, an already deep receiving corps gets much better.
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.

[+] EnlargeJohnathan Gray, Geoff Swaim
Brendan Maloney/USA TODAY SportsGeoff Swaim (left) served as a quality blocker in his first season at Texas.
No. 82 Geoff Swaim
Senior tight end


Recruitment rewind: Swaim was an absolutely unknown commodity prior to his Texas commitment. The junior college tight end from Butte College in California took an official visit to UT in June 2012, got his offer and committed. Credit Bryan Harsin and Bruce Chambers for finding a true sleeper, a juco transfer with no other offers and zero pre-commitment publicity. He ended up being a four-star prospect and ESPN's No. 26-rated juco recruit.

Career so far: Mack Brown would not sign junior college prospects unless he thought they could contribute immediately at a need position. That's what Swaim did in 2013: He played in all 13 games and was credited with nine starts. The honorable mention All-Big 12 tight end was used almost exclusively as a blocker, but he did record three catches for 14 yards.

Best-case scenario for 2014: There figures to be more opportunities for tight ends in Texas' new offense, and Swaim should see his role expand. He was praised by Shawn Watson for having a great spring, and the staff trusts him to set the edge as a blocker. Swaim has never been much of a receiving threat, but his targets should multiply a good deal from the five he got last year. He won't be confused for Jace Amaro, but Swaim can be a sneaky good piece to this offense regardless of who's playing QB.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Being relegated to a blocking-only option would probably be the only thing that would make his senior season a disappointment. Texas has so many talented receivers coming back this fall and will put guys such as Jaxon Shipley and Daje Johnson in the slot a lot, so that might not create a ton of opportunity for Swaim and his fellow tight ends in spread sets. And, of course, if someone else such as M.J. McFarland has their breakthrough, that could mean limited snaps for Swaim.

Future expectations: Swaim's playing time in burnt orange is almost up already. He enters his second and final season at Texas having built up a solid reputation at his position, and he had no trouble transitioning from California juco ball to Big 12 play. The Longhorns are going to run the ball a lot this fall, and Swaim is going to be a big help on that front. He's an important piece to the offense and is getting better.
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. 81 Hassan Ridgeway
Sophomore defensive tackle


Recruitment rewind: Three days after his junior day visit to Texas in 2011, Ridgeway got on the phone with Mack Brown and made a commitment, turning down offers from Texas A&M and TCU. The four-star Mansfield (Texas) defensive lineman didn't play football until his sophomore year but developed into an all-state talent. Ridgeway took a late January visit to A&M and has admitted he came very close to flipping to the Aggies, but he stuck with Texas on signing day.

Career so far: Ridgeway redshirted in 2012 and moved inside from defensive end to defensive tackle following his freshman year. As a redshirt freshman, he played in 12 games as a reserve and recorded 13 tackles, five QB pressures and one pass breakup. Most of those numbers came in nonconference play. Exiting spring ball, Ridgeway was Texas' top backup at defensive tackle.

Best-case scenario for 2014: New defensive line coach Chris Rumph takes Ridgeway's game to the next level. Texas' previous staff was plenty excited about the young lineman's high ceiling a year ago, and there is great need for depth at defensive tackle. Ridgeway is a powerful 6-foot-4, 309-pound force who can make life tough for quarterbacks. His role is set to expand in a big way.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Behind Malcom Brown and Desmond Jackson, the depth at defensive tackle is largely unproven. Alex Norman and Paul Boyette Jr. haven't made any impact thus far, and stud incoming freshman Poona Ford isn't on campus yet. If Ridgeway gets hurt or underperforms, Texas could find itself in real trouble in the middle as the season progresses.

Future expectations: What if Brown is so good this fall, he elects to declare for the NFL draft early? If he and Jackson are both gone after this season, Ridgeway will almost definitely have to step into the starting lineup in 2015. Even if Brown sticks around, Ridgeway will probably be the favorite to take Jackson's place. This should be the year the third-year defensive tackle breaks through -- and when he does, look out.
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. 81 Greg Daniels
Senior tight end


Recruitment rewind: A four-star recruit from Houston's St. Pius X, Daniels was a bit of an under-the-radar find when he committed at a 2009 junior day. He had offers from Oklahoma and Baylor at the time, and Alabama and Texas A&M after his pledge. He played both tight end and defensive end in high school, but took more of a liking to defense in his senior season.

Career so far: Daniels redshirted in 2010 and played in three games on the defensive line in 2011. After that season, he transitioned over to tight end and has stayed there ever since. He's played in 25 games and earned 14 starts since joining the offense, and has eight receptions for 118 yards in his career. Daniels had right shoulder surgery this offseason and missed spring ball.

Best-case scenario for 2014: This is a player who's poised to surprise. The new Texas staff knows Daniels can set the edge as a blocker, and he's going to see the field a lot on running downs. But don't forget that Daniels was on the receiving end of the 2012 Wishbone tribute to Darrell K Royal. That was a 47-yard reception, and Daniels could be in for more opportunities as a pass-catcher over the middle.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Texas has four pretty intriguing options at tight end now that Blake Whiteley has joined the mix, and it's the position group that has the most continuity since Bruce Chambers was retained. So as long as Daniels' shoulder heals up, the only setback he would face is falling to third or fourth on the depth chart. He will at least be a quality blocker, he just might not see many passes thrown his way.

Future expectations: Daniels has one season of eligibility left and, potentially, a chance to help reverse Texas' recent trend of unremarkable play at tight end. Unless one player rises up in fall camp, expect a committee of contributors at that position. He's not yet a well-known player among Texas fans because of his thankless efforts as a blocker, but you could see a lot more from Daniels as a senior.
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. 77 Kennedy Estelle
Junior offensive tackle


Recruitment rewind: The Under Armour All-American from Pearland (Texas) Dawson had offers from all over the country (USC, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn, Notre Dame and Oregon to name a few) but chose the Longhorns after attending a UT summer camp before his senior year. Estelle, a 6-foot-7, 310-pound tackle, was the No. 1 offensive line prospect in Texas and a top-10 in-state recruit.

Career so far: Estelle played in three games as a true freshman backup but missed six games with a left shoulder injury. He broke into the starting lineup in 2013 when Josh Cochran went down and earned starts in eight of Texas' nine conference games. He earned relatively good reviews for his performance, but Estelle was also suspended for the Alamo Bowl vs. Oregon after being ruled academically ineligible.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Estelle appears to be on the right track academically under Charlie Strong's staff, a necessary commitment in order to keep his starting job at right tackle. At 6-foot-7 and 285 pounds, Estelle brings impressive size and a solid year of playing experience to the table.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Strong has zero tolerance for players who don't buy in all the way on their academic responsibilities. He won't be afraid to find someone else at right tackle if Estelle falls short of those expectations. If Desmond Harrison doesn't play up to his great potential, offensive line coach Joe Wickline could move Estelle over to left tackle. That switch isn't as easy as it sounds, but might be necessary if others don't step up.

Future expectations: Estelle could definitely develop into a three-year starter at right tackle, which would be a big plus for the imminent future of this group. The Longhorns lost a big piece of the puzzle up front when Cochran, a 23-game starter, ended his playing career this offseason due to a recurring shoulder injury. A healthy and eligible Estelle answers a big question mark and can be a major asset for Wickline in these next two years.
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. 76 Kent Perkins
Sophomore offensive guard


Recruitment rewind: Perkins committed just days after landing his Texas offer and chose the Longhorns after junior day visits to Texas A&M and Oklahoma. The ESPN 300 lineman from Lake Highlands High near Dallas was the first of five offensive line pledges and a three-year starter at tackle in high school. In Perkins, Texas signed the No. 1 offensive tackle in the state and No. 4 nationally.

Career so far: Perkins was one of only three Texas true freshmen who played in 2013, along with Tyrone Swoopes and Jacorey Warrick. He earned his first career start at right tackle against Texas Tech and played in five more games, typically as the backup to Kennedy Estelle. When Josh Cochran was essentially lost for the season, Perkins stepped up and chipped in when needed. He suffered a minor knee injury that shut him down for more than two weeks of spring ball and the spring game.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Perkins breaks into a starting role at right guard or right tackle. What makes him so valuable to the Texas offensive line is his ability to play inside or outside, along with the size (6-foot-5, 325 pounds) and power you would want. Once he gets healthy, he's going to challenge for a major role somewhere on Joe Wickline's offensive line.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: No downside here. If for some reason Perkins isn't a starter for the opener, he'd still be one of the first linemen off the bench and would help keep the rest of the line fresh. Texas needs depth and options, something it hasn't had much of in recent seasons, and Perkins is going to help no matter what he's asked to do.

Future expectations: Perkins has the look of a potential three-year starter and a future pro if he stays healthy and on the right course. Wickline loves to cross-train his big men at every position on the line, and Perkins is the perfect kind of player who will fit wherever needed. The competition will be stiff at right guard, but he can win that job, or challenge Estelle at tackle. Either way, you're going to see a lot of him in 2014 and beyond.
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. 74 Taylor Doyle
Junior offensive guard


Recruitment rewind: A three-star offensive lineman from nearby Lake Travis High School in Austin, Doyle was a member of three of the Cavaliers' five consecutive state title teams. He overcame a broken ankle at the end of his junior season to earn all-state honors as a senior and chose Texas over offers from Baylor, Texas Tech, Arizona and Houston.

Career so far: Doyle redshirted in 2011 and worked with the scout team during the 2012 season. He played briefly in two games last season, as a reserve lineman against Kansas and on special teams at West Virginia, but that's the extent of his playing career. He's earned scout team player-of-the-week honors three times at Texas. Doyle emerged as the No. 1 right guard in the Texas spring game this year.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Doyle holds down the right guard spot all season long and gets the job done. He's not the physical freak up front like Desmond Harrison or Kent Perkins, but Doyle is entering his fourth year in the program and seems to have earned the respect of new line coach Joe Wickline so far. If he's solid, he can at least match the production of Mason Walters from a year ago.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Rami Hammad and Perkins provide the biggest threat for the right guard job, and Sedrick Flowers appears to be fairly locked-in at the left guard spot. Hammad and Perkins are more touted and probably a little more talented, but both are second-year players and Hammad has no game experience. If either wins the job, Doyle might only play limited snaps this fall.

Future expectations: It's safe to say not too many Texas fans were familiar with Doyle when he took the field in April with the No. 1 offense. He's been overlooked and probably underrated in his time at Texas, but he took a big step toward changing that in the spring. If he becomes the Longhorns' starting right guard out of fall camp, he'll have to fight hard to keep the spot. Once practice begins Aug. 4, every day is going to matter a great deal for Doyle if he hopes to prove himself.
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. 71 Camrhon Hughes
Sophomore offensive tackle


Recruitment rewind: Hughes, a four-star tackle from Harker Heights, Texas, turned down offers from Baylor, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Texas Tech and chose Texas during a junior day visit in 2011. He enrolled early in the spring of 2012 and was joined at Texas by his younger brother, linebacker Naashon Hughes, after his first year in the program.

Career so far: Hughes has been a Longhorn for two years and has not appeared in a game. He redshirted in 2012 after sustaining a torn ACL during a pickup basketball game that summer, and Hughes did not appear on the depth chart at any point last season. He was a scout-team contributor and did not start on either offensive line in the spring game scrimmage.

Best-case scenario for 2014: Hughes is probably a third-string offensive tackle at this point and will try to work his way into the rotation as a backup to either Desmond Harrison at left tackle or Kennedy Estelle at right tackle. At 6-foot-7 and 317 pounds, he's certainly not lacking for the size you want on the outside. If he can earn a backup job and play a good amount of snaps in relief of the starters, that would be a great start.

Worst-case scenario for 2014: Texas has not been able to find much reliable depth at offensive line behind its starters in recent years, and you'd hope that trend will end under respected offensive line coach Joe Wickline. Hughes is one of those players who can get lost in the mix, backing up younger linemen, if he doesn't make a step in the right direction this fall.

Future expectations: Hughes has plenty of time to get his Texas playing career back on track, with three seasons of eligibility remaining, and the truth is he wouldn't have broken into the veteran-heavy lineup last season even if he were fully healthy and ready to go. The Longhorns are probably going to have a real question mark at left tackle in 2015 after Harrison graduates, and that's probably the job Hughes should focus on landing.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Texas RB Foreman Cleared To Play
D'Onta Formean has been cleared academically to join the Longhorns football squad.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video