- 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 will take 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. 19 Peter Jinkens
Recruitment rewind: Texas A&M was in the lead for Jinkens, an ESPN 300 OLB from Dallas Skyline, until Texas offered during his junior day visit. He committed on the spot, joining Skyline teammate WR Thomas Johnson (who went on to sign with A&M) in the class and giving Texas the state's top linebacker prospect. The Under Armour All-American racked up 125 tackles as a senior and also put up 11 rushing TDs in his final two seasons.
Career so far: Jinkens has played in all 26 games of his career so far and earned starts in nine, including six games in 2013. As a freshman he recorded 29 tackles and an interception in the Alamo Bowl vs. Oregon State. Jinkens was solid as a sophomore, with 49 tackles, two TFLs and a forced fumble.
Best-case scenario for 2014: Because Texas' defensive needs tend to change week to week in the Big 12, and in part due to his inexperience, Jinkens yet to hold down a starting job for more than three consecutive games. He's been plugged into the lineup a number of times and rarely disappoints. His ambition this season should be starting 13 games and proving to the rest of the league he can be one of the Big 12's most exciting linebackers.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: Texas has an intriguing collection of linebackers, and a ton of them have starting experience. But depending on how Strong approaches playing defense in this league, there's a chance you only see two on the field at a time for most of this season. That's just how it goes in the Big 12. And if you go by experience, that might continue to mean a lot of snaps for Steve Edmond and Jordan Hicks and not so many for Jinkens. He must prove he provides things as an athletic pass rusher that the rest of his competition do not.
Future expectations: Hard to believe Jinkens is already a junior, isn't it? He's put on something like 20 pounds of good weight and muscle since joining the program and has the look of a future NFL linebacker. He just doesn't have the resume yet. Nobody would be surprised if Jinkens blows up in a big way in Strong's defense, but he needs a big start to his 2014 season if he wants that opportunity.