He saw action in 12 games as a freshman, compiling two tackles for loss and a forced fumble in backup duty. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Edmond will see his playing time increase greatly in 2012 as he takes over at middle linebacker. The Daingerfield product will look to keep the Longhorns defense at an elite level after it ranked sixth in the nation against the run a year ago.
The Wolfforth native is the top lineman on a unit that should be much-improved this season. Walters was named honorable-mention All-Big 12 by the coaches in 2011, and he will be in the hunt for all-conference honors this season. Texas ranked 21st in the nation in rushing offense last year, and the Horns running game could return to prominence in 2012 with Walters paving the way.
The sophomore pass catcher should be a favorite target for Texas quarterbacks this season. He totaled 44 catches for 607 yards and three touchdowns during a solid freshman campaign in which he played 10 games. The younger brother of former UT star Jordan had 100-yard receiving games against Baylor and Iowa State last year, and that number should increase with a clean bill of health.
The junior playmaker will be looked to for major leadership at linebacker with the departures of leading tacklers Emmanuel Acho and Keenan Robinson. A rare non-Texan on the Longhorns roster, the Ohio native had 65 tackles last season with four stops for loss. The Texas D-line and secondary should be excellent, and Hicks’ play could elevate the Horns defense to one of the best groups in the country.
The Lufkin native started all 13 games at cornerback in 2011, and he should be one of the best defensive backs in the Big 12 this year. Byndom had 58 tackles last season, with eight stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also added 15 pass breakups and two interceptions. Quality defensive backs are needed in the pass-happy Big 12, and Texas has the league’s best group with Byndom, Diggs and Vaccaro leading the way.
There was a ton of hype for Brown’s arrival at Texas, and he had an outstanding freshman campaign. His 742 rushing yards ranked seventh on the UT all-time freshman list, and Brown ran for 110 yards and a touchdown in his first start against UCLA. He also compiled 100-yard games against Kansas and Oklahoma State, scoring twice in each of those contests. Brown should have a huge sophomore season.
Diggs was named the Big 12’s Defensive Freshman of the Year last season, and his potential is off the charts. He totaled 51 tackles from his cornerback position, while also having four tackles for loss, four interceptions and two forced fumbles. Diggs’ brother, Quentin Jammer, was an All-America defensive back in Austin, and the sophomore standout seems destined for the same elite status.
The Brownwood native was recognized as an All-Big 12 safety in 2011. Vaccaro compiled 82 tackles last year, including eight behind the line of scrimmage. He also had two interceptions and eight pass breakups. Texas may have the top secondary in the country, and Vaccaro’s all-around game is a big reason why.
He obviously is known for being the son of former Dallas Cowboys’ lineman Jim Jeffcoat, but the junior end has carved out his own outstanding identity with his pass rushing skills. Jeffcoat had 71 stops last season, including 21 tackles for loss and eight sacks. He and Okafor form one of the top defensive end tandems in the country, and they should provide many headaches for Big 12 quarterbacks this season.
The Pflugerville native was a unanimous All-Big 12 selection by the league’s coaches in 2011. His 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks were impressive, as Okafor excelled being back at his natural position of end after moving inside the prior season. He is an unselfish leader who will be an All-America candidate this season, and Texas should have the conference’s top defense and one of the best units in the nation.
College Football, News Whether it was the amount of teams in the league, getting left out of the playoff, a championship game, the nine-game schedule or expansion, the Big 12’s future has been an ongoing debate...
College Football, News Success with any college football team starts with coaching. Even if a program doesn’t have the resources of the nation’s elite jobs, a good coach can elevate a program into national...
Overtime The sports world is still missing Stuart Scott. When the SportsCenter host passed away from cancer in January, it left a void in every sports fan's heart. During the Sports Emmys on Tuesday...
College Basketball, NBA, News When Stephen Curry took tiny Davidson College to the brink of the Final Four, any college basketball fan could tell the NBA what it has learned in recent years: Curry is something special. The...