Last season: The Texas Longhorns have been down as of late. They have been mostly unable to land whichever recruits they want no matter the proximity to Austin, as they could during the pinnacle of the Mack Brown era. However, there were a few bright spots in recruiting, especially late in the game for newly appointed leader Charlie Strong in acquiring the letter of intent from Malik Jefferson, Holton Hill, Kris Boyd, Ryan Newsome and PJ Locke all right before, or at National Signing Day. Unfortunately though, the current team is going to need all the help they can get. After David Ash had to tragically retire after week one due to concussions, Tyrone Swoopes took over as lead signal caller. There wasn’t much expected of the offense in the first place, but Swoopes had potential that really didn’t come to fruition. The touchdown totals almost matched the interception totals. The lack of offensive production cost them games such as BYU, Baylor, Kansas State, TCU, and Arkansas. Out of all of those games, the highest scoring total was 10 points. On the other hand, the defense of the 2014-15 year was stellar. Led by veteran corner Quandre Diggs and defensive tackle Malcolm Brown (later NFL first round draft pick), the defense was the lone bright spot on the year for the Longhorns, along with an upset win against 23rd ranked West Virginia.

Head Coach: Charlie Strong

2014 Offense:


PASSING:

Player Attempts Completed Yards TD INT
Tyrone Swoopes 224 384 2409 13 11
David Ash 19 34 190 1 0

RUSHING:

Player Carries Yards Average TD
Malcolm Brown 183 708 3.9 6
Johnathan Gray 147 637 4.3 7
Tyrone Swoopes 108 262 2.4 4 

RECEIVING:

Player Receptions Yards Average TD
John Harris 68 1051 15.5 7
Jaxon Shipley 59 577 9.8 1
Marcus Johnson 27 313 11.6 1
Armanti Foreman 10 188 18.8 2
Johnathan Gray 20 122 6.1 0


Average Rushing Yards: 137.4
NCAA Rank: 94th

 Average Passing Yards: 199.9
NCAA Rank: 86th
TOTAL NCAA OFFENSIVE RANK: 105th

2014 Defense:

 Average Rushing Yards Allowed: 162.1
NCAA Rank: 63rd
Average Passing Yards Allowed: 186.3
NCAA Rank: 13th 

TOTAL NCAA DEFENSIVE RANK: 25th

Key Player: Tyrone Swoopes – It’s no question that the catalyst of offensive production starts with the quarterback. Swoopes did not live up to that requirement last season with a plethora of turnovers. Swoopes has excellent measurable, but things have just not clicked. While drawing comparisons to Longhorn great, Vince Young, the two have had very contradicting careers in orange and white, at least thus far. Swoopes has a decent young group of receivers, but loses his top target in John Harris.

Most Intriguing: Johnathan Gray – Gray, the Aledo alum, has had a good career with the Longhorns entering his senior season. He is an all-purpose player, running tough and fast, but also being able to catch the ball out of the backfield. A jumbled offensive line through his first few years in Austin has declined the potential of a fantastic, largely hyped high school back. But so far the hype has been just that, hype.

X-Factor: Malik Jefferson – Out of Mesquite Poteet High School, Jefferson is coming in as my highest ranked recruit in the state of Texas for 2015. The true freshman enrolled at Texas early and is primed for a big role in the linebacker corps. He is a sure tackler with killer instincts and will contribute to this defense. However, he will need help around him after losing defensive stars like DT Malcolm Brown, CB Quandre Diggs, and LB Steve Edmond.

2015 Projections: It’s safe to say the first year under the helm for Charlie Strong wasn’t great, but it also wasn’t terrible. The Longhorns have an impressive recruiting class coming in this year and will likely depend on some of the young guns to contribute extensively this upcoming season. I expect Swoopes to get the nod early on but I can also see him being a short leash. With a promising young backup quarterback in Jerrod Heard, there is not much room for error. The offense needs to find their stride before any type of progress can be made. The defense will clearly not shut out every team in every game this season, therefore, the offense cannot afford to score only 7 points. With an increasingly tough conference featuring playoff contenders like TCU and Baylor, as well as Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Oklahoma State, the Horns will have their work cut out for them. I expect much of the same from last year, as the offense will not feature any new playmakers. The defense, on the other hand, is adding a few new key pieces who will be good contributors.

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