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Big 12 Impact Freshmen: Texas

 With the Big 12 season less than three months away, here’s a look at the potential impact freshmen for each team. Recruiting rankings are based on the 247Sports Composite which calculates the average of all four major recruiting websites (247Sports, Rivals, ESPN and Scout.)

6-7 (5-4 Big 12); 4th in Big 12

2015 Team Ranking

National Rank: 9

Big 12 Rank: 1

Class Breakdown

5-star: 1

4-star: 13

3-star: 14

Top Incoming Prospects

  • OLB Malik Jefferson, 5-star, Poteet (Mesquite, TX), 6-2, 215 lbs, No. 1 OLB, No. 10 overall
  • CB Holton Hill, 4-star, Lamar (Houston, TX), 6-2, 184 lbs, No. 7 CB, No. 69 overall
  • OLB Anthony Wheeler, 4-star, Skyline (Dallas, TX), 6-2, 225 lbs, No. 7 OLB, No. 74 overall
  • CB Kris Boyd, 4-star, Gilmer (Gilmer, TX), 6-0, 185 lbs, No. 9 CB, No. 75 overall
  • RB Chris Warren, 4-star, Rockwall (Rockwall, TX), 6-2, 240 lbs, No. 8 RB, No. 80 overall

Class Overview

After losing the top recruiting class in the Big 12 the past two seasons, the Longhorns are back on top with the nation’s 10th ranked recruiting class. Head coach Charlie Strong has pull across the entire nation, but he’s staying mostly in-state, showing the Longhorn still owns Texas, tying down 20 state products.

Leading the herd is Butkus Award winner Malik Jefferson who was considering Alabama, Baylor, and Texas A&M among others before committing to Texas and enrolling early this Spring in Austin. The highly touted Mesquite product is expected to jump right into action, already turning heads with plays like this:

His extreme athleticism will help him transition easily — running a 4.39 40-yard dash, faster than Texas’s top defensive backs.

Senior cornerback Duke Thomas has one side of the field locked up, but the rest of the secondary looks up for grabs. Luckily the Longhorns had quite the haul among defensive backs to provide some depth. But the question remains who will be suiting up, considering redshirt John Bonney among other looks to be in competition for a starting spot. That being said, Holton Hill and Kris Boyd headline an excellent class in the secondary. Hill especially impresses with his 6-2 frame.

No doubt they brought in some great talent for their already menacing defense. This class looks to be a developmental project, as there aren’t many starting spots open. But for players like Jefferson and Hill looking for a starting role, it speaks volumes of their talent. The offensive side of the ball is where their recruiting becomes more interesting.

The biggest question surrounding the Longhorns offense is quarterback. Tyrone Swoopes has Strong’s backing for the starting job, but Jerrod Heard looks to swoop in at the first sign of trouble. Complicating the problem, Texas is losing some top targets including Jaxon Shipley and John Harris. Replacing them will be key as they combined for over half of Swoope’s completions. Florida product John Burt comes in as the top receiving freshman but his place on the roster remains uncertain behind a group of upper-classmen. But he

But the most intriguing prospect in this class is running back Chris Warren. Looking at his profile, he seems more like a linebacker, standing at 6-2 and weighing a hefty 240 lbs. Johnathan Gray looks to have the starting spot secured, and he has plenty of support behind him. But Warren can step in if called upon with his unique body/play style — for a big man he clocks a fast 4.6 40-yard dash. Consider Gray’s health problems in the past, Warren’s name may be dialed often this fall.

Texas may only give two or three freshman considerable play time. But the ones that do play, especially on defense, will be worth consideration for any All-Freshman team at season’s end, Jefferson in particular.

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