A record of 18 true freshmen saw playing time during the 2011 season for the Texas Longhorns, but the 2012 team may have more impact players on the two-deep by the first game next week.
When the ink dried on the 2012 class, the obvious names were mentioned for early playing time: Johnathon Gray, Malcom Brown, Cayleb Jones and Nick Jordan.
After being on campus for less than two months, the early returns on the class are nothing short of glowing. To add to the much acclaimed Gray is Daje Johnson, whom insiders say will be listed as a co-starter at slot back. Johnson has home run ability and the compact back has proven to be a much better pass catcher out of the backfield.
Kennedy Estelle, the mammoth OL prospect, will provide depth and is already getting second team snaps. The wide receiver position has spots open after Shipley, Davis and Goodwin. The three freshmen signed in 2012 will all be counted on to play early and often. Kendall Sanders, Marcus Johnson and Jones have all turned heads throughout camp, with Sanders emerging as of late with his spectacular hands and ability to make people miss in the open field.
On the defensive side of the ball, Hassan Ridgeway, Brandon Moore and Brown will all play in the first game with Moore penciled in as a starter.
Linebackers Dalton Santos and Peter Jinkens will play on special teams and have wowed the coaches with their instincts and passion for the game.
Duke Thomas, who enrolled early, is pushing for snaps with the second unit and defensive back coach Duane Akina has said he is further along than any true frosh cornerback he has coached while at Texas.
If early returns are a true indication, the 2012 class has a chance to equal, if not surpass, the 2011 recruits as far as immediate impact on the field. This Longhorn’s team may be one of the best in their history.