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NCAA Football Texas Longhorns

Texas Football: A Look at the DL Depth

A Look at the Texas Longhorns' Defensive Line Depth

Texas Longhorns Defensive Line
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The Texas Longhorns' defensive line is in a state of transition. Jackson Jeffcoat, Chris Whaley and Reggie Wilson have moved on from the program, leaving Texas thin on experience. Here is a look at the players expected to contribute along the defensive line this season.

10. DT Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson
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10. DT Chris Nelson

Chris Nelson
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Chris Nelson was a late find for head coach Charlie Strong this spring. The 6-foot-2, 295-pound freshman would benefit from a redshirt season, but question marks along the line may necessitate Nelson seeing action this fall.

9. DE Derick Roberson

Derick Roberson
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9. DE Derick Roberson

Derick Roberson
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Another incoming freshman, Derick Roberson should sit out a season like Nelson. But the four-star defensive end could end up seeing significant playing time at one of the end positions.

8. DE Bryce Cottrell

Bryce Cottrell Texas Longhorns
Brendan Maloney - USA TODAY Sports

8. DE Bryce Cottrell

Bryce Cottrell Texas Longhorns
Brendan Maloney - USA TODAY Sports

Bryce Cottrell played mostly on special teams in 2013. He did see limited snaps in 11 games for Texas. A former track star in high school, Cottrell could use his speed against bigger, slower tackles to make an impact in 2014.

7. DT Alex Norman

Alex Norman Texas Longhorns
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7. DT Alex Norman

Alex Norman Texas Longhorns
Jerome Miron - USA TODAY Sports

Alex Norman appeared in six game last season. Norman is a former Under Armour All-American and was the No. 7 ranked defensive tackle in the nation in 2012. He will be battling several other tackles to grab a spot next to Malcolm Brown when Texas deploys a 4-3 front.

6. DT Hassan Ridgeway

Hassan Ridgeway Texas Longhorns
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6. DT Hassan Ridgeway

Hassan Ridgeway Texas Longhorns
Tim Heitman - USA TODAY Sports

Hassan Ridgeway is a space-eater at 6-foot-4 and 309 pounds. He displayed flashes of dominance in a reserve role in 2013. He had a career-high six tackles and two quarterback pressures against BYU. He is still a work in progress, though. When Ridgeway does put it all together, he will be a disruptive force.

5. DE Caleb Bluiett

Caleb Bluiett Texas Longhorns
Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports

5. DE Caleb Bluiett

Caleb Bluiett Texas Longhorns
Soobum Im - USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Bluiett didn't have a home last season. He moved from defensive end to tight end before moving back to the defense line. Bluiett started against the Oregon Ducks in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The 6-foot-3, 264-pounder has the chance to build upon his start in the bowl game and become a mainstay on the defensive line.

4. DE Shiro Davis

Shiro Davis Texas Longhorns
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4. DE Shiro Davis

Shiro Davis Texas Longhorns
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Shiro Davis is one of the Longhorns' veteran players. This is Davis' third season at Texas. He has played exclusively in a reserve role up to this point, but uncertainty along the line leaves the door open for Davis to grab a starting role.

3. DT Desmond Jackson

Desmond Jackson Texas Longhorns
Jim Cowsert - USA TODAY Sports

3. DT Desmond Jackson

Desmond Jackson Texas Longhorns
Jim Cowsert - USA TODAY Sports

Desmond Jackson is one of two seniors on the line. Coming into this season, he has seen action mostly in a reserve role. Jackson did have two starts last year. Texas will need Jackson to step up this fall and be a force at the tackle position. If he can shine in his senior season, it may allow Texas to redshirt players Nelson, Roberson and Poona Ford.

2. DT Malcolm Brown

Malcolm Brown Texas Longhorns
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2. DT Malcolm Brown

Malcolm Brown Texas Longhorns
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Malcolm Brown was a beast in 2013. He finished third on the team in pass breakups, tackles for a loss and quarterback pressures. The junior is a mammoth defender at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds. Pencil Brown in as a starter. The 2014 campaign could be a breakout season for him.

1. DE Cedric Reed

Cedric Reed Texas Longhorns
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1. DE Cedric Reed

Cedric Reed Texas Longhorns
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Cedric Reed is the heart and soul of the defensive line. The senior stepped into a starting role in 2013 and earned a first-team All-Big 12 honors. He was second on the team in sacks, quarterback pressures and tackles for a loss. Reed bypassed the NFL Draft to return for his senior season. He provides leadership, and can be a mentor to the younger players. Look for Reed to be the leader in most defensive categories this season.