The top 10 players returning to the Texas Longhorns for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1. Sam Ehlinger, QB
2. Samuel Cosmi, T
3. Derek Kerstetter, C/G/T
4. Joseph Ossai, LB
5. Brennan Eagles, WR
6. Caden Sterns, S
7. Ta'Quon Graham, DE
8. Keontay Ingram, RB
9. Jake Smith, WR
10. D'Shawn Jamison, CB
Honorable Mention: Moro Ojomo, DI; Keondre Coburn, DI; Jalen Green, CB; Anthony Cook, CB
This is the year. This is it. This is it for Sam Ehlinger. This is it for the Texas Longhorns.
Ehlinger needs this year to cement his legacy as one of the best Texas quarterbacks of all time and needs another 3,500-plus yard passing season to help with that. He's every bit one of the nation's top passers and should once again demonstrate that, despite the loss of his favorite two targets from a year ago. Ehlinger can make every throw on the football field and also thrives under pressure, where most quarterbacks struggle.
He connected on nearly 65% of his passes last year despite being credited for 24 of his passed dropped. Ehlinger found success inside the pocket as well as when things got heated and he had to play out of structure. He can pick up his reads and maintain his level of play no matter what goes on around him and if all hell does break loose, has shown many times that he's more than capable of taking off for a first down with his legs.
Cosmi returns as well to anchor the left side once again. He's perhaps one of the best left tackles in the country that isn't named Penei Sewell, and that's not a discredit to Cosmi. He's a stalwart in pass protection and doesn't give up much in the run game either. Speaking of that, Kerstetter is rock solid in pass protection and the best part about his game is the fact that he has amazing positional versatility, having played all but left tackle last season.
Also returning on offense is the highly talented Eagles on the outside. He should see a heavy majority of the targets thrown at Collin Johnson a season ago while Jake Smith should see a ton of those targets thrown to Devin Duvernay over the years. These two could very well be the top receiving duo in the Big 12 and that's not even mentioning the rest of the returning threats at receiver or the transferring in Tarik Black.
Ossai should eat up the tackles once again while adding a terrific dimension when rushing the passer. He's a rare kind of player who logged at least 200 snaps in coverage, against the run and rushing the passer, and did all three facets at near-elite levels. Sterns had a down year, to his standards, after recording eight plays on the ball as a true freshman, made just one pass breakup in 2019. I think he's more of the kind of player that we saw in 2018 but we need to make sure of that before we crown him anything else.
Elsewhere on defense, the returning duo of Ojomo and Coburn should strike fear in opposing offensive coordinators. They're not on the top 10 because that's just how stacked Texas is elsewhere. If they each can get to 500+ snaps, I bet they dominate and start to make waves as draft prospects, more so than they already are now.