It hasn’t been pretty as of late for the Texas Longhorns. On the heels of a 5-7 campaign with just one double-digit win season since 2009, and a .500 conference record the past three seasons combined, the new-look Longhorns under second-year Head Coach Steve Sarkisian look like they could finally turn it around this fall led by three of the country’s most polarizing players at their respective positions.
Arguably, the top running back in all of college football is Bijan Robinson. He is different. Robinson has remained at the top of NFL scouts’ boards for quite some time despite not being eligible until 2023. While pro comparisons have come in waves as to Robinson’s skill set at the next level, what makes him so special isn’t one area. Whether it’s his vision before the ball is in his hands, his agility and balance to maneuver through bodies both inside and outside the hashes or his prowess in space as a pass-catcher, Robinson does it all. And he has quickly drawn the attention of one of college football’s most dominant backs of all-time.
“I see so much of myself in the way Bijan plays the game,” former USC standout Reggie Bush said. “I see a young, humble kid who’s destined for greatness that has the world at his fingertips.”
Robinson has already begun to draw massive hype toward his draft stock. He’s expected by many to be the first ball-carrier to come off the board next spring. It’d make him just the second Longhorn ball-carrier to be drafted at all since 2009 (D’Onta Foreman – 2017). A 6-foot, 214-pound combination of breakaway speed and elite power, Robinson is everything teams desire in a bell-cow back on Sunday. The ability to not only shoulder a massive workload but to produce when 11 sets of eyes are centered on you is a whole different breed of running back. Where Robinson sets himself apart is in the pass game, where his 26 catches for 295 yards ranked third on the Longhorns’ stat sheet and his willingness to block in pass pro and shiftiness in his allotted route tree presents a weapon completely unique to the college game.
Alongside Robinson will be five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers, who enters the fray as a captain that will be tasked with leading one of the Big 12’s most prolific offenses this fall. A transfer from Ohio State after sitting a season behind potential 2023 No. 1 overall pick C.J. Stroud, Ewers has everything to gain working under Sarkisian.
A native of Southlake, Texas, he’s bled burnt orange since birth despite his prior commitment and if you ask him, he wouldn’t have had it any other way.
“I didn’t just choose to go anywhere,” Ewers said. “I chose a program I truly believe in. I chose to come home.”
He’s a potential high-level draft selection if all comes to fruition down the road. Ewers’ big-time game and persona are fit for the likes of stage and screen and he should have no trouble with the bright Texas spotlight. That being said, his success likely won’t materialize without wide receiver Xavier Worthy.
One of college football’s most dominant receivers last fall, the Fresno, Calif. native wasted no time in introducing his game to the nation as a true freshman. Still with three full years of eligibility – like Ewers – don’t be surprised if Worthy challenges for the Biletnikoff award (given to the nation’s top wide receiver) with the likes of Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba and LSU’s Kayshon Boutte this season.
A wiry 6-foot-1 talent with tons of Tyler Lockett and DeVonta Smith-like traits to his game, Worthy has outstanding short-area quickness to get off the line of scrimmage and the long, top-end speed to run past opposing corners. He won’t blow you away with his toughness or outstanding aerial ability but he understands the importance of winning early and often, and has a sneaky wiggle and shake to his game that allows him to turn defenders around in open space.
With three unique offensive playmakers, don’t turn your back on the Longhorns this fall. The trio of Robinson, Ewers, and Worthy have provided the ideal foundation for Texas to compete for hardware in the coming months.