Texas edge rusher Ovie Oghoufo has one word to describe the largesse of freshman offensive linemen the Longhorns signed for the 2022 recruiting class.
“Huge,” Oghoufo said with a smile at Big 12 Media Days.
He would know. He’s had to try and navigate around a crop of freshmen linemen that some recruiting expert believe is the best freshman offensive line class of 2021, and perhaps in recent memory.
It lines up with what head coach Steve Sarkisian told reporters that the program needed when he arrived from Alabama in January of 2021.
“I told the administration that we needed bigger humans in this program,” Sarkisian said.
So Sarkisian and his staff went to work. The two highest-rated recruits in the 2022 class were offensive linemen — Bowie (Arlington, Texas) High School interior lineman Devon Campbell and Summer Creek (Humble, Texas), High School tackle Kelvin Banks. Both were five-star players, as graded by 247Sports.com, and were among the Top 40 recruits in the nation.
It’s possible that one, or both, could start for Texas at some point this season. In fact, Athlon’s preview magazine projects Banks as the starter at right tackle.
Oghoufo is starting to turn into a believer about Campbell, Banks and another freshman, Duncanville (Texas) High School’s Cameron Williams.
“Those are the three that really pop up off my head right now” Oghoufo said. “These freshmen come in and work and I’m excited for the season. I’m excited for them. I’m excited for their career. They just come in and work and they come in with size too, so I love it. It’s it helps me, it helps our D-linemen, they give us more competition and give us more iron sharpening iron.”
Texas is coming off a 2021 season in which it went 5-7 (3-6) and finished seventh in the Big 12 and wasn’t bowl eligible. Sarkisian landed transfers like five-star Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers, wide receivers Isaiah Neyor (Wyoming) and Agiye Hall (Alabama), and tight end Jahleel Billingsley (Alabama).
Texas hopes that Ewers has the talent to help support two of the country’s best skill players in running back Bijan Robinson and wide receiver Xavier Worthy.
Texas returns six starters on defense from a unit that was fell below expectations in 2021 and didn’t add many pieces in the transfer portal that could have make an impact in 2022. The roster in Austin is littered with talent and adding former TCU head coach Gary Patterson as a special assistant to the head coach could help clean up some defensive woes. If Texas is to make waves this season its defense will need to be much improved.
The Longhorns start the season Sept. 3 with Louisiana-Monroe and will host Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide one week later.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.