Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Sarkisian looks to finalize depth chart as season opener draws closer

Assad Malik

With Texas football just nine days away from kickoff, head coach Steve Sarkisian will be forced to make some tough decisions about his team. Sarkisian addressed the media on Monday and said his depth chart will be finalized by Saturday the 26, exactly one week away from the kickoff against Rice.

The biggest positional battles present themselves on both sides of the ball, with Sarkisian specifically mentioning the difficulty in picking between running backs and weakside linebacker, a position that was filled formerly by Diamonte Tucker-Dorsey and DeMarvion Overshown, both of which graduated after last season. 

The current rotation of linebackers includes senior David Gbenda, junior Morice Blackwell Jr. and five-star freshman Anthony Hill Jr. 

“Everybody’s got strengths,” Sarkisian said about the three linebackers. “I envisioned in some way, shape or form all those guys would be on the field.”

Gbenda produced 59 tackles in four years, while Blackwell has 13 total. The two bring experience, but Hill’s talent, even as a freshman, could earn him the majority of the starting time.

“What he doesn’t know, he makes up for with instincts,” Sarkisian said about Hill. “But he finds his way to get to the quarterback. His instincts kick in.”

At running back, Sarkisian may not have Bijan Robinson and Roschon Johnson anymore, but the talent comes with the depth of runners. Sophomores Jonathon Brooks and Jaydon Blue look to carry the majority of the workload, with freshman standout Cedric Baxter likely to see a good mix of rushes as well. 

“We got to find the right combinations,” Sarkisian said. “Whether it’s the safety rotation or corners or linebackers or runners or receivers, we have to get a nice blend of rotating those players so that we’re strong for four quarters.” 

Though some positions still have decisions to be made, Sarkisian was very adamant about a few groups whose starters are set in stone.

Redshirt sophomore Quinn Ewers has already locked up the starting quarterback job, and Sarkisian is confident in his QB1 heading into the year.

“He’s definitely in command of that first unit,” Sarkisian said. “There’s much less anxiousness and anxiety amongst not just Quinn, but everybody.”

Out wide, Sarkisian has listed juniors Adonai Mitchell and Xavier Worthy, as well as senior Jordan Whittington, as the starting wide receivers, with little room for change. Junior tight end JT Sanders has also indisputably kept the starting tight end position.

“Receiver-wise, there’s probably a little bit of a gap between those first three (Mitchell, Worthy and Whittington) wideouts and the others guys,” Sarkisian said.

The two names mentioned most behind the first three were Isaiah Neyor, a Wyoming transfer and senior who missed last season due to injury, and freshman Johntay Cook.

With many returning starters between the offense and defense, Sarkisian has a lot of familiar faces to work with, but the big question marks come at positions without an obvious starter. 

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Evan Vieth, Senior Sports Reporter
Evan is a junior journalism major and the sports editor for the Texan. He is originally from Washington DC and has covered UT sports for 4 semesters and counting. He has covered the Men's Tennis, Soccer, Baseball and Football teams and had the opportunity to write about the 2023 Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl.
Assad Malik, Photo Editor
Assad Malik is a sophomore RTF major at UT and serves as the Photo Editor for The Daily Texan.