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

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October 4, 2022

Texas players to watch in the Sugar Bowl

Kennedy Weatherby
Wide receiver Jordan Whittington runs the ball during the game against Texas Tech on Nov. 24.

Quinn Ewers – Quarterback

Sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers started playing his best football at the end of the season, and it has paid off. He led Texas to its first Big 12 Championship in 14 years and threw for a record-breaking 452 yards and four touchdowns in The Big 12 Championship game. Ewers has only thrown six interceptions this season, with two coming against Oklahoma in Texas’ only loss of the season. In his last three games, he has thrown for a combined 929 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception. During those games, Texas outscored its opponents 132-44, with Ewers providing the main offensive spark.

Keilan Robinson – Running Back

Texas is no stranger to having successful running backs with the last name Robinson. At the end of his senior year, Keilan is showing his true explosiveness and running ability. Robinson followed head coach Steve Sarkisian from Alabama in 2021 and has waited his turn behind two star running backs. Robinson broke through for his first scores of the season on senior night against Texas Tech, when he punched in a 10-yard touchdown and then returned a 95-yard kickoff for a touchdown. He added another two touchdowns against Oklahoma State in The Big 12 Championship game and can make an impact both on special teams and in the run game.  

Jordan Whittington – Wide Receiver

Jordan Whittington wants to win championships so badly that he came back to Texas for his fifth year with one goal in mind — to win a Big 12 Championship. Now that he’s done that, Whittington has led Texas to its first ever College Football Playoff. While he may not be the receiver with the most yardage or catches, he makes his presence on the field known in other ways. While he only has one touchdown and 435 yards on 35 catches this season, he blocks on every play or draws defenders to him and even forced a fumble against TCU to give Texas the ball back. 

T’Vondre Sweat – Defensive Lineman

T’Vondre Sweat can do it all. From swallowing running backs, sacking quarterbacks, breaking up passes, blocking extra points and catching touchdown passes, Sweat has sealed himself as one of the best defensive linemen in college football. The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year has been a key part of Texas’ stifling run defense that held Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon, the nation’s leading rusher, to just 34 yards and Iowa State to just nine rushing yards. Paired up with Byron Murphy II, Sweat makes it almost impossible for offenses to run through the middle of the field. While Washington primarily throws the ball, Sweat’s pass rush ability will give the Heisman trophy finalist quarterback Michael Penix Jr. a limited amount of time to do so.

Michael Taaffe – Defensive Back

Initially a walk-on, sophomore defensive back Michael Taaffe has become one of the key players in the Texas defense. Taaffe is tied for the team high in interceptions with three and will be key to stopping Washington’s high-powered passing offense. He has also made an impact on special teams with two blocked punts this year. With his ability to make acrobatic interceptions and key tackles, he has become one of Texas’ top defensive backs and an all-around effort player. 

Jaylan Ford – Linebacker

Jaylan Ford is a senior linebacker who stayed bought in to Texas and Steve Sarkisian after a 5-7 season in 2021. Ford is now a key contributor on the defense and leads the team with 91 total tackles. This season he also has two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Ford will be a key player in containing Penix and putting pressure on him when he throws the ball.

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